Choke Artists

How Coakley Fell Behind

As voters head to the polls in Massachusetts, all signs point to the unthinkable: A victory for Republican Scott Brown to take over Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. How did Democrat Martha Coakley blow it? Tom Schaller, whose Web site currently puts the odds of a Brown victory at three to one, lists Coakley’s blunders: She allowed Brown to make the race about personality instead of issues; she was uncertain about how to align herself with the Democratic establishment; and, of course, her gaffes. Marc Ambinder seconds point number one: “Brown’s personal likability has a lot to do with it: Martha Coakley never defined the little-known legislator during the campaign, and her late-hour negative ads have not resonated with Democratic voters.”