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2018 MN governor

The convention hall as seen from visitor and alternate seating.

The convention hall as seen from visitor and alternate seating.

This is the promised follow up to Changing how the DFL endorses gubernatorial candidates where somehow I had a long post and didn’t get to what the title implied. So, the primary is over, and we have another data point. A gubernatorial endorsee lost again.
 
The main reason Erin Murphy lost should be obvious, at least if you looked at the results by CD: she did terrible outside the Twin Cities metro area. She did win CDs 4 and 5, but not by much, whereas Tim Walz cleaned up in his district, CD1, and got right around 40% everywhere else. Murphy needed to do that well in her central city base, and she didn’t.
 
Murphy did catch a break when the Lori Swanson campaign imploded. I noted, as the results came in, how if Murphy’s percentage went up, Swanson’s went down by the same amount, and visa-versa. The preelection polls had massive numbers of undecideds, and Murphy and Walz went way up from their poll numbers as undecideds decided, but Swanson actually went down. I’m convinced Murphy was the big beneficiary of Swanson’s problems (self-inflicted — I don’t think Murphy pulled something) but that wasn’t enough to overcome the perception she was too metro-centric. That gets us to the error in choosing a running mate.
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Key Minnesota primary results, real quick

by Dan Burns on August 15, 2018 · 1 comment

From the Secretary of State website:
 
DFL winners: Gov: Walz/Flanagan; Senate: Klobuchar, Smith; MN-05: Omar; MN-08: Radinovich; AG: Ellison.
 
The noteworthy GOP result was that Tim Pawlenty got beat by Jeff Johnson, and (as with the races noted above) it wasn’t close. I’ll have an obnoxious, gloating post about that one in due time.
 
Comment below fold.
 
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Swanson scandal risks giving away governor

by Eric Ferguson on August 10, 2018 · 2 comments

If what The Intercept reports about Attorney General Lori Swanson making employees do volunteer work for her campaign is even half-true, this a scandal the must be making the Republicans think about foregoing their own primary and crossing over to vote in ours to make sure she’s the DFL candidate.
 

On Monday, The Intercept reported that Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson relied on her official government staff for political work, sourced largely to unnamed employees. In the 48 hours after the story’s publication, more than a dozen individuals, including seven more former employees, contacted The Intercept and shared stories of being asked to volunteer politically that corroborated our report. Multiple sources named key Swanson deputies engaged in political activity in the attorney general’s office, repeating the names of staffers who’d previously been identified to The Intercept.

 
My concern isn’t that she would be a bad governor in terms of chosen policies and running a functional government. I’m concerned that this will blow up into a big, front-page-every-day scandal that will allow the MNGOP candidate to win the governor’s office. Remember that with the legislature also being Republican, holding the governorship is the only thing that saved Minnesota from turning into Wisconsin or Ohio. It’s a risk we simply can’t take.

 
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The convention hall as seen from visitor and alternate seating.

The convention hall as seen from visitor and alternate seating.

I’m writing this prior to the August 14th primary, and you might wonder why I’m writing this now, in the heat of the primary campaign when DFLer-on-DFLer campaigning is at it’s thickest (though just how negative depends a great deal on which specific race is the subject). There are two answers: one, passions about whether the endorsements made this cycle and regarding the process actually spikes right after the primary; two, this is in my mind because of recent conversations with DFLers in the last week or two with a couple connected points: the DFL has not had an endorsed non-incumbent win the gubernatorial election since Wendell Anderson, and a consensus is forming that Erin Murphy is toast. That latter opinion is based on a couple polls that are at least two weeks old by now and have other issues — not to go into a tangent, but I refer for example to the huge number of undecideds and the polling of registered voters instead of likely voters — so that opinion is premature. Not wrong, but premature, and many Murphy supporters seem in denial about the big trouble the Murphy campaign is in. By no means all, but plenty haven’t come to terms with Murphy’s situation yet.
 

Erin Murphy is the DFL endorsee, and if she doesn’t pull it out, we’re going to have our usual, and usually heated, discussions/arguments about how we endorse and who we endorse and whether to endorse. So I suppose I’m getting a jump on that.

 

When our non-incumbent gubernatorial endorsees keep losing, that begs several questions:
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Weird happenings with DFL Convention and Filings

by Eric Ferguson on June 6, 2018 · 1 comment

Pelikan pelican from outside DFL state conventionSo by now, you’ve likely had your head spinning from the news from the DFL side regarding who is running for what, and lots of candidates coming out of the woodwork to run for this and switch to that, and run for something when they were running for something else. It’s interesting, at least to a politics junkie, and you’re reading this web site, so…

 
You were likely looking at the governor race, and this involves that to be sure. You may not have been following closely enough to know the candidate filing period just closed, or you heard but didn’t care what that meant. The weirdness has a whole lot to do with that however. It all starts, however, with the race for state attorney general (AG). Yes, an office a lot of people haven’t even heard of.
 
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OMB Deputy Director Chester Geldmacher

MN-OMB Deputy Director Chester Geldmacher

Dateline: June 5, 2018 – St. Paul, MN

 

Deputy Director Chester Geldmacher, Minnesota Office of Management and Budget, today unveiled a new, supplementary addendum the 2018 Budget and Economic Forecast released last February. The addendum adjusts the economic forecast sharply upward based on what he called “a bold new jobs program and brand new revenue stream for the state.”

 

“With all these new DFL candidates filing for office today,” Geldmacher said, “who we know will be hiring campaign managers, consultants and staffers; booking office space, furniture, computers and hotel rooms; leasing cars and vans, buying print media and advertising, feeding volunteers and hiring law offices and public relations firms, we expect to see an immediate 3-4% bump in the state GDP through the end of 2018. The DFL is truly a party of rainmakers.”

 

Geldmacher went on to say that the state may very well reach a 0% unemployment rate over the next few weeks. “We may have to import workers from economically depressed states like Wisconsin and Kansas. It’s sure to drive up wages for all Minnesotans. This is an achievement never before realized in the history of the state.”

 

Millennials were roundly congratulating themselves on the “genius of our collective” over Twitter using the hastag #canwekukorwhut.

 

“It’s almost as if those DFL’ers were looking for ways to fully fund the schools by boosting state revenues all by themselves,” Geldmacher said. “Who says Democrats don’t know how to create jobs?”

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Comments:
From Eric Ferguson:

I know this is spoof, but seriously, the DFL found candidates to run in all state House districts. That’s maybe a first for either party. It’s tough and praiseworthy, especially given how many state legislators run unopposed in other states. The MNGOP got close. They left two districts uncontested.

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2018 DFL State Convention Day 3

by Eric Ferguson on June 3, 2018 · 4 comments

This is the day 3 live blog. Day 1 (US Senate, secretary of state, and my explanation of convention procedures for newbies) is here, and day 2 (governor and AG) is here.
 

The convention hall as seen from visitor and alternate seating.

The convention hall as seen from visitor and alternate seating.


 
And it’s auditor day, and maybe the lieutenant governor endorsement. The filing deadline is Tuesday, so Erin Murphy will have to announce quickly if she hasn’t already. I’m not there today and trying to tune in to the livestream, but so far it isn’t working. While we’re waiting, I’d like to handicap the auditor race: no idea. No information to go on at all. When I mentioned it to anybody, no one was even thinking about it with governor sucking up all the attention. Might be well to remember that governors Mark Dayton and Arne Carlson held the state auditor position. Rebecca Otto didn’t get endorsed, but being auditor made her an immediate serious candidate for governor or whatever else she should choose to run for. So even aside from the actual job, it matters.
 
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2018 DFL State Convention Day 2

by Eric Ferguson on June 2, 2018 · 7 comments

Yesterday’s live blog got really long, so I decided to start a fresh post for today. See yesterday for an intro to what a live blog is, disclosure of biases, yesterday’s events, and I’m unlikely to explain procedural stuff or regurgitate opinions explained in yesterday’s live blog.
 
If you want to watch the live stream, go to The Uptake web site. If you want to glance over at the MNGOP convention also going this weekend, go here.
 
Today is governor and attorney general. My wife snapped a photo of the Matt Pelikan pelican in the concourse outside the convention hall. That’s fun.
 
Pelikan pelican from outside DFL state convention
 
The convention has reconvened. Lots of delegates missed yesterday, unsurprisingly since governor is the big attraction, so rules and procedures are being explained again. The noise level on the floor is more obvious here than watching on the live stream. So if you’re streaming, feel smug that you can hear better than people here. Though those of us here can hear the videos since we’re not under Youtube’s thumb. So there.
 
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DFL State Convention Live Blog

by Eric Ferguson on May 31, 2018 · 3 comments

The DFL state convention starts tomorrow (or today if you’re reading this on June 1). A “live blog” means that I’ll be blogging about it as it happens rather than writing up something later. I’ll be explaining what’s going on, and maybe opining on some things. We’ll see what provokes me to opinionating. The current plan is to watch the livestream on The Uptake Friday, which obviously you can watch yourself and I’ll post a link so you can do that. Saturday, I’m hoping to be there watching in person, so hopefully I’ll pick up some stuff that’s not apparent on the livestream. Sunday will likely be another livestream day. Yes, I maybe could have gotten a hotel if I hadn’t been so cheap and tried to reserve a room early enough and blah de blah. Fortunately I live in daytripping distance.
 

Convening time Friday is 4. The rest of the schedule I assume will be adjusted according to circumstances. The proposed agenda is posted here. Emphasis on proposed, since delegates can move to change the agenda when the rules and agenda are debated, and you never know for sure what will be proposed and what will pass. I’ve run some conventions as a local party chair, and worked on some as a committee member or with a campaign, and can attest that unexpected changes get made. I’ll spare you the “expect the unexpected” cliche — except I guess I just didn’t. You should have expected that. What you can expect is I will explain some of the “what on earth are they talking about” parts that conventions have.
 
Probably, you care more about the state office endorsements and not committee reports or party office elections or rules debates. So, according to the proposed agenda, Friday will see the endorsements for the US Senate seats and Secretary of State. Attorney General and Governor are scheduled for Saturday, and Auditor is scheduled for Sunday.
 
Actual updates and reportage start below. Keep refreshing during the convention for updates. If you’re curious about the 2014 or 2016 convention, check out those live blogs. See if you can catch me griping the same gripes (yes, you can).
 

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Democracy in Action: Walz and the NRA

by Invenium Viam on May 29, 2018 · 3 comments

democracy 2It’s interesting how Congressman Tim Walz has transformed in a matter of a few short months from a darling of progressives and proof that Democrats can stand by their principles and still win in Deep Red districts into a miserable DINO and shameless political opportunist.

 

Not that that’s actually the case, of course. Rather, I think what we see is an object lesson in the dangers of getting trapped in your own perspectives. We all do it … and we should all be wary of it.

 

Take Walz and the NRA for example. His former view of the NRA was as a gun rights advocacy group, which it certainly is. Millions of other Americans still see it that way. It is also a lobbying group for gun manufacturers and a fundraising arm of the GOP, which is how progressives see it. Myself, I see it as an Establishment front for radical political action, potentially including armed insurrection.

 

While serving as the elected representative of MN-01, accepting money from the NRA wasn’t much of a problem for Congressman Walz. He represented a Deep Red district. But then he started getting strong criticism and pushback from fellow Democrats, other progressives and gun laws advocacy groups. He reacted to that pressure — which he refers to as “a kick in the butt” — by rethinking his position on the NRA and the need for more restrictive gun laws and by changing his position accordingly. After the Las Vegas massacre, with 59 dead and more than 500 wounded, he broke with the NRA and donated all of the money they had contributed to him to a support group for the families of fallen veterans.

 

For some progressives, his conversion was too slow in coming and too convenient.

 

But isn’t that the foundation of representative Democracy, that the will of the people made known will cause political candidates and elected leaders to react accordingly and to conform their positions and policies to better accord with that will?

 

Or is intransigence on important issues now some kind of Gold Standard of Integrity of which I am unaware? If intransigence in the face of polarizing issues is the Gold Standard, then both King George III and Louis the XVI had more integrity than the Founding Fathers. Look how things turned out for them. In my view, intransigence on the part of any person when confronted by new, compelling information and cogent argument — political candidate or not — is the Gold Standard of Stupidity.

 

Walz is not the only Democrat to evolve his position on guns, gun rights, and the NRA. Senator Bernie Sanders took a lot of heat in the 2016 presidential campaign for his 2005 vote on a bill that gave gun manufacturers immunity from prosecution. At the time, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta saw Sanders’ conversion as a calculated reversal:

 

Podesta on Sanders

Regardless of his motivations, Sanders knew he had to modify his position to better accord with the voters and he did.

 

With regard to another polarizing issue, Hillary Clinton herself was never an advocate for same-sex marriage. In her New York senate race in 2000, she said: “Marriage has historic, religious, and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is … between a man and a woman.” By 2013 the American people had changed their minds about marriage equality. Clinton knew she had to modify her position to better accord with the voters and she did. I believe to this day that our dramatic cultural change in attitude towards gay people resulted directly from the millions of individual acts of courage in “coming out” and in claiming their right to live in dignity, as every extended family learned it had one or more gay folks in it who deserved to be loved and protected just like anyone else.

 

President Obama was no advocate for same-sex marriage either, even after he took office. As late as 2010, in a Q&A session with progressive bloggers, he stated that, while he was “… unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage,” times were changing and “…  attitudes evolve, including mine.” It took Vice President Biden getting out ahead of the president that forced Obama to rethink the issue. He decided he needed to change his position, so he did.

 

Were Sanders, Obama and Clinton all DINO’s and shameless political opportunists who only changed their views and their positions to gain political  advantage? That’s one way to look at it, I suppose. You could also see it simply as the machinery of democracy in action, of our democracy working in exactly the way it was designed to do.

 

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