Tom Brady could beat Elizabeth Warren
It would be virtually impossible for Tom Brady to lose an election in Massachusetts.
I’m not a soccer fan, which means I can count on one hand the number of soccer games I’ve played in my life. The sport itself means nothing to me. I know about touchdowns and the part where they kick the ball between those two posts and something called “downs” which I believe there are four. Beyond that, it’s a mystery to me.
But I remember watching the Super Bowl in my freshman year. The Patriots were playing the Eagles and I was in enemy territory. Only one of the dozen or so guys I watched with was actually from near Philadelphia, but at least they all were not from Massachusetts, which meant one thing: they hated the Patriots. In particular, they despised Tom Brady with a venom usually reserved for war criminals, pedophiles, and Connecticut people.
Of course, me was from Massachusetts, which meant all her anti-Brady hatred was focused on me. Any game that favored New England was greeted with shouts of “Fk you, Brady!” F-k you, Leary!” Despite the fact that these subtle crowd reactions were my only means of interpreting what was happening on screen, I felt compelled to defend Tom Brady’s honor. When the game was over I was just as excited as everyone and passed for a Brady superfan. I rooted for him passionately when I saw fit and fired back at the Eagles fans whenever it was necessary. When the Eagles won, I undertook the ritual wails required of the losing side and exchanged a few final sharp words with my companions. It’s certainly a completely irrelevant detail that I got my first beer (and my second, sixth, etc.) at that viewing party.
I tell this story here to illustrate Brady’s unprecedented position in the Massachusetts pantheon. Even the most disinterested denizen of Patriot territory will be inspired to speak for Tom Brady when venturing into a hostile land, as a pilgrim in another age would have spoken for his king, or as a Catholic would upon a sacrilege against the Virgin Mary would react. Since the beginning of the new millennium, it has been an integral part – perhaps the single most important – of the culture of the state and the identity of its people. Like Jack Kennedy for an earlier generation, you don’t have to like him (or even care) to love him; He’s an indelible part of who you are simply because he’s from Massachusetts.
As most readers will surely know (considering that even I know), Tom Brady announced his retirement from the National Football League this week. Although he spent the last two years of his career in Florida with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (and is a native of California via Michigan), he remains a Massachusetts icon and one of the Union’s largest states with which he most closely identifies. Given the timing of his announcement, his friendship with President Trump, and his popularity as a superstar, some have begun to speculate that the quarterback will pursue a political career.
My instinct is that it would be virtually impossible for Tom Brady to lose an election in Massachusetts. Even if I feel such intense loyalty to the man, I can only imagine the feelings he arouses in people who genuinely care about him. (Efforts of the Liberal Boston globe creating controversy over Brady’s perceived snub from Boston in his resignation announcement are clearly intended, I believe, to forestall such a run.)
He will likely be tempted to aim for the top spot in the State House. Incumbent Governor Charlie Baker, a hard-line Republican, announced in December that he would not run for re-election this year. Lackluster Trump orbiter Geoff Diehl, who was defeated by a 24-point margin in the 2018 Senate race — the same year Baker won re-election by a 30-point margin — currently leads the peloton for the GOP nomination. Patrick O’Connor, a sloppy MP even to Baker’s left, could throw his hat in the ring and a handful of other long-distance candidates have already declared themselves.
If Brady waded into that field – and he has until the end of May – he would whiz past everyone but the leader; then oust Diehl by a respectable margin in the primary in September; then claim a landslide win over the Democratic nominee (likely the snobby Attorney General Maura Healey) in November. At Beacon Hill, Brady would be in the heart of friendly territory and could bask in the admiration of his fans for as many years as he wishes for re-election.
But that would essentially be a winning lap. There’s not much a Republican governor can do in Massachusetts — even Charlie Baker has been repeatedly crippled by the Democratic legislature. A triumphant return to Boston would be great for Brady’s ego, but probably no more.
He would be wiser to wait two years and run for the Senate seat Geoff Diehl lost so horribly in the last election cycle. Admittedly, it would be bittersweet to see the author of The two income trap from Washington, but the prospect of a realignment of the Massachusetts-based Republicans in the upper chamber is too good to pass up. Although this year’s Senate election is likely to deliver a Republican majority, every seat is valuable — especially one considered a sure blue (which it would be contested by anyone but Tom Brady).
However, it remains unclear how much of a realignment Republican Brady really is. He owns a red hat and is friends at 45, but beyond that we know as much about Brady’s future career as I do about his past. He is totally inexperienced in politics and his political leanings are totally unexplored.
I say let him find out as he goes; the man is good at thinking fast. If I can write a thousand words about a pro football player, I’m sure he can sneak his way through six years in the Capitol.