The political party that Hubert Humphrey formed back in the late 1940′s doesn’t exist anymore. Back then, Humphrey convinced farmers and unions that his fledgling party was their home.
For some time, the DFL really did represent those interests pretty well. Then came the 1970′s. That’s when the DFL started drifting away from its founding principles.
Nationally, the anti-war movement caused it to drift away from its belief that America is the greatest force for good in the world. Significant-sized parts of the Democratic Party, both nationally and in Minnesota, got the title of being the ‘blame America first’ crowd that former UN ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick talked about.
The Sierra Club and other environmentalist organizations caused the DFL to become more of a metrocentric party. That’s when the biggest drift from supporting miners and farmers happened.
These days, the DFL is essentially a metrocentric party. Miners’ input isn’t welcomed in the party. In fact, they’ve lost their seat at the table to the environmentalists.
Proof of that is supplied by Gov. Dayton’s delaying the mineral rights auction for a year. When the Executive Council finally approved the mineral rights auction, an organization tied to Gov. Dayton’s first ex-wife announced that they’d do everything possible to prevent PolyMet Mining from becoming reality:
Conservation Minnesota, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy are targeting the proposed PolyMet mine near Hoyt Lakes and the proposed Twin Metals mine near Ely.
The campaign includes the web site MiningTruth.org, a 40-page report examining mining in detail, a Facebook community, and four billboards along Interstate 35 between the Twin Cities and Duluth to reach summer travelers.
Environmental groups call it sulfide mining because the copper, nickel, gold and other metals are locked up in minerals that contain sulfur and can produce sulfuric acid and other contaminants when exposed to the elements. They fear toxic runoff would threaten Lake Superior and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. And they say the environmental record of such mining elsewhere is poor.
“These are not our grandfather’s iron ore mines,” said Molly Pederson, government affairs director for Conservation Minnesota. “This is a completely different kind of mining.”
The unmistakable message to mining unions is that their industry isn’t welcome in the DFL anymore.
Environmentalists 1, unions 0.
Sens. Franken and Klobuchar told the unions that they weren’t welcome when they voted to keep construction unions unemployed. That happened when they voted to prevent the Keystone XL Pipeline from becoming reality. That’s unforgivable considering the fact that unemployment in the construction industry is 14.7% nationally.
Environmentalists 2, unions still nothing.
When Hubert Humphrey started the DFL, public employee unions didn’t exist. Today, they’ve achieved sacred cow status. Whatever Tom Dooher, Javier Morillo-Alicea and Eliot Seide says they want, Gov. Dayton and the legislature do without question or hesitation.
The DFL is so endebted to these unions that Gov. Dayton signed an unconstitutional executive order in an attempt to unionize child care small businesses.
It’s time that the DFL admitted that it isn’t interested in supporting the Steelworkers Union or the United Mineworkers. Jim Oberstar’s vote for Cap and Trade was seen by the mineworkers rank-and-file as a vote to destroy the mining industry in Minnesota.
Similarly, Collin Peterson’s vote for Cap and Trade was potentially damaging to farmers. Throughout that fight, Rep. Peterson insisted that he wouldn’t hold hearings on Cap and Trade. Then Queen Nancy came calling for his vote, at which point his vote flipped. That’s when Rep. Peterson threw farmers under the bus.
Today, the Democrat-Farmer-Laborer Party doesn’t exist. It’s transitioned into the Democrat-Public Employee Unions-Environmentalist Party.