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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Ranking The DFL Governor Candidates

Category: 2016
Posted: 12/31/17 05:11

by Dave Mindeman

2016 is upon us and the mid term election is looming. So many candidates and so many contribution emails. One of the bigger races in 2018 will be the race for Governor in Minnesota and the field is big.

Like it or not, you are about to get my first ranking of candidates. First, we are going to take on the DFL - and please remember, do not kill the messenger; it is ONLY an opinion.

#7. Lori Swanson - The oft rumored governor run for Lori Swanson has still not materialized. Since there is a healthy contingent of Attorney General candidates, one has to assume that she is not seeking re-election. However, there is one wrinkle in the mix. There is that extra Senate seat nomination to consider - and Swanson is not above challenging Tina Smith for the endorsement. As a Hatch protege, I have to say that I think this is a likely Swanson scenario. Swanson always has solid potential financial resources to get in late for either office. But for the moment, at least when it comes to the governor's race, she gets the low ranking.

#6. Tina Liebling - At the moment, I still consider Tina a regional candidate. And since that region is southern Minnesota, Tim Walz takes up a lot of the air down there. She has reached out to Bernie supporters but so far there is only a small amount of reciprocation. I haven't seen any evidence of stellar fundraising either. Dark horse.

#5. Erin Murphy - Murphy may be the hardest working candidate right now. She has traveled extensively and has made a serious pitch to greater Minnesota. It is difficult to gauge how well that is being received. And, again, the evidence of big fundraising numbers are not rumored, so financial reports in the new year will be a better gauge of where the Murphy campaign is at. She is building some name recognition and that could come into play for the endorsement.

#4. Paul Thissen - Paul has the credentials and experience. It is just difficult to break into the top tier with this field. I think his emphasis on transparency will give him an issue to work with - but it is difficult to say how his message on his tenure as speaker will play out. I'm afraid too many people have forgotten the progress made during his time in the Speaker's chair. And the rapid turnover back to Republican plays a part in that perception. Still, the record is good to draw on.

#3. Chris Coleman - OK, the top tier are where it gets difficult to rank. The level of name recognition and party work are very good for these three. And Coleman has had a high profile office as Mayor of St. Paul. His record is pretty good - St. Paul has done well. However, taxes will be an issue that the GOP will be pushing. Part of that issue is the reductions in LGA money during that time - but that will be difficult to explain, especially in greater Minnesota. Coleman has a strong campaign staff and is well liked by the party activists. But the competition is tough.

#2. Rebecca Otto - Otto has emerged as a very strong candidate. The difference between one and two are closing and becoming an even trade. Financial reports will be interesting. Rebecca's statewide credentials are stellar and even the Iron Range issues that dragged her candidacy seem to have been addressed...although still worth noting - especially regarding endorsement. The Otto campaign has a lot of energy and she is vocal and out front on detailed policy plans.

#1. Tim Walz - Walz still seems to have the most statewide appeal - at least for now. He will have some challenges when it comes to his appeal to the progressive base, but he has met most of that head on. It is like his inner progressive is coming to the fore since he is not having to defend his Congressional seat in a center right district. But those same votes may get him some support in the 7th and 8th districts, as well as his own 1st. I would definitely not put Walz way ahead of the pack - not yet. But, in my opinion, he is the front runner.

More on other races later.
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8 Ways To Solve Some Problems

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 12/30/17 21:50, Edited: 12/31/17 12:22

by Dave Mindeman

As a way to end the year, here are a few things that I believe would solve some of our myriad of problems....

1. Legalize Marijuana - When you talk about the opioid epidemic, there is too much talk about opioids and too little talk about alternatives. And marijuana is definitely an alternative worth exploring. The stigma around pot needs to end and the criminality surrounding it needs to be reviewed. We have never really studied the medicinal value of marijuana because we have been too busy criminalizing it. Evaluate it on merits and maybe, just maybe, we have an answer to opioid addiction.

2. Independent panels for drawing Congressional lines. Face it. Congressional representatives do not answer to the people they represent. They only answer to a tribal base and donors. That is because the drawing of legislative lines have been turned into partisan advantages and both parties are guilty of it. Lines that are drawn for the sake of geography and not based on selecting voters will change that dynamic and make representation more accountable.

3. End the electoral college. We have entered a period of minority rule. Trump didn't get the most votes and neither did the Republicans in the Senate and the House. A similar effect has occurred in state legislatures. Is that what our democracy has become? A method of voter manipulation? Abolishing the electoral college would require a Constitutional amendment, but ending its influence can be done by allowing states to mandate their electoral votes to go to the winner of the popular vote - once states with a total of 270 votes have done this, the electoral college result is moot.

4. Universal automatic voter registration. Once a person reaches the age of 18, they still have to sign up for selective service. So why not have them automatically join the voter roles at the same time. This idea that people have to register themselves is anathema to the democratic process. Every citizen should have the right to vote. If they choose not to exercise it, that is their decision. But to make it difficult to register is ridiculous.

5. Universal background checks for gun purchases. I still do not understand why this is not the law of the land? Purchasing guns is a universal right in America but the rest of us have the right to make sure the gun purchaser can use it responsibly and doesn't have a criminal background. This is not hard. It should not be the least controversial.

6. Obamacare. It's simple. The ACA can be fixed. A public option. Reinsurance for the private market. Reinstate the individual mandate. If we had the political will to fix it, it can be done. A stable health care market would do wonders for the economic engine. Much more than this ridiculous tax bill will do. It will take a Democratic majority and real Democratic will to do it - but that option is there if Republicans would get out of the way.

7. Infrastructure. There is always a lot of talk about infrastructure and it is usually bipartisan. But nothing gets done because we keep bleeding the US Treasury of money via tax cuts. The way to really do this is to impose a surtax on corporations and hedge funds and then actually do it. Fix the bridges. Build the light rail. Get rid of the highway gridlock. The money to do this has always been there, but it keep getting reshuffled to the 1%.

8. End Citizens United. Most of our political problems continue to be derived from big money in politics. A constitutional amendment which would, once and for all, tell the courts that money is not speech and corporations are not people, is a necessary component to solve this problem. The Bible says, the love of money is the root of all evil. In politics, money is the root of bad government.
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Old GOP vs New GOP

Category: Donald Trump
Posted: 12/27/17 15:59

by Dave Mindeman

There is not only big differences between the 2 major parties - there also seems to be a big difference between the Old GOP and the Current GOP.

Let's go through the list:

Old GOP: Considered Russia a dangerous adversary.
New GOP: Putin's our bud.

Old GOP: Supported all free trade agreements.
New GOP: Let Trump be Trump.

Old GOP: Believed in supporting the rule of law and law enforcement.
New GOP: Deep state conspiracies.

Old GOP: Sexual assault and harassment are wrong.
New GOP: Only believes its wrong when Democrats do it.

Old GOP: No one is above the law.
New GOP: Laws are overrated.

Old GOP: Fiscal responsibility.
New GOP: No fiscal responsibility.

Old GOP: Moral values.
New GOP: Shades of gray.

Old GOP: Values of a Christian nation.
New GOP: Theocratic rule.

Old GOP: Autocrats need to be challenged.
New GOP: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Old GOP: There are political lines that cannot be crossed.
New GOP: Boundaries were always meant to be flexible.

Old GOP: America protects its citizens.
New GOP: America protects white citizens.

Old GOP: Strict government oversight.
New GOP: Strict government oversight of Hillary.

Old GOP: Friend of American business.
New GOP: Owned by American business.

Old GOP: Flag stands for everyone's freedom.
New GOP: Standing for flag is mandatory.
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