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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Democrats Lose In The Mechanics, Not The Vote

Category: Voting
Posted: 11/13/16 16:32

by Dave Mindeman

I want you to listen up for a moment.

Amidst all of the recriminations going on out there, I think there is something we should clearly understand about how the mechanism of this Republic works that Democrats continue to get beat at.

It isn't about a candidate or ideology or issues or even messaging. It is about mechanics.

Here are some facts. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. Democratic Congressional candidates got more national votes than Republicans. The Senate Republican numbers have achieved a more solid base than the Democrats, but not in popular vote.

In a democracy the majority is supposed to rule right? Yet, that is not the case in this country because we have a republic, not a true democracy.

And while Democrats fight their internal pissing fights and argue about the right candidate or the right message or ideological purity, the Republicans ignore their electoral disadvantage and seize the reigns of power with mechanics.

Republicans control the Presidency, the Congressional House, and the US Senate.

And the bigger key is that Republicans control this:

State Governments

26 Complete control Republican state governments
6 Complete control Democratic state government
6 Dem Governor with Republican controlled legislatures
7 Republican Governor with Dem controlled legislatures
1 Independent Governor with Republican controlled leg (Alaska)
1 Republican Governor with Split legislature
3 Democratic Governor with Split legislature

Secretary of State in the States (controls voting mechanisms)

27 Republican Sec of State
20 Democratic Sec of State
3 Have duties in other positions.

Strict Photo ID requirement

New Hampshire

Strict ID requirement (but other than photo ID accepted)


Note: North Carolina would have had such a law, but it was struck down by the courts.

This year several Republican controlled states were able to put restrictions on early voting, decrease the number of polling places, and control the locations.

Also, several states purged the voter rolls prior to the election with little time to contest the voter's removal.

It's the mechanics of government, the details of operating an election that Democrats have ignored.

Local races that lead to control of state legislatures are so important. And Democrats who continue to sit at home during mid-term elections are putting more and more power in the hands of Republicans.

And that power comes with a minority of actual votes.

Complaining about it and getting mad about it does absolutely no good. You can try to argue that leadership is at fault, you can argue about the wrong candidate on the ballot. You can argue about not being progressive enough or a lack of issue focus.

Truth is, none of that matters. We can have the majority of votes for years to come, but until we pay attention to the mechanical details, we will always be losing where it counts.
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August 9th Primary - Lots Of Underlying Issues Surface

Category: Voting
Posted: 08/04/16 16:03, Edited: 08/04/16 18:48

by Dave Mindeman

Next Tuesday is our Minnesota Primary. There are a number of interesting races going on and MinnPost outlines a few of them.

Kurt Daudt has one that has been high profile. I think he should win fairly easily, but if the margin is at all close, it might affect negotiations for a special session.

Daudt looks like a guy who wants to run for governor. And in order to do that he has to placate a Tea Party base that is looking for fights. The Trump phenomena also complicates these elections. If Daudt is feeling even the slightest bit uncomfortable with all that, we could see some obstruction on how we get things done at the Capitol.

Senator Sean Nienow has a bit of a similar problem. His disastrous financial disclosure led a loss of his endorsement from his Senate district and the need to win in a primary. That is kind of an unknown a present.

Rep. Tom Hackbarth, on the other side of Daudt's district, also lost his endorsement to some rowdy local activists and after serving for years, needs to run in a primary as well.

In the Democratic Party there are some primary races that indicate a surge in racial representation. Phyllis Kahn is in the race of her life against two very good Somali-American opponents. Rep. Rena Moran is being challenged by a Black Lives Matter activist who feels she has not been forceful enough in her representation. Billy Joe Champion has received a similar challenge for the same reason, although the challenger didn't come out of BLM.

There are a lot of things roiling under the surface. Next Tuesday we will start to sort them out.


P.S. Remember to vote for Natalie Hudson on the Judges ballot.
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Renters Getting Registration Forms Is "Heavyhanded"?

Category: Voting
Posted: 07/14/15 20:53, Edited: 07/14/15 20:54

by Dave Mindeman

Minneapolis city councilman Jacob Frey recently made a proposal. The idea is that landlords should be required to hand out a voter registration form to each new apartment occupant.

Attorney and former candidate Cam Winton (that name is so "Frasier";) thought this was a bad idea....

The proposal is a bad idea, for two reasons -- one practical, one philosophical. The practical reason: We need more affordable rental housing in Minneapolis, but putting additional requirements on apartment owners makes it less appealing for them to build and operate apartments here.....philosophical reason: So far in his first term in office, Frey -- a friendly, hardworking person, to be sure -- has demonstrated a troubling tendency to use the force of law to require action that he deems good.

Both of those "objections" are pretty absurd.

First, handing a new apartment renter one more piece of paper is hardly a big "imposition" on the landlord. Winton even insinuates that this "might" stop them from building a complex altogether. Whew...that's a stretch. But let me add that this idea seem pretty great to me. When doing political canvassing in multi-unit housing, the voter engagement is low. And many who end up wanting to vote fail to know that they must change their address on their registration. Too often they go to the polls on election day and are denied because they haven't been placed on their new residence voter list. And though they can still vote by proving their residency with maybe a utility bill, they more than likely will go away without casting their ballot. Reminding the apartment dweller with a registration form seems more of a courtesy than an inconvenience.

Secondly, in regards to Winton's "philosophical reasoning. Mandating the simple inclusion of a voter registration form (among the myriad of documents that the renter will get anyway) doesn't seem like some "heavyhanded" force of law as Winton suggests. Doing a good thing, in this case is simply doing a good thing.

Winton's complaint seems to be just another Republican objection to attempts to make voting easier and not harder.

And there lies the real motive for this little diatribe. Getting renters to vote seems much to "democratic".
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