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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

The GOP And Their "Principles" Capitulation

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 09/24/16 08:46

by Dave Mindeman

For years I have been listening to these Republican high and mighty statements about "standing on principle".

What principle? Are you talking about conservative principles? Really?

Please explain Trump.

As Ted Cruz becomes the latest to capitulate to the political expediency of Republican Trumpism, you wonder what kind of "stand" the party members are really taking?

Reince Priebus runs around like a lap dog gathering the Republican sheep into the Trump corral. John McCain, the "maverick", can't simply say the words, I cannot support Donald Trump. GOP Senate candidates tiptoe on this line between the establishment and whatever the Trump faction is.

It is kind of pathetic.

The Republican Party is not recognizable anymore. They began their descent with the embrace of Tea Party politics and the complete and total opposition to Obama, not based on their vaunted "principles" but rather on a simple scorched earth obstruction.

Position after position has gotten muddled or reversed. Trade? Russia? Religious freedom? Nationalism? Nativism? Add all that to their usual extreme positions on abortion and immigration and you get a muddled mess.

It's kind of getting ugly folks.

Instead of "principles", the Republican Party has been reduced to a bunch of Trump translators. Left each day to explain the latest absurd Trump statement in a way that they can live with. "What he meant was...", "What he was trying to say was...", "The practical aspects of that are really...."

Instead of defined principles.....it has been reduced to principles du jour.

The Republican Party is going to implode. If Trump wins, there will be no Republican Party anymore. It will be whatever Trumpism is. And if Trump loses, they are going to be picking up pieces of the carnage for a decade. And what will emerge from that is anybody's guess.

The GOP is now a hodge podge of various factions. Social conservatives, nationalists, white supremacists (yeah, they are there now), foreign policy hawks, fiscal conservatives, and tax reformers.

Everybody is looking to control their piece. And all of them have, at least temporarily capitulated to Trump.

Yeah, there are a few remnants of the establishment wing. John Kasich and Jeb Bush hold out - but few listen to them. Susan Collins and Christie Todd Whitman run a low grade underground resistance to the misogyny. And there is Lindsay Graham and Ben Sasse, who withhold their support but aren't strong enough to define any standards to rally around.

For the GOP, it has been a slow descent into Republican purgatory.

And right now, hell is just one election away.

The Utah Oddity

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 08/23/16 15:58

by Dave Mindeman

Public Policy Polling (a Democratic leaning poll) did a Presidential poll in Utah over the last week. Here are the results:


Now Utah is a deep red state, so it is not surprising that the Republican, Trump, has a substantial lead. However, it is worth noting that Evan McMullin received 9% in his introduction to the Utah poll. McMullin is a Mormon and is a Romney type conservative. Going forward his numbers are bound to grow - at least here in Utah.

The question remains, will he help or hurt either Trump or Clinton. This particular poll would seem to indicate that he hurts Clinton - drawing NeverTrump Republicans away from a possible Clinton vote.

But, if McMullin can actually gain some momentum here, there is an unlikely, but possible scenario where he could actually win the state of Utah. In the big scheme of things that would probably have a small effect on the overall Presidential race....because Utah is just about his only chance; however, it would be another embarrassment to the Republican Party.

Utah should not be in play.

Transportation As An Election Issue

Category: GOP Politics
Posted: 08/20/16 16:42

by Dave Mindeman

Fritz Knaak is a former Republican State Senator...a long time ago. But he is still sought out by local media, especially the Almanac couch, to have him gauge the state of Republican opinion. He dutifully complies.

He interjected his opinion in the Star Tribune yesterday with a Counterpoint opinion on transportation and the legislature.

Essentially, he is telling us how petulant Metro representatives are being in regards to their support for light rail as part of transporatation....

The Star Tribune's implicit threat to Republicans and others that if Minneapolis does not get its way on light rail, the metro area may take what it wants "and maybe a lot more" in the future ("Transit impasse puts more at risk," Aug. 18), clearly shows it's time somebody tells the emperor to put on a pair of pants.

Darkly noting that "since the Great Recession, nearly all of Minnesota's population growth has occurred in this metro area" the editorial suggests that Greater Minnesota would simply be outvoted and ignored in the future if it didn't give Minneapolis the light-rail funding it wants now.

Fritz is apparently buying into the House GOP strategy of divide and conquer. Rural vs Metro. Farm vs City.

The trouble with that reasoning is that it really isn't rural Minnesota that is blocking light rail - I doubt they care as long as the Seven County Metro sales tax is the funding source. No, it isn't rural MN - it is the Minnesota Republican Legislative GOP.

For years the House and Senate Republicans have been putting obstacles in the way of light rail and expanded transit. They have delayed these projects contending that they cost too much -- and by the very act of delaying they make them cost more.

The Hiawatha Line started all of this, even on the limited basis that it was allowed to be built - but it exceeded expectations. The Green Line has done even better and will soon be a vital connection between the two Twin Cities. The NorthStar wasn't a huge success but cutbacks forced it to end the line at Big Lake instead of the intended hub in St. Cloud. Many St. Cloud residents would like to see it finished.

Rail projects could connect the Metro to Duluth and Rochester, allowing more of the outstate areas to participate in the growth that follows the rail lines.

But the dire warnings of Fritz Knaack say that this is not going to work.

Of course, this argument goes, all sensible people in the metro area support light rail as part of a "broad and integrated transit system."
This, of course, is utter nonsense. Increasingly, east-metro business leaders and even St. Paul DFLers have recognized that they have lost out on a transit plan that is centered on building rail into Minneapolis. Rail advocates have been unable to point to any measurable impact on congestion in the metro area as the result of the billions already being spent on rail, much less the hundreds of millions now being proposed.

Fritz had to specify "east metro business leaders" because most of the other Chambers in the state give full support to light rail. They want it. They know it is good for business. The objections are that the slow rollout of the light rail puzzle are just not keeping up with the demand.

SWLRT is plagued with problems...I'll grant that. But those problems have been encouraged by the House Republicans as a means to obstruct and as Daudt puts it..."kill the train".

As for Knaak'scontention that it hasn't had a measurable impact on congestion, I would say that our congestion problems have grown beyond what the current rail system can help with. I would argue that without commuter rail I would be shuddering at the prospects of Metro commutes right now.

And besides, Republican intransigence in the legislature has slowed the maintenance of our highway system as well. You probably noticed a lot of construction going on this summer...and maybe you are thinking, yeah, it looks like we are really working on it. Truth of the matter is that so many projects have been delayed for so long that it is all catching up with us. The I-494/I-694 corridor has been needed upgrades for a decade. We still seem to be just doing patches to stay within budget.

No, if transportation is going to be an issue for this fall's election, then let's tell the truth. The business community and the public sector agree - this state will need a major transporation overhaul - a comprehensive one including all transportation options - in order to continue our economic growth.

That is the real issue here. Republicans can run on the idea that they want transportation on the cheap. That is their political perogative. But then they should tell people that those roads and bridges will continue to be delayed and cost more to fix -- and those commutes will continue to get longer and less cost efficient. They'll blame the Democrats and Daudt will blame the Choo-Choo trains, but the fact is this House GOP piecemeal and patchwork approach is wrong for our state.

Let's get something done. Allow Democrats back in charge and get things actually working again.
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