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The DFL has made it clear that they hope to retake the majority in the Minnesota Senate by ‘capitalizing’ on Sen. Franken’s impending resignation. The bad news for them is that their too-clever-by-half strategy is destined for failure.

The Minnesota Constitution states quite clearly that the president of the Senate will replace the lieutenant governor if there’s a vacancy. In this instance, Sen. Fischbach would replace Tina Smith as lieutenant governor. Here’s where things start getting complicated. The minute Sen. Fischbach becomes Lt. Gov. Fischbach, Gov. Dayton has to call a special election to fill Fischbach’s seat. The minute that special election is announced, Fischbach has announced that she’ll resign as Lt. Gov., then file to run for the seat she still holds.

Thanks to Sen. Franken’s disgusting behavior, the next step potentially gets messy. With a 33-33 tie in the Senate, the DFL has made clear that they wouldn’t vote for a DFL politician to become the Senate President. Their goal is to become the majority party. Period. They won’t achieve that goal. Period. That’s my prediction and I’d bet the proverbial ranch on it. The DFL doesn’t stand a snowball’s prayer in hell of flipping Sen. Fischbach’s seat:

But their hopes for a majority would then depend on winning a special election for Fischbach’s seat — something Republicans scoff at. She won the conservative district by more than 37 percentage points in 2016. And Fischbach told KSTP-TV she’ll run for her seat in another special election if she’s forced out of office.

This would become moot, however, if Republicans flip Sen. Schoen’s seat in a Feb. 12 special election:

The Feb. 12 special election in Cottage Grove is to replace Democratic Sen. Dan Schoen, who resigned last month after sexual harassment allegations. The district has been in Democratic hands for more than a decade, but Republicans have made inroads in the area and recruited a longtime former House member to run.

That longtime House member is Denny McNamara and he’s a great fit for the district. Republicans should get behind McNamara for a couple reasons. First, flipping that seat guarantees that Republicans maintain their majority in the Senate at least until 2020. Further, while McNamara isn’t a hardline conservative, he’s a reliable vote on the important issues. I’ll take a reliable majority over a purist minority 100% of the time. In fact, that isn’t a difficult decision. But I digress.

If Republicans suddenly gain a 34-32 majority, Gov. Dayton’s and Sen. Bakk’s plans immediately get thwarted. There’s nothing I’d enjoy better than seeing their too-clever-by-half strategy fail miserably. Any Republican that doesn’t appreciate that needs to rethink their priorities and motivations.

In November, let’s topple the DFL’s sick plans by defeating Tina Smith, flipping Tim Walz’s seat, replacing Gov. Dayton with a Republican, re-electing Jason Lewis and maintaining a Republican majority in the Minnesota House.

Gov. Dayton is well-known as not paying much attention to what’s happening around him. The latest proof of his inattention to important details is the nursing home abuse scandal. Unfortunately for Minnesotans, there’s another DFL politician who insists on not paying attention to details warming up in the bullpen. According to this article, Rep. Walz joined other House Democrats at a news conference Thursday in support of Mueller. While there, Rep. Walz said “This investigation is integral to fully understanding the Russian attack on our 2016 election, to learning how to better safeguard our electoral process, and to helping restore the American people’s faith in our democracy. It should continue unimpeded and follow the facts wherever they lead.”

Apparently, Rep. Walz hasn’t paid much attention to the Mueller ‘investigation’. If he had, he’d know that most of the indictments and plea deals don’t have anything to do with safeguarding “our electoral process.” It has virtually nothing to do with “helping restore the American people’s faith in our democracy” because the investigation is mostly about white collar crime that happened years before the 2016 election.

It’s clear that Walz isn’t the only DFL politician who isn’t paying attention to Mueller’s fishing expedition:

“It’s clear Special Prosecutor Mueller is doing his job and following the facts, and we should continue to allow him to do that without any interference by Congress or the Administration. We owe it to our democracy to ensure Mueller has the independence to fully carry out his work without the threat of being fired,” Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.

Sen. Klobuchar, why should we spend millions of dollars on a special counsel to investigate white collar crime? I’m not saying white collar crime isn’t important. I’m simply suggesting that there are tons of people in the DOJ and FBI that investigate white collar crime.

This tweet speaks volumes:

I’m proud to join @RepMaxineWaters and 170 other @HouseDemocrats in urging US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to ensure the independence of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation into Russia’s attack on our 2016 election.

Joining Maxine Waters on anything is like admitting you’re joining forces with the biggest nutjob in DC.

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Displaying incredible elitism, DFL gubernatorial candidate Tim Walz criticized farmers. Walz said “You see those maps. Red and blue and there’s all that red across there. And Democrats go into a depression over it. It’s mostly rocks and cows that are in that red area.”

Coming from a guy who represents tons of farmer in Washington, DC, that’s a pretty elitist-sounding statement. Jeff Johnson and Matt Dean quickly pounced on Walz’s statement. Dean quickly posted a statement on Facebook, saying in part “Rocks & Cows? I’d say Cows Rock! Dairy is an important industry in greater MN. Tim Walz should get out of DC and visit a dairy farm. We’ve had seven years of greater Minnesota being treated like lesser Minnesota. Things are going to change and we make a greater Minnesota for everyone.”

Later in the statement, Dean said “My windshield time is best spent talking to people I’m going to meet along the way. Many of those conversations are polite but short because of the unbelievable amount of harvest work that needs to be done. I’ve learned so much in such a very short time because you do need to meet people where they are when they are that busy. I thought my door-knocking days were winding down, but I’ve surprised many folks at home or on the farm. How gracious they are.”

This is pitch perfect:

Mr. Walz should do 87in87. Heck, he should just visit his own constituents. The First district has awesome farmers. They aren’t red or blue. They are hardworking people. They are getting their teeth kicked in by Healthcare costs and low prices for their crops. The corn prices are so low they can’t afford the healthcare they had last year. Now the crops are so wet, they can’t get the money or the propane to dry them out! And snow is already here.

Commissioner Johnson replied in this Facebook post “Once again, a DFLer slips up and tells us what he really thinks about Greater MN. Tim Walz says much of rural Minnesota is just ‘rocks and cows.’ As someone whose roots, family and values are all in Northwestern Minnesota, I find that statement both arrogant and ignorant. Yes, there are lots of rocks and lots of cows in parts of Greater MN, but more importantly there are lots of decent, hard-working, patriotic Americans. Let’s focus on them for a change rather than dismissing them as irrelevant or unimportant. Minnesotans deserve better than what the DFL is giving us.”

Here’s the video of Walz acting like a jackass:

That’s frighteningly insensitive. Years ago, Mike Kinsley said that “a gaffe is when you accidentally tell the truth.” This fits into that category. It’s apparent that Walz is pandering to the metro DFL activists. Don’t forget that Walz already renounced the NRA:

Walz recanted his prior support for the NRA and announced that he would donate money given to him by the pro-Second Amendment group to a charity helping veterans and their families. ‘The politics is secondary,’ Walz told Murphy on Sunday. ‘I have got friends who have been, had gun violence in their family and like so many responsible gun owners, it’s what I grew up on.’”

Criticizing farmers and gun owners is political suicide in the general election. It might help him get the DFL endorsement but it’s a killer for the big election.

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A trip to the Walz-Flanagan campaign website exposes the DFL’s lack of an economic message. Their campaign website doesn’t have an issues page, which is telling. On its homepage, it has a tiny portion of the page dedicated to explain why they’re running. That portion of the page says “running for Governor and Lieutenant Governor to make our vision of One Minnesota a reality. We are united in this vision: A Minnesota where every child has the opportunity to succeed and hope for the future, a Minnesota where the people whose lives are most impacted by public policy choices have a seat at the table, a Minnesota with fair wages, fully funded public schools, and affordable healthcare as a right, not a privilege and a Minnesota where we protect our environment, invest in renewable energy and jobs, and maintain our roads, bridges, and transit across the state. We want to bring this vision to the governor’s office and support the Minnesota we know and love.”

In other words, they’re running for Gov. Dayton’s third term. They’re running without explaining what economic goals they’ll fight for.

A quick view of Paul Thissen’s website doesn’t lay out a vision for Minnesota’s economy, either. It talks about how the Supreme Court should protect labor unions. It talks briefly how we should implement single-payer health care statewide. Thissen talks about legalizing marijuana, too. There isn’t anything in that pile of words that sounds like he has a clue about capitalism. Then again, his legislative record hasn’t shown him to have a clue about creating high-paying middle class jobs so we shouldn’t be surprised.

Erin Murphy’s campaign website has a ‘Why I’m Running‘ page but it doesn’t have an issues page, much less an explanation of what economic policies she’d implement.

Of the 4 DFL gubernatorial candidates’ websites that I visited, only Rebecca Otto talked about the economy. Even then, she only spoke about raising the minimum wage:

Across her statewide listening tour Rebecca met hard-working people who are under-compensated, making it hard to make ends meet. This is hurting our families, our communities, and our way of life. Rebecca Otto supports increasing the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation. She will also be releasing an economic plan that will help increase wages across the state.

There’s nothing on any of these candidates’ websites that talks about infrastructure, especially pipelines. Why is that? Is it because the DFL’s special interest masters won’t let them support legitimate projects that create middle class wages? Is it because the DFL doesn’t think that fossil fuels will play an important part in our economy?

Finally, it’s apparent that the DFL doesn’t understand capitalism whatsoever. This morning on At Issue with Tom Hauser, Katharine Tinucci said that cutting the corporate tax rate won’t create jobs because “the rich” won’t invest the money. What an idiot. What wealthy people want most is more money. The best way to get wealthier is by investing that money.

Isn’t it apparent that the DFL doesn’t understand human nature?

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The unmistakable commonality running through this article is that most of the DFL gubernatorial candidates are distancing themselves from Gov. Dayton while singing Gov. Dayton’s praises.

For instance, Rebecca Otto said “Every leader is different. Every leader brings strengths and every leader has challenges.” Tina Liebling replied “I’m certainly not running to be a clone of Gov. Dayton, although I think he’s done a lot of good things. My campaign is not one of, let’s just continue on the road we’re on, because I think we need to make some change.” Paul Thissen isn’t running from Gov. Dayton, saying “I don’t think it would be bad to have another four years of Mark Dayton. Mark Dayton has been authentic and he’s been true to his word and I think he’s been a very good governor.”

What’s apparent is that they’re all distancing themselves from Gov. Dayton, which isn’t surprising. It’s understatement to say that Minnesota is changing and not in the DFL’s direction. The biggest problem with the DFL’s candidates is that they’re moving in the opposite direction of the state.

Minnesota is getting more red each cycle. The DFL is heading further left each cycle. It isn’t surprising that each of these DFL candidates is working hard to win over Bernie Sanders’ delegates. The DFL candidates are fighting for the ‘true believer’ vote.

The candidate that wins most of the Sanders delegates likely will win the DFL endorsement. Which one of these candidates accomplishes that is anyone’s guess:

If this election cycle is like the 2016 election, then this will be a change election. It’s my opinion that leftward change isn’t the type of change Minnesotans are looking for.

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Anyone that thinks rural Minnesota isn’t changing its voting habits needs to read Bill Hanna’s article in the Mesabi Daily News. Included in the article is this information:

But the days of blind Range voting allegiance to the DFL Party are history. Consider this: State Sen. David Tomassoni’s district is in the heart of DFL country. Yet, it was carried by Republican Donald Trump not Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

That reflects a troubling trend for the DFL and rural Minnesota, according to Tomassoni. There were 21 rural DFL senators in the Legislature in 2009. Now there are seven, he said. “The map is going ‘Red’ (Republican) and keeps creeping towards us,” Tomassoni said. “Meanwhile, rural Minnesota keeps losing ground.”

It gets worse for the DFL:

Rep. Erin Murphy of St. Paul responded to a request for comment with a general statement that we can have both clean water and mining jobs. “When it comes to questions that pit water and jobs against each other, we must ensure that we have clear science-based processes that include strong financial assurances.” State and federal processes already do that.

The Range is changing annually. They’re fed up with the Metro DFL’s answers:

They often give a standard, “Yes, I support copper/nickel, if it can be done safely” answer, even though the projects continue to meet and exceed state and federal rules and regulations for permitting and operation.

There’s less wiggle room for the DFL than there was a decade ago. In 2014, I wrote this post about the difficulties then facing DFL Chairman Ken Martin:

Ken Martin got what he had hoped for at the DFL State Convention last weekend regarding the copper/nickel/precious metals mining issue on the Range: Nothing — no resolution for or against debated on the floor. The state DFL Party chairman had said for a couple months in interviews and conversations with the Mesabi Daily News that his goal was to not have the controversial issue turn into a convention firefight. He succeeded, despite passionate feelings on both sides.

He got away with that in 2014. That won’t fly at the 2018 DFL State Convention. Sen. Tomassoni summarizes things pretty succinctly with this statement:

But the state senator said the gubernatorial election is a critical one for the region. “People are really fed up with those in the Twin Cities area lecturing us and telling us how to live our lives. We have the cleanest water in the state and we’ve been mining for more than 130 years. Yet we are told ‘do this and don’t do that’ when it comes to mining that built this great state and country. Iron Rangers are pi_ _ _ _ off. They’ve had enough,” Tomassoni said.

They should be upset. The environmental activist wing of the DFL is still the dominant wing of the DFL. They aren’t a tolerant bunch. Proof of that is how DFL environmental activists shut down a hearing on a pipeline project in Duluth last week, then threatened to disrupt another hearing on the pipeline project in St. Cloud. As a result of that threat, authorities canceled the hearing.

It’s difficult finding comment from other DFL candidates on the issue or copper/nickel mining in general. But not so Otto. As a member of the state’s Executive Council, comprised of the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and auditor, Otto voted against awarding leases for copper/nickel exploration in the region in 2013. The leases only allow companies to drill holes in the ground to extract mineral samples to judge the value of certain deposits.

She immediately used her vote against copper/nickel mining as a fundraising tool, especially in the Twin Cities area, and continues to tout her decision, which she has said was to protect Minnesotans’ welfare. She also contends she is not anti-mining.

The DFL’s credibility on mining issues is damaged. There used to be a blind allegiance to the DFL. Bit-by-bit, that’s being replaced with a ‘prove it’ attitude.

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One of the things that I can’t shake in reading this article is whether the Public Utilities Commission will destroy the DFL for the 2018 election. Bear with me while I make the case for why I think it hurts the DFL.

Right now, the Public Utilities Commission is holding hearings on whether to approve the replacement of Enbridge’s Line 3 Pipeline. The reason why this is potentially devastating is because “the state Public Utilities Commission is expected to decide whether to approve the Line 3 project next spring.” The only thing that might derail the building of the replacement pipeline is the Dayton administration. If this pipeline isn’t built soon, farmers, construction workers and small towns will be upset with the Dayton administration.

Farmers will be especially upset because rejecting this pipeline project will trigger more oil to be transported via oil trains. That limits rail capacity for getting farmers’ crops to market. Whoever the DFL candidate for governor is, they’ll be pressed on whether they’ll support building the pipeline. Anything except enthusiastically supporting the building of the pipeline will be greeted with anger by rural Minnesota.

That, in turn, will spike turnout in rural Minnesota because they can’t afford to have environmental do-gooders destroying farmers’ operations. Based on the information on the PUC’s commissioners page, it’s virtually certain that the PUC will vote against replacing the pipeline. Three of the commissioners are DFL environmental activists. The lone Republican is a former DFL politician who worked as a lobbyist for Conservation Minnesota.

Republican gubernatorial candidates should lay this situation out in rural Minnesota. When they’re campaigning, they should ask farmers if they can afford 4 more years of DFL environmental policies. I’m betting the response will be an overwhelming no!

Look at the results from rural Minnesota the last 2 elections. In 2014, Minnesota Republicans rode a wave from rural Minnesota to recapture the Minnesota House. In 2016, Minnesota Republicans rode anti-DFL sentiment in rural Minnesota to flip the Minnesota Senate.

As I wrote at the time, many of those races were blowouts. In northern Minnesota, Paul Utke defeated DFL Sen. Rod Skoe by a 57%-43% margin. Many of the races weren’t particularly close, in fact. I’d recommend GOP gubernatorial candidates highlight this graphic when campaigning in rural Minnesota:

That graphic will get everyone’s attention because it’s a display of how dysfunctional Minnesota’s permitting process is under DFL control. That won’t get better if Erin Murphy, Tim Walz or Paul Thissen gets elected governor.

Last week, Tim Walz was a moderate with a sterling rating from the NRA. This week, he’s a candidate who can’t run fast enough from the NRA. Preya Samsundar’s article shows how far Rep. Walz has travelled this past week.

Ms. Samsundar reported “On WCCO’s Sunday show with Esme Murphy, Walz recanted his prior support for the NRA and announced that he would donate money given to him by the pro-Second Amendment group to a charity helping veterans and their families. ‘The politics is secondary,’ Walz told Murphy on Sunday. ‘I have got friends who have been, had gun violence in their family and like so many responsible gun owners, it’s what I grew up on.'”

Walz lied when he said that “the politics is secondary.” This time, the politics are primary. Specifically, identity politics if front and center. In this instance, while the DFL and the Democratic Party are whining about the NRA, the NRA has acted quite moderately:

The National Rifle Association said Sunday it opposes any legislation to ban the use of “bump stocks” on semi-automatic weapons, even as it has said some regulation may be necessary. “It’s illegal to convert a semi-automatic to a fully automatic. The ATF ought to look at this, do its job and draw a bright line,” NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said on Face the Nation.

The truth is that Walz is doing everything he can to prove to Metrocrats that he’s just like them. While he’s doing that, he’s also proving that he’ll say anything to get elected.

There was a time when Rep. Walz proudly touted his A rating from the NRA:

Rest assured, if he’s the DFL gubernatorial candidate next fall, the NRA and like-minded organizations will be working their butts off to defeat him. If that’s the case, Walz better pray the Twin Cities turns out big for him because his NRA flip-flop will hurt him in southern Minnesota.

Let’s remember that Walz’s base in southern Minnesota is slipping. Last year, Walz defeated his virtually unknown GOP opponent by 2,548 votes. Now that he’s sold his soul to the Metrocrats, aka the devil, expect his support in southern Minnesota to slip further.

It’s easy to see that Walz is tracking left to win the DFL primary. I’m betting that he’ll try moving to the center if he wins that primary. Finally, I’m betting that he’ll have a difficult time getting to the middle, though, considering the fact that there’s now video of him trying to have it both ways.

Politicians have tried pretending that video doesn’t exist. Voters won’t pretend that they haven’t seen him trying to have it both ways.

The more I think about it, the more I think Walz won’t be Minnesota’s next governor. That’s because DFL activists are looking for a true believer this time. Settling for Walz, I suspect, is like being told that Hillary’s the candidate and that Bernie supporters better get in line.

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Tim Walz didn’t waste time in picking his running mate. In picking Peggy Flanagan, Walz proverbially killed 2 birds with one stone.

First, DFL activists weren’t comfortable with the NRA’s past support of Walz. The fact that “he was called out for receiving donations from the NRA” forced him to “donate the money to charity and support gun background checks if he became governor.” There’s little doubt that Walz wanted to get that off the front page ASAP.

Next, Walz is a moderate from southern Minnesota, hardly the place where DFL gubernatorial candidates usually come from. Picking a progressive firebrand like Rep. Flanagan sends the message that Walz is as lefty as candidates like Paul Thissen, Rebecca Otto and Erin Murphy.

What Walz hasn’t figured out yet is that the DFL powers-that-be will insist that he move left — way further left. Support for mining will be forbidden. Support for building pipelines will be forbidden, too. Walz is intent on relying heavily on identity politics, too. That’s what this is about:

Flanagan, of St. Louis Park, is a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and helped form the People of Color and Indigenous Caucus this year. The Walz campaign said she would be the first person of color to hold a constitutional office in Minnesota and the highest ranking Native American state office holder ever in the country.

This official statement indicates that Rep. Flanagan won’t give pipelines a fair shake:

ST. PAUL, MINN – Today, the Minnesota Department of Commerce released the final Environmental Impact Statement for Enbridge Energy’s proposed Line 3 pipeline replacement in northern Minnesota. Members of the Minnesota House Native American Caucus – Rep. Peggy Flanagan, DFL – St. Louis Park (White Earth Nation), Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn, DFL – Roseville (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe), Susan Allen, DFL – Minneapolis (Rosebud Sioux) and Mary Kunesh-Podein, DFL – New Brighton (Standing Rock Sioux) – jointly released the following statement:

“The EIS released today makes only nominal mention of this pipeline’s impact on Native American lands and the irreparable harm it could cause to the traditions and way of life for Native people. With the potential for a spill, Line 3 presents a catastrophic threat to the continued vitality of wild rice and fish habitats and once again dismisses the cultural relevance of the lands this new pipeline would violate. Enbridge has failed to adequately address this, and it’s disappointing the EIS has as well.

“With so much at stake for indigenous communities, this is unacceptable. The Public Utilities Commission will next look ahead to determine adequacy of the EIS. With such minimal attention provided to Native people, we fail to see how this document can be considered anything but inadequate.”

Construction workers need to ask themselves if they want another anti-pipeline, anti-mining Metrocrat governor. Electing Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan will produce another 8 years of shafting blue collar workers. Consider the fact that he’s from academia and that she’s an environmental activist. What part of that sounds like they’re pro-blue collar worker? Hint: nothing.

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Anyone thinking that this isn’t proof that politics doesn’t make for strange bedfellows doesn’t have much of an imagination. Tom Steward reports that “The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council joined forces to make the case for the vital Enbridge infrastructure and thousands of well-paying jobs to build it.” Steward quotes this Minneapolis Star-Tribune op-ed, written by Harry Melander and Bill Blazar.

Steward quotes Melander and Blazar as saying “But in Minnesota we’re fortunate to have a well-advanced alternative, an entirely private infrastructure project that would put 6,500 Minnesotans to work over two years, with an economic impact of more than $2 billion for the state, including outstate areas that sorely need it. We’re talking about Enbridge Energy’s 1,097-mile, Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement from Alberta stretching southeast across central Minnesota from the North Dakota border near Hallock to a terminal in Superior, Wis.”

Later in their op-ed, Melander and Blazar write “Contrary to recent testimony from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, the project is necessary and prudent. Last month, the American Petroleum Institute reported that total domestic petroleum deliveries, a measure of U.S. petroleum demand, showed the highest July demand since 2007. Enbridge says its project is the safest alternative for replacing the 50-year-old existing line that operates at approximately 50 percent capacity and faces increasing maintenance requirements.”

This isn’t a fight the DFL wants to fight. Even if they win, they’ll lose, meaning the DFL loses more rural voters in 2018 to the GOP. That virtually guarantees Republicans maintaining or increasing their majority in the House in 2018. It puts pressure on the DFL to pick a moderate for their gubernatorial candidate that their base won’t be excited about, too. If they pick a Metrocrat (think Paul Thissen or Erin Murphy), they’ll lose the governor’s mansion, too.

Bit by bit, the DFL is losing unions and farmers, the F and L in DFL, because the DFL consistently sides with environmental activists. If that continues, Minnesota’s chances of becoming a red state get better.