Archive for the ‘Special Interests’ Category
After a group of 9 people from Minnesota filed a federal lawsuit to stop a unionization vote of home care assistants, a spokesman for Gov. Dayton accused them of being right wing crazies:
“This is just another extremist right wing group trying to tell Minnesotans that they cannot decide for themselves whether to vote to form a union,” Matt Swenson, a spokesman for the governor, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Tell that to Heidi Highet of Rochester. Here’s what she wrote about forced unionization:
As a licensed child care provider and Democrat, I resent the implication that opposition to this union is a right wing issue. I am as far from the right as you can get! This is an issue that crosses all political boundaries. I have spoken with providers from every side of the political spectrum and none of them support this. The only ones speaking out in favor of this are the highly paid union representatives.
I voted for Mark Dayton. He will not get my vote again.
This is about political payback for large amounts of money given to legislative campaigns. As a Democrat, I am outraged our legislators sold us out to the highest bidder.
Perhaps Mr. Swenson should talk with Robyn Kamps Kim. Here’s Robyn’s story in her own words:
I am a registered Democrat and have been a Democrat all my life. That is what I have found so disheartening that my own party is doing this. I have even messaged my fellow Democrats telling them essentially they are pissing off their own party, but they do not seem to listen. Although I am TOTALLY against unionization, I remain a Democrat.
If Heidi and Robyn can’t set Mr. Swenson straight, then I’d just direct him to read Jenni Branchaw’s op-ed:
I am normally a DFL voter just in general. I do vary once in a while depending on certain things I feel strongly about. Like I knew Alice Johnson was for the union and she didn’t not understand what this union meant to do and not do.
It is rather shocking how many people voting do not know all the facts. They keep saying everyone needs the vote, well then let everyone have a vote. Alice wouldn’t not listen even before being elected and so I did not vote for her. I voted for Pam Wolf.
I knew Pam was against the child care union and understood why a lot of providers are against it and how it wasn’t set up fairly. But she lost, I thought it was a sign to stick with my party. Boy was I wrong. I did vote (regrettably now) for Dayton. I do not know if I can vote straight party ever again.
Whether he knew it or not, Mr. Swenson just pissed off a bunch of women. Most of the people who fought against unionization of child care providers and home health care workers are women. Swenson’s diatribe is typical DFL insult. The DFL’s first instinct when people publicly oppose the DFL’s policy initiatives is to characterize them as right wing crazies. Clearly, that isn’t the case with Heidi, Robyn and Jenni.
Rather than actually find out the pertinent details before insulting people, Gov. Dayton and the DFL just jumped to the conclusion that the people opposing them are Democrats themselves. Gov. Dayton and the DFL apparently think that you’ll support everything in the DFL’s agenda if you’ve ever voted Democrat. Gov. Dayton and the DFL are wrong about that, especially when it comes to forced unionization.
I don’t know if any of these women will vote for another Republican this year. It’s quite possible they won’t. I don’t know. What’s clear, though, is that they won’t be voting for Gov. Dayton or the DFL legislator that represents their district.
The DFL calls itself the party of the little guy. Apparently, the DFL means that they’re the party of the little guy until the DFL’s special interests says otherwise.
Jim Knoblach, the GOP-endorsed candidate for House District 14B, issued this press release on his fundraising totals thus far:
KNOBLACH RAISES OVER $57,000, HAS $42,000 IN BANK
Jim Knoblach (St. Cloud), the Republican candidate for State House District 14B, announced today that he had raised $57,249 in the four months since he filed for office, and that he had $41,941 in the bank as of July 21, the preprimary reporting date.
This contrasts with his opponent, Zachary Dorholt, who reported raising $19,820, and reported having $8,626.61 in the bank. The vast majority of Knoblach’s funds were raised from Minnesota individuals. Over 60% of Dorholt’s funds were raised from out of state individuals, PACs, or lobbyists.
“I am gratified at the support of my many contributors,” said Knoblach. “This is a campaign funded by Minnesotans who care about our state, not out of state individuals and special interests.”
Knoblach also announced that he would not be accepting public subsidies for his campaign, for which he is eligible. This includes both a state check of approximately $3,000, as well as eligibility for the state political contribution refund.
“This move is necessary to allow me to combat the special interest money that already flowing into this race,” said Knoblach. “District 14B was the most expensive State House race in the state in 2012. My opponent beat King Banaian in large part because outside special interest groups poured over $300,000 into this race against Banaian. It would be crazy to agree to abide by the spending limit of $62,600 in exchange for receiving public funding, knowing this will likely happen again. It is an added bonus that by not agreeing I will not be spending taxpayer funds.
“I truly regret the enormous sums spent on these campaigns,” said Knoblach. “However, with my opponent likely to again benefit from hundreds of thousands of dollars of out of state special interest money, I need to be able to respond to his negative attacks.”
This is a shot across Mr. Dorholt’s bow. I’m sure Dorholt expected Jim Knoblach to be well-financed. I’m betting, though, that he wasn’t expecting this fundraising total from Jim.
What’s interesting is reading Mr. Dorholt’s campaign finance report. The reason it’s interesting reading is because it has a lengthy list of out-of-state special interests contributions. That begs the question of who Mr. Dorholt represents. Does he represent his district or does he represent the DFL’s Metrocrats? At this point, there’s little question that Dorholt represents Speaker Thissen’s wishes. He voted with Speaker Thissen 99% of the time on issues of importance.
The Twin Cities doesn’t need another representative. St. Cloud, however, needs a real representative in the worst way. HD-14B needs a legislator who’s interested in the important local issues. Zach Dorholt’s press releases don’t read like they’re written by someone interested in St. Cloud. They’re mostly about touting Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s so-called accomplishments.
Al Franken’s fundraising e-letters are getting more dishonest by the day. This is Franken’s latest dishonest e-letter fundraising appeal:
There are tell-tale signs when a race is heating up. And all the signs in Minnesota point in that direction.
Polls have been getting closer and closer, prompting the Rothenberg Political Report to take Minnesota off its “safe Democrat” list. Outside money is funding attacks against Al. His opponent’s ads distort Al’s record of fighting for Minnesota families.
By themselves, each of these facts is alarming. Taken together, they can only mean one thing: the GOP is coming after Al big time, and he’ll need our help to fight back.
Team Franken needs to reach $200,000 in the next 3 days, and they’re about $15,000 off the mark right now. Help me help Al by contributing $5, or whatever you can, today.
Al is a middle class champion in the Senate. Which means he’s a special interest nightmare. That’s why a super PAC was formed with just one purpose: attack Al.
And in today’s post-Citizens United politics, where there is one super PAC spending money, there will probably be more.
There’s only one way to successfully beat back outside spending in today’s politics — solid grassroots support. That’s what Al needs right now.
And that’s why I’m writing today, to help Al get the grassroots support he needs and deserves. Give $5 or more to make sure Team Franken reaches $200,000 in the next 3 days.
Reading the signs is easy when you’ve been at it long enough. Fighting back against the special interests is hard.
Thanks for doing your part today.
Unles Ms. Brazile is talking about internal Franken polling, she’s lying. I’ve watched this race as closely as anyone who isn’t working for the Franken or McFadden campaigns. I’ve only seen a couple of polls on the race. I wrote this post about the KSTP-SurveyUSA poll, which was done in early June. We’re almost to the end of July. There hasn’t been another public poll since the KSTP-SurveyUSA poll.
For the record, I don’t doubt that it’s still a tight race.
Here’s another blast of dishonesty in this fundraising e-letter:
His opponent’s ads distort Al’s record of fighting for Minnesota families.
Thus far, Mike McFadden’s ads have focused on either policies or his biography. I might’ve missed something but I haven’t even seen any of Team McFadden’s ads mention Franken by name.
More importantly, though, Sen. Franken has fought for middle class families if they live in the Twin Cities. He hasn’t fought for middle class families on the Iron Range. In fact, Sen. Franken ignored the Iron Range on his campaign website and in his acceptance speech at the DFL State Convention in Duluth.
That isn’t the definition of fighting for the middle class on the Iron Range.
Based on what I’ve noticed, I’d say that Franken’s frantic fundraising e-letters specialize in dishonesty and paranoia. I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.
Jeff Johnson’s interview with Bill Hanna, the editor of the Mesabi Daily News, provided Johnson’s sharpest attack on Gov. Dayton yet. Here’s the heart of Johnson’s criticism:
“I believe strongly that if Dayton wins, PolyMet will not happen. He is getting and responding to great, great pressure from environmentalists. Saw it at the DFL Convention when they got a resolution on copper/nickel tabled,” Johnson said.
I think that’s accurate. Gov. Dayton’s silence is deafening, especially considering the fact that he’s called himself the “jobs governor.” It’s more like he’s the jobs governor as long as it doesn’t interfere with the environmental activists’ anti-mining agenda.
Ken Martin breathed a big sigh of relief when a watered-down pro-mining resolution to the DFL Party Platform was tabled before it came up for debate. Martin was happy because he kept the lid on the major differences between Range Democrats and the Twin Cities ‘Metrocrats’.
In siding with Twin Cities Metrocrats, Gov. Dayton sided with people whose median household income is $63,559. What’s Gov. Dayton’s justification for siding with the Metrocrats rather than siding with people whose median household income is $46,231? There was a time when Democrats stood up for the less fortunate. In this instance, Republicans are fighting for lower income people and the Democrats are fighting for Twin Cities elitists.
Those thinking that that’s just a political cheap shot should notice who serve as Conservation Minnesota’s strategic advisors. There’s no more anti-mining organization than Conservation Minnesota. Most of the people on that list are Twin Cities elitists. That’s who Gov. Dayton has fought for.
“I will do everything I can to get PolyMet and other copper/nickel projects open up here. This has been delayed far too long and the governor helping those delays by being silent. A governor’s silence on a major project like this with so many jobs is deadly.
Gov. Dayton’s leadership on this issue hasn’t existed. He’s hidden in his little cubicle and said nothing about PolyMet. Meanwhile, Gov. Dayton has fought hard for projects like Rochester’s Destination Medical Center and the Vikings stadium in Minneapolis.
Gov. Dayton didn’t hesitate about pushing for those projects. Why hasn’t he shown the same enthusiasm in fighting for the PolyMet project? Is it because the Vikings stadium and DMC were high priorities but PolyMet isn’t one of his priorities? If that’s the case, Gov. Dayton should just admit that jobs in northern Minnesota just aren’t the high priority for him that Twin Cities jobs are.
That’s political suicide but it’s the honest thing to do. Unfortunately, doing the right thing isn’t a priority with Gov. Dayton or the DFL. They’re worried about doing what will keep them in office. Doing what’s right for all of Minnesota isn’t a priority with Gov. Dayton or the DFL.
This was Jeff Johnson’s stiffest attack on Gov. Dayton yet. He’s been the candidate who’s put together a statewide organization. He’s leveled the sharpest criticism against Gov. Dayton. That’s why he was the GOP candidate who did the best against Gov. Dayton in the latest KSTP-SurveyUSA poll.
In this interview, Jeff Johnson didn’t shy from criticizing Gov. Dayton on an important issue. Republicans are looking for a candidate that will take the fight to Gov. Dayton. Jeff Johnson certainly fits that requirement. If miners are paying attention, they’ll know that he’s fighting for them. If they’ve paid attention, they know that Gov. Dayton hasn’t fought for them.
The evidence is clear. Gov. Dayton has been silent on PolyMet. He’s shown that he’ll fight for Twin Cities projects but he won’t fight for the biggest jobs project on the Range. If the Range wants 4 more years of getting ignored, they should vote for Gov. Dayton. If they want high paying jobs, their only choice is Jeff Johnson.
It’s that simple.
Technorati: Jeff Johnson, Polymet Mining, Iron Range, MNGOP, Mark Dayton, Vikings Stadium, Destination Medical Center, Environmental Activists, Conservation Minnesota, Twin Cities Elitists, DFL, Election 2014
When superPACs and other special interest organizations make a major ad buy in a formerly safe congressional district, it’s usually proof that the incumbent is in trouble. When that major ad buy happens months before the election, it’s a guarantee that he’s in trouble. That’s why this ad is proof, at minimum, that Rick Nolan, Nancy Pelosi and AFSCME are worried about Stewart Mills flipping this seat this November:
What’s interesting, and predictable, is that Nolan’s special interest allies are lying through their teeth about Mills supporting “tax breaks for the rich.” Let’s look at Mill’s issues page for the truth:
The Eighth District is a Main Street economy and job growth here comes from the ground up. That means we need tax reform that’s geared toward small business growth. Stewart doesn’t believe that Washington creates jobs- entrepreneurs and business owners create jobs.
When Republicans talk about tax reform, they’re talking mostly about tax simplification. That’s because tax compliance hurts small businesses far more than it hurts big corporations. Big corporations have tons of lobbyists to get favorable tax breaks and tons of accountants that stay on top of the ever-changing tax code.
Meanwhile, an entrepreneur might be the chief salesman of the product, the guy who does payroll and fills in when someone’s missing. He’s also the guy who has to stay on top of the onslaught of regulations and changes in the tax code. In short, tax compliance hurts small businesses far more than it hurts big corporations.
In other words, the AFSCME/House Majority PAC ad is BS.
Another important part of the AFSCME/House Majority PAC ad says that Stewart Mills opposes the minimum wage. I’ve paid a ton of attention to the Mills campaign. I’ve yet to hear him talk about the minimum wage. His stump speech is mostly about a) starting over and getting health care reform right, b) making PolyMet and job creation in Minnesota’s Eighth District a reality and c) standing up for the Second Amendment.
There’s nothing in there that’s about “tax cuts for the rich” or the minimum wage. Those mining jobs are anything but about the minimum wage. Those future miners certainly aren’t “the rich.” That’s who Stewart Mills will fight for if he’s elected, mostly because it’s the right thing to do.
After the DFL convention, Rick Nolan railed that Stewart Mills was the personification of the one-percent:
Nolan started off the campaign with a shot the Republican contender Stewart Mills. “He is, no mistake about it, a one percenter who is there to represent the 1 percent not the 99 percent,” Nolan said.
I said then what I’ll repeat now: Mills Fleet Farm is one of the most blue collar retail chains in the nation. They have lots of auto parts, lawn care products, sporting goods and a smattering of clothing, ranging from blue jeans to flannel shirts. What they don’t have are products that might be found in Macy’s or Nieman Marcus.
According to University of Wisconsin Superior Political Science Professor Alison Von Hagel, “I guess one could say it could be seen as putting words in his (Mills) mouth.” That’s understatement.
I’d argue that it’s filled with assumptions based mostly on ideology, not fact. In that sense, it’s what I expect from far left liberals like the DFL and Nancy Pelosi. Their relationship with the truth is minimal at best.
Stewart Mills is a salt-of-the-earth type of guy. He’s totally comfortable hanging out at the Mills family hunting shack. That isn’t to say he’s uncomfortable running the Mills Fleet Farm benefits program. He knows that pretty well, too, which is why he wants to start over on health care reform so that it’s affordable for everyone.
Right now, thanks to the ACA, it isn’t affordable for many.
That, of course, isn’t part of the AFSCME/House Majority PAC ad. That truth doesn’t fit with the Democrats’ storyline. If it doesn’t fit with the Democrats’ smear campaign, it’s ignored.
High-ranking people in DC thinks Nolan’s in trouble. That’s why he was put on the DCCC’s equivalent of the ‘Endangered Incumbents List.’ That’s why the House Majority PAC and AFSCME paid for this ad this early. If they thought Nolan wasn’t in trouble, they would’ve saved their money until the stretch run.
I wrote this post to highlight Democratic senators’ biggest problem is Harry Reid, not President Obama. When I found out this morning that the RNC is starting a #FireReid campaign on social media, I got excited. This indicates that they’re aware that Sen.Reid is toxic. This article gives us some details into the RNC’s campaign:
A banner unfurled outside of the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington is providing an unsubtle hint about the GOP’s goals for this fall. In bold letters it reads, “Stop Obama” and “Fire Reid.”
In another sign that Republicans are trying to nationalize competitive Senate races in a political environment unfavorable to Democrats, the RNC on Tuesday announced the start of its “#FireReid” campaign, aimed at winning control of the Senate and thus demoting Majority Leader Harry Reid.
“Beginning this week, we will launch robocalls in Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, and Virginia,” RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said in a memo about the initiative.
The robo-call script will assert that a vote for the Democratic candidate, in many cases an incumbent, amounts to providing a “rubber stamp” for President Obama and Reid’s “partisan agenda.”
Additionally, the anti-Reid campaign will include “research briefings, social media, videos, interviews, and infographics” highlighting the Nevada lawmaker’s position on such issues as the Keystone XL pipeline and the Affordable Care Act.
It isn’t that Harry Reid is nationally well-known…yet. It’s that he’s said a ton of offensive and/or dishonest things that the RNC will use to paint Reid as the tyrant he is. My suggestion is that they highlight Sen. Reid’s dishonesty, his hyperpartisanship and his fierce loyalty to President Obama’s agenda.
Further, I hope the RNC shows how often Democrat senators vote with Sen. Reid, then quantify the impact they’ve had on families. Rattling off a string of statistics won’t cut it. Personalizing things is required. If the RNC does that, then Democrats will have a difficult time defending their rubber stamping the Obama/Reid agenda.
According to the RNC announcement, the GOP will also seek to depict Reid as obedient “to billionaire SuperPAC donors like Tom Steyer [who] have hurt our country and the democratic process.”
That campaign might not have the same impact as the #FireReid campaign but it might be helpful in the sense that it’ll portray Democrats as listening more to the special interests than to rank-and-file unions that want the Keystone XL Pipeline built.
Hollee Saville just published this information on her Facebook page:
With breakneck speed, the BMS has set the mail-ballot election for SEIU’s attempted unionization of home care providers to begin on Friday, August 1. DHS and SEIU are prohibited from the unfair labor and election practices for which SEIU is often known. If you are threatened, coerced, or harassed in any way, please contact the police and the BMS and please let us know so we can keep a record of it. Please share this information with EVERY PCA you know so that they know that they can vote NO to unionize.
We are trying to set up mailings and phone calls to inform PCAs. If you would like to help with this, please let Hollee know.
Here’s the important “fine print”:
Ballots will be mailed to each eligible employee at the home address supplied by the State of Minnesota, Department of Human Services, together with a letter of explanation and a stamped, self-addressed return envelope.
Ballots will be mailed on Friday, August 1, 2014, and must be returned to the Bureau of Mediation Services, 1380 Energy Lane, Suite 2, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108-5253, in the envelopes furnished for that purpose in order to be counted.
Any eligible employee who has not received their ballot by Friday, August 8, 2014, must personally call the Bureau at (651) 649-5421 and request that a second ballot be mailed to them.
All ballots must be returned to the Bureau office no later than 4:30 pm on Monday, August 25, 2014.
To say that Hollee and others aren’t sitting still is understatement. To say that the DFL, SEIU and AFSCME don’t get it that this will hurt them this November is understatement. I published 4 articles written by child care providers who are Democrats who oppose SEIU’s and AFSCME’s unionization drive. See here, here, here and here.
After the Harris v. Quinn ruling, SEIU and AFSCME said that the ruling wouldn’t prevent them from continuing their organizing drive. This news is proof they meant what they said. The thing is that the Harris v. Quinn ruling didn’t say they couldn’t organize. The heart of that ruling said that PCAs and others who are quasi-government employees couldn’t be forced into paying dues or fair share fees.
This organizing drive is just reminding these small business owners that the DFL doesn’t listen to them, that the DFL only listens to the special interests write big checks for their campaigns. The so-called party of the people is really the party of, by and for the elitists and special interests.
This organizing drive is proof that the DFL will always give a higher priority to bigger campaign contributions than it puts on doing the right thing. That’s a sickening thought.
Michael Kinsley famously said that a political gaffe is when someone accidentally tells the truth. If that’s true, and I believe it is, then Bill Usher, the chairbeing of CD6 Democrats, committed a gaffe when he published this tweet:
Bill Usher’s tweet is almost as egregious as Ryan Winkler’s racist tweet last year:
It’s appalling that the chair of a major DFL organization called small businesspeople parasites. First, I don’t think he’s right when he said that postal workers don’t have to pay union dues while getting “the good wages and benefits” that the United Postal Workers negotiates. I’m not a union expert so I’m willing to be proven wrong on this. At minimum, I’d think they’d be required to pay fair share fees.
That being said, calling child care providers parasites is disgusting. It’s apparent what he thinks about people who aren’t unionized. I’m confident he isn’t alone in the DFL in thinking this. The DFL, especially the Metrocrat wing of the DFL, is run by the public employee unions. Right now, that’s the dominant wing of the DFL.
In a related case, the SEIU announced that they’re filing notice with the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services that they intend to organize home health care workers:
At a 1 p.m. Tuesday news conference outside the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services in St. Paul, home care workers will talk about having enough signed cards to trigger what they call the largest union election in Minnesota history. Supporters and disabled people who receive home health care will also be present.
The Strib article says SEIU faces an uphill fight. I agree with the Strib on this.
Most of the political handicappers think Mike McFadden faces an uphill fight against Al Franken. That’s a fair opinion. McFadden doesn’t have the name recognition that Franken does. On the positive side, he doesn’t have Al Franken’s record of voting with President Obama 100% of the time.
This Bloomberg article isn’t an in-depth article on the race but it’s worth reading. Here’s what they think Franken’s strategy will be:
Franken, 63, already is drawing a contrast between himself and McFadden’s financial ties. He released an ad last week touting his “fight against Wall Street” that highlighted his 2010 effort to create an independent board to oversee the credit rating of financial products. “Wall Street wasn’t happy about that, but I don’t work for them, I work for you,’ Franken says in the ad.
Most Minnesotans think that Franken was talking to them when he said “I work for you.” He wasn’t. He’s always worked for the special interests that fund Democrats. Franken’s campaign website doesn’t mention the environment or mining. That’s more than a little interesting.
Franken’s silence is fueled by his hope that Iron Range voters don’t notice that he isn’t fighting for them. He’s hoping that they don’t notice that he’s repeatedly and steadfastly supported the environmentalists’ agenda. He’s hoping they won’t notice that he hasn’t lifted a finger to make the PolyMet and Twin Metals projects a reality.
“The Democrats are going to try and nail McFadden as the incarnation of a Wall Street fat cat, as they did with Mitt Romney,” Jacobs said.
Republicans, he added, “are going to paint Al Franken as President Obama’s handmaiden in passing Obamacare,” referring to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that the senator supported.
There’s no question but that Sen. Franken staunchly supports the ACA, aka Obamacare. On his campaign website, he says more needs to be done “to bring Minnesota’s tradition of quality, affordable care to the rest of the country.” The ACA isn’t a step towards bringing Minnesota’s health care innovation to the nation. It’s a step in the opposite direction of it. I wrote this article to highlight MNsure’s failings:
This morning, in an exclusive interview with Examiner.com, Plombon went into detail about what’s happening with insurance premiums. What Mr. Plombon said is that some people who get their insurance through the small group market are renewing their policies. Thus far, Advantage 1 has seen these clients’ premiums increase from as ‘little’ as 30% to as much as 106%.
Sen. Franken can’t afford to have statistics like this getting out because they’re proof that the ACA is a total failure. MNsure is Obamacare in Minnesota. If McFadden repeatedl highlights these statistics this fall, Franken will have some explaining to do.
This strategy might bite Franken:
Franken declined to be interviewed, both in person and through a spokeswoman.
Why didn’t Franken grant the interview? Wasn’t he confident enough to face some simple questions? Is he trying to run out the clock without saying something stupid? Candidates that hide don’t often win. It isn’t like Franken’s got a commanding lead in this fight. According to the KSTP-SurveyUSA poll, Franken only has a 48%-42% lead over McFadden. That’s tight, especially considering the fact that Republicans haven’t hit him hard with anything yet.
This race will tighten. It will be competitive. Franken has plenty to worry about. More on that later today.
I’ve written before that reading Salena Zito’s Sunday columns is one of my favorite things to do, mostly because she ventures into flyover country. Salena’s columns are more likely to quote people we’ve never heard of than people we’ve heard of altogether too often. Thank goodness for that. We need that realism. This morning’s column touches on something that Washington hasn’t seen coming:
PLEASANTVILLE, Pa. – The homemade sign along state Route 96 in Bedford County could easily be missed if a driver is distracted by the winding curves at the base of the Allegheny Mountains.
“Our country is dying. Please pray for all of us,” it says in blue letters on a white board. A bouquet of slightly wilted wildflowers is tied to it with a blue bow.
The sign doesn’t blame anyone in particular; no political brand or elected official is named, no familiar tagline from social media or cable news is part of the message. In fact, its poignant words (all lower-case, no wild-hare punctuation) and slightly hidden position in some ways reflect the underground populist movement that this column has warned about for months, moderate in tone, big in impact.
It’s undeniable that people of all political stripes want government to work. It’s also true that they want government to listen to them. DC has stopped doing that:
When Eric Cantor lost his primary race Tuesday, it wasn’t because he wasn’t conservative enough for his base.
It wasn’t because of the Republicans’ tea party element. It had nothing to do with immigration reform, or some Democrat conspiracy to flood the polls. And it was not driven by right-wing talk-radio hosts or operatives from Heritage Action, Club for Growth, Citizens United or ForAmerica (which claimed Cantor’s defeat was an “apocalyptic moment for the GOP establishment”).
This was a complicated recipe, according to Republican strategist Bruce Haynes.
“There were more than four-and-twenty blackbirds baked into this pie,” Haynes said, adding that ultimately the loss had everything to do with Cantor: He lost touch with his constituency; he became too Washington, too associated with the D.C.-bubble brand; he forgot how to relate and to be that guy from his district.
Something like that is happening in Minnesota, where the DFL is just waking up to the fact that Iron Rangers are upset that they’re being ignored. They’re being ignored because environmental activists are essentially telling the DFL to ignore the Iron Range.
There’s no question but that these Rangers want a new influx of mining jobs and upper middle class incomes. There’s no question that professional environmental activists hate mining, especially precious metals mining. The DFL is taking the Iron Range vote for granted. That’s the first step in activating populism.
One thing that hurt Eric Cantor the most was that people thought he talked out of both sides of his mouth. He told his constituents that he opposed amnesty, then he supported the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill. Technically, Mark Dayton issn’t talking out of both sides of his mouth. He’s just doing whatever he can to not get either side upset.
Al Franken is even more ‘cautious.’ He isn’t saying anything on the subject. Sen. Franken didn’t mention mining during his 26-minute-long acceptance speech. Mining isn’t mentioned on his campaign website, either.
If there’s anything that Eric Cantor’s loss tells us, it’s that ignoring major constituency groups is potentially disastrous politically.
If the “homemade sign along state Route 96 in Bedford County” was found alongside Highway 53 near Eveleth or Virginia, it would read ‘Our way of life is dying an nobody’s listening. Please pray for us.’