After the Democrats’ big spanking in the 2020 election, centrist Democrats have a major decision ahead of them, especially in Minnesota. In Minneapolis, DFL city councilmembers voted initially to dismantle the police. This past week, that same bunch voted 7-6 to approve an additional $500,000 in funding to make Minneapolis streets safer.

That it was that close of a vote shouts at centrist Democrats. This election isn’t just a time for reflection. It’s a time to wonder if this Democratic Party is interested in centrists. Here in Minnesota, 15-term Congressman and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson got thrashed by Michelle Fischbach. In State Senate District 3, former State Senate Majority Leader and State Senate Minority Leader (he’s been both) Tom Bakk won re-election with just 55% of the vote. In the past, he’s usually won with 70% of the vote. Are you noticing a trend developing? Then there’s this:

The 2 factions within the DFL on the Minneapolis City Council is more fractious than the Hatfields and McCoys. It turns out that re-imagining policing in substantive terms requires thinking. Already, this fiasco has ended the political career of one DFL politician, Lisa Bender, at least for now:

Bender, who represents five Uptown-area neighborhoods on the 13-member council, was first elected in 2013 and became council president in 2018. Her note to supporters didn’t give a reason for not seeking a third term. She wrote that she made the decision “well before multiple crises hit our city.”

Yeah, right. I’m not buying what she’s selling.

Sen. Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis, noted that Biden won in a half-dozen state Senate districts that DFL candidates lost. He thinks the ill-formed rollout of the council’s proposal to reshape policing was part of the reason. Senate Republicans maintain a one-vote majority in the chamber.

“Everybody’s words and the way they message, that matters,” said Hayden, who lost a primary race in August to Democratic Socialist opponent Omar Fateh. “If we’re going win legislative races, we’re going to have to figure out how to appeal to some of these folks, because clearly they switched their ballot from the top of the ticket to the bottom.”

Sen. Hayden is one of the most progressive members of the Senate. This summer, he lost in a primary because he isn’t progressive enough. Up north, pro-mining DFL State Senator Erik Simonson from Duluth got thrashed by a 73%-27% margin in the DFL primary. Shortly thereafter, 9 DFL Iron Range mayors endorsed President Trump and Jason Lewis for US Senate. There are other rumblings coming from the Range, too. Will centrist Democrats stick with the DFL? They shouldn’t because they’re outsiders from the Ilhan Omar wing of the DFL.

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