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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

The Resistance Needs An End Game

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 11/02/17 02:39

by Dave Mindeman

There are a lot of different resistance groups - many, many of them. A lot of the people involved have found themselves newly active - ready to make a difference...to fight the good fight.

But it is one thing to turn your outrage into action. It's another to really and truly change government and policy.

I'd like all of you in the resistance to please take note. Nothing I say here is meant to discourage you; far from it. And nothing I say here is intending to tell you what you should do or how to do it.

But I would like you to assess and think about your end goal.

People I have met who are active in this new resistance do not like either party. They are sick of politics and how it works. They want to really change things and make things better.

Those are noble goals. But the basic question is how? How do we make things better.

Holding forums...talking policy....meeting together for discussion. Those are all good things, but as you move into the next year, where does this lead?

The truth is - it brings you back to the Democratic Party. We all know how the Republican Party does things. They have control and it is pretty chaotic. And let's get realistic - the Republican Party is not a governing party.

There really ends up being only two choices - and, to me, we are left with the Democrats because the Republican Party has morphed into something untenable. For some of you, that choice seems just as bad. You have bad feelings about the things they do. And they have just as many bad actors and what appears to be unfair rules.

But if you come full circle, we are talking about who wins in November. Who will get to decide legislative agendas - policy - and governance. And though you may not like the Democratic method of campaigning or how the ads are made or the rhetoric they use - Democrats have a proven record of making government work....and for everybody, not just the 1%.

Yes, they take in the big donations. They have to. It is how the campaign finance system works. It is how you compete in campaigns. We have at least a better chance of changing that with Democrats winning than we do with Republicans bought and paid for by big money.

So, what I am trying to say is that with all the things you want to fix in our political structure, the end game has to be Democrats winning election contests. You have to embrace a Party you may not like or trust, but which represents the only means of escaping the ridiculous nature of our current power structure.

We have caucuses coming up in early February. If you want to effect change and restructure the Democratic Party - your only path is to attend the caucus and begin the process of moving through the chain of events that lead to nominations and campaigns.

My wife, Roxanne, has been dedicated to educating people about this process. And it is not to indoctrinate people into the Democratic Party, but rather teach you how to navigate it for change.

She holds classes in Apple Valley (DCUE Office, 6950 146th St. W #112,
Apple Valley, MN 55124) on the 3rd Saturday of every month through the caucuses and beyond. That would be something important to attend and learn about, because that is the only way to truly fix any of this.

The Democratic Party has serious flaws - but quite frankly both parties do and that will never change. Because of our two party system, Republicans and Democrats pull in coalitions of people - neither is a monolithic entity. And because of that, there are going to be things that one group or another does not like. You have to work around the things you do not agree with 100% to promote the things that are important to you. At the very least, the Democratic Party is closer to the needs of the resistance than the Republicans....and third parties are not feasible in this climate.

The real differences in the Parties is that Democrats truly do represent a Big Tent philosophy - especially with minority and low income groups. Yes, they disappoint us in that regard. Mostly because they have not been in power much lately and when they are, they are very timid in their actions. But that makes it all the more important that the resistance activity bolster the energy of the party and steer it in the right direction. That has to be done within the Party - having a say - making your points.

Republicans have shown quite clearly how tribal they are. Despite all the talk about "Never Trump", they still, in the end voted for him in November. They always vote R - regardless of where that R ends up.

So, please, examine the direction you want all of this to go. Activity is good and if you wish to continue only that - great, I hope it works for you.

But if you want to make an electoral difference...if you want your policy ideas to have a chance at being implemented - then you have to choose what you want November 2018 to look like.

If 2018 is not a strong Democratic year - well, we are looking at more of what we have now.

If you are like me - then you cannot take another day of this.
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Angie Craig Has The Path To Winning In 2018 For CD2

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 09/20/17 13:45

by Dave Mindeman

I spent some time with Angie Craig on Tuesday morning. We had a great discussion - we talked policy for over an hour and a half.

With all the concerns over health care, I can't imagine that Angie Craig would not be the best person imaginable to evaluate that policy as the next Congress tackles how to fix it.

Although I, personally, favor a single payer plan - we both had to agree that it isn't quite as simple as one would hope. If single payer gets sidetracked or cannot be made to work (it failed badly in Vermont), then Angie has a clear path to fix the ACA.

The three musts are:

1 - Public Option
2- Restore re-insurance that Republicans eliminated
3- Lowering Medicare eligibility or allow buy in

Whatever the next health care phase (if we get by this Republican obsession with ruining it), we need people in Congress who really understand how it works. Craig brings her experience in the health care industry with Medtronic; she brings her personal experience of growing up without or virtually without health care coverage; and she brings the experience of running a race where Republican distortions on health care were front and center.

2016 was a very strange year. Angie Craig should be in Congress right now. Tim Walz talked to her after the election and he was shocked as well. He felt he was in a comfortable position and actually helped Rick Nolan in the 8th because they thought that would be close and he thought Angie was going to win. In the end, Rick Nolan won comfortably, Angie lost, and Tim Walz barely squeaked out a win. Everything was turned upside down.

But voters who voted for the radical change may be having second thoughts. I can't believe that this is the result they intended.

The DCCC has done some preliminary polling. Generic Democratic congressional support is up 6 points since the election.

This race can be won - but 2016 will always be the caveat against over confidence. We need to back Angie Craig for another try. We need her experience, here expertise, and her passion to find what works for us.

I am convinced that this is the path to 2018. Let's get it done.
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Nothing Personal Against Erdmann -But It Needs To Be Angie Craig

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 09/14/17 13:42, Edited: 09/14/17 13:50

by Dave Mindeman

This cycle I am going to be a lot more blunt about what I think. Some people are going to push back on that, and frankly, that is fine. Do it. The discussion is necessary.

In the 2nd Congressional District I have been a little tough on Jeff Erdmann. And it is not because I think he is wrong on the main issues. It is because I think it is too important that we win this seat and that will take the right candidate.

Let me explain.

Jeff Erdmann has no experience in politics. He understands the mechanics of government, but when it comes to politics, he is a neophyte. I asked him once about why he hadn't participated in the district party before and he told me it was because he was a teacher and a football coach, and he had to stay neutral. Which is his perogative, but I have seen so many teachers do the hard work of volunteering for the Democrats on so many levels, that it is hard to accept that explanation. He shouldn't be partisan in how he teaches, but when he is on his own time, he can do what he wants. So many teachers do just that.

Jeff has made campaign finance one of the issues he focuses on. Yes, we need to change Citizens United, but in order to be able to do something about it, you have to get elected. Democrats agree on the need to fix this but they need the clout to do something about it. Whether it is intentional or not, Erdmann seems to be trying to make running a financial shoestring of a campaign as a point to be made.

Erdmann announced early that he was running on May 24th. Since then he as raised just $29,000 and has about $10,000 on hand. Angie Craig, who has been through this before will announce her official run on October 1st. She put together a long listening tour prior to this and has been lining up donors and support....before the announcement - which is how it is done.

I admire Erdmann's point. Money in politics is rampant and a cancer on democracy. But another prominent Democrat tried to make the same point and he had enough advantages that he could have pulled it off. I am talking about Russ Feingold in Wisconsin....a person I admire greatly and whose name is on the gutted McCain/Feingold bill. Russ tried to run for re-election on that very principle - he lost. He tried to run again with a modified version of the same thing....and he lost again.

It is not that Erdmann is wrong. It is that this is a system that cannot be fought against without participating in it - at least initially.

Bernie Sanders found the way to run without big money. But his campaign has not been duplicated since. And there is no evidence that Erdmann is able to put that kind of machinery in place.

I do not say these things to take anything away from Erdmann's campaign. I would support him if he was the nominee - without question. But he is NOT our best candidate going into a must win 2018.

Angie Craig invested a lot in herself in 2016 and the DFL Party invested a lot in her in 2016. She is battle tested and ready to run a better campaign this time around.

I cannot ignore the differences. Angie Craig will be our best standard bearer for a crucial election year.
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