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Minnesota Governor

inside-baseballEnough time has gone by since the 2016 Democratic Primary that we can now, I think, separate the unreachable from the merely burned Democrats. Hillary supporters are finally admitting that their candidate may have lost (even though she actually did win the popular vote) and Bernie supporters have stopped calling foul on the entire election process.
First, from me, full disclosure: I liked both candidates a lot. I decided, as I generally do, to pick the one that I thought would win the nomination, if possible, to support as soon as I was pretty certain of that.
Pursuant to this, as many of you who read my blog know, I developed a model for predicting primary and caucus outcomes. My model out performed everyone else’s, including the famous FiveThirthEight. I got a few “wrong” but actually got them more right by predicting the percentage of vote split between Hillary and Bernie very closely, but since the vote was essentially 50-50, which one won was a tossup, and in a couple of races, my toss went the wrong way. Still, my numbers were closer than everyone else’s.
Realizing this was happening I felt comfortable supporting Hillary Clinton at one point, though given the vitriol building around the primary, within the party, I kept my mouth shut for about an extra 10 days.
But, even as an eventual Hillary Supporter, I still liked Bernie, and also, I understood how some of the Bernie supporters felt about the process.


Some of them were the outsiders, and many didn’t know very much about how it all works. There was a lot of negativity that was really based on not understanding the system, and from believing some really stupid lies. For example, the whole coin toss thing from Iowa.

In Minnesota, I witnessed Sanders supporters finish a caucus with one or two fewer delegates than they could have had because they simply did not understand how delegates were counted (in a walking caucus). They had piles of time, they kept calling for “democracy” and stuff, Hillary supporters were telling them, “reorganize that group, and that group, you’ll get more delegates” but they didn’t listen.

So yes, Bernie lost fair and square, but at the same time, many Bernie supporters left the process with significant butt-hurt, and in my expert opinion (yes, I’m an expert on political butt-hurt) some of those bad feelings were self inflicted or simply not legit, while some of those bad feelings were very valid.
One of the complaints that was valid was in the area of endorsements. You may remember that Clinton got way more of the usual endorsements than Sanders. Do you also remember that these endorsements came way early in the process? Not all, but at least a few of them, were given to Clinton weeks before they were given to any candidate during the 2008 primary.
Sanders supporters were justifiably upset at that. There should be a respectful amount of time before deciding which candidate should get an endorsement. The accusation made by Bernie supporters was that the Democratic Party was playing inside politics.
As a Democrat and a Hillary supporter, I have to agree with that. And, as a Democrat and a person who wants to turn our state Blue, I am concerned that the party is doing the same thing again.
Collin Peterson, RT Rybak, and David Wellstone have already endorsed their candidate for Minnesota Governor, just now, so early in the process that we are not even fully sure who is running. They Waltzed into the race and endorsed Congressman Walz way too early. As far as I know, these are the only endorsements of anybody in this race. There is no way that this isn’t some sort of inside politics.
Look, Walz would be a great governor (but see below) and I like these three guys. But we had a race with several women being mentioned, some dude comes along, and three dudes jump on his bandwagon. OK, maybe this wasn’t a sexist-jerk act, but it certainly was a knee-jerk act.
These endorsements won’t mean anything. Endorsements are only marginally important, somewhere just below lawn signs in their campaign related oomph. But, the early insider endorsements do have an effect. They make people feel like they are being left out of the process.
In other words, the total negative impact of early insider baseball endorsements on the process will cause more DFL votes to go away than the total positive impact of having particular endorsements would have on a given candidate’s standing. In behavioral biology and game theory, we call this a spiteful act.
Rybak, Wellstone, and Peterson can’t take back their endorsements, but it would sure be nice if everyone else could show some restraint.

Below: I’ll add this thought. A seated Democratic member of Congress who leaves his seat to run for something else, and thus gives that seat to the Republicans, in a year like this, is a bone head. Sorry, it is true. If Walz gives his sea to the Republicans next election, and the US House is Republican by one vote, then he will have to … I don’t know what. But something.
Comment below fold.


Political libertarians never grow up

by Dan Burns on March 2, 2015 · 0 comments

libertarianBest analysis of contemporary “libertarianism” that I’ve seen in a while.

Libertarians believe themselves controversial and cool. They’re desperate to package themselves as dangerous rebels, but in reality they are champions of conformity. Their irreverence and their opposition to “political correctness” is little more than a fashion accessory, disguising their subservience to – for all their protests against the “political elite” – the real elite…
Libertarians proclaim an anti-government position, but they are only opposing the last measures of protection that remain in place to prevent the government from full mutation into an aristocracy. By advocating for the removal of all social programs, libertarians are not rebelling, as much as they are reinforcing the prevailing ethos of “bootstrap” capitalism…
When children yell “you’re not the boss of me” they believe they are launching a rebellion against the household establishment, but they are conforming to the codes of behavior visible among all children. Libertarians are attempting to practice the same political voodoo – transforming conformity into rebellion – without realizing that their cries for freedom coalesce with their childlike culture.

In Minnesota, I don’t know whether it’s more accurate to call political libertarianism “dormant,” or just plain “done.” Past efforts, earlier this decade, to gain power in the state GOP, didn’t work. In 2014, their most prominent candidate, Hannah Nicollet, a former Ron Paul staffer, ran for governor on the Independence Party ticket, and got 2.88% of the vote. (The IP, on the whole, performed poorly enough so as to lose major party status in the state.) There is a Libertarian Party; its ticket got 0.92% for governor. Presumably politically inclined libertarians here have something in mind.

Image: Occupy Seattle Facebook


Dylan Brogan live on Saturday’s show…

by TheShannonFiles on March 11, 2011 · 0 comments

Dylan will join us live from Madison, with the latest on Wisconsin’s labor unrest. It’s expected that a few thousand farmers will be bringing their tractors to the State Capitol, to protest along side state workers.

Dylan Brogan is a producer on WTDY’s Sly in the Morning show. The host, John “Sly” Sylvester is a long time advocate of worker’s rights.

We will also debut our Dump Bachmann segment, featuring Ken Avidor from Plus, we’ll talk about Governor Dayton’s decision to not accept WCCO Radio’s offered time slot, and Lady Gaga breaking off her deal with Target.

All this and much more. We go live at noon


Mark Dayton Is Not Like The Last Guy

by Dan Burns on February 11, 2011 · 0 comments

Yeah, there are people that post here that actually disrespect the political coverage at Minneapolis Star Tribune even more than I do, and that takes some doing.  But some good stuff still makes it into print/online over there, like this article about Mark Dayton’s first month as governor.  The author doesn’t go so far as to say so directly, but the general sense of “this is certainly a most welcome change after that last guy, talk about good riddance,” comes across pretty clearly.

Dayton does start his term with a goodwill that former Gov. Tim Pawlenty lacked from opposing lawmakers after years of budget battles.

It is a friendliness that Dayton has been careful to curry. He has assiduously avoided saying he will veto bills. That tactic stands in stark contrast to Pawlenty, who set the modern record for vetoes and took to labeling some bills “veto-bait.”

Said record is 96 vetoes.

Dayton did, of course, veto a major bill, yesterday.  The point is that he didn’t spout off, all along, along the lines of, “…you legislators are wasting your time, you peons need to knuckle under and realize that I’m ‘the man’ here…,” which was the gist of what his predecessor did, especially the last couple of years.

Of course, the end result is what matters.  I suspect that Dayton will end up making some deals with the devil, and that will piss me off.  But given the magnitude of the mess left by his predecessor, his options are limited and mostly unpleasant.  And in two years, with the legislature back in DFL hands, he can fix a lot of it, and hopefully extract some payback in the process.

On a related note, it appears that many of Pawlenty’s executive orders will be allowed to die quietly.


Either Tom Emmer is still stuck on the first stage of grief because of his disastrous campaign to date, which recently voted several staffers off the island, or he thinks that he’s campaigning to become governor of The Matrix.  Tom Emmer’s  most recent "I have absolutely no budget plan" distraction technique unveiled today is the red pill inspired:  "There is no spoon".

From Tom Emmer via MPR:

Where is the deficit? We talk about ‘You got to raise taxes, government has to invest.’ I’ll say it again, government in the state of Minnesota is scheduled to get a 7 percent increase in the next biennium. Government will have more money to spend in the next two years than it is spending right now.

You see, Minnesotans? There is no spoon. Whoa. The deficit is all in your head! If the budget crisis doesn’t exist —bam– no plan needed.

Even with his attempt to melt our minds by going all Neo on us, no one is fooled. Despite Emmer’s selective accounting, we know we’re facing a historic budget crisis, and as Tom Scheck immediately points out, the major reason for the uptick in state spending cited by Emmer is that Tim Pawlenty’s kicking of the budgetary can  is coming home to roost. (Mixed metaphors win elections)

With over a billion in school shifts and half a billion in temporary cuts coming off the chopping block, many of the gimmicks bullied through the legislature by Tim Pawlenty–with the full support of Tom Emmer and House Republicans— are putting the state in an even worse situation next year.

Instead of owning up to his role in the budget debacle we find ourselves in — and provide us with  what would actually be a "new direction" — Tom Emmer has decided to try and confuse us. Whether it’s mashing up $20 billion and 20%, or comparing Minnesota to a wagon full of Clydesdales, Tom Emmer is willing to say anything, except what he would actually do to the services we all use and rely on if he became governor.

The problem? It’s pretty hard to dance around the fact that he introduced things like cutting the minimum wage while pushing for lower taxes on corporations. We wont forget that —when he bothered to show up to vote— that he consistently sided with big businesses instead of working Minnesotans. For the new direction the Minnesota needs someone ready to make the hard decisions to move us forward. We need someone who can lay out a plan to get Minnesota back on track, not more Pawlenty-styled governing by press release.

This is cross-posted from Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s blog, where I work. Come by for a visit real soon, ya hear?

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ReNEW Follows Through on Pledge to MAK

by Curmudgeon on May 16, 2010 · 9 comments

Much has been written and discussed about the participation of ReNEW Minnesota DFL gubernatorial endorsement. A lesser known part of the sometimes controversial pledge taken last January by the ReNEW delegates was a commitment to conduct a campaign door-knock kickoff for whoever received the nomination. This kickoff was scheduled for May 15.

MAK took a break from the intensity of the waning days of the legislative session to stroll across University Avenue to address the fired up group.

She promised participation with ReNEW during the campaign and into the governor’s office. This was what the audience wanted to hear, but not what a handful of capitol media present wanted to hear. They cornered her in the kitchen to tease out more controversial morsels. No evidence of success.


What the DFL Lost

by Curmudgeon on May 4, 2010 · 13 comments

Yesterday I declined two other opportunities to march in the big Minneapolis Mayday Parade to walk along with the Mayor’s band of supporters. I don’t live in Minneapolis nor did a bunch of the other teal-shirted crew. Ever since meeting RT in the Draft Obama days, I’ve been a believer in his incredible talent. He easily won the DFL caucus straw poll last winter and has always been a crowd pleaser. I was an RT delegate at the DFL convention, so my view is not completely objective.

It tool a little less than 30 seconds after RT joined the crew to feel the pain of what the DFL establishment discarded. We lost a campaigner and a people person the likes of few others (Humphrey, Wellstone, Ellison). He was dancing with the kids drum corps beside us. He was touching the flesh with a sincerity impossible to fake.

As the parade went on he ran continuously from side to side, shaking and touching hands of smiling faces. His energy infects all around him, walkers and bystanders.

I hope that Margaret can develop some of those campaigning skills, some of that intense excitement that RT does so easily. She faces a tough primary, one that could turn to a better campaigner.

We may well be on the way to extend our governor election losing string. I sincerely hope not.  


Live Blogging Team Thissen behind the scenes

by Thissen 2010 on April 23, 2010 · 0 comments

Team Thissen is attempting to live blog from our team room.  And by Team Thissen, I mean me (or someone that I ask), Carrie Lucking, Communications Director for Paul Thissen.  In case you’re wondering what a “team room” is, they used to be called “war rooms,” but we’ve wisely moved on from that term.

I’ll try to stay updated, but I predict things will get hectic here and there (understatement alert!), which means I may go dark on occasion.

Here’s a quick recap of events, since we’ve been here for quite some time:

Our first caravan traveled to Duluth yesterday and arrived to set up our team room.  Moving an entire campaign office – computers, printers, copiers, tables, chairs, and even the little things like paper clips, pens, clipboards, signs, campaign lit, etc. is quite an operation.  Katie, Chelsie, and Steve rocked out the logistics on this.

Our team room is the UMD men’s hockey locker room.  The upside: It’s HUGE.  Downside: If any of you have been affiliated with hockey equipment in any way, you are aware of the…aroma that permeates from said equipment.  Our team room is not an olfactory delight, but it smells like hard work!

We got to bed at a pretty reasonable time last night and most of us got 4 hours of sleep, which is a unique delight in this line of work.

We opened at 6:45AM and have been buzzing since that time – we are properly caffeinated, our visibility team is out, materials are prepped, head sets are on (as someone who has a small-ish head, I can tell you that this is a bigger feat than one might expect and it’s really rough on the hair), and orange ties are on our leads.  I’ve run through the hall twice, which is a nice start to the day.

We’ll update more after our lead meeting.  For now, go democracy!

11:00AM Update
And, we’re convened!  But a few minutes ago, we had an awesome floor team meeting.  I refer to our team as “the whiz kids” they are so amazing (and it makes those of us in more advanced years feel young again, which is a nice benefit.)

We shook the walls of our team room cheering at the end of the meeting.  We’re ready. (And yes, you should suspect ANY campaign who talks about enthusiasm, but I’m serious.)

And I’ve now officially tied A LOT of orange ties.  That old debate coaching experience is coming in handy.

5:13pm update
Turns out that my gut feeling that this was going to be hard to do was well-founded.  We just finished our 2nd floor team meeting, and are psyched for tomorrow.

Here’s a quick update from the inside:
-Still smelly.
-Shout out to Terrie for the excellent Subway dinner…was that lunch?  Some sort of sustenance.  
-I’m told that I should announce that “there is nothing cooler than data” from our data team.
-I cannot confirm the rumor that someone on Team Thissen sang Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” over the headset, but I will not deny it.
-A local State Representative walked into our Team Room and asked us if she could make sure people knew she supported Paul.  That was pretty cool.

We finished the team meeting with a rousing cheer of excitement because one of our MVV’s got to choose the song Paul is singing tonight at karaoke.  Want to know which song won?  Join us in the Skyway across from Sneaker’s at 8:15pm and hear Paul sing it!

10:46PM Friday night – Holy crowded party, Batman!  I’d like to report that Paul sang well, but I couldn’t get anywhere near the back of the room where he sang.  It was a mad house.  

2:44PM Saturday – It’s INTENSE in here.


The Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council endorsed Tom Bakk in the MN-GOV race today.  They cite his past role in the union and long-time support of union issues.

Council President Harry Melander said Bakk is hitting the nail on the head with what’s happening in the economy and what’s on the minds of voters with his campaign message of “jobs, jobs, jobs”.

“More than any other industry in this state, construction is experiencing brutal unemployment,” Melander said. “Tom knows firsthand what our members are going through, and will fight for jobs for them and their families.”

A carpenter for 34 years and a former union leader, Bakk said this endorsement is very personal to him. Bakk has worked with union members and their employers to build Minnesota’s homes, businesses, schools, churches, roads, and bridges all across the state.

“My Brothers and Sisters have seen how hard I’ve worked to improve their standard of living and allow them to retire with dignity,” Bakk said. “They know I have a passion for putting people to work and understand our state needs a governor who will make job creation the top priority.
(Bakk campaign press release email)


Tom Bakk unveils his economic plan

by The Big E on November 6, 2009 · 3 comments

Minnesota DFL Governor candidate Sen. Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook) unveiled his economic plan today.  

Today I unveiled my plan to make jobs, jobs, jobs the foundation of a Bakk Administration. Last week, more than 174,000 Minnesotans collected an unemployment check and each week in October more than 500 people exhausted their unemployment benefits. Until people are back to work, there won’t be the revenue necessary to invest in the areas Minnesotans value, such as education and health care.  

During the 1981-82 recession I was out of work and ran out of unemployment. I am speaking from the heart when I talk about the importance of having a paycheck on Friday to take care of a family’s needs and how I understand the stress Minnesotans without a job are facing. When I talk about the need to get people back to work to address the state’s financial challenges, I am speaking from my experience as chair of the Senate Tax Committee.

To learn more about my proposal, visit my website.  

Our next governor must unite labor and business, Democrats and Republicans, and rural, suburban, and urban interests to move Minnesota forward. I am the candidate who has built the relationships that span all of those interests and can bring everyone together.