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This LTE has a helpless feel to it that’s sad to see. When the writer says “A quick google search yields a third: Between 20 and 25 percent of mall will close within five years and Credit Suisse estimates that a record 8,600 stores will close this year, according to Money.com. Larson closes by noting ‘ … both will likely yield to something as yet unimagined within our lifetime.’ Allow me to imagine that some of these shuttered malls should be repurposed to house the homeless — ‘The fastest-growing segment of the homeless population is families with children. About two-fifths (41 percent) of the homeless population is made up of families,’ according to the Huffington Post.”

What a blithering idiot. No, let’s not transition these malls into homeless shelters. Let’s fix the problem that President Obama created. Let’s fix the economy so people, families especially, can find good-paying jobs that support families. For eight years, Democrats have whined about income inequality and raising the minimum wage. That’s Bernie Sanders’ economic message. Since then, it’s been co-opted by Elizabeth Warren nationally and Rebecca Otto here in Minnesota.

It’s a recipe for disaster but have Republicans said enough to highlight the fact that Sanders’ message is one of short- and long-term economic disaster? What’s unfortunately happened is that there are too many crony capitalists in the GOP. We need unabashed, full-throated Jack Kemp-Ronald Reagan capitalists.

President Trump is on the right track. He’s already outperforming President Obama by leaps and bounds. Economic growth is returning. Jobs are being created. Consumer confidence is surging. Why isn’t that the Republicans’ message? It’s just a hunch but I’m betting that the GOPe doesn’t want to give up power. I’m betting they’d rather Trump fail than give up their positions of power. (Vin Weber and Paul Manafort fit into that category.)

First, it’s time to stand up to the Weber-Manafort wing of the GOPe. After that, it’s time to obliterate the Sanders-Warren-Otto wing of the Democratic Party. The sooner it happens, the sooner we’ll be able to stop thinking about treating economic symptoms and start fixing economic problems.

That can’t happen fast enough.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It gets worse for the DFL:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Make no mistake about what the DFL stands for on health care. Four of the 6 major DFL gubernatorial candidates prefer a single-payer health care system. Rebecca Otto went so far as to propose her Healthy Minnesota Plan. According to Ms. Otto’s website, her plan will cover “every Minnesotan.” It will protect “the relationship between you and your care provider.” Further, it will eliminate “insurance premiums and deductibles.” Finally, Ms. Otto’s Healthy Minnesota Plan will be funded “fairly – half from redirected public dollars, and half from a package of fair and progressive taxes to be developed with bipartisan input.”

Frankly, that’s spin. There isn’t a snowball’s prayer in hell that Republicans will support that plan. Any talk of bipartisan support is delusional thinking. Either that or it’s an outright lie. Ms. Otto might attract Dave Durenberger or Arne Carlson but that’s about it.

These DFL candidates have tied themselves to a failing system. This article highlights what happens when the government runs health care:

In recent years, a number of areas have introduced delays for such patients, with some told operations will be put back for months, during which time they are expected to try to lose weight or stop smoking. But the new rules, drawn up by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Hertfordshire, say that obese patients “will not get non-urgent surgery until they reduce their weight” at all, unless the circumstances are exceptional.

Make no mistake about this. This form of health care is expensive. That’s why Ms. Otto’s plan includes a major tax increase. Further, Otto isn’t just pushing all in with single-payer. She’s all-in with Cap & Trade, too:

State Auditor Rebecca Otto just proposed a state “price on carbon”, becoming the first gubernatorial candidate to propose a tax increase this campaign season. According to Ms. Otto, all “of the revenue from the tax would be returned to residents, both in direct payments and rebates, the campaign noted, so there’s no net cost to residents or the state’s economy.”

What Ms. Otto didn’t say is that she’d first steal the money from somewhere. It isn’t like a person can snap their fingers and make that money instantly appear. Instead, the “plan would charge fossil fuel companies a price for the carbon their products put into the atmosphere.” That isn’t the infuriating part, though. That comes when Ms. Otto says “Otto said her plans allows residents to make their own free market decisions about whether they want to pay for a product that pollutes the atmosphere or if they want to switch to clean energy. The plan calls for “quarterly clean energy cash dividends,” direct payments to residents of about $600 per year for each Minnesota resident. Some 25 percent of the revenue would fund ‘clean energy tax credits’ offering 30 percent back on the costs of electric cars, solar panels, heat pumps, home weatherization and other energy-saving devices.”

That isn’t how free markets work. Free markets don’t need to put a gun to a person’s head to get them to buy a product. What Ms. Otto describes is what I’d call crony capitalism, which is corporate welfare by a different name. It’s possible that that’s how a socialist might envision free market capitalism working.

Minnesotans will reject Otto the minute they hear this:

According to a 2013 report paid for by the National Association of Manufacturers, a Minnesota carbon tax would force state residents to pay up to 40 percent more for natural gas, 5 percent more for electricity and 20 cents more per gallon of gas. “The increased costs of these critical fuels will impact every person and business in Minnesota. … “Many Minnesota companies that compete internationally will be placed at a disadvantage as their foreign competitors operate without similar costs.”

This proposal is clearly meant to excite the DFL base. The good news for Republicans is that this decision essentially paints a bull’s-eye in the middle of Ms. Otto’s chest in terms of other voters.

Ms. Otto is fighting an uphill fight. That explains why she made this Hail Mary attempt. Finally, let’s take time to realize that Ms. Otto, like Gov. Dayton, isn’t a free market capitalist. She’s a socialist who has voted against a return to prosperity on the Iron Range. Then she tried leveraging that no vote with a fundraising appeal.

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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