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We know that Hillary has outspent Donald Trump by outrageous margins, especially in Florida and nationally. It’s frightening for Mrs. Clinton to think that she’s spent that much money and leads by the slimmest of margins with essentially 6 weeks left before Election Day. What should frighten Mrs. Clinton is the news that “Donald Trump’s campaign is expected to drop an estimated $140 million on ads through Election Day, AP reported late Friday.”

According to the article “The Republican nominee’s team will devote $60 million of the TV ads to local markets, including Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maine, New Mexico and Wisconsin. The remaining $40 million of TV funding will go toward national commercials.” The article also says “The buy would include $100 million in television airtime and $40 million in digital ads.”

This marks the first significant, sustained ad buy by Mr. Trump. He’s within striking distance or ahead of Mrs. Clinton in most battleground states, including in the states listed above. It isn’t just the size of the ad buy, though, that should frighten Mrs. Clinton.

It’s that he’s connecting with voters that she isn’t connecting with. Specifically, he’s connecting with blue collar workers, especially in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. He’s leading in Ohio. It’s close in Michigan. It’s extremely close in Pennsylvania. Thanks to these ad buys and the tight races in those states, Mrs. Clinton will have to play defense in these states. We’ve seen that she isn’t that adept at playing defense.

It should frighten Mrs. Clinton that the states where she’s on defense in is expanding. The question that’s now on the table is whether these ad buys will break through Mrs. Clinton’s firewall. At this point, that’s a distinct possibility. If she’s playing defense in that many Rust Belt blue collar states, she’s got a real fight on her hands.

Kellyanne Conway, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, explained things perfectly during this interview:

This ad buy will make the closing push extra-interesting. I’m certain this isn’t what Mrs. Clinton wanted.

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It isn’t surprising that the Establishment has a different perspective on whether to build a new Tech High School. The title of their Our View Editorial is “Vote ‘yes’ twice to deliver best value for schools.” To be fair, not everything in the editorial is foolishness.

For instance, they have a legitimate point when they say “If you think it’s adequately built to educate today’s youth — not to mention future generations — you have not been in its crowded hallways between classes, especially if your mobility is impaired.”

The question isn’t whether doing nothing is an option. It isn’t. The question is whether the options on this November’s ballot represent the best value for students and taxpayers. They don’t. The current options are the School Board’s choice. The School Board started with a goal, then they tried figuring out how to make it happen.

They didn’t ask, in any meaningful way anyway, what the district’s enrollments would be in 2020. They certainly didn’t think of what the district’s need would be in 2050. It’s certain that ISD742 will look dramatically different in 2040 than it looks today. This argument is total foolishness:

If both questions pass, the monthly increase in taxes for a $150,000 home will be about $13. Approving just a new Tech costs about $9 a month.

So what? The important question that still hasn’t gotten asked is what the district’s needs are. Telling me that the payments on something are $13 a month for the next generation doesn’t tell me whether that something will be useful for the next generation.

The other question that hasn’t been asked is why these prices reflect prevailing wage bids. The cost of everything is increased with prevailing wage bids. The quality doesn’t increase, either. Why would taxpayers want to pay extra for something that isn’t dramatically better? The unions might howl about this but that isn’t my responsibility. My responsibility is to vote for the best product at the least expensive price.

For example, to address neighborhood concerns about the future of the Tech campus, the district has said it will move its administrative offices and welcome center to the older parts of Tech. Similarly, more thorough research was done — and remains available — about the costs of building new compared with rebuilding old.

There’s no question that more information is available this time. Still, there’s no question that the School Board still hasn’t answered the most important questions. There’s no question that building a new high school and renovating Apollo doesn’t represent a great value to students and taxpayers. It’s too expensive and it’s too big for our needs.

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The ISD742 School Board is trying to ram a $143,000,000 bonding referendum down its residents’ throats because they started with a predetermined destination, then put together a plan to reach that destination. In the Board’s arrogance, they’ve decided they didn’t need to listen to their constituents. That decision was the worst decision they’ve collectively ever made.

The Board decided they wanted to build a new Tech HS without first determining what the students’ and the district’s needs were. They made that decision without first determining whether the district was shrinking or growing. (It’s shrinking.) The plan that they’re promoting would equip St. Cloud with 2 high school buildings, each with a capacity of 1,800 students. The last full school year, high school enrollment for ISD742 was approximately 2,700 students.

The first question that must be asked by taxpayers is this: why the Board would overbuild the district’s needs. Claire VanderEyk, a Tech graduate who took an interest in last year’s referendum, wrote this post on her blog of Feb. 17, 2016. At the time, Claire wrote “I haven’t seen stats on this – but according to many people I’ve spoken with, District 742 is losing students. One cause of this, I’m told, is the quality of high schools in the neighboring districts of Sartell and Sauk Rapids. This is frustrating, I agree. It is difficult to maintain proper school facilities and high quality staff when the tax base that supports your district is dwindling.”

Claire stated that she thinks renovation is possible when she wrote “But, as I’ve said before, I have not been provided evidence that these issues cannot be overcome and would make the feasibility of retaining Tech High School as an educational facility for another 100 years impossible.” The truth is that there are parts of Tech that are quite usable.

The truth is that the Board hasn’t considered any option other than building a $100,000,000 brand new Tech HS that’s too big for the district’s needs.

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It isn’t a secret that I don’t like Paul Thissen. I find him to be a man of little character but 2 faces. He’s also a political hack. This post will highlight Rep. Thissen’s character flaws. This post will highlight what he’s done recently in private vs. what he’s said publicly.

This post will highlight some of the behind-the-scenes things that caused Gov. Dayton to announce that there won’t be a special session this fall. This article’s quotes of Speaker Daudt highlight Rep. Thissen’s lack of integrity. For instance, Speaker Daudt said “I’m particularly disappointed that Minority Leader Thissen refused to meet two days ago, and refused to even provide his availability to schedule a meeting with Governor Dayton and legislative leaders.” It’s impossible to negotiate with someone who won’t even schedule a negotiating session.

Rep. Thissen sang a different tune in this article, though:

Thissen, a DFLer from Minneapolis, said it was “House Republicans that didn’t really want to get a special session done. This Legislature proved it can’t function. I think they proved that back in May,” Thissen said. “I don’t think we gain anything (politically) by not getting a special session.”

What this past session proved is that the legislature doesn’t function properly if the Minority Leader is frequently attempting to sabotage good-faith attempts to accomplish things. Rep. Thissen fit that role perfectly.

Rep. Thissen has a history of not working well with others. This past May, 7 Republicans wrote a letter to Rep. Thissen. One of the things they said was “Throughout this session, we have witnessed a disturbing pattern of verbal abuse of Republican Staff by you on the floor of the House of Representatives.” A day later, Rep. Thissen apologized, which I wrote about in this post.

Shortly after becoming Speaker in 2015, Speaker Daudt negotiated an agreement between Sen. Bakk and Gov. Dayton. At the time, Gov. Dayton said “I’m confronted with two hostile bodies of the Legislature, one with a leader I believe I can trust (Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt) and one I know I can’t trust.” That’s something that the Twin Cities media praised Speaker Daudt for.

In May, 2015, Speaker Daudt and Sen. Bakk worked out a bipartisan budget agreement in an afternoon after spending the entire last full week of the session negotiating with Gov. Dayton. Despite all that proof that Speaker Daudt is a tough, fair negotiator, Rep. Thissen wants us to believe that Speaker Daudt isn’t interested in making a deal.

Still, we’re supposed to believe Rep. Thissen when he says that Speaker Daudt didn’t want to negotiate in good faith to get a bonding bill and a tax relief bill signed? Why should we trust Rep. Thissen considering all the scandalous things he’s done?

I’ll trust Speaker Daudt because he’s got a lengthy history of negotiating in good faith. I won’t trust Rep. Thissen because he’s got a lengthy history of undermining good faith negotiations for purely partisan reasons.

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DFL senators killed the House bonding bill in mid-May by insisting that the bill include funding for the Southwest Light Rail project. In June, Gov. Dayton killed middle class tax relief with a pocket veto. In July, Gov. Dayton refused to call a special session in House Republicans didn’t include funding for the Southwest Light Rail project. (Sounds like a broken record, doesn’t it?) In August, after the Met Council, CTIB and Hennepin County provided the local funding for the Southwest Light Rail project, Gov. Dayton hinted that he was open to a special session again.

Friday, Gov. Dayton sent a letter to Speaker Daudt saying that “he had ‘reluctantly concluded that the time for agreement on a Special Session has expired.'” It expired because Gov. Dayton didn’t get everything he wanted in the bill. Republicans insisted that specific highway projects be included in the bonding bill, including the Highway 14 project. Speaker Daudt addressed that, saying “House Republicans have initiated every meeting and discussion over the past two months to pass tax relief and funding for critical infrastructure projects like Highway 23, Highway 14, and countless others throughout the state.”

In the end, Gov. Dayton said that wasn’t enough:

But the infrastructure bill was more troublesome. Lawmakers solved the money issue — Dayton’s demands that Republicans add new funding for his priorities, including upgrades at the state’s psychiatric hospital in St. Peter. But a process issue proved intractable. Dayton objected on principle to the infrastructure bill’s earmarking of money for specific projects, and was backed up in this by a letter signed by a bipartisan range of current and former chairs of the Legislature’s transportation committees. Many lawmakers like earmarking because it lets them guarantee funding for key projects in their home districts. House leaders agreed to a compromise that would give the Department of Transportation more flexibility instead of dictating every project, but Dayton’s letter said that “remains unacceptable.”

Gov. Dayton is pretending like MnDOT ultimately decides what projects get done. That’s fiction. It’s indisputable that MnDOT has a say in which projects get done. The Met Council, CTIB and port authorities all have a say in it, too.

The first time that Gov. Dayton and the DFL rejected the special session, Gov. Dayton and the DFL said no because they put a higher priority on funding the SWLRT project than they put on providing middle class tax relief. The final time that Gov. Dayton and the DFL rejected the terms for a special session, they rejected it because they didn’t get to control who picked the highway improvement projects. The reality is that farmers, veterans, students and small businesses didn’t get tax relief because Gov. Dayton and the DFL didn’t put a high priority on it. Gov. Dayton and the DFL put a higher priority on a project that the vast majority of Minnesotans will never use. Then Gov. Dayton and the DFL said no to tax relief because they didn’t get to pick their transportation projects.

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According to this article, the protests continue in Charlotte, NC, but that the violence has gone down. That’s a welcome sign for Charlotte-Mecklenburg in the aftermath of the shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott.

According to the article, “Protesters flocked to Charlotte for a third straight night Thursday in the latest sign of mounting pressure for police to release video that might resolve the different accounts of the shooting death of a black man. There were contentious moments between demonstrators and police, but it was a far cry from the looting and destruction that was seen Wednesday night. Local officers’ ranks were augmented by members of the National Guard carrying rifles and guarding office buildings against the threat of property damage.”

While that’s definitely a step in the right direction, it isn’t definitive proof that Charlotte-Mecklenburg will soon be quieted down. I wish it was but it’s just a good first step.

Last night was relatively peaceful compared with Tuesday and Wednesday. That’s because “Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts signed documents Thursday night for the citywide curfew that runs from midnight to 6 a.m.” State troopers were also brought in to help with crowd control.

That means North Carolina didn’t make the same mistakes that Jay Nixon made in Ferguson, MO or that Stephanie Rawlings-Blake made in Baltimore, MD.

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Rick Nolan has a constitutional problem that can’t be solved. It isn’t that he’s done anything impeachable. It’s that he’s pretzeled himself into an impossible situation to squirm out of. In trying to sound reasonable on the Second Amendment and on terrorists, Nolan’s campaign manager said “suspected terrorists — those who aren’t allowed to fly on a plane with Americans — should not be allowed to purchase dangerous weapons.” The flaw — the gaping inconsistency, actually — with that statement is that there are lots of people on those no-fly lists who’ve done nothing that authorizes the federal government from stripping a person’s right to protect him- or herself.

This is where I often cite the fact that Steve Hayes and the late Sen. Ted Kennedy were accidentally on those no-fly lists and were constantly searched before boarding a plane. Think about the possibility of Ted Kennedy being put on the federal government’s watch list as a potential terrorist. I wasn’t crazy about Sen. Kennedy’s political beliefs but he certainly didn’t do anything to prevent him from protecting his family.

I’d love hearing Rep. Nolan explain what Sen. Kennedy did that would’ve justified the federal government telling him that he couldn’t protect his family in an emergency. I’d love hearing Rep. Nolan explain why Steve Hayes, who hasn’t committed any felonies, should be stripped of his God-given right to protect his family, especially without being afforded his due process rights.

It’s one thing if a person is taken to court to take their gun away because someone accused them of being a risk to themselves or others. That court would weight the evidence, apply the applicable laws, then render a verdict. In that instance, there’d be a finding of fact. There’d be the application of applicable laws and a trial before a judge or a jury of their peers.

If Nolan got his way, the person getting stripped of their right to protect their family would lose their rights because they government said that they couldn’t own a gun. They wouldn’t get an explanation. They wouldn’t’ be tried by their peers. Steve Hayes and Ted Kennedy, theoretically speaking, would’ve lost their rights because of a bureaucrat’s mistake.

Talk about the ultimate civil rights violation. It doesn’t get more egregious than that. Check this out, too:

Here’s the transcript from Mills’ ad:

NARRATOR: On the Second Amendment, there’s a clear choice. Rick Nolan has voted repeatedly to take away our rights, earning a failing grade from the NRA. Stewart Mills will protect our rights.
STEWART MILLS: I’m a lifelong hunter committed to our Minnesota way of life, but the Second Amendment is about more than recreation. First and foremost it’s about protecting our liberties and families. I’m Stewart Mills and I approve this message because I’ll defend the Second Amendment – always.

Here’s what Joe Radinovich, Nolan’s campaign manager, said in response to the ad:

“As an avid sportsman and hunter, Congressman Nolan has always supported responsible gun ownership, almost never misses a hunting opener, and any insinuation that he’s somehow ‘against’ the 2nd Amendment is ridiculous.”

It’s clear that Mr. Radinovich’s understanding of the Second Amendment is as limited as Mr. Nolan’s understanding of it.

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Vox has had credibility issues since its inception. That problem isn’t going away anytime soon, thanks to German Lopez’s tweet in which he insists that “Conservative blogger gets upset at violence and riots, demands mass murder, gets suspended from Twitter — and people defend him. Okay.”

As usual, Ed Morrissey is all over this in this post. The difference between Ed’s post and German Lopez’s tweet is that Ed took the time to get the details right. One of those details was to quote Glenn Reynolds, the man who wrote the original tweet. On his own blog, Glenn Reynolds wrote “I’ve always been a supporter of free speech and peaceful protest. I fully support people protesting police actions, and I’ve been writing in support of greater accountability for police for years. But riots aren’t peaceful protest. And blocking interstates and trapping people in their cars is not peaceful protest — it’s threatening and dangerous, especially against the background of people rioting, cops being injured, civilian-on-civilian shootings, and so on. I wouldn’t actually aim for people blocking the road, but I wouldn’t stop because I’d fear for my safety, as I think any reasonable person would. ‘Run them down’ perhaps didn’t capture this fully, but it’s Twitter, where character limits stand in the way of nuance.”

When groups of people are attempting to surround a vehicle and there’s been reports of violence, it’s foolish to sit still and hope for the best. Continuing to drive is the best way of staying alive, which would be my highest priority at that moment.

In 2015, GOP Speaker Kurt Daudt and DFL Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk put together a bipartisan budget agreement. The problem that time was that Minnesota’s other political odd couple, Gov. Mark Dayton and DFL Rep. Paul Thissen, combined to sabotage that bipartisan budget agreement. It isn’t unlike the DFL’s sabotaging of the bonding bill this session.

According to this article, “legislative and executive branch staff members [will] gather to discuss bringing legislators back this fall” this morning.

Gov. Dayton, as usual, is acting like a petulant child. This time, he said that the transportation projects in the bonding bill “were selected based on this year’s GOP election needs instead of following a list of the most-needed work as determined by his Minnesota Department of Transportation.” Gov. Dayton knows that a number of the projects specifically put into the bill were picked because the highways were among the most dangerous highways in Minnesota.

While they’re campaigning, Republicans should remind voters that the DFL put a higher priority on funding the Southwest Light Rail project than they put on middle class tax relief. The DFL voted for the Republicans’ Tax Bill but they certainly didn’t fight for it. Let Gov. Dayton criticize Republicans about which transportation projects should’ve been included in the bonding bill. Republicans can counter that by saying that they fought for funding to fix the most dangerous stretches of highway in Minnesota. Then they can remind people that they’re the party that fought for middle class tax relief.

The DFL isn’t in great position going into this election. Many of their mailers talk about bringing people together and how they need a majority in the House and Senate to pass their ultra-liberal agenda. This is my first prediction of the season. Republicans will maintain their majority in the House this election.

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I highlighted Salena Zito’s article in this post because she’d discovered something fascinating that others haven’t paid attention to. The centerpiece of that article was that Ms. Zito had noticed that Democrats in southwestern Pennsylvania were switching their party allegiances.

Ms. Zito noted that “every single person who walked into Lee Supply’s training room, from the CEO down to the janitor, was a registered Democrat. And every single person pledged not only to vote for Trump and Toomey but to ask family, neighbors and friends to do the same.” According to the article, 60 people switched parties that day. That’s interesting but it isn’t the type of information that’d lead me to think that it’d be enough to flip an election. It’s worth noting that the “informal voter-registration effort [was] conducted by Secure Energy for America,” not the Trump campaign or the RNC.

Ms. Zito’s first article for the NY Post contains the type of information that indicates that there’s a full-blown movement happening that might tip the election in Mr. Trump’s direction:

Four years ago, Christian Rickers was a delegate from Virginia for Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention; four months ago he voted for Bernie Sanders in the Virginia primary.
Now he’s a Trumpocrat. And he’s hoping to turn the Rust Belt red. This is a major turnaround for someone like Rickers. His earliest childhood memories include handing out leaflets for local Virginia Democratic candidates; as a teenager he attended that famous 1992 presidential debate when George H.W. Bush was captured looking at his watch. Right after, Rickers had his picture taken with a jubilant Bill Clinton.

He also served in current Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine’s administration when he was governor — appointed by Kaine. “I basically came out of the womb a Democrat,” he said. But beginning next week he’ll be loading a flatbed in Pittsburgh filled with “Trumpocrat” bumper stickers, signs, magnets and contact sheets, with his sights set on Cleveland and all that rich geography in between. The reason: “It’s all about who has your back, and Donald Trump has the country’s back,” he said.

The choice isn’t ideologically based, “It is about economic prosperity, and heart and the understanding that, yes, the system is rigged and we need someone who will go in and change that,” he said.

Rickers’ plan is ambitious. The seasoned operative has identified 10 counties throughout Pennsylvania and five in Ohio’s Mahoning Valley, targeting 850,000 voters total. More than enough to make a difference in both states for Trump.

If anyone would have credibility with Bernie voters, it’s a former Bernie supporter. If Mr. Rickers is able to flip a significant portion of Bernie voters, then Hillary’s in trouble. That’s the big if, though. At this point, what Mr. Rickers has going for him is that Bernie’s voters don’t trust Mrs. Clinton. (Again, it’s worth noting that people, not the Trump campaign, are taking the initiative to do voter registration drives and get-out-the-vote drives. That’s why Hillary’s millions aren’t putting a dent in Trump’s support.)

Let’s see whether that’s a powerful position to start from.

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