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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

DFL: A Wild Convention Day

Category: 2018
Posted: 06/03/18 07:32, Edited: 06/03/18 07:34

by Dave Mindeman

Well, this has been a memorable DFL convention. A fairly normal Friday evening agenda gave way to a crazy Saturday of events.

The shock of the day came early with the out of the blue endorsement of Matt Pelikan over incumbent Lori Swanson for DFL Attorney General.

Swanson has had a strained relationship with the progressive wing of the DFL and Matt Pelikan highlighted that point in a rousing speech to the convention. He made Swanson's high NRA rating a cornerstone of his questions and even took on what he considered her weak settlements with corporations.

Swanson compounded the problem by sending Mike Hatch to the podium to defend those accusations, while not speaking herself during the presentation on her behalf. Hatch gave a somewhat rambling and convoluted defense that was more technical than passionate and turned a potential respectable showing for Pelikan into a shockingly close vote total.

Swanson wanted no part of a drawn out fight and pulled out of the endorsement battle entirely. Which leads to a lot of speculation regarding her next move. As a Mike Hatch protege, the goal has always seemed to be a run for the governor slot that Hatch could never pull off. That could happen now.

Still, the most logical course would be for her to run in the primary against a weakly funded Pelikan. A contest in which she would have to be favored. So, we shall have to wait and see the path she takes.

Then came the contest for Governor. Another wild ride that took 6 ballots. Walz was the favorite going in but after the first ballot he only led Erin Murphy 41% to 39%. Murphy's momentum had hit the floor - and the victim seemed to be Rebecca Otto who started with a weak 18%.

Otto soon left but worked behind the scenes for advantage. As Murphy pulled slightly ahead in numbers, Walz and Otto opted for a no endorsement strategy - which was an unprecedented goal, given the fact that the whole idea of a convention is to endorse a candidate.

The convention began to wear down that strategy and slowly moved the numbers toward a Murphy win. Prior to the 6th ballot, Walz withdrew and Erin Murphy was endorsed by acclimation.

Since Walz had already indicated that he would go to primary if he did not get the endorsement, the no endorsement strategy must have been a somewhat desperate attempt for the Otto campaign to join that contest without the baggage of an endorsement promise she made.

Rumors were rampant about other candidates joining the primary field. Lori Swanson was in the mix and even Tom Bakk fueled some speculation that he would join as well.

All of the speculation does not diminish what Erin Murphy accomplished here. She ran a dogged campaign. She worked hard on outstate delegates. She was bold in her progressive assertions. She beat the odds and moves into the next phase with some clear momentum.

It was a wild and captivating convention. This year has been a little crazy.
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DFL MN Governor's Endorsement Race

Category: 2018
Posted: 05/24/18 03:52

by Dave Mindeman

The DFL convention is coming up in about 10 days - so let's see where we stand.

In the race for Governor, we still have three candidates. Rep. Erin Murphy, State Auditor Rebecca Otto, and Cong. Tim Walz.

General consensus says that Walz has a lead in delegates but it is not a commanding lead. Murphy seems to hold a within striking distance 2nd place and Rebecca Otto follows very closely behind Murphy.

In other words, this is still anyone's ball game.

Walz claims to have broader state wide appeal - and I can go along with that. He comes out of the first district and although not considered a "progressive" candidate, he says a lot of the right things....even denouncing his NRA support from the past. Walz paired with Peggy Flanagan as Lt. Gov. early on. She is very popular with the progressive wing of the party. We shall see if that pays dividends at the convention.

Erin Murphy has garnered a lot of endorsements. More than I would have expected. Labor has been coalescing around her and she already had the Nurses Association on board. She has worked very hard on outstate visibility and it looks like she has made some inroads. Murphy chose to hold off on a running mate to keep options open during the convention.

Rebecca Otto stands with the Environmental community and has solid credentials in that regard. She offers a bold agenda. Her Lt. Governor selection was very interesting - Zarina Baber has been in IT for many years and could speak authoritatively on the MN IT problems.

All three have clear strengths - but there are weaknesses as well.

Walz will battle his perceptions on guns and his previous NRA affiliation will be brought up more than once. His progressive "conversion" will be something he will have to prove to make for broader appeal.

Murphy has made progress, but her statewide name recognition still has some holes. Coming from deep in the metro, her rural appeal will be questioned; although she has already come a long way in that regard. She did not "retire" from the legislature, so some may question her full commitment to the executive office.

Otto has the boldest agenda of the three and it is a very progressive one. Single Payer health care, environment legislation, $15 minimum wage, and more. It is ambitious and probably impossible without a full Democratic legislature, but give her credit for the boldness.

This endorsement will probably need several ballots. There is even the possibility of coming out with a no endorsement finale - which means a big primary contest. Walz may even go that route if he doesn't get the endorsement anyway.

We will try to keep you updated. I'll be at the convention.
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We Need An Intervention

Category: 2018
Posted: 04/11/18 11:53

by Dave Mindeman

I have not been posting lately because it seems like the minute I get done writing something, the news cycle has passed it all by.

Today, Trump is threatening Syria. Paul Ryan decides not to run again. Zuckerberg is testifying to the House. Still getting the aftermath of the FBI raid on Cohen's office. Jim Comey's book comes out next week. And baseball in the snow.

How do you keep up with that?

Donald Trump has given America a case of the frenzies. We do not have time to respond to anything. The infringements keep going and keep getting worse.

If we ever needed an election to hear the voice of the American people, that time is now. Trump has ruined health care; ruined the EPA; ruined any respect for the press; is on the verge of ruining the economy; and has taken politics into the toilet.

And yet he is still standing. Republicans are not only not doing anything but they are turning tail and running away. Remember when John McCain ran on a platform of "Country First"? It would always be our country before politics. Well, that certainly went out the window with Trump - when he says America First, he really means Trump First.

We are headed for a Constitutional crisis. Trump is going to force all of us to do something. He will not leave - no matter what the Mueller investigation says - and the Republican Party is too cowardly to stand up to it.

Republicans always told us that once they got full control of government that things would certainly be different. Well they are - they are a disaster.

This November, Democrats, Independents, like minded Republicans - all need to vote. To raise a voice that says, this is not who we are.

Whatever kind of experiment this has been - it has been an abject failure. The country needs an intervention - this election must serve that purpose.
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