28 Percent of Mass. Republican Delegates Supported a Homophobic, Ultra-Conservative, Whack Job for Governor at Their Convention; What Does That Say?

(Worcester, Ma 042818) Scott Lively makes his nominating speech to be a candidate for governor at the Massachusetts GOP State Convention. April 28, 2018 Staff photo by Chris Christo

He is a guy who co-wrote a book that asserts “homosexuals [are] the true inventors of Nazism and the guiding force behind many Nazi atrocities.” He has said he “has not changed his view that gays are ‘agents of America’s moral decline.’” He founded a nonprofit that the Southern Poverty Law Center calls a hate group. So what does it say when 28 percent of the voting delegates to the Massachusetts Republican Party Convention cast their lots with Scott Lively for governor?

Not to worry, there is absolutely no chance this antigay, insane-in-the-membrane whack-a-doodle will ever be governor of the commonwealth. But the fact that he got enough delegate support to force a primary against the most popular governor in the country, Republican Charlie Baker, is beyond troubling.

For business purposes, I attended Saturday’s convention and I was shocked at how many delegates there actually admired and supported Lively. The common denominator for them was: older than 70; slightly confused; wearing a red, “Make America Great Again” hat with a “Lively” sticker on the side of it. They were openly hostile to Baker and his running mate Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.

Lively is not your run-of-the-mill homophobe. His book, The Pink Swastika, contends homosexuality found in the Nazi Party contributed to the extreme militarism of Nazi Germany. Historians have a pretty good laugh at the premise but Lively has found an audience of sorts.

The cover of Scott Lively’s book, The Pink Swastika.

Lively, who fashions himself “a pastor” faulter Baker for not standing with President Trump and Vice President Pence and for being too cozy with Democrats like Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

Baker, for his part, didn’t back down from the challenge from Lively. “There’s no place and no point in public life, in any life, for a lot of the things Scott Lively says and believes, OK?” he said after the vote. Baker did get 70 percent of the delegate vote.

The question now is, will Baker debate Lively? The governor avoided answering that question Saturday. “Monday I go back to my job as governor,” he said.

The curious thing is just what are those delegates thinking about. If indeed they think Lively should be the Republican nominee, what do they think will happen should the heavens fall and he beats Baker? Do they really think clear-minded Bay Staters will vote for Lively instead of Democrats Jay Gonzalez or Bob Massie?

Not unlike Trump voters in the 2016 election, some people in Massachusetts are so fed up with the status quo that they are willing to blow it up. But that anyone, anywhere could support a man like Lively is beyond comprehension.

It’s more than disturbing.