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The old political axiom is that a year in politics is 50 political lifetimes. That’s certainly been true at times. In 2020, the most applicable cliché might be from late baseball legend Yogi Berra, who once infamously said “It gets late early out there.” After reading Salena Zito’s article, it’s clear that loyalty to President Trump hasn’t diminished. It’s strengthened.

I don’t see Pennsylvanians’ loyalties changing. In fact, I’ll predict right now that President Trump will win Pennsylvania again. If the Democrats don’t flip Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin and if they don’t hold Virginia and Colorado, they can’t win. It’s that simple.

Here’s why I think it’s getting pretty late pretty quick out there. Ms. Zito wrote “Almost a year after America sent The Donald to the White House, Moyer is still selling pro-Trump signage. Homes and businesses all over this county, which is mostly registered Democrat, continue to declare their allegiance to the Republican outsider. ‘Last year, when people were asking me to make [signs] for them, I was fairly surprised. Republican political signs really aren’t a big thing for me, and, well, this is a big Democrat area. The signs were everywhere, and everyone wanted one.'”

If there’s anything that pundits should learn from all this, it’s that President Trump’s supporters are exceptionally committed to him because, thus far, he’s kept his promises. Another thing that’s important to remember is that he made a connection with blue collar workers during the campaign, then followed up with them after his inauguration. Then he started eliminating regulations that were holding coal mining companies back.

Democrats still haven’t adjusted to this new reality. They’re still committed to the environmental activist wing of their party. If they don’t adjust to that new reality, Trump will own Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin again. Democrats still haven’t figured out how much damage this did to them in Pennsylvania:

Last year, pollsters were convinced Pennsylvania would swing blue. Evidence of Trump signs, the kind of placards made by Moyer, which dotted rural counties all over the state, was dismissed as anecdotal, not proper scientific data. But Trump’s victory upended that narrative.

I bet against President Trump too often last year. I’ve learned my lesson. With the economy strengthening in battleground states and consumer confidence rising, it’s foolish to bet against President Trump right now.

In 2012, at the RightOnline Conference in Las Vegas, I had a brief conversation with Scott Rasmussen. He said that, though polling numbers often change, the identity of the race often gets set early. I think that’s what’s happening this year. If I’m right, that means that Democrats are falling further behind as we speak.

During Congress’s August recess, congresscritters and senators take the time to catch up with what’s happening with their constituents. In this month’s email newsletter, Sen. Franken wrote about his travels through “Northern Minnesota and the Iron Range.” He talked about stopping at Tobies’ Restaurant in Hinckley for a caramel roll. He talked with Native Americans in Grand Portage and small business owners in Grand Marais, too.

The part that I found interesting is when he wrote “I also met with Iron Range steelworkers in Eveleth during my trip to the Northland. These are the men and women who helped build this country and bring us into the 21st century, and I’m fighting to protect their jobs and keep their local economies vibrant.” With all due respect to Sen. Franken, Iron Range economies aren’t vibrant. They haven’t been in a generation. That’s just the myth that Sen. Franken and the DFL continue peddling.

According to the latest census data, Virginia, aka the heart of the Iron Range, families have a median household income of $34,075. A staggering 23.7% of the people live below the Federal Poverty Level, aka FPL. That’s compared with the statewide averages of $61,492 for median household income and 10.2% living below the FPL.

It’s impossible for thoughtful, honest people to say that people making $27,500 less than the average Minnesota family lives where the economy is vibrant? How can a U.S. senator say that people live where the economy is vibrant when one-fourth of them live in poverty?

Either Sen. Franken is exceptionally dishonest or he’s exceptionally out of touch. Another possibility exists but it won’t flatter Sen. Franken. Perhaps he’s satisfied with that information. Perhaps, he isn’t upset when one-fourth of the people of Virginia live in poverty.

Later in his newsletter, Sen. Franken wrote this:

I want to make sure our unions stay strong and that we’re cracking down on the foreign trade cheats that suppress our domestic steel production and steal jobs in Iron Range communities.

Here’s a question for Sen. Franken: why do you crack down on “foreign trade cheats that suppress … domestic steel production and steal jobs in Iron Range communities” but you haven’t criticized members of your own party for filing one lawsuit after another with the goal of preventing the creation of hundreds of high-paying middle class jobs? If high-paying middle class jobs are the goal, who cares who’s standing in the way of creating those jobs? Shouldn’t those jobs and those people come first?

Sen. Franken, why won’t you fight for those people?

This op-ed is a fantastic illustration of what DFL regulatory corruption looks like. Every voter in Minnesota should understand what’s happening by DFL special interest groups in the hope of killing mining.

In the op-ed, Steve Giorgi, the executive director of the Range Association of Municipalities & Schools, aka RAMS, wrote “Commissioner John Linc Stine and his staff at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) announced this week that they will commence with rulemaking hearings across the state on the new proposed rules for limits on Sulfate standards to protect wild rice.” Later in the op-ed, Giorgi wrote “During the last legislative session, Rep. Rob Ecklund was successful in passing legislation that delayed the implementation of any new wild rice/sulfate standards until January of 2019, allowing the MPCA and all Minnesotans to get the results of a study being conducted on the cost implications of a new standard and enforcement of that standard.”

This is what a corrupt regulatory system looks like. The business getting regulated has no assurance that they’ll get the required permits if they follow the stated procedures. (Whatever happened to Bill Clinton’s saying that “if you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll be rewarded with a good life for yourself and a better chance for your children“?) Based on the Dayton administration’s actions, the hard-working people of the Iron Range will get shafted even if they work hard and play by the rules. Then there’s this:

Finding funding for $5 to $10 million dollar treatment plant expansions, along with increased annual operating costs, and then the nightmare of trying to dispose of the brine that is produced by the reverse osmosis treatment, will put most small communities into bankruptcy.

At what point will this DFL administration admit that the regulations they’re thinking about will bankrupt the state? The law was passed and signed into law. PolyMet will be forced by law into playing by the rules. Unless the metro DFL wants to just admit that they want to stop mining altogether, which they’ll deny in public but admit to in private, this regulatory system needs to be scrapped.

I’m not talking about abolishing all regulations. I’m advocating for regulations that protect the water without buying the special interests’ BS. This video is intended to present the MPCA, the regulators on the wild rice standards, as reasonable and business-friendly: That’s intentional. The key difference between the Grede project and the wild rice standards is that the special interests don’t care about Grede. They’re focused on shutting down mining.

It’s indisputable that the metro DFL, especially politicians like John Marty and Al Franken, want to prevent new mining projects from getting permitted. It’s time to throw out the current regulatory system and replace it with a system that’s both business-friendly and that protects the environment. There’s no disputing the fact that the current system is hostile to both businesses and rural Minnesota.

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Over the years of covering PolyMet, I’ve heard some pretty flimsy arguments. Few, though, have been as flimsy as Sen. Erik Simonson’s argument. According to the article, Sen. Simonson said “The ‘company’ wants the process sped up. Since when does our government work for foreign corporations?” Considering the fact that PolyMet has been engaged in this process for almost a dozen years, don’t they have the right to expect the government to expedite the process while ensuring that the laws are being faithfully obeyed?

Thus far, DFL anti-mining special interest groups have done everything in their power to prevent mining. Among the tactics they’ve deployed in their war of attrition against PolyMet and Twin Metals, organizations like Friends of the Boundary Waters, Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, Sustainable Ely, all with direct ties to Becky Rom, requested a programmatic environmental impact statement, aka a PEIS. Conservation Minnesota have put together websites that spread misinformation about non-ferrous mining. Organizations like the Sierra Club and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, aka MCEA, have sued PolyMet as a delaying tactic. At least one Indian tribe tried getting PolyMet stopped on the grounds that their mining operations might damage wild rice growth. (This despite a University of Minnesota study showing that high concentrations of iron in the water mitigates most of the potential damage to rice.)

The number of methods and venues used by the DFL’s anti-mining special interest organizations to prevent mining is frightening. I wouldn’t doubt that a state senator from the Twin Cities say that PolyMet is trying to rush through the process. To hear a state senator from CD-8 essentially say that PolyMet is trying to cheat the system is disgusting. If the local DFL doesn’t primary this idiot, we’ll have proof positive that the DFL hates miners. Here’s one of the anti-mining leaders:

Here’s another:

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Hearing Angie Craig and Rebecca Otto talked about education should be considered cruel and unusual punishment. First, I have to talk about a statement Ms. Craig made during the event. She said “I’m running for Congress in 2018 and I’m coming back to claim our seat.”

Though she wants to focus on education, Ms. Craig apparently isn’t interested in history. It’s been quite some time since a Democrat represented MN-2 in Congress. According to Wikipedia’s history of CD-2, Republicans have held the seat 66 of the last 74 years. That’s a pretty red district. But I digress.

During her presentation, State Auditor Rebecca Otto sounded like a typical far left liberal, saying “A lot of the politics that end up getting passed by the politics of greed end up running over our interests and the common good. The people’s interest and our values, 2018 will really be defined by the politics of greed versus the politics of people and the common good. The politics of greed say all taxes are bad and need to be slashed. That all regulation is bad and must be repealed. That all government workers are bad and must be privatized – that’s our roads, our airports and our schools. As your governor, no public funds are going to private schools.”

Translation: I’m owned by Education Minnesota. The achievement gap will continue or get worse.

I’d describe Ms. Otto’s messaging as scorched earth messaging. There isn’t a hint of nuance to it. The implied message behind Ms. Otto’s words is simple: Republicans are evil. They only look out for themselves. Initially, I thought that this was her messaging to be the DFL gubernatorial candidate. I’m not certain that’s the case anymore. I think there’s a possibility that that’s just who she is as a candidate.

If Republicans get to run against Ms. Otto, it’ll be a gift. She’s an environmental extremist who voted against mining leases, then tried fundraising off of that vote. She’s suing the legislature for limiting the State Auditor’s responsibilities. That lawsuit is costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. What’s worse is that she’s going to lose that case.

Finally, she’s a Metrocrat that hates mining. Considering the fact that Donald Trump thumped HRC on the Iron Range last year, that’s a significant gift to the Republican candidate.

Minnesota is one of several states in the nation leading in education with one of the worst achievement gaps in the nation. As Alpha News reported in 2016, Minnesota led the nation with the highest achievement gap when it came to science scores between white and black eighth grade students.

Ms. Otto needs to work on her presentation skills:

That’s brutal. She won’t get another chance to make a first impression with that audience.

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According to Peter Doocy’s article, Democrats are targeting 80 Republican districts. Doocy wrote “It’s ambitious, to say the least. Right now, national Democratic organizers believe that battlefield encompasses an eye-popping 80 districts across America – even though they’ve lost all four of this year’s special election contests for seats held by Republicans.”

I’m a bit skeptical of those figures. Last year, Nancy Pelosi predicted “they’d take the House back” and “win 30 seats.” I said it then and I’ll repeat it now — that’s a partisan pipe dream. Republicans will grow their majority in 2018. They won’t lose their majority.

Caleb Burns is an election law attorney. He’s quoted as saying “Big data has been harnessed to draw these maps with real precision, on a block-by-block, house-by-house basis. We’ve seen over the last eight years, the number of competitive districts go from about a hundred to about two dozen.” The article then says “this means the list of realistic pickups for Democrats remains short.”

The thing to pay attention to isn’t the number of seats the Democrats target at the start of the campaign. Each year, Democrats start with high hopes and wild predictions. Each cycle, Democrats limp away with their confidence shattered and their credibility in tatters.

Until they moderate their policies and tell the environmentalist wing of the Democratic Party to get real, Democrats will have difficulty winning legislative, House and Senate races. It’s that simple.

This isn’t about redistricting or gerrymandering. It’s about people perceiving Democrats as not being willing to listen to them. President Trump won Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan as much because the people in those states trusted then-Candidate Trump when he told them he’d bring their coal mining and their steel jobs back. That’s a place where the Environmental Left won’t let the Democratic Party go.

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In my opinion, it’s time to add Jon Tester’s name to the Democrats’ ‘endangered species’ list of senators. This article might as well serve as Sen. Tester’s political tombstone.

It reports that “A bill to permanently halt mining on federal land surrounding Montana’s Paradise Valley will be introduced to the U.S. Senate this session, Sen. Jon Tester announced Tuesday. The Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act permanently withdraws federal mineral rights on 30,000 acres of public land in the Custer Gallatin National Forest adjacent to the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness and Yellowstone National Park, and it eliminates the ability for proposed mines to expand on to unclaimed public land.”

I don’t doubt that permanently cutting off mining near Yellowstone National Park sounds reasonable to some people. I’m confident, though, that lots of blue collar people screamed when they heard about this bill. It isn’t that miners don’t care about the environment. It’s that they know that they can mine safely.

The article continues:

The Montana Department of Environment Quality recommended in December that Lucky Minerals be given an exploration license to obtain core samples from up to 46 drill holes on private land in the Absaroka Mountains in Park County, about 12 miles southeast of Emigrant. The total project disturbance area would be just less than 5 acres. The company wants to gauge the area’s copper, gold, silver and molybdenum deposits.

A second company, Crevice Mining Group, is seeking permission to explore for gold on 14 acres of private property near Jardine, just north of Yellowstone Park. The Crevice project has been on hold since the DEQ issued a letter of deficiency last summer asking for more information on the request to drill.

This is what a politically endangered species looks like in Montana:

By submitting this bill, Jon Tester is telling the blue collar people of Montana that their employment isn’t important to him. The implicit statement he made was that tourism was sufficient to support Montana’s economy. I’m pretty certain the citizens don’t agree.

Then-Candidate Obama once infamously said “And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

In Obama’s thinking, coal miners who had lost their jobs thanks to overregulation were just bitter people because they were bigots or religious zealots. Notice the part where he said that these coal miners had “antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.” That’s a smooth way of accusing them of bigotry.

That article was written in April, 2008. Progressive bigotry hasn’t changed much in that time. Last night, during President Trump’s rally in Huntington, WVA, political analyst Stuart Rothenberg let his bigotry slip when he tweeted “Lots of people in West Virginia can’t support themselves or speak English.” It didn’t take long for Rothenberg to become a piñata. Townhall’s Kurt Schlichter tweeted a sharp reply, saying “They hate you. Remember that.” Salena Zito jumped in, tweeting “Respectfully as someone who comes from the region that is incredibly bigoted — people from West Virginia are incredible hard-working folks.”

Rothenberg made the mistake of replying to Ms. Zito, saying “Of course they are hard-working. They mean well. Just close-minded, provincial, angry & easily misled. My wife’s dad was a coal miner in PA.” TRANSLATION: They’re nice, hard-working people. They just aren’t citizens of the world like I am.

Ms. Zito finished Mr. Rothenberg with dignity, saying “I would never consider making fun of an entire state of people who might be different than me-you need to come to West Virginia with me sir.” Ms. Zito is exceptionally gracious. If Mr. Rothenberg is wise, which is still in question, he’d take Ms. Zito up on her offer.

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Something that the MSM, aka the Agenda Media, doesn’t understand is how detached the polling is from Trump’s real life army. Last fall, I read every one of Salena Zito’s articles from states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and Michigan. (The first 2 states, like the last 2 states, were supposedly part of Hillary’s blue firewall.)

Thursday night in Huntington, WVA, President Trump held a rally that was high on energy, predictable in content and troubling for the Democratic Party. Despite the spate of recent negative polling, President Trump’s army hasn’t wavered in their support of him. Here’s why that should frighten Democrats. If Democrats can’t reconnect with blue collar voters, they’ll lose in 2020 by a bigger margin than Hillary lost by in 2016.

Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” That’s definitely true. In the small towns in northern Pennsylvania, Ohio’s Mahoning Valley, Michigan and Wisconsin, blue collar voters are seeing the Trump economic plan pay dividends. In Pennsylvania, they’re creating tons of mining jobs. In Ohio, they’re creating steel industry jobs. In Wisconsin, Foxconn is creating high-paying manufacturing jobs. It isn’t likely that Democrats will flip those states back into their column anytime soon.

President Trump got lots of applause when, early in his speech, he said “We are putting our coal miners back to work. We’ve ended the war on beautiful clean coal. We’ve stopped the EPA intrusion. American coal exports are already up — think of this — American exports of coal are already up more than 60% this year.”

While he said this to a packed auditorium in Huntington, WVA, rest assured that coal miners in Pennsylvania and Ohio heard President Trump’s message and applauded. Watch President Trump’s speech here:

Charles Krauthammer said that the speech wasn’t particularly memorable but it was still important because it sent the message that he still commands a massive army of supporters. That’s totally true.

Last year, faux reporters were appalled when then-candidate Trump said that “You know what else they say about my people? The polls, they say I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s like incredible.” While he said it rather inartfully, there’s little doubt that he hasn’t lost much support. President Trump has figured out something that most politicians haven’t. He’s figured out that keeping his biggest promises engenders steadfast loyalty.

Until something substantive happens to dramatically change the electorate’s perspective, I’ll continue believing that Democrats will have an uphill fight in 2020.

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This Duluth News Tribune editorial highlights the fact that another DFL front group is attempting to kill the PolyMet mining project. According to the editorial, “a group calling itself the Duluth for Clean Water Action Team contacted councilors, asking them to sign on to a letter requesting once again that a contested case hearing be ordered by Gov. Mark Dayton and DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr so ‘that the claims of both project proponents and opponents (can) be subjected to the highest possible scrutiny.'”

The editorial continues, saying “A reasonable, desirable goal — but it actually already has happened. Over the last 10 years-plus, PolyMet’s plans have been studied and analyzed, their every detail considered to assure compliance with state and federal regulations that are some of the most stringent in the world. It was an exhaustive and detailed environmental review that worked. When the company’s plans didn’t measure up, they were sent back for revisions and wholesale changes. A safer, sounder plan emerged as a result.”

Before Gov. Dayton was sworn in as governor, I wrote this post, titled “Attrition, not litigation.” During Gov. Dayton’s entire term in office, he’s been as active as a potted plant when it comes to supporting miners. He’s sat still while environmental activists like Duluth for Clean Water Action Team, the Sierra Club, the Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness and Conservation Minnesota did their utmost to kill the PolyMet mining project.

These organizations’ favorite tactics are persistent litigation and other stalling tactics. This paragraph pretty much says it all:

It’s hard to imagine what new evidence could be brought at a contested case hearing that hasn’t already been thoroughly researched, considered, vetted, and, where appropriate, implemented. An administrative law judge hardly would be an environmental expert or an authority on the science or business of mining. Those experts already have weighed in, prompted improvements to the plans, and signed off.

It’s time to start building the mine. The region needs it economically. The regulating agencies have said that it will be operated properly.

If the DFL wants to admit that they hate miners, they’re welcome to admit that. Otherwise, it’s time for them to get the hell out of the way so the Iron Range can prosper again.