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Keith Ellison and the broken edge of the bottle

by Eric Ferguson on May 4, 2014 · 2 comments

“You see the red? That’s the Republicans. They’re lower than us by a lot. But guess what. That line, it waves up and down, but it’s pretty steady. Don’t you think so? Look at our line. It looks like the broken edge of a bottle.”
US Rep. Keith Ellison was endorsed for reelection at yesterday’s CD5 DFL convention. The video is his endorsement and speech, starting with a nomination by Sen. Al Franken. He’s unimpressed with his own win and thinks no one else should be impressed either, not in such a safely blue district. When he won his first election in 2006, the fifth district had a lack of turnout but plenty of excuses why it as last in among Minnesota’s congressional districts in turnout. He didn’t accept those excuses, and in 2012 it topped the state. It comes down to one of the best ground games in the nation. You can hear him making the point to the delegates that if you aren’t helping with the ground game, you’re really not helping. For reasons I can’t fathom, many of his Democratic colleagues are unwilling to engage in a ground game and improve turnout beyond what’s necessary to eke out their own reelections. Do they refuse to believe the ground game matters? Do they not care about the other Democrats on the ballot? Maybe there’s something about the state’s political culture that assumes a serious ground game. Don’t really know. We do know that we can’t win the House or state legislature by improving turnout in safe districts, but we sure can win statewide elections, and stop the noxious Republicans who have caused all sorts of damage from the governor’s office, as state attorneys general or secretaries of state.
I have to think the Republicans know what a difference turnout in this district has made, given that photo ID advocates (“photo ID” please, stop saying “voter ID”, not the same thing) tried to impose it in just Minneapolis. Or maybe they were just acting from the Republican principle that urban votes, by definition, shouldn’t count. “But we won most of the counties!” “Look how red the map is!” “Excluding the cities Minneapolis and St. Paul, I — as the Republican candidate — actually won the state by approximately 6 percentage points. That last quote is real; from Tom Emmer, defeated 2010 gubernatorial candidate, who is now running for Congress — in a non-urban district now represented by Michele Bachmann.
This video looks like it was shot with a phone camera at the back of the hall, and, well, there’s a good reason for that. Did my best to clean it up, and the sound is tolerable. Maybe treat it like radio. The other videos are State Attorney General Lori Swanson, running for reelection, and State Rep. Deb Hilstrom, seeking party endorsement for the open seat for Secretary of State. A representative from her opponent, State Rep. Steve Simon, spoke before I got there.


Mac Hall May 4, 2014 at 7:45 am

I read the Dayton State of the State speech and it was solid — hitting successes and touting things that still needed to be done … and unafraid to stress the importance of MNsure and the Affordable Care Act.

When I review Al Franken, Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum and Rick Nolan, I sense the same thing … they are willing to talk about jobs in relationship to the skills gap … the need for student debt reform legislation … investments in infrastructure … reforming the tax code … and embracing ObamaCare.

But the others, including the candidates, seem to be ME-too politicians … they are for the “middle class” and “jobs” … guess what, that’s what the Republicans say too.

Candidates need to find a “core issue” … if you ask John Kline “what time is it”, he will respond “time to repeal Obamacare” … John Kline has a core issue … so does Keith Ellison and the others cited above … but what is the core issue for the others ?

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