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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Republicans Insist On Living In Our Energy Past

Category: 2016
Posted: 09/12/17 12:01

by Dave Mindeman

Minnesota Republicans pounced on an announcement from the MN Commerce Department regarding the Enbridge oil pipeline....

"In light of the serious risks and effects on the natural and socioeconomic environments of the existing Line 3 and the limited benefit that the existing Line 3 provides to Minnesota refineries, it is reasonable to conclude that Minnesota would be better off if Enbridge proposed to cease operations of the existing Line 3, without any new pipeline being built."

And what is Pipeline 3?

Enbridge wants to decommission the existing Line 3, which runs from Alberta, Canada, to an Enbridge hub in Superior, Wis. The company would leave it in the ground and build a new line along a different route, south of the existing pipeline corridor.

While Republicans give us their outcry about building this type of infrastructure, they fail once again to look at the larger, futuristic picture.

We do not need more oil infrastructure. It seems incredible to be saying that. For so many years the main political argument is how to be less dependent on foreign oil. But the trendline for oil and gas is down. We have full tankers sitting offshore waiting for the price of oil to go up. We have enough oil reserves that we do not have to utilize the cruder forms like the Canadian tar sands oil.

The boom and bust days of oil are back because our need for oil is falling and with new technologies, it should continue to fall.

We have seen what has happened to the coal industry. Energy has become a process of natural selection. We go with the cleaner fuels - wind, solar, natural gas. And when that happens, old tech jobs will be lost. Energy Darwinism as it were.

Oil is the next energy source to take the fall. So why build infrastructure to support a declining industry. Save those resources for access to better and cleaner energy sources.

The Republican response is typical and predictable. They are joined at the hip with the old ways. They cannot fathom a future without "big oil". But we have to - we have to end our dependence on not just foreign oil, but oil period.

If the GOP insists on living in the past, then we will leave them behind.
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Not Bernie's Fault - But Bernie Zealots Share Blame

Category: 2016
Posted: 09/07/17 18:40

by Dave Mindeman

I can't blame Bernie Sanders for doing anything wrong in the 2016 election. But I do blame his zealot followers.

Bernie ran a good campaign and he brought a considerable number of new and younger people into his campaign. Bernie raised issues that were proper and needed attention.

But zealots within his campaign were more intent on destroying the Democratic Party than getting Bernie elected.

We have a two party system. It is flawed, yes, but it has worked for nearly 250 years just fine. Bernie realized quite clearly that an independent Presidential campaign would not succeed. Every independent venture fails because our system is too dependent on the either/or choice.

So Bernie ran an incredible race. He was an underdog from the get go and surprised even himself at how far he was able to go. But in the end, he lost the nomination. Only one person gets to be on the ballot for the major parties. It is just how it works.

But Bernie zealots, of course, would not accept that. Despite all evidence to the contrary, they believed the nomination was stolen from him. They overstated the power of Debbie Wasserman Schulz. They blamed the mechanics of the Democratic Party - even though Bernie won all the caususes which is the only thing the Democrats can control. They blamed the Super Delegates - even though Hillary had won more elected delegates than Bernie had.

The zealots refused to accept defeat.

Bernie did accept it. Maybe he could have done more during the campaign like Hillary did for Obama, but he was gracious and accepting.

But somehow that message did not get through to those who had not experienced a campaign loss before.

And rather than make the right choice between the Republican Donald Trump and the Democrat Hillary Clinton, they decided on "protest votes" for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or yes, even Donald Trump.

Protest votes never do any good. And in the case of 2016, they were a disaster. Just as Ralph Nader gave us George W. Bush - dissatisfaction within the Democratic Party gave us Donald Trump.

Republicans don't protest vote. They only vote for anything with a R next to the name. And in the case of Donald Trump that really does mean "anything".

Democrats need to figure this out - and soon.
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In Regards To Super Delegates

Category: 2016
Posted: 09/07/17 13:07

by Dave Mindeman

Let's go back, for a moment, to 1972. I was a young college student and very much into the anti-war movement. It was my first foray into politics and like many young Vietnam war protesters, I was against both the Republicans and the Democrats for allowing this mess.

Enter George McGovern. McGovern galvanized the movement into a political one. As Eugene McCarthy gave the movement a birth right in 1968, George McGovern gave it a political voice and political power.

Backed by an army of political neophytes that was going to "change the world", George McGovern stormed through the primaries and won the Democratic nomination. The convention was an anti-American, anti-war diatribe that denounced the Nixon administration in no uncertain terms but in addition, it made the independent part of the electorate wary of a left extreme that seemed to warn them of chaotic consequences.

McGovern was shellacked in the 1972 election. Nixon had 520 electoral votes and got 61% of the vote. The margin was 18 million voters. The Democratic Party was decimated everywhere.

Upon self-examination of how vulnerable the Democratic Party was to, what was considered, extreme politics, they put forward the concept of "super delegates". It was hoped that a block of elected officials as automatic delegates would calm the waters.

Super delegates in the Democratic Party has stayed with us to this day. And a lot of people think it is some kind of party attempt to rig the nomination for people they want.

Although the super delegate concept is probably outmoded today, there has never been a nomination where they changed the outcome from the primary/caucus process. Never. Not even in 2016 because Hillary had the most delegates without any super delegate count. Those elected officials could only have changed the nomination by voting for Bernie instead of Hillary.

Yet, somehow, the super delegates have become some kind of rallying cry for Democratic Party corruption.

I doubt anyone would question the idea of doing away with super delegates, but then if you want to go to a convention, do you really want to compete with Walter Mondale for a position?

Super delegates is another non-issue blown up into a grievance. The Democratic Party has enough grievances.

Don't create unnecessary ones.
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