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DFL state convention live blog

by Eric Ferguson on June 4, 2016 · 1 comment

Like I mentioned in a non-sequitor at the end of this post, I plan to live blog the DFL convention Saturday. That depends on The Uptake having a livestream as in recent conventions, since I can’t be there in person, due to medical issues I assume readers don’t care about the details of. Since anyone can watch the stream, I’ll try to focus on explanations and commentary. Open this post and refresh it once in a while. I’ll check the comments occasionally for questions. I’m still typing more slowly than usual so it could be tricky, but I’ll give a game effort. If you want to see the agenda, that’s on the state DFL web site. It doesn’t give a specific convening time, but from the ending time of training sessions, looks like it will start around 9 AM. I’ll add a Read More link when the convention starts, so click that, or else be content with reading this introduction over and over.
Yes, The Uptake has a live stream. This is what I’m watching.

Comments at the end.

It starts in a few minutes. Regarding Dan’s comment, I just bet some media is hoping for a Minnesota version of Nevada. That thought occurred to me when the Nevada convention hit the fan. I had been thinking I would be the only media besides The Uptake. But when my health was better, at least. I’m hoping for a boring convention, so the DFL doesn’t make news for bad reasons.

While we’re waiting, an interesting article I wanted to work in at some point is Cyndy Brucato’s MinnPost article o how the MNGOP changed their process for endorsing judicial candidates. They had an endorsing committee, had it since 2000, and it consistently picked ideologues and weirdos with personal judicial grievances. They were actually planning to endorse Michelle MacDonald again! It sounds like the sane people won and they may not endorse again. I got that one wrong, since I predicted they would endorse a nut job and get them close enough to force the DFL to start endorsing judicial candidates in order to get sane people elected.
In the stream, Mike McIntee is interviewing our own frontpager Jules Goldstein, who is running for elector, and he explained something about that job and how nominations work for party offices. There’s a committee that screens candidates and nominates whomever they see best fit, and normally those candidates get elected by the convention, but some get challenged from the floor. Elector must be tough, since the criteria are whether you’ll show up, and reliably vote for the Democrat. That’s it. It’s often a reward for long service, like Jules mentioned being active in the DFL over 40 years.

There is sound on stage. Maybe listeners need to crank up the sound. I can just barely hear the national anthem.
Good grief. Why do we need an invocation? We already have a theocratic party. We don’t need two. We don’t do this at lower levels. I hope at least this religious leader can avoid being sectarian, unlike the last one. Well, that was all-inclusive, provided you’re an monotheist.
Mayor Besty Hodges is speaking. Local mayors as I recall tend to get the first speaking slots. At least I think Don Ness spoke first last time. Makes the first mention of Donald Trump of the day. Expect DFLers to use him like a club for beating Republicans. I’ll go first and predict she wins reelection next year.
From the lack of background noise, I’m going to guess auditorium seating is more orderly than sitting around tables like usual. Then again, conventions are partly about getting people in one place to talk, so maybe that’s not all bad. That’s the downside of a one-day convention, no purely social time. But it makes it cheaper for delegates if they don’t need an overnight. Minneapolis is more expensive, so weekend conventions are somewhere cheaper, normally Rochester or Duluth.
That was diplomatic of Ken Martin to say we’re still in the heart of the nominating process for president. The last primaries are Tuesday. he can’t tell Bernie supporters not to hope for something to happen, but the math is clear. I not only expect Hillary to clinch it, but I doubt she’ll need the superdelegates.
Ken is warning it will be tough election. That’s possible. The country is evenly divided. We can hope Trump leads Republicans over a cliff, but that’s not sure.

Gov. Mark Dayton is speaking. Reminds me that next convention will be about picking his successor. Dayton reminds DFLers about 1968. He was a anti-war activist, and learned the hard when 1968 elected Richard Nixon. The DFL was divided in 1978 and that led to the “Minnesota Massacre” which set back the DFL for a long time. He’s reminding delegates Trump was the biggest birther. These things are together on purpose. If we divide over Hillary versus Bernie, we could well have President Trump. Dayton mentions supporting Hillary, and some Bernie supporters got loud. Courtesy to a speaker, anybody? Dayton wants divisions in the presidential race to not hurt us down the ballot. I’ll admit, I get annoyed with those who won’t think past the presidential race. You may not know anyone like that, but what do you think accounts for the drop-off in turnout in non-presidential elections? If anyone just can’t stand Hillary, go help your congressional candidate. Go help a legislative candidate. Find someone who thinks like you do who’s running for local office. They need your attention too. In fact, if the presidential race is a landslide after all, take advantage and work downballot.

The stream stopped working. Dayton is probably saying smart stuff, but only those present will know. I suppose Uptake volunteers are working franticly right now.

It’s working again. Ken Martin just mentioned Amy Klobuchar is one of the most sought after speakers at Democratic events, I assume he means relative to other Democratic members of Congress. Those speaking appearances are why there was speculation she would run for president this year. She’s also just a really good speaker. Al Franken might be serious when he says he’s the second funniest Minnesota senator. MNGOPers attacked her for having the same voting record as Franken. They were right about that, but wrong that it was a negative. She wields the Trump club too. Takes a shot at Scott Walker too. She has a structure to her speeches, visible but it works. She cheery and humorous, gets serious and personal, and then rousing. She stresses downballot races too.

The stream stopped. I guess that makes this as good a time as any for Trump as an albatross, since speaker after speaker wants to hang him around GOP necks.

My wife is telling me to explain the albatross. OK. The expression “an albatross around his neck” refers to the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner (“Water water everywhere. nor any drop to drink”) where the mariner shoots an albatross for the heck of it, and his ship suffers multiple disasters, which the crew blames on him for shooting the albatross. So they hang the albatross around his neck. Trump is the Republicans albatross, since I expect him him to hurt them at all levels this election. That’s not guaranteed or course, but as I said early on in those This Guy Wants to be President posts, I thought the odds were Trump would be a disaster for them. Still think so. I’m scared about the idea of his as president, but happy they picked him. All the candidates were bad, just in different ways. In my opinion, they made the worst available choice. I know I shouldn’t have laughed when he won, and I’ll regret it if he wins the general election, but I couldn’t help it. He’s their self-inflicted disaster.
The stream is working again. Hopefully we’ll catch up soon on what they’re doing.
The sergeant-at-arms is explaining rules, stressing how they just enforce them, so please be nice. I’ve done that job and yeah, delegates aren’t always pleasant when they don’t like how the rules worked out for them. Especially when they don’t get back in time when the floor is frozen, which means delegates-only on the floor and no one enters. That’s done to make sure only delegates vote.

The thing about signing ballots is DNC rules require delegates to sign written ballots, so presumably those who elected them can check they voted as they promised. Some delegates don’t like it, but they aren’t individual voters, they’re representatives of those who elected them.

The credentials challenge is because a delegate is running against an endorsed candidate. Or maybe he was an alternate. Apparently this person is a precinct chair too. Sounds like he’s new to politics, and doesn’t get how the process works. As evident from how he thinks he should speak from the podium. He says he’s been active since 2008 — ok then, no excuse for not knowing stuff. I would advise would be endorsement challengers that when your opponent is endorsed on the first ballot, you have no realistic chance. This guy is trying to appeal to Bernie supporters, and that he’s black. He’s complaining he’s been “denied” being on other committees — that’s called losing. On the other hand, the credentials challenge opened a can of worms. I wouldn’t have raised it. Why waste time and risk hurt feelings? But that’s a biggie to run against an endorsee. He shouldn’t be a delegate. Understandably delegates want to know just what the rule is, since challenger and challenged are saying opposite things. 

This is unusual. Usually challenges are someone saying they were elected a delegate and got missed in the paperwork. But also the state convention is higher stakes and more formal.
This came up in my district when a precinct chair ran against an endorsee for local office. I had him just absent himself because he was new, and I thought would be valuable long term. I think they got the vote backwards, so I’m not sure how it turned out. Normally they explain that before the vote. But still, though the challenger was right on the rules, I wouldn’t have raised it.
Betty McCollum is calling for hanging Trump around every Republican neck. Obviously she’s reading this blog! No, I think she came up with that herself. She and Keith Ellison are twins? No wonder I always confuse the two!
Rick Nolan asks what he can say when everything has been said. Goes after Trump. Says the discontent Trump tapped into is real, and Trump is a real threat. Reminds DFLers that Republicans control both houses of Congress and most state legislatures, and they mean to roll back most progress over the last century. He’s right about how much better things are over the last century, though I think longer life spans are partly science, not just public policy. Though yes, consumer protections, workplace safety, and so on are a big part of that. I realize it’s hard for speakers to say something different after a while, but they’re there for camera time to help their campaigns, so just go ahead and repeat. Nolan does have something new: he points out that for what we spent in Iraq, we could have graduated every student in America from college debt-free. I don’t know over what time span he means, but his point is true that we could have done a lot with that money. But try getting money for education as opposed to getting money for war. Same for transportation and veterans, which he mentions. Money for war is usually a lot easier than money for anything else. Except maybe upper-income tax cuts. There’s always money for that. Anyway, Nolan is clearly a good convention speaker. He mentions his district is the northeast, but his problem is that it isn’t just the northeast, which is heavily DFL, namely the Iron Range and Duluth. His district’s southern end includes the northern Twin Cities exurbs, which are very conservative, and the growing part of the district. That district is purple, and the best chance for the MNGOP to flip a seat, at least until Collin Peterson retires in the 7th. That is probably the reddest district after the 6th. Neat that Nolan can win will running as a staunch liberal. Maybe not on environmental issues, given his district, but he touts single-payer and yet wins a purple district. So maybe being liberal isn’t such a risk, all you centrist candidates out there? But yes, it’s hard to argue that Peterson keeps winning the reddest district held by a Democrat, that’s the whole country. So we grit our teeth and support the blue dog.
Nolan compares Stewart Mills to Donald Trump. I guess every congressman is reading this!

I don’t think I knew Lori Swanson is the first female Attorney General. I probably would have guessed if I thought about it. Swanson goes right after Trump. She says it would embarrass a Republican to ask him if he backs Trump. I think she means DO embarrass him, though maybe not voter. He might actually be winnable this year. But candidates, embarrass away. She mentions the supreme court, part of the party unity theme. I certainly raise that with the “my candidate or nobody” folks.
Rebecca Otto is speaking. She also thanks the new delegates, which I did at my SD convention too to be encouraging. But I just thought, you who show up for everything, year after year, deserve some thanks too. So thanks! Otto also going after Trump. Every speaker so far has done that.
Al Franken is next. He promised to beat Norm Coleman the first time he spoke at a convention. Points out he didn’t say by how much. Best hit on Trump yet. Brings up Muhammad Ali, who died today, who called himself “the greatest” and proved it. Contrasted to some who call themselves the greatest…pause to let the audience fill in the rest. Franken said he hasn’t been following the presidential race, so how is O’Malley doing? He thinks Trump at the top of their ticket opens opportunities. Compares how Minnesota is doing compared to Wisconsin, and what the DFL got done during those two years we held governor and legislature. I’ll try to get back to that theme when Franken is done. Franken stresses the groundgame to elect down the ballot. He’s right that delegates who do nothing but go to the convention aren’t really helping. He says many of you have jobs and families — ignore them. They actually love it when you’re not there! Your eight year old can use a microwave. People get into politics to spend less time with their families. Yes, he’s kidding. He’s also stressing the supreme court. Says Republican will support Merrick Garland the day after the election. If we win.
The credentials chair is leading the convention through upgrading alternates. That means delegates are absent (why do people try so hard to get elected state delegates and then not show?) so alternates can become delegates, which means they sit on the convention floor on vote. Scott asks for quiet so the instructions can be heard or they won’t be followed. Delegates tend to tune out during business they don’t care about, but if they’re quiet, it’s a lot easier than telling everybody individually. Alternates are sitting in a separate area. And yes, it’s normal to be two and half hours into a convention and little business gets done. Speakers normally speak at the beginning.
The reason he’s listing counties instead of senate districts is delegates are elected by organizing units, which are senate districts in the metro area but counties outstate. I presume that’s done because rural districts are too large to effectively function. Hard enough in rural counties, though also hard because some rural counties have just a few thousand people, whereas my urban ward alone is bigger than lots of counties. Also complicating things are some senate districts are split between congressional districts. Scott has to ask for quiet again with a promise the dental work is almost over. Credentials is tedious and a lot of work, so glad there are people who get into it. It’s one of the unglamorous tasks of running a party that has to be done for it to function.
This is when the convention votes on rules. The proposed rules operate at the beginning, until they can be voted on. Watch for people who get upset about the rules later, after they’ve already been voted on. “I don’t want to do it that way!” You already voted to do it that way. Platform balloting refers to the written ballot where they’re voting on what resolutions make it to the platform. That process started at the precinct caucuses. The long caucus resolution process — that’s what that was about.

Angie Craig gets introduced and the sound goes out. There we go. I bet the technical end at conventions is really tricky, and remember The Uptake is run by volunteers. If you’re unhappy, go help. Craig is running in CD2, where John Kline has declined to run again so it’s a deep purple open seat, and one of the best pickup opportunities in the country, not just Minnesota. Readers may remember Kline was the object of Bill Maher’s Flip a District in 2014. Unfortunately Maher dragged out the process until October, I guess not knowing how campaigns work.
So CD2 is a top DFL target, and there are serious hopes for Craig. The Republican endorsed Jason Lewis, no really. Though there are several primary challengers. Dan Burns covered that in this post. I’m thinking that candidates who got nowhere in the endorsement are deluding themselves about winning the primary. Might be fun to have this guy though.
I think St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman just urged the convention chair to run for St. Paul mayor. Melvin Carter was once a St. Paul city council member, and he has some position, I forget what, under Gov. Dayton. Coleman expresses amazement anyone supports Donald Trump. Expresses amazement someone objected to pressing 1 for English when this person was at a club with a hard to pronounce Scandinavian name. The stream is down. Coleman mentions earlier immigrant groups were discriminated against, Irish, Italians, eastern Europeans. How ironic they forget, though I guess that’s the passage of time. Still, any Irish-American who backs Trump should wacked with a “No Irish Need Apply” sign. Still no stream.
I’ve just been informed Lori Swanson has lots of volunteers at the convention and, “They are wearing purple teeshirts that say overturn citizens united on the front and her
her name title and profile of her dog on the back.” Source will go unnamed, just saying it’someone I know to be there. The stream is back up, but I have no idea what question they’re discussing.
Sounds like someone is trying to change the rules. The stream was down when they said what rule, but as for changing the rules after approving them, did I not tell you? I gather they’re debating how to vote on some resolution. OK, apparently someone wants to vote on whether to have superdelegates. That’s in your resolutions ballot folks. Good grief. FWIW, I’ve come around to supporting superdelegates. Our elected officials and state party officials are part of the institutional memory, and have a broad awareness of where the party is and current politics. We need them their, but the feel weird running against their own constituents, and sometimes don’t. So just make them delegates, and get on with electing from the grassroots for other delegate spots. They would almost surely be elected anyway. Someone says the game is broken, lots of cheers for idiot who demands we reform the party RIGHT NOW. There’s a reason for setting rules at the beginning. You could spend the whole convention just debating rules if they were always open to debate. Chair rules the ayes have it, but it sounded like the nays had it. They’re going to count badges, which is a common way of voting when they don’t want to spend time on a written ballot.
Regarding freezing the floor, see my bit about sergeants-at-arms and frozen floors above. Someone challenged the quorum with a full house. A note for those of you who want to speak from the floor at a convention — the odds are high that you’re going to make a fool of yourself, revealing you aren’t paying attention or you just want your ten seconds of fame. Now some people won’t stop talking when their questions are being answered if they’d only shut up and listen. That actually has been happening at a lot of local conventions this year. People who know nothing want to talk instead of listening and learning. Chairs shouldn’t have to plead for order. Show some decorum. This stuff isn’t complicated for those who listen instead of talk. OK, rant over.
The half votes are because some rural counties prefer to split their votes that way. There’s probably some practical reason for it. I just know rural counties have resisted eliminating the half votes, despite the confusion it always causes.
If you’re thinking the convention is spending a long time piddling around with picayune stuff, this always happens. It sounds like someone wants to change rules to argue against superdelegates (the stream cut out a few times so I’m not sure) and they argue about the procedure for changing rules, and the procedure for how to vote, though this is tough in part because the voice vote was even. It sounds like they want to remove the superdelegates, which they can’t anyway because it a national rule. They can try to change it for 2020, but too late for 2016. OK, it’s a pet peeve of mine to try to change rules and procedures long after the time to do that has passed. And yeah, they’re still trying to count half votes, entirely because some delegates won’t shut up and let everyone hear. But this happens to a degree every convention, so get rid of half votes.
Again, if you’re ever tempted to speak from the floor of a convention, you’re almost always going to sound like someone who has to hear your own voice coming out of the loudspeaker.

Keith Ellison is speaking. Stresses the importance of maximizing turnout. We have to keep organizing between elections. “Demonstration with legislation is just frustration”. MLK marched, and got civil rights bills passed. We got more congressional votes in 2012 but weren’t close to a majority. The solution is increasing turnout. Conservatives want to suppress the vote. He plays that recording often played by Thom Hartmann of Paul Weyrich saying conservatives do better when fewer people vote. Recordings of Republicans saying they’re going to win because of photo ID laws. Ellison says he’s going to up the vote in CD5, and how easy it would be to keep CD8 with increased turnout. Stresses door to door person to person. He’s asking DFLers to commit to 35 more votes per precinct. That’s his goal in the 5th. He might be the first speaker not to mention Trump. Even though he’s a video going around of commentators saying Trump can’t win, and he’s the one ho says Trump might win. I’ll link it if I find it.
Ryan Winkler introduces Paul Thissen. Thissen is asking for an emphasis on the legislature. From accounts I’ve read of the GOP convention, they hardly mentioned president. They probably bashed Hillary, but they are basically feeling hopeless for president, at least in Minnesota. But they think, realistically, that they can win both houses of the legislature. They want to hold CD2 and flip CD8 too, but the legislature is what they’re aiming at. If want Dayton do to more than be, to use his analogy, the goalie who just stops the other team from scoring, we need to hold the Senate and take the House. Only two MNGOP incumbents are without a DFL challenger, so that’s a good start. Something like 40% of legislative seats get no challenger from the minority party, nationwide.
The motion they spent so much time on earlier passed. The unfortunate timing of the web stream cutting out means I never did figure out exactly what it was. I guess a majority don’t like superdelegates. It sounds superficial, but it would help if they were called “automatic” delegates. because “super” implies they get more votes or a veto, and indeed a lot of people have been confused about. They get only one vote, but they’re delegates by virtue of the position they hold, which is just fine by me.
The platform they explained is the state platform. The national platform doesn’t get decided here. Delegates have a written ballot, and the commission chairs were explaining that a non-vote is a no vote. They’re going to hold DNC elections, which means the people who represent Minnesota on the Democratic National Committee. They travel wherever in the country meetings are held and pay their own way, all volunteer time. So not sure it’s a job I’d want. The nominations committee is announcing their choices. Delegates don’t always regard the nominations committee, which is unfortunate since they vetted the candidates. But sometimes someone runs from the floor and makes a short speech, and that’s all delegates go by sometimes. And indeed, there are floor challenges. The chair mentioned that only candidates who applied to and screened with the nominations committee are eligible to run. That sounds like a fair compromise between letting just the committee decide or letting anyone run on the spur of the moment from the floor. If someone isn’t willing to screen, or can’t organize themselves to do so, they’re not serious candidates. They might win, but the odds they’ll show for anything later is slim. Just seen it too many times that someone runs on the spur of the moment, wins, and we never hear from them again.
Uh oh, sounds like they ran out of resolution ballots. That happened at my SD convention. Turned out the chair missed a box buried in his truck. Yes, that was me. Glad I thought to check the back of the truck. Probably staff are photocopying like mad.
So the DNC candidates are giving their speeches and the problem with electing party offices is clear. They have to be open, but delegates haven’t vetted candidates like for elected officials (with the exception of Republicans endorsing judicial candidates, see reference near the top) so delegates are voting on people they don’t know based on a speech. If anyone really wants a say in who gets elected to party office, and I wish more cared, go run for your local nominations committee. They almost always have empty slots because they can’t get people to do it. Unusually, Tim Walz just spoke for a DNC candidate. Don’t recall a congressman getting involved before. She is the incumbent who was picked by nominations, so I’m guessing she wins.
Learn something new everyday: I thought DNC member was a two-year term. It’s four years, as well as being expensive. I hope the candidates know that. Especially the winners.
The elected officials convocation is sort of superdelegate-lite. They have to be elected as state convention delegate, but they get elected by other elected officials rather than their organizing units. I’m not sure why they aren’t just automatically delegates.
The men and women are voted on separately because of party gender-balancing rules. I think those will change, because transgender people, and people who don’t identify with a binary gender, are speaking up saying gender balancing leaves them out. But women had good reason for wanting that when it was instituted, so I see that being a fight. Sometimes, though, in my district, we have elections where there are more female candidates and they lose out from gender balancing.
OK, another DNC candidate has a congressman supporting him. That’s a first so far as I know from congressmen, elected officials at all, to get involved in a DNC race, or any party race except maybe chair.
Several candidates have mentioned youth, theirs or how they bring in youth. As a chair, I must point out that some really reliable volunteers were past seventy when I first met them. “New” doesn’t mean “young”. “New” means new to the party, whatever age. Some fresh energy comes from people who don’t have time to get active until they’re retired. They’re working, they have kids to raise, elderly parents to care for, just life sometimes demanding their time, and they get involved when life-changes give them time. OK, some people don’t have time until they’re eligible for Social Security. That’s still new! I’m never, ever, going to discourage someone from getting active because of their age, young or old.

PC crashed, no idea what I missed, and I lost some brilliant comments too, ugh. I think I was going on about how DNC candidates called for Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to resign, I think because they dislike the presidential nomination process. I’m more bothered by how she runs the party in general, and I feel the same as when I called for her to resign. Chair is a full-time job, and congress is a full time job. She’s doing both poorly. Quit one, either. And the president needs to stop choosing incumbent elected officials as chair because they split their time and do a half-assed job. Yes, I thought Tim Kaine had the same problem. And why does the president pick the chair? It doesn’t work that way at any other level. OK, save quick before the next crash.

I’ll split the difference regarding my comment about the president picking the national chair. OK, I get that he or she has a big stake in how that person does the job, but all Democrats have stake. How about when DNC members pick the chair, they make a point of picking someone the president approves of? But no incumbent elected officials. We wouldn’t pick a member of congress for state chair, but we do for national? That’s nuts.
I’m glad that nominations committee member mentioned how much time they put in. I was on a nominations committee once, and it was damned annoying to have that work disregarded by delegates. Though delegates had no idea. Maybe as SOP, nominations chairs should always explain that when they present the candidates.
They’re in the process of voting. Another person who has to hear his own voice whines about the location. All locations have their downsides. Good grief. Does that really require taking time on the floor?
Some people learning the hard way, bring food to conventions. Lunch time is during some bit of business you didn’t care about. Or vote and then leave the floor. Likewise with bathroom breaks. I get the frustration with votes taking an unreasonably long time. It really is just a small number of people taking a long time. I don’t know what to do about it. Most delegation chairs and CD chairs haven’t done this before and don’t know the process, and apparently hearing in the hall is hard if people are talking. But they talk when nothing is going on, and hob-nobbing is part of what people do at conventions, so there’s the conflict. If you’re listening on the web stream, apparently you’re getting better sound than they get in the hall. I get why delegates are frustrated, and the way some delegates want to hurry or skip the speakers shows why guest speakers try to show up early.
“Freezing the floor” seems to be confusing a lot of delegates at conventions this year. Not just whoever complained about door’s opening It’s been used so long that chairs don’t think to explain it, and delegates think they can’t leave. We need a better term,but anyway, chairs need to explain that a frozen floor means you can leave. You just can’t come in.
Terri Bonhoff is speaking, but the stream just cut out, so no idea what she’s saying. I’m thinking some of these drops aren’t on site, but are my PC losing the connection. I suppose web traffic is heavy. Anyway, I’m glad we have candidate with a legislative background in CD3, which is a purple district, but it’s really hard to beat an incumbent congressman. I hate predicting Erik Paulsen wins, but thus I expect. But that shouldn’t stop us from trying, because you never know when you’re going to get lucky. The web stream is up, but the sound is out of sync. I think I’ll just listen and not watch a while. I caught almost none of her speech.

The head of the state AFL-CIO is speaking. I feel sympathy for the speakers trying to speak now. The delegates really want a recess. Honestly, nothing he said needed saying.
A delegate is complaining about handicapped accessibility. Just like the person who complained about the space earlier, they sound like valid complaints, but what is the convention chair supposed to do about it, or other delegates supposed to do? Talk to the staff who can actually move a table. Honestly, some people just have to have their moment on the floor even though everyone is tired.
They’re taking a recess before getting on with national delegate elections, and so am I.
I just got back and so did they. As my wife said, just in time for people to go to the microphones and find something to whine about. I’m hopeful getting something to eat will improve the mood though. Nope, just a five minute warning. OK. While they’re stopped, it’s worth mentioning again that if it seems like the nomination process is different in every state, that’s because … it’s different in every state. State’s have run elections their own peculiar way literally since the first elections after we declared independence from Britain. So if what you see elsewhere seems odd, or different from what you heard, it is. In Minnesota, the number of national delegates was decided by the ballot at the precinct caucuses. Who got elected as a delegate from there, or t the next levels, doesn’t matter. All delegates are deciding is which individuals get to be the national delegates, not who they support. How many delegates showed up for Hillary or Bernie has no effect on how many national delegates they get.

Tina Smith is speaking. Goes after Trump for comparing wives to real estate. I’m just noticing Republican legislative leaders are being let off with few mentions. Looks like a lot of Democrats have hit upon the strategy of bringing up Trump and letting him drag down other Republicans. That’s what we have to do, not just go after Trump, but make sure to connect him to other Republicans. She has a theme of if it’s radical to believe some common liberal things, then be a radical. If it’s radical to think every child should be able to attend pre-school, etc.

The convention just decided to move consideration of party constitution changes to the central committee, which makes sense since once a convention elects delegates, people leave. You’ll never get tired delegates to stay for more business, especially not arcane party business. They’re trying to move consideration of platform items likewise. It comes after national delegates, so it won’t happen anyway. Might as well move it. The central committee is the governing body between conventions. There are going to be elections for electors too. Those are the people who actually vote in the electoral college. It’s perfunctory, but in fact when we vote for president in the general election, we’re actually voting for electors, and nothing but their own word binds them. They can vote for anybody they want. Yes, it’s nuts. I’m not convinced it made sense even in the 18th century, and sure has been obsolete most of the time the country has existed.
Anyway, I don’t see how they can put that off until after delegate elections, because too few delegates will stay. That’s why at all conventions electing delegates comes last. Maybe you could do it with a few people provided no one mentions there’s not a quorum, but good luck with that.
I see on the Uptake site they’re going to have a separate stream for the room where Hillary supporters will elect their delegates. That’s here. I infer that Bernie supporters will be in the main hall. The way this works is the convention will break into subcaucuses for each candidate, who will have a certain number of delegates to elect. I think the plan is to let candidates give a brief speech, I presume a minute or two since there are usually lots of candidates, and then the subcaucus votes for however many delegates their allowed. So if they get five delegates, they pick their five preferences. Maybe the hope with other business is it can be done while they vote counting goes on, since that’s tricky in multi-seat elections with a ton of candidates. But really, most delegates won’t care enough to wait to find out who won. They’re going to vote and go.
There’s a complaint from the floor about gender balancing leaving out people who don’t identify with one. The parliamentarian explained that state rules have adapted, but we’re under national rules for national positions, which includes delegates. So the national party hasn’t caught up with us yet. Also, the balance has to be by the whole delegation, which makes it tougher. Yet more complaints from the floor about stuff that has already been dealt with. There’s a plea to delegates not to go to the mics if they don’t really have to. Big applause.

Steve Simon is speaking. Note to elected officials, I know you have other things on you schedule, but do yourselves a favor and speak early, because delegates really don’t want to hear from you late in a convention. Simon points out that he won by 1.4%, or what Al Franken calls landslide. Just a note, Franken won by a recount in 2008, but he actually won by a lot in 2014. Simon says Minnesota slipped to 6th in voter turnout in 2014 after leading the country nine elections in a row. Not voting isn’t an act of rebellion, it’s an act of surrender.
Melissa Hortman and Erin Murphy are speaking. I’m guessing there’s regional balance in picking legislative assistant leaders, since Murphy is from St. Paul and Hortman is from the suburbs. They have the same thing in the Senate, since Tom Bakk is rural, and he has both urban and suburban assistants. First they’re showing a video about how badly run the MNGOP House has been compared to smooth functioning when the DFL ran it. A bunch of DFL state representatives are on stage too. Erin Murphy starts out with a story about an immigrant child wondering if she or her parents will have to leave if Trump is elected. Given how Trump is such an authoritarian and doesn’t seem to get how the government works, I can’t say he won’t try to deport her. He and his supporters talk about “illegal” immigrants, but I’m not sure they think any immigrants are “legal”. Murphy reconnects that to the chaos of the legislature. Speaker Kurt Daudt isn’t getting named much, but he is sure going to be tied to Trump. Not to mention how the MNGOP not only didn’t fix things, they got in the way when other people tried to address rural broadband, highways, other infrastructure. Their rural constituents were urged to vote MNGOP on resentment of the metro area, but the DFL actually did more. It’s hard to explain that when small towns struggle while the metro grows, and the metro economy has been good. But the growth isn’t happening everywhere.
And somebody delays the long convention to complain about the convention being long. I’m just being honest, not trying to offend anyone, when I say that very few remarks from the convention floor are at all helpful. Frankly, I do think some people just want to hear themselves talk. If you don’t like the way conventions are run, bring it up between conventions, or join a convention committee so you can get it right in the first place. But don’t complain during the convention when there’s bugger-all anyone can do about it.
They’ve split into subcaucuses. Follow which you prefer I guess. Someone with Bernie interrupts a vote to complain about the time limit for running for national delegate. Someone is running for chair of this semi-convention based on how much he likes Bernie and his demographics. Folks, you better pick a chair he can run things. They why they’re electing separate chairs, I don’t know.
I’m switching back and forth between streams, which maybe isn’t the best way. I think what happened is each campaign set a slate of chosen candidates, and the Bernie supporters are debating whether to accept that. I didn’t catch if there’s a Hillary slate, but they are moving on to hearing from candidates. Looks like the Hillary supporters are trying to arrange themselves in crowded space. So either there’s no campaign slate, or they chose not to abide by it. Anyway, that’s how delegate election actually happens in Minnesota. It’s a bit painful to sit through, maybe very painful, but at least anyone who wants to know how delegates are chosen can see it and know. There are objections to the campaign picking delegates on the Bernie side. People are trying to sneak in speeches under guise of asking questions. That always happens too. Also, my understanding is even if other candidates get elected, the campaigns have final approval.
Watching both caucuses struggle to make a process on the fly, we have got to do better. Democracy is nice, but that’s not democracy when you have to make up a process for holding elections as well as hold the elections. And that’s why even before health issues, I didn’t really want to be a state delegate in a year when we’re electing national delegates. I heard the Hillary chair mention that at 30 seconds per candidate, speeches would take over an hour. Some people want to subcaucus, but they’re already in a subcaucus. We need a better process.
With that, I’m not sitting through the rest of it after blogging for eight and a half hours already. I doubt they’re going to be able to get to picking electors, so probably this is the last business. I’ll just say that watching this, and given that campaigns approve their delegates anyway, maybe we should skip the election and just make the campaign’s choices final. Especially since filling each demographic box is really complicated, too much so for a many-seat election.

From Dan Burns: I see the Strib this morning has a front-page article all-but-openly longing for controversy, clashes, and chaos, that they can headline tomorrow. Uh, hopefully they’ll be disappointed.

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