Archive for the ‘Metrocrats’ Category

Lori Swanson’s run as Minnesota’s attorney general is all but officially over. According to this article, she’s about to announce that she’s running for governor. According to the article, “Attorney General Lori Swanson, who was rebuffed by party delegates in her bid for reelection at last weekend’s nominating convention, will instead run for governor, Minnesota Lawyer has learned. U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, the 8th District congressman who announced in February that he will retire from that seat, will be Swanson’s running mate, according to sources. Swanson will officially make the announcement Monday afternoon. Minnesota Lawyer will attend the announcement and update this report later.”

If you’re in the Twin Cities and you hear 2 women crying uncontrollably, it’s likely Erin-Squared crying because their chances of winning the primary just got vaporized. If you hear shouts of joy, it’s likely Ken Martin rejoicing after begging and pleading all night with them to come to his rescue. I wonder how big the bribe was to pull this ticket together.

I don’t know why I used the question mark in the title but it’s there and I’m too lazy to change it this morning. But I digress. The point of this post is to highlight the DFL’s gubernatorial ticket’s utter hostility towards legal gun owners. This morning, the Gun Owners Caucus issued a fact sheet on the ‘Erin Squared’ ticket vis a vis gun control.

It started by saying “The battle lines couldn’t be more clear. This weekend, at their convention in Rochester, the DFL endorsed the most extreme anti-gun ticket we’ve seen in Minnesota. DFL-endorsed Governor candidate Erin Murphy, an anti-gun State Representative who is proud of her “F” rating from the NRA and the Caucus. She’s been hostile to gun owners from her very first term.”

It went downhill from there, which might lead people to wonder how it can go downhill from an F rating. Here’s how:

DFL-endorsed Lt. Governor candidate Erin Maye Quade, also an anti-gun State Representative who signed onto Linda Slocum’s egregious HF 3022 gun ban bill earlier this year only to later withdrawal calling it a clerical mistake. Her spouse is a former full-time employee at Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun Everytown activist organization.

Nothing says the DFL hates law-abiding gun owners better than an all-Metro, gun-hating ticket at the top of the ballot.

It still drops off from there:

DFL-endorsed Attorney General candidate Matt Peliken, an anti-gun attorney who has called for complete bans on many semi-automatic firearms under the guise of ‘gun safety’ legislation. He was introduced at the convention by the leader of the state-based anti-gun organization Protect Minnesota, Rev. Nancy Nord Bence.

How do you think these candidates make rural DFL voters feel on gun issues? With this much hostility towards law-abiding gun owners at the top of the DFL ticket, it’s difficult to picture enthusiasm for the DFL ticket.

Finally, check this statement out.

Saying that picking Erin Maye Quade is Erin Murphy’s first unforced mistake isn’t controversial outside the DFL. Since I’m not in the DFL, I’m not that worried what the DFL thinks. Frankly, I’m confident that I’ve got lots of company in thinking that.

Filling out Erin Maye Quade’s identity isn’t difficult. She’s admitted to organizing with Barack Obama in 2007-08. She’s led this year’s anti-gun protest at the Capitol. She’s from Apple Valley. Combining with Erin Murphy is natural since the DFL is the Metrocrat Party. Increasingly, to the DFL, life outside the Twin Cities Metro doesn’t exist. Increasingly, to the Metro DFL, people who want to protect their families are considered weird. If you don’t believe me, ask Lori Swanson how welcoming the DFL is to NRA members. Swanson led Matt Pelikan by 5 points after the first ballot. Shortly thereafter, the DFL endorsed Pelikan. After the first ballot, Pelikan dropped a neutron bomb in the convention center, telling everyone that — gasp! — the NRA had given Swanson an A rating. Within 15 minutes, Swanson withdrew.

Why would we think that an anti-mining, gun-grabbing, pro-single-payer health care ticket from the Twin Cities would attempt to represent rural Minnesota? That being said, I’m praying that this is the DFL ticket this November. Check out the last half of this video:

Quade first admits that she’s a first-term legislator. Next, she virtually admits that parents can’t afford child care. Perhaps, she should’ve told Gov. Dayton not to let several hundred million dollars leave the program as a result of fraud.

Nothing in Ms. Quade’s legislative history suggests that she’s prepared to be governor if, God forbid, Murphy is incapacitated. Then again, I question whether either of these women are interested in representing the people of rural Minnesota. I’m betting they won’t.

This ticket screams identity politics. This ticket doesn’t seem interested in representing all of Minnesota’s 87 counties. In the end, that’s why I think Murphy-Quade will get beat by Walz-Flanagan.

I just got off the phone with Mitch Berg, who told me that Erin Murphy has picked Erin Maye Quade to be the Lt. Gov. candidate on her ticket. I told Mitch that nothing says geographical and ideological balance like a pair of gun-grabbing Metrocrats that hate mining. BTW, you’ll want to read Mitch’s upcoming post to hear his perspective on this. Trust me when I tell you that he’s got a perspective that you won’t hear from the Twin Cities media.

Here’s a little background on EMQ: “Quade first rose to prominence in speaking out on sexual harassment at the State Capitol — a #MeToo movement that ultimately led to the resignation of two prominent state legislators. Quade also led a 24-hour sit-in on the floor of the State Capitol in April, calling for a vote on several gun control bills before the session’s end. Quade is the first openly LGBT candidate for statewide office on a ticket endorsed by a major party. At 32, she would also be one of the youngest people to serve in the office.”

In her first gubernatorial-level decision, Murphy failed miserably. The Lt. Gov. must be able to step in as governor if, God forbid, something happens to the governor. Erin Maye Quade fails that test:

Maye Quade is serving her first term in the House and previously worked for U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison doing constituent services and organizing for DFL campaigns. She is a lifelong resident of Apple Valley, where she lives with her wife, Alyse, who also organizes for the DFL Party.

Basically, she’s a high profile activist. What’s funny is that Murphy doesn’t admit that this ticket won’t be well-received outside the Twin Cities metro:


Here’s the thing: Erin Murphy hates farmers almost as much as she hates miners, loggers and gun owners. The thought that Murphy and Quade will appeal to more than 12% of rural voters statewide is ridiculous. I’ve got to think that the NRA is chomping at the bit to go after this ticket. In the Eighth, I’m betting that there are tons of DFLers that can’t wait to vote against this ticket. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if they vote for one of the GOP tickets.

Ken Martin won’t admit it but he’s got to be afraid of what this ticket would do to the DFL this November.

There’s no question whether the metro DFL is the dominant wing of the DFL. They’ve essentially told rural DFL legislators that they’re valued as long as they keep their mouths shut and follow metro DFL’s orders. The vast majority of DFL gubernatorial candidates are Metrocrats. Tim Walz is the only one that doesn’t fit that description because he’s from southern Minnesota. Unfortunately, he’s had a recent change of heart and is sounding like an anti-mining, NRA-hating Metrocrat. But I digress.

The point of this article is to highlight what the Metrocrat DFL stands for. Scott Dibble’s op-ed offers great insight into the Metro DFL’s priorities. In the op-ed, Sen. Dibble wrote “Folks might know that I come from the front lines of movement building — organizing and fighting for social justice and an economy that works for everyone. Those fundamental democratic values are under attack in our country, from President Trump’s mass deportation and promotion of bigotry, to Congress’s tax giveaways to the ultra-wealthy, not to mention the Republican leadership back home pushing our state back into deficits after years of surplus. The daily onslaught can be overwhelming.”

Let’s be blunt. Sen. Dibble has made it clear that he thinks that the tax cuts that are helping middle class families are anti-American and betray “fundamental democratic values.” Sen. Dibble mentioned being a social justice warrior. The Urban Dictionary’s definition of social justice warrior is “a person who uses the fight for civil rights as an excuse to be rude, condescending, and sometimes violent for the purpose of relieving their frustrations or validating their sense of unwarranted moral superiority. The behaviors of Social justice warriors usually have a negative impact on the civil rights movement, turning away potential allies and fueling the resurgence of bigoted groups that scoop up people who have been burned or turned off by social justice warriors.”

In his op-ed, Sen. Dibble wrote glowingly about Jamie Long, who is apparently running for Paul Thissen’s open House seat. Here’s what Sen. Dibble wrote about Long:

As a young activist at Carleton College, Jamie founded a student environmental group. Among their achievements were pressuring the college to install a wind turbine and the creation of a Responsible Investment Committee so the college’s wealth would not support injustice. He took his organizing to Washington, D.C., working on climate and clean water advocacy with the Natural Resources Defense Council while attending law school.

Jamie brought his organizing skill and his passion for justice back to Minnesota five years ago. He channeled that energy and ability into running Congressman Keith Ellison’s Minnesota office, helping build community power to propel a comprehensive progressive legislative agenda.

If there’s anyone who’s more progressive than Mr. Long, it might take time to find, then identify, that person. Frankly, I’m not sure that person exists.

What I’m certain of, though, is that the Metrocrats’ priorities aren’t rural Minnesota’s priorities. I’m certain that rural Minnesota didn’t put a high priority on the “passage of the historic law granting the freedom to marry to all Minnesotans,” aka gay marriage. That doesn’t that rural Minnesota residents hate gays. It just means that issue wasn’t high on their priorities list. With the Metrocrats, it was a high priority:

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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According to this article, Rick Nolan is considering a run to be Minnesota’s next governor. The article opens by saying “Rep. Rick Nolan is considering a 2018 run for governor, his spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday. Nolan, 73, would be a high profile addition to the DFL field. He represents the 8th Congressional District in northeastern Minnesota, winning a tough re-election fight in 2016 despite a bad year for his party, especially in greater Minnesota. This is Nolan’s second go around in Congress, now in his third term after serving three terms in the 1970s. Having endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, Nolan could unite DFL progressives with rural moderates that he represents in Congress. ‘Because several people who (Nolan)& respects have urged him to run, he is giving it thought,’ said Samantha Bisogno, his spokeswoman. She added that he has not pursued the matter further and referred questions to his campaign operation.”

Rick Nolan isn’t the uniter that he’s portrayed as in this article. He’s a far left lefty who thinks Obamacare didn’t go far enough. Further, he isn’t trusted by Metrocrat environmental activists because he’s (relatively) pro-mining. I don’t know how he’d win enough votes in the DFL’s urban stronghold to win either the primary or the general election.

As a Republican, I love the thought of Nolan running for governor because it gives Republicans a stronger chance of flipping the Eighth District. The NRCC would likely think of this as a gift. Obviously, this isn’t decided. Still, it’s another possible ray of sunshine for Republicans.

Resolution 54, which is an amendment offered to the DFL state party platform, has already had a significant impact on the DFL. In 2016, the DFL sent the signal to outstate Minnesota that they cared most about the urban and suburban parts of the state. While most people who voted for Donald Trump and GOP legislative candidates never heard of Resolution 54, it wasn’t a secret to trades unions like the pipefitters and carpenters that the DFL was anti-pipeline and anti-mining.

From a political impact perspective, Resolution 54 will likely be seen, if it passes, as the final proof that the environmental activists run the DFL. It’s apparent that DFL State Party Chairman Ken Martin understands that. DFL Chairman Martin understands that because he’s “tasked with winning the DFL elections, which means maintaining support in rural areas while keeping funds from far-left and deep-pocketed Twin Cities donors flowing into races.”

Let’s be clear about this. The rift between the miners and the environmental activists is significant but it isn’t the only point of separation between the environmental activists and other parts of the DFL. Resolution 54 is the high profile disagreement but it isn’t the only point of disagreement. Chairman Martin must know that.

The environmental activists that dominate the metro DFL oppose pipeline construction, too. They’re hostile towards logging and farming, too. It’s important for the outstate DFL to remember that the metro DFL gave them the high health insurance premiums of the ACA, too.

The DFL passed the MNsure legislation in 2013. The DFL has opposed PolyMet for a decade. They opposed the Sandpiper Pipeline for 5 years. Thanks to Gov. Dayton’s obstructionism and the Public Utilities Commission’s meddling in the Sandpiper Pipeline project, that pipeline won’t get built. Instead, the Dakota Access Pipeline will be built.

Until the DFL tells the environmental activists that they don’t run the DFL, the DFL’s base will continue crumbling. That’s the real impact of the environmental activist wing of the DFL and Resolution 54.

The article describes DFL Chairman Martin as “a supporter of labor.” Chairman Martin then said “the DFL needs to agree to disagree on mining.” That didn’t sit well with miners:

That’s where Range DFLers disagree, saying they want the chair to take a stronger stance against the environmental caucus. The party taking a position against the livelihood of a region has become personal and too critical to compromise on.

Chairman Martin is playing a weak hand poorly. Then again, he’s in a difficult position. (I’d call it a no-win situation.)

Regardless of today’s vote, the DFL is in a difficult position for 2018 and beyond.

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When I wrote this post, titled The DFL’s blue collar civil war, I focused my attention on tomorrow morning’s DFL State Central meeting and something titled Resolution 54. The language for Resolution 54 states “Oppose sulfide ore mining, which is significantly different from taconite mining, poses unacceptable environmental risks, threatens multiple watersheds (Lake Superior, BWCA/VNP, Mississippi) and should not be allowed in the sulfur-bearing rock of Minnesota.”

Harold Hamilton’s Friday commentary focused on those subjects, too. Hamilton wrote “The Watchdog has spoken with a number of DFL opinion leaders from greater Minnesota who have noted that the passage of this resolution means their permanent split from the DFL.”

The next paragraph after that commentary contained an update, which said “The Watchdog has learned that there will be a motion to ‘table’ the resolution until 2018. So what. Kicking the can down the road won’t paper over this schism. DFL candidates are already announcing for governor. You can bet that various DFL constituencies will be working hard to pin down the candidates regarding mining. There will be no place to hide.”

A loyal reader of LFR said that it’s unlikely that the motion to table Resolution 54 will pass. Further, this supporter of LFR thinks it likely that Resolution 54 will pass, though that isn’t guaranteed. Another loyal supporter of LFR sent me this Twitter picture:


I don’t know if these things are tied together or if they’re entirely random. Either situation is possible at this point. What’s certain is that tomorrow morning’s meeting has the potential for blowing up in the DFL’s face. The other thing that’s certain is that DFL State Party Chair Martin can’t be blamed if he’s drinking Maalox by the bottle tonight.

According to Mr. Hamilton, if tomorrow morning’s DFL meeting blows up, Republicans will have gotten a fantastic opportunity if they play it right:

On the Republican side, leadership must grasp the opportunity, which means making some tough choices. It’s easy to support mining and pipelines. It’s easy to support guns. But it isn’t as easy to support other issues like prevailing wage laws.

Internal polling from some construction trade union showed that over 50% of their membership voted for Donald Trump and other Republicans down ticket. Maintaining those numbers will be very, very difficult if the GOP pushes for prevailing wage repeal bills, for example. Regardless of where one stands on this issue, members of the skilled construction trades see prevailing wage laws as a protection against low-cost, low-skill (sometimes illegal) labor undercutting Minnesota’s high-skill higher-cost model.

In short, when you tell a man or woman who has put in many thousands of hours to learn and perfect a trade that they should make less money in order to be on par with crews of unskilled, illegal workers from Alabama and Mississippi, it’s not a winning message. Telling rural Minnesota that blue collar people in their communities make too much money is about as popular as telling them that mining should be illegal.

Here’s hoping that Republicans a) get this opportunity and b) make the most of this opportunity.

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Briana Bierschbach’s article exposes the DFL’s electoral dilemma going forward. She quotes Ken Martin, the DFL State Party Chairman, as saying “Clearly there were a lot of white, non-college-educated, working-class voters who were frustrated and anxious about their future and they wanted change. We have to figure out how to speak to white, working-class voters in a better way.”

Actually, the DFL’s problem isn’t messaging. The DFL’s problems revolve around geography and policies. Specifically, the DFL is dominated by the Twin Cities environmental activists that can’t relate to outstate Minnesota. What’s worse for the DFL is that these environmental activists don’t want to relate to blue collar workers.

This isn’t just a problem for the DFL. The Democratic Party nationally got routed because they ignored these blue collar workers. Democrats nationally and the DFL locally both have sided with environmental activists on issue after issue. Whether it’s on the Keystone XL Pipeline or the Dakota Access Pipeline nationally or the Sandpiper Pipeline here in Minnesota, the environmental activists always win the fight with the Democrats.

If that pattern doesn’t change, the DFL will continue to get hurt electorally. They won’t admit this in public but the truth is that Donald Trump has changed the political landscape. I’m not calling this a permanent realignment. It’s a significant shift, though, because there’s now a new option available to blue collar Democrats.

This past year, Rep. Thissen told us that the DFL would make up ground in outstate Minnesota with broadband and transit. I wrote that those things wouldn’t help them in outstate Minnesota because they weren’t important to outstate voters. The DFL didn’t identify health care accessibility or health insurance premiums as battleground issues.

Think of it this way: outstate voters that normally vote DFL are drifting away from the DFL because of health care and environmental issues. Suburban voters are drifting, too, because health care prices are expensive. The DFL’s messaging won’t change those realities.