Archive for the ‘Metrocrats’ Category

Now that he’s been dumped by the DFL, people must wonder what’s next for Sen. Tom Bakk. I’ve thought about that subject myself and I’ve reached the conclusion that Sen. Bakk would look fantastic with MNGOP after his name. What’s left within the DFL that fits Sen. Bakk?

It can’t be disputed that:

  1. today’s DFL has decided that Iron Rangers aren’t welcome within the DFL;
  2. today’s DFL is the metrocentric party;
  3. today’s DFL hates pipelines, mining and blue collar workers;
  4. today’s DFL is the gun grabber caucus;
  5. today’s DFL is the party of socialists.

Sen. Bakk, I haven’t always agreed with you but you’ve worked to make PolyMet and Twin Metals a reality. Susan Kent and John Marty won’t help make those things a reality. Paul Gazelka, Kurt Daudt and other Republicans would enthusiastically team with you on those initiatives.

It’s clear that today’s DFL isn’t interested in rural Minnesota. Sen. Bakk, you know this is BS:

“What I know about the DFL Party is that whether in the Senate or in the House or statewide offices, we’re the only party that represents Minnesotans from the Canadian border to Iowa and from the Dakotas to Wisconsin,” Hortman said.

That’s BS on steroids. When’s the last time a metro DFL politician voted for building a pipeline? That’s right, Sen Bakk. It’s been a decade+. Sen Bakk, when’s the last time a metro DFL politician enthusiastically supported precious metals mining? That’s right, Sen Bakk. They’ve never supported precious metal mining. They haven’t even half-heartedly supported precious metal mining.

Sen. Bakk, you have a chance to establish a different legacy for yourself. There’s an opportunity for you to send a signal that you’re an Iron Ranger first, last and always. Think of the message of statesmanship first that fighting for the people, not a political party, would send. That legacy is a powerful thing, something that would permit you to say that people, not party, matter most to you.

Sen. Bakk, it’s time for you to put your constituents, not the DFL, first. Your constituents want to build things, work hard and be rewarded for doing the right thing. Sen. Bakk, you have the opportunity to send a message to metro DFL politicians that the Range fights for Rangers.

Sen. Bakk, carpe diem. Carpe diem.

According to this article, the DFL’s leadership might become further metrocentric. To those that think that wasn’t possible, that’s understandable. Of the 7-person DFL Senate leadership team, 1 person is from northwest Minnesota (Kent Eken) and another person (Tom Bakk) is from northeast Minnesota. The other 5 people (Susan Kent, who is challenging Bakk for Minority Leader, Jeffrey Hayden, Carolyn Laine, John Hoffman and Ann Rest) are from the Twin Cities. By comparison, the 9-person GOP leadership team represents the entire state.

In particular, Bakk’s positions on northeastern Minnesota mining issues have run afoul of environmentalists who are an important part of the DFL coalition. Kent’s challenge came to light days after Bakk came under fire from environmentalists for telling a group of business and political leaders in Ely that the controversial Twin Metals copper-nickel mine proposal on the Iron Range will not be stopped by a state environmental review. “Now it might take a decade or more,” Bakk said, “but the process isn’t intended to stop projects.”

Bakk’s opposition to stronger gun laws also put him at odds with colleagues from Minneapolis, St. Paul and their suburbs, deepening a long-simmering intraparty rift. Bakk has long been a fixture in the politics of northern Minnesota, a region that was once a DFL stronghold and which has drifted increasingly toward the Republican Party in recent elections.

In other words, Sen. Bakk is too moderate for DFL Metrocrats. DFL Metrocrats passionately hate mining. In fact, the only thing that DFL Metrocrats hate more than mining is the Second Amendment. Apparently, Tom Bakk isn’t leftist enough for the DFL Metrocrats’ liking.

The brewing leadership fight has played out largely out of public view, with several DFL senators declining to comment publicly for this story. It comes as Senate Democrats prepare for a 2020 election cycle in which they will attempt to overturn Republicans’ current 35-32 majority.

With the DFL’s divisions, the DFL should be worried in 2020. DFL turnout in 2018 was almost as high as it is for a presidential election. In 2020, Republican turnout will be higher than it was in 2018. It’ll be difficult for the DFL turnout to be much higher.

This begs the question of whether the DFL can gain seats in either the House or Senate. I wouldn’t bet on it, especially if the DFL essentially tells the Iron Range that they aren’t welcome in the DFL anymore.

Democrats love saying that budgets are moral documents. Democrats then say that budgets reflect our priorities. If that’s true, which I think it kinda is, then Tina Smith’s budget priorities are disgusting. As Minnesota’s junior senator, she’s opposed all projects that would’ve helped the people of northern Minnesota. That isn’t opinion. It’s fact. She’s fought the Line 3 Pipeline. She’s opposed the PolyMet and Twin Metals mining projects.

Just those projects alone would’ve had the opportunity to transform the Iron Range from a region with sky-high poverty rates and a virtually nonexistent middle class into a prospering region of the state. The median household income in Virginia, MN is $36,327, compared with the statewide average of $65,699. The percentage of people living below the Federal Poverty Level in Minnesota is 10.5%, compared with 24% living below the FPL in Virginia, MN.

While visiting southern Minnesota, Sen. Smith said “I think at the end of the day, I’m just thinking about what Minnesotans are thinking about, which is prescription drug costs being too high, how can they get the kind of amazing workforce training that they need to get great jobs like they can get here at Red Wing Shoes, and that’s where I’m going to stay focused as long as I can.”

If Smith was honest, which she isn’t, she’d admit that she’s thinking about what Minnesotans are thinking about as long as they aren’t living in rural Minnesota. That isn’t just true now that she’s a US senator. It was true in her time as Minnesota’s Lieutenant Governor. It was true when she was Gov. Dayton’s chief of staff.

Writing off a huge geographical part of the state, including the part that feeds the rest of the state, is disgusting. Still, that’s what Tina Smith is doing. That’s been a staple of her political life for years.

If Smith won’t pay attention to rural Minnesota, she should get fired next November. Tina Smith isn’t about doing the right thing for the entire state. Tina Smith and the DFL is only interested in doing what’s best for the metro DFL. That’s why the DFL has lost the farm vote and the laborer vote. When the Metro DFL unanimously opposes the Line 3 Pipeline, which provides the vast majority of jet fuel for Minneapolis International Airport, they’re saying that serving their special interest masters is more important than doing right by the biggest airport in Minnesota.

How foolish is that? Does that like the decision that a person who is “just thinking about what Minnesotans are thinking?” I’m betting that a significant majority of Minnesotans would disagree with Tina Smith and the Democrats on that issue.

It’s time to fire the DFL, Tina Smith included. The DFL’s priorities, like Tina Smith’s priorities, increasingly aren’t Minnesota’s priorities.

It’s apparent that Erin Murphy hasn’t thought about crime from a police officer’s perspective. That’s totally apparent after reading this article. First, Jeff Johnson said “I watched the body camera footage from the Thurman Blevins shooting today. It shows clearly that Blevins was carrying a gun and that the Minneapolis officer involved did everything he could to convince Blevins to surrender before firing his weapon. Serving our communities as a police officer is one of the hardest jobs in America today and we shouldn’t second-guess the very difficult decisions they make until we have all of the facts.”

Gov. Pawlenty issued a statement, saying “The actions of the Minneapolis police officers involved in the shooting of Thurman Blevins were clearly appropriate. Police officers protect our communities at extreme risk to themselves every day. We support and appreciate them. Those who claimed Blevins did not have a weapon or that officers acted improperly owe the officers an apology.”

Next, compare those statements with what Erin Murphy said:

As I watched the body camera footage of Thurman Blevins death, I was struck not only by the end of his life and the hard questions it raises, but by the beginning of the video. From the first moment officers are on scene they are loudly swearing, and threatening a man who appears to be sitting on a curb with a woman and child. From the first moment the police are shouting, scaring him, pushing him, and engaging in a way that led to the awful ending of his life.

He ran, yes. He was armed, yes. He reportedly was drunk and had fired shots, yes. All of those things might have led to his death, but none of them had to. I don’t understand why calmly starting a conversation wasn’t an option or wouldn’t have been a better course.

I don’t know much about Thurman Blevins. Had the officers approached the situation differently he might be in jail right now for firing his weapon into the sky and ground, or could be sitting on that curb with his family enjoying a morning off. I don’t know.

When a man (or woman) wields a gun, that officer has a responsibility to protect himself/herself and their partner. That isn’t a situation where the officers have a ton of options. It’s literally a kill-or-be-killed situation.

Notice how Rep. Murphy blames the officers, not Mr. Blevins. Rep. Murphy, if you were faced with this life-or-death situation, would you take a pacifist’s approach? Would you let a person who has a gun wave it around? If that’s truly what you’d do, there’s a high probability that you’d be shot. Further, by taking the pacifist’s approach, you’d put your partner’s life in jeopardy, too.

This story is troubling:

More protests are expected in Minneapolis over the decision not to charge officers involved in the June 23 deadly shooting of Thurman Blevins. The two Minneapolis officers involved say he pointed a gun at them during a short chase. CBS News’ Dean Reynolds spoke to Blevins’ sister and cousin who dispute the officers’ version of events. Blevins’ sister Darlynn and cousin Sydnee Brown admitted he had a gun on him but say he was scared for his life when he ran from police.

“It was the way that they approached him when they came out of the vehicle,” Darlynn said. “I mean, who else is not going to run if somebody is behind me telling me ‘I’m going to shoot you. I’m going to kill you.'”

First, here’s the police body cam video:

Then there’s this interview of Blevins’ family:

Let’s state something here emphatically. Gov. Dayton’s reckless statements after the Philando Castile shooting contribute each day to the tension between minority communities and police officers. Gov. Dayton said that “Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver were white? I don’t think it would have.” Since that day, tensions have escalated. Rep. Murphy’s statements just further escalate the tensions.

That’s inexcusable.

During her interview with KMSP-TV, Erin Murphy did her best to explain why the DFL endorsement for governor is important. At one point, I got the sense that Rep. Murphy almost said that it’s important because she’s strapped for cash and needs the DFL’s assistance to push her across the finish line. She stopped short of that but that’s still the truth:

According to this report, Murphy had less than $75,000 cash-on-hand as of 3/31/2018. By comparison, Tim Pawlenty has $900,000 more cash-on-hand. On the DFL side of things, Tim Walz has almost $650,000 cash-on-hand.

Let’s get serious here. With the DFL’s help, Erin Murphy should win the DFL Primary. The minute the primary is over, though, she’s in trouble. The bad news for the DFL is that her competitors on the DFL side are in worse shape. With the DFL having been taken over by Our Revolution, Murphy is the only candidate extreme enough for that organization. Lori Swanson and Tim Walz will split the outstate vote. When they lose the primary, their voters are most likely to either not vote for Murphy or they’ll switch to the GOP.

This won’t be a happy reunion. This is the DFL’s civil war. Republicans aren’t unified but the DFL is heading for outright civil war.

I’m semi-stunned with the first polling for the DFL primary in Minnesota’s Eighth District. First, the polling company was “conducted by Victoria Research and Consulting for the Radinovich campaign. The firm, based in Maryland, has worked in Minnesota’s Eighth District since first hired by the late Jim Oberstar in 1992.” Next, “the company interviewed 400 likely DFL primary voters in the Eighth District from May 12-17. Of the five DFLers in the race, Lee had the highest name recognition at 39 percent, while Radinovich was second at 30 percent. Fewer than one-in-four likely primary voters had heard of state Rep. Jason Metsa or North Branch Mayor Kristen Hagen Kennedy.”

That few people had heard of Kristen Hagen-Kennedy isn’t surprising. That few people have heard of Jason Metsa is stunning. He’s a state legislator. He’s been re-elected, too. That isn’t the only bad news for Metsa, though. Here’s more:

The survey considered the candidates support within the district’s two major media markets, Duluth and the Twin Cities. Lee had a clear lead in the Duluth market, with 24 percent support, while Radinovich was second at 18 percent. Metsa finished third with 15 percent support while Kennedy had the backing of just four percent of those polled.

Radinovich holds a clear lead, however, in the southern part of the district, with 17 percent support. Kennedy was in second place at nine percent, while Lee finished third at seven percent. Metsa came in at just two percent support.

In other words, Metsa is tanking outside of his back yard.

Lee represents an interesting dilemma for the DFL. She’s well-known, popular and she opposes copper-nickel mining:

The last thing the DFL needs is for there to be a tough fight between the pro-mining people and the anti-mining activists as their 2 finalists duke it out. That’s what this is shaping up to be at this point. It’s impossible to forget, too, that Leah Phifer won all 10 of the ballots at the DFL CD-8 Convention, though she didn’t win the endorsement. Let’s remember, too, that Rebecca Otto’s only win in the Precinct Caucus straw poll was in CD-8. They might’ve gotten rid of Phifer but they haven’t gotten rid of the environmental activists.

I expect Radinovich to win the primary because there will a significant turnout for the pro-mining Swanson-Nolan gubernatorial ticket in the primary in the Eighth. That shouldn’t be underestimated. However, it wouldn’t be wise to predict a Radinovich victory in November if the Erin-Squared ticket wins the gubernatorial primary. An Erin-Squared victory will likely have a negative effect on turnout in the Eighth District.

Thus far, Tim Pawlenty is the only GOP gubernatorial candidate to send me information on their campaign. Jeff Johnson’s campaign hasn’t shown any signs of activity, either in fundraising letters, campaign updates or through social media. At this point, I’m left to question whether Jeff Johnson is going through the motions or whether he’s just too broke to run a full-fledged campaign.

At any rate, Tim Pawlenty is running a complete campaign. In his latest campaign email, Pawlenty writes “The DFL candidates for governor, Tim Walz and Erin Murphy, support tax increases and turning Minnesota into a haven for illegal immigration by imposing sanctuary state laws. In fact, Tim Walz even proposed bringing terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay to Rochester, Minnesota!” Later in the same email, Pawlenty wrote “At a time when our state government can’t properly operate the renewal system for licenses; can’t even properly confirm eligibility before giving out public assistance; and is even being investigated for potentially diverting child care funds to terrorists — we need our elected officials to be accountable and use common sense. With the DFL plunging into chaos, they have proven to every Minnesotan that they cannot and will not take these critical responsibilities seriously.”

Gov. Dayton has been a total disaster the past 8 years. Minnesotans are taxed far too much. Far too often under Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s watch, they’ve ignored warning signs of theft or fraud.

It isn’t improper to call the DFL the party of big broken government. They’ve proven that they only care about oversized appropriations and no oversight. MNLARS continues unfixed. Meanwhile, Gov. Dayton vetoed a bill that would’ve saved deputy registrars from financial ruin that Gov. Dayton and the DFL caused because Republicans wouldn’t write Gov. Dayton a blank check for an additional $33,000,000 to supposedly finish fixing MNLARS. When the GOP insisted on strict oversight, Gov. Dayton went into another of his famous diatribes.

Do we want another inept, corrupt Democrat in the Governor’s mansion? Shouldn’t we want a governor who has already shown he’s competent? We can’t afford Erin Murphy’s wildly expensive ideas

With the DFL primaries likely to be contentious, some major rifts have gotten exposed. In his weekly commentary, Harold Hamilton noted that “the DFL is wholly funded, owned, and operated by the wealthy urban elites who hail from about three zip codes in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. These king makers are extremely liberal in their world view and thus support candidates who are extremely liberal in their world view. In short, the DFL establishment these days favors extreme liberals who hail from the urban core.” (Hamilton predicts that Erin Murphy and Keith Ellison will win their primaries and be the DFL’s general election candidates for governor and AG respectively.)

That necessarily means some awfully hurt feelings. As Hamilton said, “Lori Swanson specifically pointed out in her announcement that she was running for governor that she is in favor of gun rights, a hot button topic. Erin Murphy, on the other hand, is a gun grabber and has no regard for the Second Amendment, as does her running mate.”

Anyone that thinks rural DFLers and metro DFLers won’t duke it out over the Second Amendment is kidding themselves. This is one of the existential fights that DFL Chair Ken Martin has tried avoiding for 5+ years. Hamilton noted that “there is a growing schism between the party’s urban, liberal faction and its rural ‘Reagan Democrat’ pragmatic faction.” Here at LFR, I’ve been chronicling that schism for years. It’s inevitable that the divorce happen.

Mitch Berg correctly notes that “It’s pretty clear the DFL is sliding toward Metro-only status. If they lose CD8 and possibly CD1 this year (both are more possible than at any time in years), and with the knowledge that Colin Peterson’s Potemkin seat in CD7 will never be replaced by a Democrat again when he retires), it’ll really be official, even if they someday flip CD3.”

Tonight on Almanac, the 3 DFL gubernatorial candidates did their best to spin the differences between rural issues and metro issues. They failed. Each played nice to a certain degree, though Erin Murphy definitely attacked Walz on the NRA. When rural voters hear that, it’s inevitable that they think the DFL is the party of gun grabbers. What’s clear is that these candidates either don’t understand rural voters or are too busy pandering to city voters.

Murphy and Maye Quade have opposed pipelines and mining. They voted for the buffer strips, too. These positions will alienate rural voters. Amy Koch nails it during the roundtable:

During the Roundtable, Eric Eskola mentioned the Eighth District DFL Primary. They’d run out the environmentalist in that race. Now, 2 more environmentalists have filed to run in the primary. These candidates won’t win but they will keep that fight fresh through August. That isn’t just a disagreement. Potentially, it might turn into a civil war.

If the DFL can’t resolve these major differences, a divorce is inevitable. It’s just a matter of when.

According to this article, the DFL thinks it’s got a messaging problem. While it’s true that they have a difficult time selling their agenda, their problem is substantive. It isn’t that they’ve got a failure to communicate.

Check this out. A caller into the Kerri Miller show, Rishab, thinks that “Republicans are incredible marketers. They have a very simple ideology and can get that out to the voters”, adding that “All these moves the Democrats are doing are very calculating and it’s very difficult for the American people to understand what their position really is.”

I’d argue that the DFL has a unity problem, which might turn into a shrinking party problem if the socialists persist in pushing their economic message. To reduce it to its simplest, socialism bets against human nature. That’s why they need tons of regulations, then tons of carve-outs for their friends when those regulations don’t work. People are in the process of rejecting that economic model. That, in turn, will lead to the party shrinking if this persists.

Why would people be confused about this DFL?

Shortly after the endorsements were announced, the Democratic field began shifting.

  • U.S. Rep. Tim Walz made it clear he’ll take his gubernatorial campaign to the primary against the endorsed candidate, state Rep. Erin Murphy.
  • After Lori Swanson, the incumbent attorney general, lost the endorsement to DFL activist, Matt Pelikan, she decided to shift her focus to the governor’s race.
  • Seeing an opportunity, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison filed to run for attorney general, leaving his seat in the 5th Congressional District open.
  • In response to Ellison vacating his seat, eight other Democrats entered the fray for his 5th District seat.

What could possibly be confusing about that? LOL The thing that’s straightforward is that all of these tickets/candidates are extreme lefties. How do you message for their agenda? Good luck with that.

In this convention speech, Mr. Ellison talked about selling people on climate change and other ‘progressive’ issues. BTW, never forget that progressive equals socialist. They’re inseparable.

Finally, the DFL has some real problems ahead if this is true:

Even so, Bakk sounded a pessimistic tone for the DFL should the primary send Murphy on to the general election. “There is zero chance she will win in November,” predicted Bakk. “I heard there are 13 rural DFL party chairs who have quit over it,” he said. “It’s a pretty metro-centric ticket.”

The prediction is fun reading but finding out that 13 DFL BPOU chairs have quit over the endorsement of the Erin-Squared ticket is important news. That indicates a major division within the DFL. Whether those chairs flip and vote Republican or not, it isn’t likely that they’ll vote DFL.

People leaving the DFL because the DFL isn’t interested in people living outside the Metro is how you shrink the party. That’s a substantive issue or a philosophical issue, not a communications issue.

As rumors swirl that Keith Ellison will run for Attorney General of Minnesota, the question must be asked what he’d contribute if he ran. Before we get to that, though, it’s important to know that the “decision has not been finalized, but Ellison huddled with his top advisers on Monday night to discuss the move, which comes amid the congressman’s frustrations with Congress as well as being DNC Chair Tom Perez’s understudy, sources say. Ellison declined to confirm that he was considering a run for attorney general on Tuesday morning. Politico first reported the news on Monday night. ‘I am not ready to make any comments,’ he told CNN. ‘It will all be clear as crystal, and it won’t be too long from now.'”

I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that, as Minnesota’s Attorney General, Ellison would spend most of his time suing President Trump for ideological reasons. It isn’t a stretch to think that he’d become Minnesota’s Xavier Becerra or Eric Holder. Further, it isn’t a stretch to think that Ellison pictures himself as the Minnesota face of the #Resist movement. Further, it isn’t difficult to picture Ellison suing Minnesota police departments anytime that a black mad is shot by police.

During Lori Swanson’s time in office as Minnesota’s AG, it was common knowledge that she spent tons of time suing President Trump.

UPDATE: It’s official:

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) is running for attorney general of Minnesota, setting off a potentially history-making battle that is sure to attract national attention. He officially filed the paperwork for his candidacy on Tuesday afternoon.

Ellison, one of the staunchest progressives in Congress and the current deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, would be the first Muslim statewide elected official in the country’s history. The six-term Minneapolis congressman would also be Minnesota’s first black statewide official.

Let’s not be timid in saying this. Ellison is famous for being a bombthrower and a terrorist sympathizer. It’s impossible to see how he’d add anything productive to the state.

UPDATE II: Mike Hatch has filed to run for Attorney General, too.

With regards to Mr. Ellison, “Ellison’s decision to run is motivated as much by the availability of the post as by his desire to marshal the forces of the state to resist the agenda of President Donald Trump, according to a Democrat familiar with his thinking.”

In other words, Ellison thinks that he can be a bigger pain in President Trump’s side as Minnesota’s Attorney General than he can be as a bomb-throwing back-bencher in the minority in the U.S. House of Representatives. This isn’t about patriotism for Ellison. It’s purely about being an obstructionist. Ellison doesn’t care about what’s best for Minnesota. He cares about the #Resist movement. His rhetoric in this video shows that he’s a radical’s radical:

In his speech, which sounded semi-sincere, he talked about people in “Ely, Zumbrota, Minneapolis or St. Paul” not getting their fair pay. Later in his rant, he spoke about “consumer justice.” Still later, he spoke about fighting for environmental standards, gun violence and the unions.

Ellison won’t represent all Minnesotans. He’ll represent progressive Minnesotans. It’s impossible to think that he’d fight for gun rights, miners and small business owners. During his legislative career, both in the legislature and Congress, Ellison didn’t waste a split-second of time fighting for the middle class, blue collar workers or conservatives. Ellison is a radical’s radical. That’s who he’ll always be.