Minnesota’s precinct caucuses will be held on Tuesday February 4. I’m hoping you attend and nudge your friends to attend. I have produced the accompanying Democratic Visions video as a kind of motivational sneak preview.
But I here share with you a portion of a January 18 letter-to-the-editor published in The Journal, a New Ulm, Minnesota newspaper.
The letter is co-signed by the Brown County Chairs of the Republican and DFL political parties. That would never happen in Senate District 48 (Eden Prairie/Southern Minnetonka). The political culture here in the southwest suburbs may be trending blue, but right wing activists continue to dominate the local Republican Party and, given early PAC mail attacks on moderate, freshman, Representative Yvonne Selcer (DFL, HD 48A), political party lefties and righties aren’t likely to co-author love-notes about Minnesota’s democratic process.
In 2012, Senate District 48 voters provided right wing ideologue David Hann with a small, re-election victory and Senate District 49 voters (Edina, West Bloomington and pockets of Minnetonka and Eden Prairie) stunned Tea Party Republican operatives by voting in rookie DFLer, Melisa Franzen over uber right winger Keith Downey. Downey had hoped to move from the House to the Senate. He now famously chair’s the Republican Party of Minnesota. Hann famously heads the Senate minority caucus. Remember The Peter Principle? A member of an organization will rise or get promoted to the level of his or her incompetence. DFLers are subject to the same dynamic.
But its damn comforting to know that local GOP and DFL officials elsewhere in Minnesota are, in tandem, making a good case for caucus attendance. New faces can oxygenate. Here’s what they co-signed:
As leaders within our political parties in Brown County, we would like to personally encourage you to attend your precinct caucus on Tuesday, Feb. 4. The precinct caucus is a gathering of your friends, family, and neighbors to exercise your rights in the American political process. It is your first opportunity during an election year to talk about issues, learn about the candidates running for statewide and local office, make recommendations for changes in your party’s platform, and choose delegates to represent you at upcoming county conventions and beyond. You are welcome to express your opinions on important issues, or you can come just to listen and observe. The atmosphere is similar to that of a neighborhood town hall meeting where the exchange of ideas is encouraged and all participants are treated with fairness and respect, regardless of whether you are expressing your opinion or just listening to others. The caucus system in Minnesota is a unique system in the United States, where ordinary citizens have the opportunity to participate not only in the selection of the candidates who will represent your political party but also in defining the issues and positions under which those candidates will run in elections. It is participation citizen democracy in action.
Jim Hahn – Chair, Brown County, Republican Committee
Lori Sellner – Chair, Brown County DFL Committee
So, dear Possums, in New Ulm, where the shadow of the giant Herman the German memorial rises high above drifted village and corn stubble, a welcome “we’re-in-this-together” advisory penned by partisans.