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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

In the 8th District: Even If You Vote Trump - Nolan's Your Guy

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 10/24/16 00:34

by Dave Mindeman

The KSTP poll for the 8th District has Stewart Mills III in the lead 45-41. And with Trump up double digits over Clinton in that area.

The 8th District has had plenty of rumblings about the Democrats. And apparently they would like to see Trump tearing up those trade deals.

But be careful what you wish for.

Let's take Trump first. There is no indication that Trump has any real understanding of trade policy. I contend that he thinks a trade deficit with another country is a monetized deficit. He thinks that a $500 billion trade deficit with China means they got that much money from us. I believe that is what he really thinks. I think that is his premise for Mexico "paying for the wall" - he's going to fix the trade deficit with Mexico and get all that "money" back. Do you really want this guy in charge of trade policy?

And although the 8th District is upset about cheap Chinese steel imports (and by the way, Trump used Chinese steel for his casinos)....there is the flip side of this, in that the 8th District does need a healthy export economy. That means we need to get some kind of trade mechanism in place and Democrats have promised to protect labor in those negotiations.

And really, do you honestly think Trump really cares about your jobs up there? He wants to go back to raping the land for minerals, and coal, and oil. Unrestricted without regulations. What would that do to the 8th District tourism industry?

And then there is Mills. Stewart is thinking he can ride that Trump train into Congress, but can you trust him as well? Mills says that he is now against the TPP and wants "fair" trade instead of free trade. This has required a full reversal on his past trade thoughts. After all, his company, Fleet Farm, needs an unencumbered ability to export. And in the past , he has embraced the establishment Republican "free trade" orthodoxy. Do you really trust him to not go back to his old ways once he establishes himself with Paul Ryan and the rest?

It is one thing to compare Trump to Clinton on trade. It is another, when comparing Mills to Rick Nolan. Nolan has established his negative view on the TPP - and he has a record of opposing deals that do not protect American workers. He is already in line with 8th District views on mining and environment. In this political climate, do you really want to be represented by a neophyte and give away a proven track record?

In the real potential event of a Clinton presidency, even Trump supporters should think twice about firing Rick Nolan. You know where he stands. You know that if President Clinton begins to waver on trade that Nolan will have the ear of the President. And you also have in Nolan, a person recognized as one the THE most effective members of Congress.

In the 8th, even if you prefer Trump - Nolan's your guy.
comments (4) permalink

The State Of The MN Congressional Races

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 10/18/16 22:55

by Dave Mindeman

The Minnesota Congressional races have settled into some patterns of late. The 7th District has been quiet and Collin Peterson looks safe. The same can be said for Tim Walz in the 1st. Ellison in the 5th and McCollum in the 4th have been coasting in Democratic strongholds. And Emmer seems to be safe in the 6th.

The 2nd, the 3rd, and the 8th have all the action this time around.

In a recent poll in the Second Congressional District, Democrat Angie Craig is holding a 5 point lead over Jason Lewis. While that is not an insurmountable lead, Lewis has some structural problems to overcome. He doesn't have a lot of cash on hand and is totally dependent on outside groups to carry the ads. He also has been effectively labeled as the "mini" Trump and continues to defend against a host of past controversial statements. And as the Trump campaign implodes nationally, he will get little help from the Presidential ticket. Lewis' gender gap mirrors the Donald Trump national one and that is going to be a drag in a district where the same poll gives Hillary Clinton a double digit margin.

Angie Craig is running a solid methodical campaign and has plenty of cash on hand - an unusual situation for a Democrat in this district. She hasn't blanketed the district with name recognition ads, but seems to have chosen a strategy to build a solid ground game and save ad money for a late surge. That strategy is working well, because the GOP ground operation doesn't seem to match the Democrats and Lewis can offer little support from his own campaign.

That 5 point margin looks bigger in reality.

The 3rd District had some polling done as well and it shows that Erik Paulsen has a "commanding" (as Tom Hauser put it) 11 point lead over Terri Bonoff. While that is a solid showing, Erik Paulsen has a few structural weaknesses of his own. Hillary Clinton is running ahead of Trump in the District by double digits as well. That means Paulsen is counting on a lot of ticket splitting. And while he still has a distinct cash on hand advantage, Terri Bonoff is a much better funded candidate than he has faced in his entire tenure in the House. His lack of clarity on Trump has also hurt him. No matter which way he sides, he will anger one side or the other of his supporters.

Now Paulsen would normally be in a pretty safe position...in a normal election year. But he is still under 50% and he is just the type of candidate who could be taken down in a wave election. It doesn't quite look like that at the moment, but there are 3 weeks to go and Donald Trump is still talking.

The 8th seems to be the favorite choice of the money changers. Both candidates are being heavily outspent by the Congressional committees and PAC groups. Democrat Rick Nolan has the advantage of incumbency and a Presidential turnout. Strangely enough, GOP candidate Stewart Mills has Trump as a kind of asset. He is popular in the rural range, but Mills can't get too close, because Trump is not popular in urban Duluth.

Nolan should have the advantage and I would rather be in his position right now than Mills. But that Trump factor in the 8th is a hard one to figure out.

When the dust settles, it looks like a 6-2 Democrat majority in the Districts....with Angie Craig joining the delegation. But 7-1 can't be ruled out - not yet.
comments (4) permalink

Jason Lewis Needs To Figure Out How Health Care Works

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 10/16/16 11:34

by Dave Mindeman

Almanac had the 2nd District Congressional candidates on the couch last night for a "conversation". I doubt it was any kind of game changer but it had some interesting moments.

Lewis was attacking Craig on the ACA while deflecting any criticism about his past controversial statements.

At one point, they played the Congressional House Republican sponsored ad that attacked Angie Craig about Obamacare. This is a pretty convoluted ad and let me explain why. In that commercial they site the lobbying figure of St. Jude to kill the medical device tax - as if she somehow benefits from that. First, Craig was in human resources which has nothing to do with lobbying and secondly, the money spent on lobbying mostly went to Republicans - especially Erik Paulsen. Craig noted her opposition to the Medical Device tax...which every Republican and every Democrat in Minnesota opposed. The commercial also noted that she supports expanding Obamacare as if that is "wrong" - while reality is that it does need expansion, especially in red states that didn't accept the Medicaid expansion part of the ACA and it needs some general fixes as Craig pointed out.

Lewis shrugged off the ad that pointed out his past controversies which were quoted with his own voice. He dismissed it all as "out of context" without any further explanation.

But I also want to note something else that Lewis said in regard to prescription drugs. He dismissed Craig's solution about allowing negotiation with drug companies on pricing...stating that price"fixing" never works. And then he went into, what he believes, is the FDA stalling the pipeline of new drugs as a means of stifling competition.

Lewis couldn't be more wrong about all of that. Price negotiation by the government on behalf of Medicare and Medicaid is the key to getting prices down. It is not price fixing - the term negotiation is there for a reason. If the taxpayers are going to pay for drug companies products via their Medicare or Medicaid or ACA insurance, then whether that product is included should be negotiated on price.

Secondly, in regards to the FDA. The drug approval process is not a means of "stifling competition" - it is a process to determine if NEW drug applications will meet safety requirements. Competitive drugs or generics are indeed "stifled" but the culprit is extended patents which Republicans have protected for years. If Lewis is going to talk about the workings of healthcare, then he had better learn how it actually works.

Like I said, this "conversation" probably isn't going to change any minds for the moment, but this race is still a close one to watch.

comments (1) permalink
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