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Anyone that thinks that the DFL is a smooth-running operation isn’t paying attention. The DFL doesn’t have a message. Most importantly, they don’t think highly of people who live in rural Minnesota. Recently, Chairman Ken Martin said “Our brand is [expletive deleted]. Our brand is toxic. People don’t know what the heck it is. If you got a hundred Democrats in this room right now, and ask them what the Democratic Party stands for, you’d get a hundred different answers. There’s no consistency. No one knows what the Democratic Party is.”

That’s because the DFL, like Democrats nationally, have a different message for each special interest group rather than having a unifying message for everyone in general. For instance, it’s impossible to please the environmentalists one minute, then please blue collar unions the next. The messages fit together like oil mixes with water or round pegs fit into square holes.

The other problem that the DFL has is their disdain for people. Recently, a DFL campaign staffer was quoted as saying “Just tell them the trailer-court story; they’re not big thinkers out there.” If you’ve never seen DFL elitism before, that’s what it looks like. You can’t win people’s hearts when you’re disgusted with them.

Why aren’t Range DFLers asking what they have in common with Metro DFL environmentalists? Why haven’t Rangers figured it out that they have much more in common with the GOP? Republicans should exploit the divisions within the DFL. These aren’t microscopic differences. These are gigantic philosophical divisions.

For the entire Obama administration, the DFL locally, and Democrats nationally, hasn’t had a unifying message. They’ve held the tribes together with mirrors. With Trump ushering in a new generation of prosperity, Republicans can run on the unifying message of putting pro-growth policies in place that benefit everyone.

Ken Martin has lots of reasons to be worried about the DFL this fall. By then, the economy will be humming. People will be able to compare Trump’s economy with Obama’s economy and Dayton’s economy. That isn’t a fair fight. The Republicans’ gubernatorial candidate should make economic growth throughout the state the centerpiece of their campaign. Any campaign staffer or consultant that isn’t singing from that hymnal should be immediately fired.

Republicans at all levels should highlight the fact that they’re hoping that everyone in all 87 counties will benefit from their policies. That doesn’t mean redistribution or socialism. It means pro-growth policies that help everyone’s upward mobility.

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Salena Zito’s column picks apart Sen. Franken while exposing the Democrats’ weakness. First, it can’t help Sen. Franken’s ego if he read Ms. Zito say “His prominence in the Senate was pretty reflective of his previous life. There was a lot of noise, but according to research done by the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, his home state newspaper, his legislative career was weak. Of Franken’s 141 pieces of legislation (85 bills, 47 amendments, and nine resolutions) none became law.”

For all of the things written by the Twin Cities media about Franken rolling up his sleeves and going to work, his legacy will be that he was a pervert without any consequential legislative accomplishments. It’ll be interesting to see how Franken’s protectorate will spin that. Later in the article, Ms. Zito wrote “Americans don’t just want members of Congress to be decent people, they also want them to actually do things that benefit them, their communities, and the country; what they don’t want is someone who solely uses their elected offices as a springboard to more power (it was the worst kept secret in Democratic circles that Franken was considering a run for president in 2020). In short, voters want their members of Congress to do something.”

When Democratic senators finally abandoned him this past Wednesday, they established a dangerous double-edged sword that they’ll be judged by. Matt Lewis’ article highlights the Democrats’ predicament:

Sen. Al Franken’s ouster Thursday was a necessary step in order to brand the Democratic Party as the “good” party, and to cast sexual abuse as a Republican problem. We know this because… they admit it. “This is a requirement to be able to look at [women] with a straight face and say we’re the party that cares about them,” Guy Cecil, who heads the liberal Priorities USA and previously served as executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, told Politico. “As long as Republicans don’t do that, there’s a very sharp contrast to be drawn.”

The thing is that this strategy won’t work if Democrats don’t live up to their lofty rhetoric. Frankly, it’s impossible for the Democrats to live up to their words.

Friday night on Almanac, DFL Party Chair Ken Martin said “you can say whatever you want about the Democratic Party but we’re taking these things head-on because we believe we have to rise to a higher standard so that everyone else has to rise to a higher standard” before setting the bar too high when he said that the DFL “has a very zero-tolerance policy.” Perhaps, that’s why they immediately insisted on Franken’s resignation … after the eighth accuser came forward.

With all due respect, Chairman Martin, that’s spin, not truth. Let’s see the DFL live up to those standards before lecturing Republicans.

During Friday night’s interview on Almanac, Ken Martin did his best to put Jennifer Carnahan on the defensive on the issue of sexual harassment. During the interview, Chairman Martin insisted that the DFL was into due process. Martin seemed to explain that’s why they initially insisted that Franken subject himself to an Ethics Committee investigation. The problem with Chairman Martin’s story is that the DFL understood that the Senate Ethics Committee “is where serious allegations go to die.”

Further, Chairman Martin repeatedly accused Republicans of waiting forever before calling for Rep. Tony Cornish’s resignation. That’s BS. Chairman Martin said “you can say whatever you want about the Democratic Party but we’re taking these things head-on because we believe we have to rise to a higher standard so that everyone else has to rise to a higher standard.”

Chairman Martin, that higher standard that you’re talking about, does that include waiting until the eighth woman accuses Sen. Franken of grabbing her breast before you call for him to resign? I ask because that’s the truth. Prior to that, the DFL’s position was that Sen. Franken submit to an Ethics Committee investigation. If that’s the DFL standard, I’m certain I wouldn’t call that holding the DFL to a high standard. I’d call that pretty lenient, actually.

Shortly after peddling that garbage, Eric Eskola asked Chairman Martin “Would things have changed for Senate Democrats’ thought on this if Minnesota had a Republican governor who would have picked a Republican to replace Sen. Franken?” Chairman Martin replied “Not for me. As Cathy just said, I’m getting beat up by it but I’m not going to back down. We have a zero tolerance policy. I believe those women who’ve come forward and I think it’s our responsibility to do that so women feel safe to come forward to tell their stories.”

What a bunch of BS. Letting eight women accuse Sen. Franken of kissing them unwantedly or putting his hand on their butt or on their breasts isn’t a zero-tolerance policy. I’d argue that that’s exceptionally lenient. Later, Chairman Martin insisted that the DFL “has a very zero-tolerance policy” that they work hard to uphold.

As for Sen. Franken’s resignation, good riddance. As for Chairman Martin, it isn’t like we didn’t know that he’s a world class spinmeister.

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This article highlights the thinking of the anti-mining special interests. It also highlights the attempts by the DFL to distance themselves from the dominant wing of the DFL.

First, the article quoted Becky Rom’s and Reid Carron’s disparaging quotes about the mining industry. Carron is quoted as saying “Resentment is the primary driver of the pro-mining crowd here. They are resentful that other people have come here and been successful while they were sitting around waiting for a big mining company. They want somebody to just give them a job so they can all drink beer with their buddies and go four-wheeling and snowmobiling with their buddies, not have to think about anything except punching a clock.” Meanwhile, Rom is quoted as saying that “Ely council member and mining advocate Dan Forsman ‘drives to the mine in his truck, comes home and watches TV, and he doesn’t know this world exists,’ referring to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.”

Thanks to social media (and websites like LFR), their comments went viral. One of the first to react was “Jason George, political and special projects director for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49, [who] said ‘it disgusts me. There is no other way to put it. In my opinion, and in my experience sitting through public hearing after public hearing listening to environmental activists dismiss and belittle construction jobs, the sentiments expressed by Rom and Carron very accurately reflect the way most anti-mining, anti-pipeline, and anti-development groups really feel about the hardworking people of northern Minnesota. Minnesota’s blue-collar workers, the men and women I am proud to fight for, deserve better.'”

Mike Kinsley once infamously said that a gaffe is when you accidentally tell the truth. That’s what happened here. Carron and Rom made the mistake of saying what they truly felt to a magazine reporter from New York. They never thought Minnesotans would hear their statements. Here’s the guilty (married) couple:

DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin, in his attempt to keep the DFL together, embarrassed himself:

Amid an intraparty battle between pro-mining union members and environmental interests that have stepped up opposition to copper-nickel projects, Martin said “These judgmental comments wrongfully disparage thousands of hard-working Minnesotans. There’s no question that the issue of mining in northern Minnesota is a contentious one. But there’s no room in the debate for sharp-tongued attacks on Minnesotans who work hard every day to provide for their families and support our state’s economy. Here in Minnesota, we value civility. We treat each other with respect. We must keep this debate healthy, productive, and focused on the issue at hand. Because at the end of the day, we all want the same thing: a better life for our family and a brighter future for our state.”

That’s outright BS. Mining isn’t a contentious issue. I’ll stipulate that it’s a complicated issue for the DFL but that’s only because they’re too spineless to stand up to the dominant anti-mining wing of the DFL. If Martin had a spine, he would’ve forcefully criticized Rom for saying that “anti-mining forces would gain an advantage ‘one funeral at a time.'”

The Bible says that you “can’t serve two masters.” That’s what Martin is attempting to do. Using a different metaphor, he’s trying to mix oil with water. Good luck with that.

In an apology released to a Duluth television station and later sent to the Echo, Rom and Carron wrote that Carron’s was “disrespectful and untrue.” “First and most important, the statement is untrue with respect to the thousands of people across northeastern Minnesota who work hard every day and who believe that developing copper mines will provide worthwhile economic opportunities for them, for people they care about, and for our communities,” they wrote. “We respect people who get up at 4:30 am to drive to work in Minnesota’s taconite mines. Second, the statement is untrue because it does not reflect what we think. Living in the Ely community, we depend on people all the time who we know hold a different view than we do on whether copper mining would be a good thing. When we do business with them, they are helpful and generous, and we treat each other with mutual respect.

“For Reid to say that people like that are sitting around waiting for a big mining company to give them a job or Becky to question if Dan Forsman has been into the Boundary Waters is disrespectful. We apologize for these statements.”

I don’t trust this apology. Why trust someone that’s lied to newspapers about how they tried to secretly sabotage an entire industry?

Finally, check out this quote:

“Reid Carron’s description of people who support copper-nickel mining is nothing short of disgusting,” said Paul Austin, executive director of Conservation Minnesota. “This is an important conversation that requires each of us to work to understand each other’s perspectives on the issue so we can reach a positive resolution. There is no place for demeaning fellow Minnesotans.”

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To read Politico’s article on the DNC, you’d think they’re in a world of hurt. That’s the only logical conclusion to be reached after reading “The Democratic National Committee is reeling, facing a turnaround that’s proving a much bigger lift than anyone expected as it struggles to raise enough money to cover its basic promises. Many donors are refusing to write checks. And on-the-ground operatives worry they won’t have the resources to build the infrastructure they need to compete effectively in next year’s midterms and in the run-up to 2020.”

It’s tough to read quotes that attempt to paint over the DNC’s difficulties. According to the article, “Donors, small and large, are so over the party,’ said Nebraska party chair Jane Kleeb, summing up the problem facing DNC chairman Tom Perez and his counterparts in the states. Kleeb, who is working on grassroots fundraising efforts for the committee, said she believes the money will come eventually.” That sounds like spin to me. What has Kleeb seen that makes her think that donor enthusiasm will increase? Or is that statement wishful thinking? It’s most likely wishful thinking.

Much of the immediate anxiety centers on the State Party Innovation Fund, a planned $10.5 million competitive grant program that DNC leadership has made available to interested state parties over the next year. The money is meant to pay for organizing, ground operations and other mechanics seen as essential to countering Republican National Committee investments that helped elect Donald Trump and a slew of other Republican candidates in 2016, leapfrogging Democrats in the process.

Desperation is setting in. This video highlights the outlandish statements Perez is becoming famous for:

In Las Vegas, Minnesota party chairman Ken Martin, the president of the Association of State Democratic Chairs, went out of his way while speaking to a gathering of state party executive directors to assure them the grant program was on schedule, since the money will be doled out over the course of a year and so doesn’t have to be raised yet, said one Democrat in the room.

All the wishful thinking in the world won’t solve the DNC’s problems. While it’s a stretch to think the DNC is listening to its death knell, it isn’t a stretch to think that they’re in trouble.

It isn’t a secret that I don’t buy into the Twin Cities media’s depiction of the DFL as one big happy family but with a couple minor differences that aren’t worth talking about. Frankly, I think that storyline is about as dishonest as Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi.

If I got $10 for every person that’s read one of my ‘the DFL is totally nuts’ posts, I’d own an island in the Caribbean. I’ve written how the DFL has essentially rejected blue collar Minnesota. If I can highlight anything or re-inforce anything, that’s what I’d highlight or re-inforce. The differences are real and growing.

I think I’m the only Minnesota journalist that predicted that Republicans would flip the Minnesota Senate to a GOP majority. The reason I made that prediction is because the DFL rift between white collar Minnesota and blue collar Minnesota is getting bigger. Attitudes are getting more hostile towards each other, too.

Harold Hamilton has his finger on Minnesota’s pulse. Each Friday, Harold writes a commentary. This week’s commentary is on this exact subject. What’s most entertaining about Harold’s commentary is when he wrote “The arrogance of the urban liberal is a sight to behold. It’s also been somewhat amusing to watch DFL leaders dance on the head of a pin trying to explain away the civil war as a mere squabble between two key constituencies of the DFL. More importantly, it’s more than presumptuous to call the construction trades a ‘DFL constituency.'”

The thought that the DFL isn’t fighting a civil war is laughable. Harold highlights it with DFL activists’ quotes:

“Resentment is the primary driver of the pro-mining crowd here – they are resentful that other people have come here and been successful while they were sitting around waiting for a big mining company. They want somebody to just give them a job so they can all drink beer with their buddies and go four-wheeling and snowmobiling with their buddies, not have to think about anything except punching a clock.” – Reid Carron, Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

“Danny Forsman drives to the mine in his truck, comes home and watches TV, and he doesn’t know this world exists.” – Becky Rom, Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, speaking of pro-mining Ely city councilman Dan Forsman

“I’m not saying we are writing off the Iron Range. But you don’t need the Iron Range to win statewide.” – DFL Chairman Ken Martin

[Editor’s note: Reid Carron is married to Becky Rom.] Ken Martin isn’t trying to hide the fact that he knows the DFL can all but officially write off the Range. There’s a reason why President Trump defeated Hillary by 15 points on the Range. This is my favorite part of Harold’s commentary:

DFL happy talk of “uniting” around common issues in 2018 is fantasy. And just what are those “unifying” issues, pray tell? Mining? Pipelines? Transgender bathrooms? Gun grabbing? Abortion on demand? Banning menthol cigarettes? Banning plastic bags? Trigger words? Safe spaces? Sanctuary cities? Re-naming Asian Carp so as not to offend?

Does this hearing look like a search for common ground?

Let’s get serious. That looks like the undercard for a mixed martial arts championship fight.

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To hear DFL State Party Chair Ken Martin tell it, Gov. Dayton was the victim of dishonest Republican legislative leadership. Appearing on TPTAlmanac, Martin said that “Kurt Daudt put a poison pill” that would have “defunded the Department of Revenue” if he didn’t sign the GOP Tax Relief Bill. Later, Martin insisted that Speaker Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Gazelka lied to the Supreme Court with their representation of cash reserves. (Of course, Martin has to say that because Gov. Dayton said it first.)

Chairman Martin pretended that Speaker Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Gazelka pointed a gun at Gov. Dayton’s head and forced him to call the special session even though he didn’t like the GOP Tax Relief Bill. That’s utter foolishness. Only the governor can call a special session. It’s been Gov. Dayton’s tradition that he hasn’t called a special session until all of the bills were worked out and agreed upon. Why shouldn’t we think that he’d initially agreed to the Tax Bill, then got discreet criticism from the hard-line activist left? After all, there were a bunch of them running for governor who weren’t going to vote for the tax bill.

Here’s the question that Chairman Martin didn’t want to answer: if Gov. Dayton didn’t like the GOP Tax Relief Bill, why did he call a special session without negotiating a bill more to his liking? Before the session starts, Gov. Dayton had leverage. Why didn’t he use it? There’s other questions worth asking, too. First, did Gov. Dayton initially agree to the bill, then ‘change’ his mind when the hardliners got to him? Next, would the Department of Revenue provision be a poison pill if he planned on signing the GOP Tax Relief Bill as previously agreed to?

The other thing that hasn’t been questioned is why Gov. Dayton has consistently opposed tax relief. Feeding government has been his top priority. Opposing tax relief has been his next highest priority, with raising taxes a close third.

It isn’t like wages have increased dramatically during his administration. It isn’t like he’s fought for projects that would’ve benefitted blue collar workers. The truth is that Gov. Dayton has fought against those projects each time he’s had the opportunity. He sat like an innocent bystander while the Sandpiper Pipeline project got killed. Gov. Dayton hasn’t lifted a finger to make PolyMet a reality. In fact, his legacy on mining is that he’s the most anti-mining governor in recent Minnesota history. Finally, Gov. Dayton has acted like an innocent bystander while his anti-commerce Commerce Department testified against an important pipeline infrastructure project.

Chairman Martin’s job would be so much easier if he didn’t have to defend Gov. Dayton’s indefensible decisions. Still, I don’t feel sorry for him. He knew the job going in.

Harold Hamilton has an interesting read in this week’s commentary. Each Friday, Hamilton provides a weekly commentary on what’s happening politically in Minnesota. This week’s commentary is about Minnesota’s political alignment.

In the commentary, Hamilton wrote “The first glimmers of realignment began in the 1980s as the DFL became an abortion-on-demand party, causing many lifelong Democrats to migrate to the GOP because of deep seated beliefs regarding the sanctity of life. Next came gun control, as Democrats in the urban core became avowed enemies of law-abiding gun owners. The latest split on social issues has occurred in recent times over the gay marriage issue.”

In his abridged version of Minnesota’s transformation, Hamilton continued, saying “After Minnesota Democrats (and a handful of Republicans) legalized gay marriage in 2013, many rural Democrats lost their legislative seats in the 2014 election. The GOP held these seats in 2016, despite claims by the DFL that the seats were merely “rented.” If those seats are rentals, they are surely long-term leases. After the schism caused by social issues, the DFL suffered a catastrophic breakdown of their coalition over economic the economic issues that have become preeminent in recent elections. Strident DFL objections to mining, pipelines and oil extraction have proven to be the final straw for legions of erstwhile rural DFL voters.”

I’ve written extensively that the DFL has turned into the urban party that’s out-of-touch with rural Minnesota. If the truth is told, the DFL isn’t pro-farmer or pro-labor. They’re pro-hardline environmentalists and pro-government unions. Every 2 years, they make a pitch for the Iron Range but they’re losing their grip on that.

Ken Martin is the state DFL state party chair. When I did a search of YouTube’s videos with Martin in them over the past month, it came back with nothing. That’s understandable since the DFL doesn’t have a message and Martin’s DFL has been on a sustained losing streak. If I was in Chairman Martin’s situation, I’d hide, too.

If the DFL keeps urbanizing, they’ll soon be Minnesota’s minority party for a generation. That’s the trajectory they’re on.

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In this article, Minnesota DFL Chairman Ken Martin said “That sense of inevitability led to complacency, which led to our defeat in 2016. We need to not get too in front of this election and do the hard work that we need to do. We can never assume that we are ahead.” That’s the wrong analysis. In fact, looking at the election results for the Minnesota House and the Minnesota Senate, lots of DFL incumbents got defeated by substantial margins.

Chairman Martin is kidding himself if he thinks that complacency cost the DFL their majority in the Minnesota Senate. Then-Senate Tax Committee Chair Rod Skoe lost by 5,200+ votes. Lyle Koenen lost by 5,700+ votes. Those aren’t examples of DFL complacency. They’re proof that the DFL was utterly rejected by Minnesotans and that the DFL was rejected pretty much statewide.

I understand that the DFL chair has to put the best spin on things but there’s a limit to that. The truth is that the DFL brand is toxic beyond the Twin Cities, Duluth and the Arrowhead. It isn’t that the DFL got complacent in 2016. It’s that the people rejected the DFL’s agenda.

It’s time for the DFL to stop acting like they hate the blue collar workers that the mines employed. It’s time for the DFL to stop letting the environmentalists get everything they want while ignoring the blue collar miners.

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This article highlights the fact that money isn’t everything in politics. According to statistics reported by Minnesota’s Campaign Finance Disclosure Board, “party groups and political action committees supporting DFL candidates outspent their Republican opponents in 2016, according to end-of-year finance statements that were due Tuesday with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board from every candidate, party and committee. Despite totals that far exceed recent elections and sometimes massive imbalances in spending, both seats went to Republicans on election night.”

In fact, the article said “Outside groups spent more than $588,000 in 2016 to support Jensen or bash Jasinski through TV, radio, print and online advertising and other support. The Minnesota DFL Central Committee alone spent $330,000 on pro-Jensen advertisements and another $105,000 against Jasinski. Despite such heavy spending, Jasinski won the vote 59 percent to Jensen’s 41 percent. Of course, Jasinski was not without his own third-party support. The Minnesota Action Network PAC and Freedom Club State PAC together spent almost $23,000 in his support and $128,400 against Jensen. Even so, the combined $150,700 spent on his behalf was barely a quarter of what was spent by Jensen supporters.”

This is proof that terrible candidates with a terrible message don’t automatically win. Apparently, that principle applies equally to national and local races. Hillary had tons of money and lost to President Trump. The point is that Democrats don’t have an appealing message. They have an organization that’s shrinking and some wealthy donors but that’s it. That’s as true in Minnesota as it is nationally.

Not far behind Senate District 24 in independent expenditures was House District 24B, in which Republican Rep. Brian Daniels faced a rematch with former Rep. Patti Fritz, both of Faribault, whom he had defeated two years before. On Election Day, he retained his seat by a margin of 58 percent to 41 percent.

Then there’s this:

All told, independent expenditures from Fritz allies came to almost $388,000, with another $299,000 spent on behalf of Daniels. Combined, the district drew about $687,000, a 916 percent increase from two years before.