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  1. Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 34

    Suggested reading retail job losses … the list does not include Gander Mountain which is closing 32 stores including 3 in Minnesota … plus in some deep red states like Alabama and Texas.
    What does it say when selling guns and ammo isn’t enough to keep these stores open ?
    In a report published earlier this month, Credit Suisse analysts said the big four sportsman superstore operators together have lost steam. Credit Suisse forecast growth of below 10 percent this year. That follows several years when the superstore chains posted growth rates of more than 20 percent.

    These job losses will make workers uneasy … which should be a major concern for Erik Paulsen/Jason Lewis as many of the job losses will impact women (BLS reports that 75% of clothing stores and 60% of department store workers are women) … they will see their healthcare costs going up with TrumpCare.
    It will be interesting to see how Lewis explains the change in the number of workers participating in the workforce … he has complained last year that a 62.9% labor force participation rate of 62.9% had to be corrected … the first months under Trump has barely moved it to 63.0%.

    Funny thing is that today, I heard two commercials on the radio calling for job fairs … the one was from a local precision parts manufacturer — hiring second shift with wages starting at $15 for a physical job … the other was for Wal*Mart’s distribution center — starting wages at $17.

    The retail industry is going through major changes … with more online-shopping purchases being delivered directly to your home. Go to your local grocery store where your loyalty card has preloaded sales discounts and automatic check-outs will lead to more job losses.

  2. MN-03: Where is Paulsen at on the vicious reality of Trumpcare 2.0?

    Hmmm … let’s see so if you are a woman who delivered a healthy baby and had no complications, you still get to pay more (last one on the list).
    Good to know that there is not a War On Women any more … it’s a War On Mommies.

    And let’s look at the third item on your list … Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women in the United States and the second leading cause in men. It is expected to cause about 50,260 deaths during 2017. Of course, you could get screened … but that would mean that you would pay a higher premium … so is it better to just die ?

    BTW … I guess that means that H.R. 1017 The Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act, isn’t necessary anymore.

    No wonder I see that Erik Paulsen has been tweeting pictures of him in doctor’s garb (most recently at Mercy Hospital with Dr. Stark performing a heart valve procedure … he must be checking up to be sure that everyone who meets #10 on the list gets to pay a little more.

    FYI from the Business Insider
    These changes were not enough for some members of the Freedom Caucus, according to reports. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, a prominent member of the Freedom Caucus, told reporters that essential health benefit repeal was not enough and “it’s always been beyond that.”

    The freedom Caucus has reportedly asked for a repeal of some “Title 1 provisions” in the ACA. These provisions do things like prevent insurers from denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition, allow children to stay on their parents insurance until they turn 26 years old, and annual limits on healthcare costs.

  3. Get investigations of DeVos back on track

    ICYMI #1. The New York Times reported that Robert S. Eitel, a former compliance officer at for-profit college operator Bridgepoint Education Inc., is working at the Education department. Eitel, a former deputy general counsel at the Education Department from 2006 to 2009, has been a critic of federal regulations on for-profit colleges. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last September ordered Bridgepoint, Eitel’s former employer, to refund $23.5 million to students whom it had deceived into taking out loans that cost more than advertised. Bridgepoint is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the attorneys general of New York, North Carolina, California and Massachusetts.

    ICYMI #2. Federal marshals are protecting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at a cost of $7.8 million through September (the fiscal year end).

    ICYMI #3. The House will like vote (and pass) HR1387 which will authorize funding for DC Charter Schools (would cost $315 million over 5 yrs) … remember Congress authorizes and controls all spending for the District … so they can allow states to use federal dollars for charter schools in their states, but with the DC schools they can actually give out the money.

  4. Downsizing Applebee's: A Canary in the Coal Mine

    Canary in the coal mine ?
    Hmmm … but didn’t I hear that Donald Trump was gonna save the coal miners ???

    Seriously, we see restaurant chains open and close all the time … but the bigger concern should be the demise of retail stores.
    Sears is shutting down about 10% of its Sears and Kmart locations, or 150 stores, and JCPenney is shutting down about 14% of its locations, or 138 stores. Payless, Gordman’s, Gander Mountain, etc.
    More than 3,500 stores are expected to close in the next couple of months.
    There are reports that 60,000 people have been notified that they have lost their jobs … just in the past two months.

    There are more retail job losses than there are working coal miners.

    The concern that we should have is how many of these employees will lose their healthcare … admittedly, not every worker in retail participated in a health plan (29% according to one study) but other workers did have access to ObamaCare.
    So when the Republicans finally do whatever they are gonna do with the ACA, there will be a lot more people that will be impacted.

  5. Collin Peterson, RT Rybak, and David Wellstone Play Inside Baseball?

    The race isn’t even in Spring Training time, yet there is a story that Keith Ellison predicts that Tim Walz will be the next governor … of course, Walz would have to be the nominee … and beat any Republican, Independence Party and all other minor party candidates.

    BTW … did you know that Jeffrey Wharton and running mate Amy Klobuchar got 53 votes in the 2016 Presidential Election ? Wharton is running this time for Governor as a Republican along with Phillip Parrish, Ole Savior, Chris Chamberlin as well as the most recently announced candidate Blake Huffman.

  6. Bad Actors and Big Wars

    Let us remember that only Congress can declare war … so as the Syria situation escalates, let us remember that Tom Emmer offered (in 2015) H.J.Res.73 – Declaring that a state of war exists between the Islamic State and the Government and the people of the United States and making provision to prosecute the same.

    Emmer got zero co-sponsors and no vote.

    Fast forward to last month … 4 Republicans and 4 Democrats offered H.R.1666 – To prohibit the availability of funds for activities in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and for other purposes.

    Don’t expect HR 1666 to get any traction either.

    Congress would rather let the President — regardless if it was Reagan, Clinton, Bush or Obama — take the flack.

  7. Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 26

    Hey there are energy jobs coming to America … may be you missed it but Mike Pence is in Ohio right now … and there is a report that 15 new full-time employees will be added to the utility system staff at The Ohio State University.
    Oh, it should be mentioned that Ohio State is about to privatize its energy that is used on campus for the next 50 years.
    Oh, it should be mentioned that this was an opening bidding process … all three were foreign concerns … and the winner is ENGIE-Axium, a French company.
    The Ohio State Board of Trustees will meeting on April 7 to approve lease and receive the $1.015 billion upfront payment immediately.
    Privatization is not new at Ohio State … they previously sold off its parking operation in a 50-year, $483 million deal.
    The University of Oklahoma is the only other public university who has an outside company run the operation of its utilities. In 2010, Oklahoma leased the control of its utilities for 50 years, worth $118 million.

  8. Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 27

    Quite being so judgemental … how could you not mention that Tom Emmer got another co-sponsor — his first in two months — for H.R.534 – U.S. Wants to Compete for a World Expo Act.

    You know that piece of legislation so that taxpayers can pay back dues so that Minnesota can seek a World’s Fair in 2023. Of course, there is no guarantee that Minnesota will get it … and we know that this would be the highlight of Trump’s second term.

    Now, everyone please say after me :
    Trump is the greatest President ever and Tom Emmer is the greatest Congressman ever
    (sorry Erik Paulsen but you were not smart enough to realize the potential of a World’s Fair.)

  9. Trump isn't killing Meals on Wheels. But that's not the point.

    If it’s true that Government grants made up just $248,347 of the Meals-on-Wheels funding, that is an easy number that Congress could offset … just tell Erik Paulsen to stop sending those mass mailings (FYI – 2016 taxpayers paid $77,177.33 for Franked Mail), tele-town hall meetings ( let’s put in another $20K), bonuses to his staff (another $20K) and were halfway there.

    Considering how Paulsen would rather spending YOUR taxdollars on mailers, the message to seniors is “Let ’em eat paper”.

  10. Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 22

    Have any of the Minnesota Republicans in Congress stated their observations ?

    Don’t be surprised if they don’t object to Veterans spending too much — Trump’s 2018 Budget requests $78.9 billion in discretionary funding for VA, a
    $4.4 billion or 6 percent increase from the 2017 enacted level — but it should be noted that Obama didn’t get what he asked for ($75.2 billion but got close).

    There are some cuts that have no effect on Minnesota — like spending that benefits Alaska (i.e. the Denali Commission, which coordinates state-federal infrastructure project) or regions, such as, Appalachian Regional Commission, a federal-state partnership focused on economic development in a region encompassing all of West Virginia and parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

    There are some national cuts that might impact Minnesota and thus putting Jason Lewis in the spotlight. Lewis sits on the Budget and Transportation Committees … and one of the programs being eliminated is Essential Air Service for smaller airports (last I heard, Bemidji, Brainerd, International Fall, Hibbing and Thief River Falls had EAS service). Yep, there is some taxpayer cost but a big portion of the bill is funded from overflight fees paid to FAA by foreign aircraft that transit U.S. airspace without landing in or taking off from the United States.

    Another one is the Great Lakes Lakes Restoration Initiative which is targeted to be defunded — Great so we are building a wall on the Mexican border while the Asian Carp takeover our waters. Smart thinking Trump.

    Hopefully, all cuts are reviewed … and not just the high-profile programs like Meals-On-Wheels.

    Yet, remember this is Trump’s Budget REQUEST … it is up to the House GOP lead by Emmer, Lewis and Paulsen that will really decide this.

  11. MN lege: Speaker Daudt grandstands on pay raise

    QUESTION : If they had voted to raise the pay from the current $31,140 to … let’s say … $100 a year since their last raise — 1999 … so for simple math, it be under $33,000 … would Daudt still bellyache ?
    You know the answer is yes.

    A couple of things to consider, this recommendation was approved by Council members by a vote of 13-1. Kenneth Wilmes was the lone vote against it … Ken Wilmes is a Republican from the Mankato area … and since the board was established with 8 Republicans, doesn’t that suggest at least some thought it was a fair wage ?

    OK … so we are gonna pay a “part-time” legislator $45,000 … and we know that they spend a lot of that “part-time” work outside of the legislative session in various working groups and committees throughout the year.
    Now, as a comparison, did you realize that Erik Paulsen is essentially a small business owner … he has a Congressional Staff of maybe 13 full-time people …. (plus others who are “shared” employees. Wanna guess how many of them have an annual salary more than $45,000 ? How about ten ! And we really won’t know about Christmas/YearEnd bonuses — because the #MathGuy does not issue a press release — but a number of them got $4,000 to $5,000 bumps in pay during the fourth quarter.

    I know that you cannot compare the a federal job with a state legislator job but when Paulsen is paying the person who answers the telephone to tell you that “Congressman Paulsen does not hold town hall meetings but if you would like me to schedule him to visit your child’s school, I can help you” — essentially same amount as a Minnesota legislator, there is a problem.

    Ok … a couple of thoughts here …
    1. Daudt and any other Member can simply send a check back to the state for increase … believe it or not but Tim Walz has returned the last salary increase that Congress awarded for years … retired Congressman Chris Gibson didn’t think it was right for him to get a military pension plus a Congressional salary, so he donated his pension pay … and Elise Stefanik pays back the “subsidy” she gets for her “Gold” level ACA plan (hey, it’s not much just $251.18/mo)
    2. If they are concerned about the compensation, simply reduce the size of the state legislature. Why not consider a unicameral legislature … take out 134 state reps at $31,140 and increase the pay for the State Senators.

  12. How this nightmare came to be, Part 2: voters

    Instead of focusing on Trump, why not look at the down ballot races.

    Why did Jason Lewis win ?
    Why did Tim Walz barely squeak by against un-financed opponent ?
    In Minnesota, the Republicans took over the state legislature completely … thus, ya gotta ask WHY are people not voting … and for those that vote, why Republican ?
    OK … they got a base that is reliable with the Guns God Gays and Gynecology issues, but it is also economic. They talk to the “CUB cashier” who hears the message that there is someone else getting a free pass and that taxes need to be cut.

    Let us remember that Trump could have likely won if not for the minority candidates — Gary Johnson (112,972) and Evan McMullin (53,076) — as Clinton’s margin was less than 45,000.
    Thus ya gotta ask who did the Trump/Johnson/McMullin voter go for in the state legislature contests (Trump won the Second garnering more votes that Lewis).

    Yet, Minnesota may have had a problem from not having a US Senate race — remember that Stewart Mills III said he felt better about 2016 because Franken would not be on the ballot — and instead look to another state that you cite — Wisconsin.

    Wisconsin did have a Senate race … one that many thought would be a “for sure” Democrat pick-up … but in the end, Ron Johnson once again defeated Russ Feingold … by almost 100,000 votes.
    Think about it … Tammy Badwin won in a non-Presidential year garnering 1,547,104 votes versus ex-Gov Tommy Thompson with 1,380,126.
    Compare that to the presidential year (2016) Senate vote
    Johnson 1,478,170 Feingold 1,378,922
    So, somehow in a non-presidential year, more people voted … and went Republican.
    Yeah, in Wisconsin, Trump won … but the exit polls clearly showed that Obama was viewed favorably while Trump had unfavorable rating of 64%, 64% also said he was not qualified to be President and 59% worried that he did not have the temperament to be President … yet, he got more votes.

    My thought is that there are really two things going on here.
    1. People had Clinton fatigue and with the polls showing she would win, were willing to make a “statement” vote against her … thinking that Trump would never win … and if he did. so what, after all he was a businessman who would “create jobs” (LOL).
    2. There is a real problem for the DFL … they are not getting the people to the polls.

  13. MN-03 shocker! Paulsen skipped town hall

    My guess is that he was out “drinking up” praise for his hard work … after all, “Representative” Paulsen must have been tired after retweeting the praise he got from the Beer Institute — recognizing him as “a leader for the over 1.75 million Americans whose jobs rely on a dynamic #beer industry” … specifically for the “almost 43,000 Minnesotans whose jobs rely on a thriving beer industry.”

    OK … following the instructions of our Supreme Leader Donald Trump never to trust the media … is the “almost 43,000” figure correct ?
    Yes … it is … well actually the 2014 data from John Dunham and Associates puts the number at 42,912.
    But that number includes the retail and marketing employees … the number of people working at breweries is only 667.
    Heck, in 2014, Wal*Mart had 21,877 employees in Minnesota … and none of them brew beer or make any product.

    So, why is Erik Paulsen getting praised … because he is the prime sponsor of HR 747 Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act of 2017 … a tax cut that the industry wants. It’s a tax cut on the Federal Excise Tax … which Paulsen says will result in more jobs. Now, he can make the argument on the Medical Device Excise Tax that the businesses would invest in R&D resulting in more employees (still haven’t seen any proof that is justified) yet, ya gotta wonder if the brewers got a cut in their excise tax, would they really invest in making the “next great beer” … or just keep if in profits.
    After all, the current tax which is passed onto consumers has not seemed to hamper business … With all 12 months of 2016 data now available, beer production grew by an estimated 700,000 barrels, or 0.3%, in 2016.
    That’s product … not price.

    Paulsen is a corporate shill … pushing every tax cut … and tricking people into believing that it will result in jobs.

    No wonder he does not want to meet with ordinary citizens.

  14. MN lege: When will the crazy end?

    FYI Letter on behalf of the 3,800 hard-working Minnesotans that are
    employed in the solar industry regarding HF235

    This legislation, if enacted, will not only kill an important component of
    Minnesota’s solar industry, it will also pull the rug out on solar businesses that have made investments and finalized contracts for solar projects this year. Repealing the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program (MiM) three years into its ten-year cycle will negatively impact the entire solar industry value chain resulting in the immediate loss of investments and jobs throughout the state.
    In 2013, the legislature – like most other legislatures around the country – developed a solar incentive program with a goal of establishing a Minnesota-based solar industry marketplace. The Made in Minnesota (MiM) program is succeeding in that endeavor. Since the enactment of MiM, Minnesota’s residential and small business sector of the solar industry has grown exponentially with over 1,100 installations. Businesses have opened their doors in big and small towns across the state and have offered employment opportunities to rural Minnesotans who had been economically displaced by the recession.
    In some instances, businesses have even relocated from other states to take advantage of Minnesota’s solar-friendly policies. MiM has increased Minnesota’s ability to compete nationally in securing businesses in this sector while delivering economic benefits statewide.
    According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, MiM has been responsible for the creation of 495 jobs in Minnesota’s solar sector and the majority of the industry utilizes this program to market their products and services. Because of the MiM program, Minnesota’s small businesses are better able to compete with larger, out-of-state companies.
    Just as other states are implementing new or stronger solar incentive programs, Minnesota is moving to eliminate its own. HF 235/SF 214 repeals the MiM program with immediate effect. Not only would this devastate our state’s strong and growing roof top solar industry, it instantly terminates funds set to be awarded on February 28, 2017—less than two weeks from today. What should our home-grown
    businesses tell their customers? How can these companies recoup the investments they have already made?
    How can Minnesota expect to continue to compete nationally in this fast-growing sector if we repeal this program and tell our solar business community we’ve changed our minds?
    We urge you to vote “No” on this legislation and to support the continued growth of solar in Minnesota.
    Thank you for your consideration.
    1. Alexandria Industries
    2. All Energy Solar
    3. Applied Energy Innovations
    4. Aquilla Solar
    5. Cedar Creek Energy
    6. Energy Concepts
    7. Ideal Energy
    8. Innovative Power Systems
    9. iTek Energy
    10. Powerfully Green
    11. RREAL
    12. Solar Connection
    13. Solar Farm
    14. SunDance Energy Solutions
    15. SunDial Solar
    16. SunRun
    17. TruNorth Solar
    18. Werner Electric
    19. Winona Renewable Energy, LLC
    20. Zenergy

  15. Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 13

    Just checked the Minnesota ratio … and it is very specific … using three places after the decimal … at age 64 and over it is 3.000 versus age 63 which is 2.952 versus age 62 2.873 etc.

    Trump would have problems in other states besides Minnesota — Utah maxes out at 3.000 starting at age 59 … New Jersey maxes out at 2.28 at age 59 … while Massachusetts maxes out at 2.365 at age 60.

  16. Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 13

    Actually, “rounding” to maintain the 3:1 ratio would be better for seniors than Susan Brooks (R-IN) proposal which would raise it to 5:1.
    Yep, they already have a bill in discussion stage.

    The idea of changing the ratio has been pushed by Norm Coleman’s American Action Network … yet it would cost seniors more in premiums than young people would save. And remember that under the current subsidy system, raising the premiums will also increase the subsidies … changing it to 5:1 would cost the taxpayers additional $9.3 billion a year in federal premium subsidies. Moreover, RAND estimates about 400,000 older adults who don’t qualify for subsidies would drop coverage.

    Regarding the Trump proposal to round, would lead to an interesting question in Minnesota … where our law required a 3:1 ratio … someone would have to advise whether that is a hard number or is rounding acceptable.
    That leads to the problem for advocates like Jason Lewis who promote the idea of buying policies across state lines … will insurance companies want to come into Minnesota where we have more (and different) mandates than other states. Lewis is pushing the idea of repealing the Essential Benefits provisions in the ACA … which would return destablize what is in the standard policy.

  17. Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 12

    FYI : One of the few bills (actually it was number 10) that Obama vetoed was H.J. Resolution 88 … and they failed to override it. So this is not a surprise that SupremeLeaderDonaldTrump would instruct DOL differently.
    Yet, like a lot of things with this Trump administration, they are causing more confusion from poorly written Executive Orders as noted White House memo confuses Wall Street on fate of fiduciary rule story.

    Also, the House has H.R.355 – Protecting American Families’ Retirement Advice Act delaying the rule for two years.

    Do these guys have any clue what they are doing ?

  18. MN-03: Rep. Paulsen ducks his constituents

    FYI : There is a scheduled citizen-motivated town hall event with (or without) CD-3 Rep. Erik ​Paulsen at 7:00 pm on Thursday, February 23, at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church (12235 Old Rockford Road, Plymouth). The House is not scheduled to be in session, so he better have a good reason for not attending.

    On January 30, Paulsen held another pseudo town hall event that he conducts via the telephone — offered with very little notice, with only a select group of individuals, and paid for by the taxpayer.

    Another chance to see Paulsen would be at his Congress on the Corner events that he has held regularly (frequently at the aptly named Consumer United Buying Foods aka CUB Foods). Constituents may want to call his office to see when and where he will be holding the next one.

  19. MN-02: Kline targets workers and seniors to the bitter end

    All workers should be concerned … Kline’s deceitful inclusion in 2014YearEnd must-pass lame-duck legislation that produced this problem is at it again.

    Kline has known about the problems for too long … heck, Republican David McKinley has said that he has worked on it for over four years. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation issued a report in June and in September, Kline put out a “draft” proposal but to my knowledge has not offered it as legislation.

    Kline’s proposal has a few problems (as well as some vocal critics) … such as the draft would allow plan actuaries to certify that a composite plan meets the 120-percent funded-ratio standard based upon assumptions that the actuary believes are reasonable.
    Operative word “believes” … if you ever got a call from an investment “advisor” telling you about some great stock (think Enron) that he really “believes” in, then you already know to be wary.
    Well, the concern is that the actuary could use unrealistic assumptions to conclude
    that the plan is in compliance with the funding standards even though it would not be in compliance if realistic assumptions were used.
    Kline’s legislation should be reworked to require the Treasury Department be charged with establishing standards for plan sponsors — with the ability to reject actuary’s conclusions if deemed unreasonable.

    The PBGC report is pretty scary … especially when you consider the premium increases that are already established (Kline supported the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 which raised the premium from $2.60 to $8 per participant … then Kline supported The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act which raised in to $13) … now they will have to be raised again … biggly …. and the concern should be that some companies will terminate their plans … leaving workers and retirees at risk.

    No doubt that this is a problem … and a main component of the Kline Legacy … he wanted to be Chairman … he didn’t follow Boehner’s promise of open and empowered committee, instead opting to hold the power in the chairman’s gavel … in the end, he has done nothing to make things better for workers … while leaving problems for the future.

    Worse yet … the future will be lead by President Trump and Chairwoman Virginia Foxx.

  20. Atrocious ruling blocks new overtime rule

    The judge’s order put Obama’s Executive Order on hold … which would have been eliminated as part of Trump’s Day One Agenda. So what was going to take place on December 1st does not have to happen … the judge’s decision appeared to signal that he’ll soon toss the rule altogether with a summary judgment and permanent injunction. That would leave it up to the Trump administration whether to appeal (to a conservative Ninth Circuit that would likely oppose the rule)

    To Republicans this is just another example of The Imperial Presidency of Obama … taking action without Congressional approval.

    Which should lead to the question … why hasn’t Congress taken action ?

    They don’t like it that Obama acted to double the salary limit (to $47,476 before OT is required to be paid) … it must be mentioned that he announced his intent to do this in 2014 and it took this long to go through the review and approval phrase when Congress could have done something different.

    Their inaction has included a proposal to phase in the increase amount (maybe in steps over 3 or 5 years and in wage steps like from $23,660 to $35,984) … with the effort being led by … wanna guess …. Blue Dog Democrats including Collin Peterson who joined with Kurt Schrader D-OR to <a href=""offer H.R. 5813 Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act which has been assigned to John Kline’s committee … signing on as a co-sponsor is Tom Emmer.

    BTW … In September, House Republicans passed H.R. 6094, the Regulatory Relief for Small Businesses, Schools, and Nonprofits Act (246-177. Five Democrats were among those voting for it) which would delay the implementation of the Obama rule for six months

    So, you get the picture … Republicans have friendly Democrats who are willing to allow business to take advantage of workers.

    The one good thing that has happened is that since some businesses knew this was coming they have already changed some policies and pay … so they may be hard pressed to reverse course now … for example, Wal*Mart had raised mangers pay to $48,000 to keep them above the limit and have said they will not revert back.

    Regarding your overall comment on judges … it really is true what Trump said — “Have no choice, sorry, sorry, sorry. You have no choice” — if you want conservative judges on the courts, they had to vote for him. That was true … and now, WE will pay for those judges being packed in the lower courts for decades.

  21. Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 1

    Some did not get suckered … they got what they wanted.

    Take for example, Trump’s candidate for Secretary or Education — Betsy DeVos.

    You can bet that the member schools at the Minnesota Independent School Forum, which has received funding through DeVos’ Alliance For School Choice knew that Trump would deliver school voucher programs that would allow students to attend private schools at public expense.

    BTW … is it too early to print the “Pence/Haley” bumper stickers ? Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump quickly realizes that we are “tired of winning” and opts for one term leaving Mike Pence and Nikki Haley to replace him.

  22. The way forward

    Good, uplifting post … yet, may I offer a couple caveats ?

    Eight years ago America heard the President-Elect say, “Elections have consequences, and at the end of the day, I won.”
    Yeah, it is true that Clinton won the popular vote, just like Gore did, but the consequences of the Bush elections are still being felt today (from the “reform” of tax policy to the PTSD/suicides related to the Iraq war.)
    Saying “Clinton won” is not what I would recommend, but instead start asking the Reagan question : Are you better off now under President Trump ?
    Then follow it up with : Did the Trump tax cuts change your family fortune like they did his ?
    Did the ObamaCare repeal produce lower prescription drug prices and lower insurance costs ?
    Did “tearing up NAFTA” bring jobs back to America ?
    IMO, we have no idea what scandal will befall the Trump Administration and what in-fighting there will be, or the number of Administration turnovers there will be … but feel confident that they will happen. Yet, those things like “the wall” and “extreme vetting” do not have the impact on day-to-day family life — thus the focus should be on “your finances”.

    Second, the hope for young voters hearing their “inner Democrat” may be a challenge. I scoffed at the way some were interpreting Steve Simon’s MN school mock presidential vote as a reflection of how Minnesota would vote … but maybe they were correct. The mock election results showed strong support for Trump in rural and charter schools suggesting that parents had influenced their children and as students vote, so would their parents. The results also indicated that some city schools did not participate … hmmm … do you see a pattern ?

    IMO, a Trump Minnesota victory did not happen because of Terri Bonoff.
    First, let’s look at the First District … Tim Walz barely beat Jim Hagedorn in a repeat match where Hagedorn got zero RNCC support. The concern here is that Walz has steadily seen a denigration of support from rural counties. It was not that long ago that Walz won every county … now, he is dependent upon winning Rochester and Mankato. Take Brown County (New Ulm, neighboring Mankato) where Hagedorn won in 2014 4870 to 4423 — okay, a non-Presidential year where MNGOP typically does well. But this year, Hagedorn won 8182 to 5376. Yeah, a lot more people voted … and they sided with Hagedorn — big time.
    Here’s the challenge for Walz, once you lost voters — once they have agreed to fire you– how do you win them back ?
    Actually, it wasn’t only the First District that should be a concern … Trump won the Second and Eighth also … these were won by Obama in 2012.
    So, with Trump winning three districts that Obama had won before, why didn’t he win the state ? Simple answer … Terri Bonoff. The Third went for Clinton … and in a “bigly” fashion. While Obama edged Romney by about 4,000 votes, Clinton won by more than 37,000 even though less people voted. Bonoff created a high profile election … making people want to vote. Now, what would have happened if Jon Tollefson was the challenger … would the DNCC and House Majority PAC spent any money … thus would the turnout have been less ?
    Trump was not a great candidate … but if you presume that every McMullin voter was a likely Republican voter, Trump would have won Minnesota … plus the Libertarian Party garnered an increase in support.
    Sorry, but I see a trend.

    2018 will be a different year. Klobuchar should be on the ballot … and Lewis will have two years collecting checks in Washington while Peterson and Nolan will both be 74 — will they want another two years flying back and forth to sit in President Trump/Pence minority opposition ? Walz will get another challenge … but this time, expect Norm Coleman and the RNCC to target him. The MNGOP will be laser focused on the gubernatorial contest.

    The way forward is based on the candidates … and how they focus on getting elected. For years, I have heard of the great door-knocking programs yet on Election Day, the DFL comes up short. I attribute Hagedorn’s success to repeated visits to all parts of the district and an effective social media outreach program during which he was able to bash Obama and Walz. Well, this time Democrats can bash Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress … plus asking what the MNGOP-controlled legislature would do with a Republican governor in place.

  23. Governor Dayton and the MN lege GOP

    Wall Street has it’s own jargon — “the trend is your friend” and “don’t trust your own opinion and back your judgment until the action of the market itself confirms your opinion” — which can be applied to politics.

    There is no doubt a “trend” is in the GOP favor … case in point, look at Tim Walz in Minnesota’s First District. It wasn’t too many years ago that Congressman Walz won re-election by winning every single county in the District … now, look at what happened this week … if it wasn’t for Olmsted County (Rochester) and his home county, Blue Earth, Walz would be telling the school board that he was ready to return from his sabbatical. Heck, in Brown County, which is adjacent to Blue Earth, not only did Jim Hagedorn expand his margin from 2014 but he won 21 out of 22 city/townships.
    For an incumbent to see that heavy of a rejection against a candidate whose campaign rested on ObamaCare, ISIS and failure of Walz to fight for veterans mental health (hmmm … no mention that the Republicans refused to provide any additional dollars for Walz’s Clay Hunt suicide legislation) may be shocking.
    Yet, I have to ask isn’t this a trend to accepting the GOP talking points ?
    The follow-up question is, once voters have rejected you, can Walz win them back ?

    OK … so you say, so what the rural counties are small … but then look at Olmsted County which Clinton won by just 598 votes out of 80,126 cast. The Minnesota legislature vote favored Republicans in four of six races. Remember it was Olmsted County that delivered the governorship to Tim Pawlenty.

    Considering Dayton’s comment “They sent a divided government here in St. Paul and they’re going to get divided government for better and for worse” well that is his opinion for which I say “Don’t trust your own opinion” … he can do something about it.
    His choices are simple :
    1. Work with the GOP to find acceptable legislative actions
    2. Veto

    IMO, Dayton’s inability to agree on a special session for legislation on public works spending and tax relief provided voters a view of how ineffective our legislative process has become … and add to that the MNsure stories (David and Ann Buck’s premium increase not only was featured in television ads but got cited in The Chicago Tribune.
    Do Minnesotans want someone promoting the concept of a “government for better or for worse” ?

    The choice may be : do we fire the team or the coach? And everyone knows, you cannot fire the team … and whomever the DFL nominates will be brandished as another Dayton. Certain districts are virtually cast in concrete … so the team cannot be fired. It’s the coach that is on the hot seat … and also who follows him.

    2018 is a long way off … the likelihood of Klobuchar on the ballot will benefit Dems (ya gotta think that not having a US Senate race hurt DFL candidates this cycle), but if Erik Paulsen decided to run for Governor, that would make the race very difficult … of course, Keith Downey or Kurt Daudt would make things easier.

    My early forecast is for another trend election … not a backlash election.

  24. Keith Ellison for DNC chair looks serious

    Question : Has Keith Ellison indicated that if he becomes DNC chair, he would resign from Congress ?

    Didn’t the Debbie Wasserman-Schultz experience prove that there needs to be separation from elective office and party operations ?
    As a taxpayer, it bugs me that I see taxdollars being expended for legislative staff who “moonlight” on congressional campaigns (i.e. John-Paul Yates, Troy Young) … should an elective Congressman also have direct responsibilities for party operations ? IF Tom Emmer, Jason Lewis or Erik Paulsen took this type of job, should taxpayers complain … especially when they are out of session for days/weeks/months throughout the year ?
    How quickly will TwitterTrump and Rush Limbaugh make “Keith E. Hakim” the face of the Democrat Party ? (Let’s be frank, how much did Ali C. Ali’s name hurt his election chances (SD 55 votes = 13,282 while the HD55A&B DFL candidates got 15,706.)

    I am an outsider, but it seems that since Ray Buckley, Howard Dean, Martin O’Malley, and Tom Perez are not in elective office, they would be better suited.

    OK … now the real questions that should be asked : What policy or strategy proposals distinguish Keith Ellison from other potential candidates ?

    If Ellison has the right proposals, give him the job but tell him to resign from Congress … after all, it won’t change the control of the House.
    Besides, if he didn’t get the job, he would be one more voice that could advocate for Party positions.

  25. 2016 election results blog

    There’s something in the water.

    Ya gotta think that if just half the McMullin and Libertarians decided to vote for Republican, Trump would have won Minnesota. Trump lost by 43k and McMullin got 53k … and McMullin wouldn’t have been on the ballot if not for the NeverTrump movement.

    No shock that Paulsen won … with all that cash and Strib endorsement … but a 13 point win is rather decisive when the turnout is pretty good (393k).

    But a surprise in MN07 where Peterson won again … a little bit closer this time – 5 points versus 8 points in 2014. OK, you remember 2014 when RNCC spent all that money, yet still lost. This time, David Hughes – did anyone ever hear anything about his campaign … raised $17,085 this cycle … that’s less that what Paulsen would take in about three days. Turnout was okay at 330k. On a dollar/vote basis was about 11 cents per Hughes vote.

    But the real shocker was in MN01 where after winning comfortable for years, Tim Walz barely beat Jim Hagedorn in a repeat contest. Walz got most of the newspaper endorsements but in the end 2,513 votes separated them … but the money difference was vast. Hagedorn did not get any help from the RNCC and a meager $1000 from John Kline, raising somewhat more that $341,000 … meaning his $/vote was about $2. BTW, I live in the district and got no mailers from either candidate although I did see a couple Walz commercials but never saw/heard Hagedorn’s ads)

    Lewis beating Craig was also another race where the outcome did not depend on dollars being spent. It appears that having Independence Party candidate on the ballot allowed an option for some people. (FYI : Lewis’ fundraising was north of $873,000 … and will probably be in the range of what Mike Obermueller raised last cycle. Craig far outraised him and both candidates had a lot of money being spent by outside groups. Lewis dollar per vote would be roughly $5).

    What MN01, MN02 and MN07 have in common is the rural area where Minnesota legislative candidates are predominantly GOP.
    Not sure if its guns, God, Obamacare, or the EPA, but there appears to be something in the water that just brings people out to vote Republican. All three of these contests are ones where people could have presumed the DFLer was gonna win and just not bothered coming out to vote … but they did.
    That might be the takeaway from this election … people did come out … and voted Republican … where now they control the state house.

    This does not bode well for 2018 gubernatorial contest … if the MNGOP puts up a reasonable candidate, it could be lights out for the DFL.
    ( BTW, it seems that sitting Congressmen have many times tried to seek Governor’s slots … makes you think that if Erik Paulsen finds TrumpWorld and the Freedom Caucus too aggravating, would he bring his campaign war chest home (his cash on hand after this election could still be in the million dollar range).