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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Ranking The DFL Governor Candidates

Category: 2016
Posted: 12/31/17 05:11

by Dave Mindeman

2016 is upon us and the mid term election is looming. So many candidates and so many contribution emails. One of the bigger races in 2018 will be the race for Governor in Minnesota and the field is big.

Like it or not, you are about to get my first ranking of candidates. First, we are going to take on the DFL - and please remember, do not kill the messenger; it is ONLY an opinion.

#7. Lori Swanson - The oft rumored governor run for Lori Swanson has still not materialized. Since there is a healthy contingent of Attorney General candidates, one has to assume that she is not seeking re-election. However, there is one wrinkle in the mix. There is that extra Senate seat nomination to consider - and Swanson is not above challenging Tina Smith for the endorsement. As a Hatch protege, I have to say that I think this is a likely Swanson scenario. Swanson always has solid potential financial resources to get in late for either office. But for the moment, at least when it comes to the governor's race, she gets the low ranking.

#6. Tina Liebling - At the moment, I still consider Tina a regional candidate. And since that region is southern Minnesota, Tim Walz takes up a lot of the air down there. She has reached out to Bernie supporters but so far there is only a small amount of reciprocation. I haven't seen any evidence of stellar fundraising either. Dark horse.

#5. Erin Murphy - Murphy may be the hardest working candidate right now. She has traveled extensively and has made a serious pitch to greater Minnesota. It is difficult to gauge how well that is being received. And, again, the evidence of big fundraising numbers are not rumored, so financial reports in the new year will be a better gauge of where the Murphy campaign is at. She is building some name recognition and that could come into play for the endorsement.

#4. Paul Thissen - Paul has the credentials and experience. It is just difficult to break into the top tier with this field. I think his emphasis on transparency will give him an issue to work with - but it is difficult to say how his message on his tenure as speaker will play out. I'm afraid too many people have forgotten the progress made during his time in the Speaker's chair. And the rapid turnover back to Republican plays a part in that perception. Still, the record is good to draw on.

#3. Chris Coleman - OK, the top tier are where it gets difficult to rank. The level of name recognition and party work are very good for these three. And Coleman has had a high profile office as Mayor of St. Paul. His record is pretty good - St. Paul has done well. However, taxes will be an issue that the GOP will be pushing. Part of that issue is the reductions in LGA money during that time - but that will be difficult to explain, especially in greater Minnesota. Coleman has a strong campaign staff and is well liked by the party activists. But the competition is tough.

#2. Rebecca Otto - Otto has emerged as a very strong candidate. The difference between one and two are closing and becoming an even trade. Financial reports will be interesting. Rebecca's statewide credentials are stellar and even the Iron Range issues that dragged her candidacy seem to have been addressed...although still worth noting - especially regarding endorsement. The Otto campaign has a lot of energy and she is vocal and out front on detailed policy plans.

#1. Tim Walz - Walz still seems to have the most statewide appeal - at least for now. He will have some challenges when it comes to his appeal to the progressive base, but he has met most of that head on. It is like his inner progressive is coming to the fore since he is not having to defend his Congressional seat in a center right district. But those same votes may get him some support in the 7th and 8th districts, as well as his own 1st. I would definitely not put Walz way ahead of the pack - not yet. But, in my opinion, he is the front runner.

More on other races later.
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Lessons of 1972

Category: 2016
Posted: 11/02/17 23:04

by Dave Mindeman

I have been involved in politics since the George McGovern campaign. You remember that don't you? The anti-war candidate. The liberal's liberal. The victim of the Nixon subterfuge. I loved McGovern. He spoke real truth to power. He believed in liberal ideals. He would fight for the poor and downtrodden. He believed that Vietnam was a massive mistake.

He took the Democratic Party by storm and carried so many young people with him to.....

ignominious defeat.

The worst political thrashing I ever saw. Lost nearly every state. Lost the popular vote 37-61. It left me stunned. Disillusioned. Hopeless.

It was not so much that my candidate lost, but the ideas that I thought were obviously the "right" ideas got thrashed as well. The country obviously did not believe in the same liberal ideas that I did. I was crushed.

But I kept going. I learned something valuable. That ideals and election politics are different things. The mandate to make policy goes to the winners -not the ones with the best ideas.

After that election, being liberal became a joke for many years. Pie in the sky liberals. Idealistic neophytes. No connection to reality. Yeah, I heard them all.

Since that time, I have worked ceaselessly on working for political change. It has happened from time to time, but never with any sense of completeness. I have learned that you have to accept setbacks. You have to accept politics as it is, not as you want it to be.

Democrats have often been ill equipped for the fight and often fight each other more than the real political enemy.

The Bernie supporters remind me of that time in 1972. You want to find some excuse for why things did not work. It was all so unfair. The system is biased against us. We need to change everything. It is all bad.

In 1972, I learned that it wasn't the system that had to change, because there are too many negative forces holding it in place....rather it was I who had to change. To stop hiding behind my sense of right and wrong and understand that politics is really nothing about right and wrong - rather it is a method of obtaining power - of simply winning with whatever it takes.

It is a game with no rules. It is unfortunate, but true.

And the only absolute necessity is for a Party to stand together against the other side. If we had a European parliamentary system, there would be more room for party nuance. To form real coalitions with votes and power. But we do not have that. This is a two party democracy with all the flaws and foibles that go along with that narrow definition.

Which is why the here and now is so important. Our democracy is at serious risk. We have a President who understands completely how things work with no rules. How to get the advantage at every turn. To manipulate people and power.

And, once again, we continue to believe that right will still win out. That justice will always prevail. And that Camelot still exists.

Learn the lessons of 1972. As Vince Lombardi put it so well -

"Winning isn't everything; it's the ONLY thing."
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Republicans Insist On Living In Our Energy Past

Category: 2016
Posted: 09/12/17 12:01

by Dave Mindeman

Minnesota Republicans pounced on an announcement from the MN Commerce Department regarding the Enbridge oil pipeline....

"In light of the serious risks and effects on the natural and socioeconomic environments of the existing Line 3 and the limited benefit that the existing Line 3 provides to Minnesota refineries, it is reasonable to conclude that Minnesota would be better off if Enbridge proposed to cease operations of the existing Line 3, without any new pipeline being built."

And what is Pipeline 3?

Enbridge wants to decommission the existing Line 3, which runs from Alberta, Canada, to an Enbridge hub in Superior, Wis. The company would leave it in the ground and build a new line along a different route, south of the existing pipeline corridor.

While Republicans give us their outcry about building this type of infrastructure, they fail once again to look at the larger, futuristic picture.

We do not need more oil infrastructure. It seems incredible to be saying that. For so many years the main political argument is how to be less dependent on foreign oil. But the trendline for oil and gas is down. We have full tankers sitting offshore waiting for the price of oil to go up. We have enough oil reserves that we do not have to utilize the cruder forms like the Canadian tar sands oil.

The boom and bust days of oil are back because our need for oil is falling and with new technologies, it should continue to fall.

We have seen what has happened to the coal industry. Energy has become a process of natural selection. We go with the cleaner fuels - wind, solar, natural gas. And when that happens, old tech jobs will be lost. Energy Darwinism as it were.

Oil is the next energy source to take the fall. So why build infrastructure to support a declining industry. Save those resources for access to better and cleaner energy sources.

The Republican response is typical and predictable. They are joined at the hip with the old ways. They cannot fathom a future without "big oil". But we have to - we have to end our dependence on not just foreign oil, but oil period.

If the GOP insists on living in the past, then we will leave them behind.
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