Posted: 06/19/13 16:54
by Dave Mindeman
The DFL Endorsing convention for Minneapolis Mayor received a lot of commentary.
The Strib gave it a thumbs down.
A Betsy Hodges supporter said it was "No Way To Pick A Mayor".
City Pages called it "chaotic".
And an outsider watched in wonder.
A lot of verbage....and... well.... there should be.
This was a contentious endorsement process. It was a wide open DFL process....several candidates....a lot at stake.
And, as usual, when we have this kind of contest, some of the players will start questioning the entire process.
That is not necessary.
In Minneapolis politics, the DFL endorsement is an enormous prize to take home. This is a peculiarity which pertains mostly to Minneapolis city politics, because the DFL simply controls a huge electoral advantage here.
So, the endorsing convention was dealing with high stakes and a lot of pressure for the participants. This can lead to a lot political games which one side or the other is not going to like. That's OK, politics is not a low contact sport.
But to challenge the entire process is somewhat out of line. The people that walked that convention hall are the political working class. They man the phones, walk the sidewalks, hold the signs, and make strategies work.
To me, their opinion is a very important one and although, yes, the process can be manipulated, it still comes down to delegate votes. And those votes mean everything.
I realize that a lot of people want to dump the caucus system and have Minnesota be a primary only state. But I think that would be a mistake. The people who do the party work; the people that are in the trenches for their candidate; the workers who do the countless thankless jobs, should get their say on which candidate their party will support.
The primary is still there. It will still happen. And in the case of this particular endorsing convention - it can be (and is) a primary strategy for some of the 2013 candidates.
There was no endorsement at this convention. And it wasn't for lack of willingness to endorse - it just seemed that it was meant to happen. With a strong field of candidates, that is always a viable alternative. And in this case, a lot of us on the outside think it was the correct thing to happen.
It also leads to another benefit. A full test of Ranked Choice Voting (RCV).
Today, candidate Gary Schiff dropped out of the race. Whether this was for personal reasons or as a strategy to promote the Betsy Hodges campaign....doesn't really matter. It is something that we will need to watch as strategies for RCV come into play.
It was a long day for the delegates and yes, there were a number of unhappy people - but I believe that the process ended up showing the strength of the system -- rather than exposing any weaknesses.
I know many people will disagree with that but there are results to point to --
1) Mark Andrew and Betsy Hodges rose to the top and got exposure as top tier candidates.
2) The field will be narrowed down as paths to victory get fully assessed. Which in turn, can consolidate some resources.
3) The activists got a chance to really get to know their candidates and what kind of vision they have for the city.
Even with no endorsement, these are valuable parts of the puzzle.