Massachusetts was thrust into the center of the national immigration fight this week when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sent dozens of migrants from Venezuela and other South American countries to Martha's Vineyard by plane, and then took a very public victory lap in which he crowed about forcing a blue state to confront the problem of illegal immigration, even though the migrants' legal status is unclear.

In response, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker sought to care for the new arrivals — but also refrained from criticizing his fellow Republican for using vulnerable people to score political points.

So why didn't Baker — who has frequently lamented the decline of civility in national politics — offer a more forceful response? And what to make of Maura Healey, who refrained in her role as the Democrats' nominee for governor from commenting on DeSantis's stunt at all?

In this episode of Talking Politics, Adam Reilly sizes up this unusual convergence of local and national politics with GBH News political editor Peter Kadzis and reporter Sarah Betancourt, who says there's reason to think the latest shipment of migrants to Massachusetts won't be the last.

We also look at the reluctance of many top Democrats to publicly face their Republican counterparts in this year's Massachusetts general elections. What obligation — if any — do candidates have to debate their opponents in high-profile races? And if any right to debate actually exists, can candidates effectively forfeit it through extreme behavior or messaging?

Tell us what else you'd like to see on future shows as we continue Talking Politics each Friday. Send us a message at or fill out the form on the Talking Politics page.

Watch tonight’s episode of Talking Politics live at 7 p.m. below on our website and across all of GBH News' platforms, including GBH 2, the GBH News YouTube channel and Facebook page. Subscribe to the GBH News YouTube channel to get alerted to future episodes.