Author Archives: Maurice T. Cunningham

About Maurice T. Cunningham

Maurice T. Cunningham is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. He teaches courses in American government including Massachusetts Politics, The American Presidency, Catholics in Political Life, The Political Thought of Abraham Lincoln, American Political Thought, and Public Policy. His book Maximization, Whatever the Cost: Race, Redistricting and the Department of Justice examines the role of the DOJ in requiring states to maximize minority voting districts in the Nineties. He has published articles dealing with the role of the Catholic Church in Massachusetts politics and on party politics in the state. His research interests focus upon the changing political culture of Massachusetts. Professor Cunningham is a regular contributor to the online magazine He is a former assistant district attorney and assistant attorney general in Massachusetts. Professor Cunningham is a lifelong resident of Massachusetts. He earned his BA at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, his JD at New England School of Law, and PhD at Boston College. He lives in Cambridge with his wife and two children.

What Worries a Political Scientist recently published an edited volume, What Should We Be Worried About: Real Scenarios that Keep Scientists Up at Night. Using that volume as inspiration let me offer three things that especially worry this political scientist: money in politics, environmental degradation, and privacy.

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Fisher v. Massachusetts GOP: What to Expect Today?

What might we expect when hearings resume today before Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins in the law suit brought by Mark Fisher against the Massachusetts Republican Party? I’ll be waiting by the twitter feed but Stephanie Ebbert of the Boston Globe reported on last week’s hearing and gave some sense of what to look for today.

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Charlie Baker’s Word Cloud

Is a word cloud worth a thousand words? Maybe, when the word is “Republican.”

Party polarization has been a big issue lately and it probably isn’t going to help Republicans in Massachusetts in 2012. That (R) following his name helped cost Scott Brown the 2012 senate race against Elizabeth Warren and drove him from the state in quest of a senate seat he could win. In Tisei, Baker, and the Tea Party “Smear” I wrote of the problem the Republican Party brand presents in Massachusetts. In Charlie, I Have Good News and Bad News and in What Deval Patrick’s 2010 Win Might Tell Us About 2014 I wrote about how increasing polarization in governor’s races may harm Charlie Baker’s prospects. So I was pretty interested to see this word cloud accompanying a new UMass Poll from our friends Professors Brian F. Schaffner, Ray LaRaja, and Tatishe Ntete from UMass Amherst. Feast your eyes:

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Tour de Website: Steve Grossman

Let’s continue our Tour de Website series looking for best practices on candidate web sites. Today the tour stops at the home of Steve Grossman for Governor.  There are some well-done standard features, some missed opportunities, and a real highlight.

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What Deval Patrick’s 2010 Win May Tell Us About 2014

I was just wondering – exactly how did Governor Deval Patrick defeat Charlie Baker and win re-election in 2010? I know plenty of people have their theories but the governor had some pretty ugly numbers. Or maybe I’ve just been looking in the wrong places.

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Immigrants and the Human Mind

Immigration is an important issue but three of the last five posts here at MassPoliticsProfs have touched on the topic. Is it that important? Are there more important issues we could be discussing but aren’t noticing for some reason? Last week I was obsessed by the Massachusetts Republican Party Convention; this week, nothing.

This phenomenon and some of the comments we’ve had here at MPP have me thinking about politics and the human mind; a fascinating topic that I am curious about but I warn you, I am “undocumented” in the field; so these are musings.

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Politics in the Blogosphere, 4/9/2014 Edition

How about a quick visit to the blogosphere on the topic of money in politics? UMass Boston’s Black Student Center hosted a forum on the topic yesterday featuring Senator Jamie Eldridge, who was somewhat more optimistic than me on the topic. So what are the best academics saying about the Supreme Court’s recent decision on campaign finance, and does plutocracy bring any policy consequences – like government subsidies for too big to fail banks, for instance?

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The Comeback Cardinal

Once upon a time the Catholic Church played a major role in Massachusetts politics, so big that as historian Thomas O’Connor remarked “When Cardinal O’Connell spoke, the State House shook.”  It’s been awhile; and the Church not only lost its grip on the legislature but upon the laity, Cardinal Sean O’Malley once remarking that the willingness of Catholics to vote for pro-choice Democrats “borders on scandal.”

There are signs of life though: a more sophisticated political approach, better relations with politicians, and Cardinal O’Malley’s leadership on social justice issues like poverty and immigration. Some but not all of this relates to the popularity of Pope Francis. As the Boston Globe’s John L. Allen, Jr. wrote Sunday, Cardinal O’Malley projects as the “American Francis.” Let’s take a closer look.

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Immigrants: The Stranger Who Resides with You

I suppose that the immigration issue will come up this year and as Prof. Duquette noted recently, the Boston Herald’s Joe Battenfeld has already encouraged the Republican Party to exploit the issue of driver’s licenses for unauthorized immigrants in Massachusetts. Prof. Duquette’s much wiser advice is to leave the issue alone. Some recent news from the Pew Center for Religion and Public Life supports my colleague’s counsel.

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The Mass. GOP’s 15% Conundrum: Let’s Be “Reasonable”

The Massachusetts Republican Party has obtained a legal opinion (posted at redmassgroup) from Attorney Michael T. Morley addressed to GOP chair Kirsten Hughes. Attorney Morley opines that the State Committee cannot change the convention outcome to allow Mark Fisher onto the primary ballot.

Case closed? Not so fast.

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