The decision by Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito not to seek reelection doesn’t just leave the governor’s race “wide open” (“Suddenly, race looks wide open,” Page A1, Dec. 2). It leaves wide open space for a new information-age party.
It’s time for real political innovation. Our old patronage-based parties are failing. Between the plodding monopoly power of the Massachusetts Democratic Party and the limited appeal of the Trump party lie not just underserved coalitions of interest but also the potential for better, faster, cheaper ways to serve those coalitions. Virtually every precinct in the Commonwealth has political activists frustrated with the high personal toll, painfully slow progress, and poor results of their civic efforts.
A new kind of party, purpose-built around civic information technology, could be highly competitive. Rather than thinking of a party as a structure built with conceptual “planks” of specific interest, we could think of a party as a civic media and self-governance platform — an integrated set of technologies to collect and disseminate information from the precinct level on up, develop and support candidates, and discipline officeholders. Party innovations should make civic participation much easier, more satisfying, and more effective.
Competition, we know, is a crucible for improvement. Our Commonwealth should be the best-governed place on the planet. A smart new party would help.