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What would it take to create a Minnesota Republican resurgence?

State Sen. Paul Gazelka
Undeniably, Republicans have a statewide problem in that the election indicates the party held only its base and decidedly lost the centrist, independent voters who had supported Republicans in significant numbers in recent years.
In the Nov. 6 election, the Minnesota DFL gained far more than newfound political influence. The party of the donkey kicked the Republican elephant firmly in its hindquarters.


Chuck Slocum

Aided by a massive voter turnout operation in the Twin Cities combined with the suburban voters’ nearly two-to-one rejection of President Donald Trump, the DFL captured the governorship, two U.S. Senate seats, and all the other statewide races. It also defeated Republicans congressional incumbents in both the east and west metro with a far larger than anticipated number of women voters casting their ballots for DFLers.

The speculation that Sen. Amy Klobuchar is 2020 presidential timber in the aftermath of her crushing third-term 60-36 percent victory over Jim Newberger was a direct result, many pundits say, of her ability to reach across the aisle as an emerging national leader.

Significantly, Gov.-elect Tim Walz will have a 75-59 DFL House majority to work with in the Legislature after a run of DFL victories. The Republicans, who had prior control of the House with 77-57, lost 18 seats. Republicans will try to leverage their bidding by continuing to hold a one-vote majority of 34-33 in Minnesota’s 67-member state Senate.

In the last 12 years, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty was the only Republican to win a statewide race, doing so in his 2006 successful re-election bid. But returning to Minnesota from a lobbying position in Washington D.C., Pawlenty lost in the primary to Jeff Johnson this year.

Republicans need a focused plan

Undeniably, Republicans have a statewide problem in that the election indicates the party held only its base and decidedly lost the centrist, independent voters who had supported Republicans in significant numbers in recent years.

A political party is something like a three-legged stool: One element is the party in the trenches or those who do the necessary work to shape issues, recruit candidates, oversee campaigns and to raise funds to pay for it all; a second constituency consists of the candidates who are serving in office or seeking election to office, generally more moderate on issues than the activists; thirdly, the largest Republican grouping is the party on Election Day, usually a coalition of people that covers a broad cross-section of the state. In 2018, Republicans estimate they had about 1.1 million voters go to the polls. DFLers had a base vote of nearly 1.4 million.

In 2020 and beyond, it is the Republicans who need to be unified, building a strong party organization in key, winnable areas, ID’ing voters and getting them to the polls by running electable candidates who can appeal to a wider audience, particularly in the metro area suburbs.

An advantage is that Republicans are now decidedly the party of Greater Minnesota. The suburbs join the major cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth and Rochester in favoring the DFL.

So, what can Republicans do now?

As a young man, I faced similar obstacles as the state chair of the then-Independent-Republicans of Minnesota (IRM) after the Watergate scandal. With the DFL in solid control of the state’s political machinery in 1975, our early surveys indicated that only 10 percent of voters were solid Republicans, with well over 40 percent claiming to be independent. DFLers had over a third of the voters identifying with its side. As a result of a broadly sponsored effort in 1975 to grow the party base, Minnesota became the only Republican organization in the nation to change its name by formally adopting the Independent-Republicans of Minnesota (IRM) moniker that also included intentional party outreach to labor, women, minorities and younger voters.

I believe that ideas for Republicans to consider at this time include the following:

An objective analysis of two-party system. Nearly two of every three Americans say they have lost faith in the Republicans and the Democrats to get anything done. An objective analysis of the current two-party system of governance is in order — a look at the stability that resulted as our nation’s second (John Adams) and third (Thomas Jefferson) presidents first outlined how such a system would work. Adams, who supported a strong role for the federal government, and Jefferson, a Virginian who was concerned mostly about states’ rights, sorted it out.

Emphasis on the candidate selection process. Citizens overwhelmingly want to vote for candidates who will work together to make the right things happen in our communities, states and nation. Most Americans, not necessarily the party hard-core activists from the far right to far left, believe that honorable compromise is essential.

Communications. Party leadership needs to research how to best use inclusive, rather than divisive, language in presenting policy positions and then train their candidates to do so at all levels.

Community fit. The Republicans must become pragmatic about carefully matching candidates they support to their own communities where they live and work. It is definitely not a “one size fits all” process. Minnesotans welcome diversity in the men and women of good character who choose to seek office.

Multiple endorsements may help. An idea that has long been kicked around deals with how the candidates are selected. Parties currently begin their candidate selection through local precinct caucuses and a series of conventions where elected delegates bestow the R and D endorsements prior to the primary election. The idea of allowing parties with several good candidates to each receive such endorsements (perhaps 30 percent delegate support) would invite the primary election voters to make final the candidate selection, thus building a stronger base of support.

Ranked-choice voting. The idea provides every single voter the power to rank candidates from favorite to least favorite. On election night, all the ballots are counted for voters’ first choices. If one candidate receives an outright majority, he or she wins. If not, there is a process that unfolds until a single candidate is selected.

Listening sessions. Republicans should not dwell on dissecting the 2018 election. Rather, they should go on the road in the coming weeks to host a series of local listening sessions throughout the state, free and open to anyone interested, to help in mapping a future and identifying strong potential candidates.

Candidate confabs. In the last three months of 2019, Republican candidates should be convened to get to know each other. Key party leaders and staff should then determine the resources that are necessary to be competitive. Everyone involved must work together.

A statement of principles. By 2020, a refreshed face of the Republican Party, including a positive statement of principles, should be an early initiative in reaching out directly to all Minnesota voters.

After following many of the above notions, in 1978 there was an IRM ticket landslide, stunning the DFL, which resulted in the election of a new governor, two U.S. senators, and majority control of the Minnesota House. The name change proved to be successful, inspired by a genuine outreach to many more independent-minded voters.

Chuck Slocum is the president of The Williston Group; he can be reached at Chuck@WillistonGroup.Com.


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Comments (97)

  1. Submitted by Sheila Kihne on 11/28/2018 - 09:31 am.

    Mr Slocum doesn’t quite get it– moderates that “fit the district” did run. They lost. The activists– that Mr Slocum correctly acknowledges do the work– are conservatives. The candidates are moderates and don’t think they have to listen to their base. Name a moderate elected Democrat in Minnesota. There aren’t any– they’re very liberal and proudly liberal. Their volunteers are happy to work hard for candidates that reflect their values. They believe in their party principles and believe that government is the answer to any problem. So do the moderate Republicans. Voters can smell a phony a mile away and when presented with an authentic candidate with strong convictions vs. a wishy-washy moderate who needs “listening sessions” and “focus groups” to know what to say, think, and believe….they will run to the convicted, principled candidate. Trump almost won this state without spending one thin dime here- while Hillary had forty field offices and staff galore. The overpaid cronies at the Minnesota Business Partnership and the Chamber of Commerce run the GOP here…..they are the ones who lost this, not Trump. Their weak-kneed big-spending RINO’s at the Capitol– many of whom can’t even pay their own bills– are what sunk us. Again, people can smell hypocrisy a mile away. Also, it didn’t help that the party chair used the office for her own promotion– and dating service, joined Democrats in calling her own party members racists, and is now claiming she had zero to do with the election results. Personal responsibility used to be the #1 guiding principle in the GOP. Not anymore. If the activists don’t boot her out at December’s state central meeting, we’ll know that the elephant social club is more important than any actual convictions to change things.

    • Submitted by Paul Landskroener on 11/28/2018 - 06:23 pm.

      Trump got only 3000 more votes than Romney did. That’s not a groundswell. The 2016 election seemed close only because 150,000 or so Obama voters stayed home. That had more to do with Russian meddling with the Democratic nomination process (to help Trump) and die-hard Bernieistas than with any positive swing to the hard right.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/29/2018 - 10:00 am.

        It wasn’t that people stayed home. The total vote was about the same between 2012 & 2016. The R vote stayed the same, The D vote dropped a lot, the 3rd party vote is where the formerly D votes stopped.

        HRC was a very unpopular candidate.

  2. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 11/28/2018 - 09:39 am.

    As a Democrat, I have spent much of the last two years trying to figure out why my party runs so poorly in greater Minnesota. What do they want out there that we oppose? When I ask friends who are actually involved in those kind of issues, they have a hard time thinking of anything. What Republicans actually seem to do out there is campaign against the cities. That does tend to work for them locally, but it doesn’t help them in the cities were Democrats pile up huge majorities that win elections statewide.

    So Republicans have the inverse issue. How do they make themselves more appealing to urban and suburban voters? Does it mean abandoning the tactics that help them run so well in Greater Minnesota? For a long time now, Republicans who do well in what I guess we could call Lesser Minnesota have employed some of the tactics suggested by Mr. Slocum. Let’s look at them individually.

    Getting things done. The problem here is that Republicans don’t want to do things. They are committed to the idea that government doesn’t work, and they feel they are successful when they prevent government from doing anything at all.

    Working together. Again, Republicans don’t want government to work. If they did they would be Democrats.

    Community fit. The problem there is that Republicans campaign against Lesser Minnesota. Statewide they don’t much like people who fit those communities. They liked Jeff Johnson but he hardly fit Plymouth.

    Multiple endorsements. Republican strength is their unity in the face of an often divided DFL majority. Dividing themselves up is a recipe for disaster.

    Ranked Choice Voting. This is mostly a DFL thing we favor because we lost to Pawlenty all those times even though he got a minority vote. With the effective disappearance of strong third parties statewide, it seems an idea whose time has passed. In any even, it punishes negative campaigning, a Republican strength.

    Listening sessions. Oh, the Hillary of it. I don’t much like candidates who don’t know what they stand for, and I don’t think many other people do either.

    Candidate confabs.Let me guess, things are going well outstate and wretchedly in the cities. I don’t know if a confab would reach a different conclusion.

    Statement of principles. I love Republican principles. I find I agree with most of them. The problem is Republicans don’t agree with them and voters have finally figured that out.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/28/2018 - 11:31 am.

      As long as rural voters prioritize “score settling” over self interest the Ds will have a problem.

      Trump is a disaster for farm country economic policy and rural Trump voters still struggle mightily to leave his evil grasp.

      It’s easier to hate unknown minorities in the city with dependence needs than to admit:

      “You know we have dependence needs here that are different in scope; but, similar in magnitude”

      Like: small town water and sewer infrastructure crumbling without the population density to pay for a fix. Little traveled roads that still are needed to get a few folks from A to B.

      The soft, gooey D message of “we’re all in this together, let’s work for the common good” will always struggle against: “you hate X? Me too! Let’s punch ’em in the face!”

      • Submitted by John Evans on 11/28/2018 - 08:57 pm.

        There’s plenty of rural poverty as well, you just don’t see it. But rural Minnesota has no shortage of abjectly poor citizens.

    • Submitted by Arthur Lind on 11/28/2018 - 02:36 pm.

      Paragraph 3 really hits the nail on the head on the Republican Party Problems.

  3. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 11/28/2018 - 10:06 am.

    What would it take for a GOP resurgence?

    #1 – An honest media. A media who are involved in telling the truth about a candidate and not making every article about a DFL candidate sound like a campaign puff piece.

    #2 – An honest media – A media who is willing to tell the truth about the special interest money that dominates the DFL and the catering of the DFL to the special interest agenda.

    #3 – An honest media – that tells the truth about the taxing of the poor and middle class by the DFL and their outrages taxing and spending agenda.

    I think these 3 things would aid in a GOP resurgence.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/28/2018 - 10:15 am.

      Is Fox News part of an honest media? Because this year saw some of their hosts actually speaking at Republican campaign rallies.

      A truly honest media would spell the end for the Republican party.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/28/2018 - 10:21 am.

        No doubt about that last line. False equivalence has run amok.

        And look at the way Don Trump absolutely played the media with the migrant caravan. They did his bidding as much as State Media (Fox) does.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/28/2018 - 10:55 am.

      What is the media?

      Between cable news and the internet every person gets to pick the “media” of their choice.

      Is your media honest and mine dishonest?

      I’m sure you do not have a problem with the bias of Fox news: I do and I want to their to be consequences for them knowingly disseminating lies from Trump. They are essentially acting as “state media”, Pravda for the USA. You probably disagree with this. But you are all for castigating media you disagree with as seen in your examples 1,2 and 3.

      Any claims of “media bias” died with the internet and cable TV. To say otherwise essentially says:

      “I am smart enough to find the right media and you aren’t”

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/29/2018 - 10:26 am.

      It has nothing to do with the Republicans themselves, does it? If Republicans are not the majority, it’s someone else’s fault.

      Way to go, party of personal responsibility!

    • Submitted by Theo Kozel on 11/29/2018 - 10:33 am.

      The premise that the media is monolithic is delusional in this day and age.

  4. Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/28/2018 - 10:12 am.

    People are worried about jobs and healthcare. But the GOP seems more concerned about attacking immigrants and Muslims and transgender people. I have gay friends who would be (and used to be) Republican voters, but its hard to support a party that wants to strip you of your civil rights.

    Stop trying to scare people into voting for you. Sell them on your ideas.

  5. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/28/2018 - 10:20 am.

    Well lets see, perhaps being pragmatic about the needs of the state overall including the cities and budgeting accordingly would be a good start. Seems there was a Republican not mentioned “Arnie” that did understand this. he was rejected soundly by the “R” party, but elected soundly by the populous. Imagine that, his numbers were similar to Amie’s in the last election. Maybe honesty is a good place to start, nothing is free and we should have the integrity to live up to our commitments. .

    • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/28/2018 - 11:19 am.

      “Arnie” is beloved by the left. If honesty is a good place to start, he’d have run as a Democrat.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/28/2018 - 11:40 am.

        And, I am betting, you would also have sent Ramstad, Durenberger, Boschwitz to the other side too. Otherwise known as 4 out of the last 6 GOP major statewide office holders…

        • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 11/30/2018 - 08:34 am.

          Well said. You look at the moderate positions held by the candidates you name, then look at all the failed extreme candidates Mr. Senker adores. And he thinks it’s everyone else’s fault that his people can’t win elections.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/28/2018 - 12:22 pm.

        And perhaps you can supply the “Where” was Arnie dishonest to either party? Last check he was fiscally responsible, socially liberal, so telling folks how to lead their lives, and fiscal irresponsibility are now republican strong points?

  6. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/28/2018 - 10:25 am.

    How about making it know in no uncertain terms that the MN GOP will not tolerate any racism? You know, not just denying it or downplaying it. And when the POTUS says race baiting things like “…many fine people, on both side…” MN GOP leaders call it out, immediately and forcefully.

    After that, how about not telling me that I’m somehow evil for living in the capitol city? Maybe a politics of hope and unification, and not division, hate, and fear. Cut the non-sense about Scary Brown People.

  7. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/28/2018 - 10:43 am.

    “What do they want out there that we oppose? When I ask friends who are actually involved in those kind of issues, they have a hard time thinking of anything. ”

    Seems to me you’re asking the wrong question. Ask them what they *dont* want, that leftists do.

    You’ll get an earfull, I guarantee it.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/28/2018 - 11:50 am.

      I’m curious about what you think they don’t want. Please elaborate.

      • Submitted by Dave Carlson on 11/28/2018 - 01:44 pm.

        There seems to be a lot of misplaced anger towards the Democrats… One example, Gov. Dayton pushed for increased rural broadband access but could never get that through the R-controlled legislature even though that is a big issue, and a problem for keeping and attracting businesses in Greater Minnesota.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/28/2018 - 06:43 pm.

          And if Democrats knew how to campaign outstate, they may have parlayed broadband plans into some degree of electoral success. Fly around the state, stopping in hamlets to show how broad band access can help those folks, and ask them to beat on the local GOP legislator to get on board or explain why he or she isn’t supporting broadband for the locals. it’s not that hard to do.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/29/2018 - 08:47 am.

      Because Republicans are all about the negative. They have no positive message.

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/30/2018 - 11:24 am.

        Oh, I dunno about that RB.

        A new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico; historically low unemployment; record economic gains; 401K’s riding high on a hot stock market; a nice tax cut and the reassertion of law and order on our Southern border sounds pretty happy to me.

        Maybe you’re just focused on bad stuff.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/30/2018 - 12:44 pm.

          Don’t look now, but the stock market has been sideways for 2018. Easy way to tell: No POTUS Tweets about the “SOARING stock Market!”

          When I look at how my IRA has done this year, I’d describe it this way: Sad!

          But in any case, the GOP and Don Trump didn’t campaign o the economy. Just fear mongering about Scary Brown People and lies about protecting pre-existing conditions.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/30/2018 - 12:47 pm.

          “A new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico;” which is similar to one that was being negotiated by the Obama administration, but we can’t give the Kenyan any credit for that.
          “[H]istorically low unemployment;” continuing the trend of the last few years at a similar or slower rate.
          “[R]ecord economic gains;” for whom?
          “401K’s riding high on a hot stock market;” again, continuing the trend from the Obama years.
          “[A] nice tax cut” for the wealthy.
          “[A]nd the reassertion of law and order on our Southern border” which is actually a violation of several tenets of international law, as well as basic morality. Screw foreigners, and the cruelty is just GRAVY, am I right?

          How about an erosion of American prestige worldwide? An increasingly divided American society? An administration run by crooks and grifters who are in the pockets of shady foreign financiers, and in thrall to racists? Kleptocracy run amok in the federal government? More GRAVY, right?

  8. Submitted by Bill Hansen on 11/28/2018 - 11:01 am.

    How about working hard on practical policies that make life better for all?

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/28/2018 - 12:42 pm.

      That would be doing the exact opposite of what the Democrats want to do. If you want to see people thrive and become better off, cut govt spending to zero and use sound money and free markets. Every penny of debt from the govt lowers your purchasing power (makes you poorer). All that spending by govt skews the markets and creates bubbles that end up in economic crashes and lead to massive waste/cronyism.

      What would you say to being able to walk into your local doctor’s office and seeing every procedure priced (like a menu at a restaurant) and those prices 80% lower than they are today? A free market system would give you that. 90% of your doctor visits you could pay out of pocket easily and your insurance premiums would be 80% lower too.

      The GOP doesn’t run on that because it would cause a short term depression as we would drop about 15% of GDP but we would bounce back quickly as all those trillions would be spent/invested in other areas that are more productive.

      • Submitted by David Therkelsen on 11/28/2018 - 04:29 pm.

        Well I’ve seen and passed by a lot of comments by Mr. Barnes, regarding him as an extreme, but honest and intellectually consistent commentator. But this comment is beyond the pale. Taking government spending to zero??? So no highways, police departments, fire departments, schools, no governance whatsoever for that matter. And a free market will take 80% out of the cost of health care? The experience of the rest of the world says otherwise – that to have a government funded (not managed!) health care system cuts cost about in half and produces better outcomes.

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/28/2018 - 08:11 pm.

          http://www.surgerycenterokcom is an example of a clinic providing care at 20% of what others charge and you can price your procedure (all in cost) right on their website. So yes, it’s entirely possible with a free market system.

          I realize govt can never go to zero (because people aren’t ready for an ancap system) but the less govt the better it is for all. Govt spending is wasteful and skews markets. The money is best left in the hands of those who earn it. They have the most incentive to invest/spend it as wisely/efficiently as possible.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/29/2018 - 02:24 pm.

            I looked up that hospital you reference (check the URL, BTW). It’s a great premise if I know what surgery I want and am not in an emergency, “need it now” situation. I also presume there will be no procedural difficulties put in your way by either Oklahoma law or the contract with the hospital if you sue for malpractice because your procedure goes badly.

            Not being a diagnostician, I don’t necessarily know what procedures I need. I’m also in a poor position to evaluate offerings for specific procedures, so I have no way of knowing if a doctor is competing on anything other than price. If I need something done, I (as most people, I presume) just ask that it be done without looking for competitive bids. It’s no time for dickering.

            Does this model work for anything other than surgery? How does it work for preventive care? The last time I went to a hospital for myself, it was because I had managed to give myself a bad cut. Is that a good time to be shopping around for the best deal?

            I need to know more before suspecting that this model is anything other than a fantasy.

            • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/29/2018 - 03:17 pm.

              It’s an example of the free market at work. If all hospitals and clinics did this your healthcare (US spending) would cost less than what Mexico pays for healthcare. You don’t need to know what’s wrong if everyone has the same low prices. Why are we not allowed to see what a doctor visit will cost like we can see the cost of items on the store shelf?

              A lack of understanding of why costs are so high is the problem for most.

      • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 11/29/2018 - 07:50 pm.

        You know those countries that have almost no government spending and have privatized all services? Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador come close to those “ideals.” So do many countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

        Can you point out one country with minimal government spending, nearly all privatized services, and a high standard of living for the *average* person, not just for the small percentage of the population that lives in lavish villas behind walls?

    • Submitted by Hiram Foster on 11/28/2018 - 12:44 pm.

      How about working hard on practical policies that make life better for all?

      I am all for it, but Republicans are committed to the idea that government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem. As President Reagan said, the most terrifying thing anyone can hear is “I am from the government, and I am hear to help.” If government really could help, it would undermine the most fundamental premise of the modern Republican Party.

  9. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/28/2018 - 11:10 am.

    Want to have won the Smith Senate seat? How about the governor’s office?

    The GOP could have had either with Jim Ramstad.

    Cue “Rhino” whining here. Ramstad is what MN GOP used to be: fiscally conservative and not focused on social issues or the central theme of the Trump led GOP:

    “You have been screwed by minority X and we are going to settle the score with them big time”

    And by minority I mean race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, age, anything that can be used to find a division to exploit.

    The Trump house of cards is about to explode, the GOP’s ability to move away will be the war for their future: stand by and protect a criminal or go back to the days of a sane, hate free GOP: Carlson, Ramstad, Durenberger, Boschwitz, LeVander.

  10. Submitted by Vonnie Phillips on 11/28/2018 - 12:16 pm.

    Well, the Minnesota Republican Party should cease being so tribal, thinking that aligning itself with the ultra conservative nut cases that run the national GOP will cascade down and benefit the local ranks of the party. This was their first mistake. Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee where there are a lot of racist bigots that influence GOP in those states, the Minnesota GOP needs to recognize Minnesota is a totally different place. An example, Governor Tim Pawenty had a future in this state, but he made a bad move, he elected to align himself with the crazies on the national GOP stage, it ruined him politically in this state. In a nutshell, the Minnesota GOP needs to accept where they are, the State of Minnesota, which should be a good starting point for them to rebuild their party.

    • Submitted by Sheila Kihne on 11/28/2018 - 02:06 pm.

      Yvonne- the state of Minnesota almost went for Trump after having not gone red for 46 years. Based on your logic, there must be a whole lotta rrrrracists in Minnesota. Hint: That’s not why Trump won the Presidency, but I’m glad you’re buying what the media elites are selling because the longer you do, the better his chance at be re-elected in 2020.

      I’m very curious though, have you voted for Pawlenty in the past? Would you have voted for Pawlenty had he been on the ballot in 2018? You make the “reasonable moderate” argument, trying to convince Republicans here that they need to be Democrats to win. Tom Emmer lost the governorship to Dayton by only 8,000 votes only 8 years ago running as a conservative against Dayton’s ex-wife’s Rockafeller fortune. Emmer was a flawed candidate with DWI’s and financial issues. Had he not had those issues, he definitely would’ve won in 2010.

      You advise us Republicans that Pawlenty had a future here. Believe me, he didn’t align himself with conservatives (“crazies” as you like to call them)– he aligned himself with Will Steiger and global warmiing alarmists and then went to NYC and lobbied for banks, pocketing millions of dollars. He left the MNGOP high and dry, only cared about himself, not the party, not the conservative cause. That’s why he lost the primary. And he wouldn’t have beat Walz either.

      Marty Seifert’s now a lobbyist, Kurt Zellers is now a lobbyist, Amy Koch is now a lobbyist, Joyce Peppin is now a lobbyist– who am I missing? These are the GOP “leaders” we’re told to look up to.

      Democrats here are much better team players– because they believe in collectivism– and because they love government so much, they all like to work in government. Conservatives are about self-reliance and don’t like government other than a means to protect our rights, we see it as highly ineffective, inefficient, bloated and usually corrupt. So while liberals have a mile-long-line of candidates eager to run people’s lives via the power of government– many of whom can still collect their teachers pension while running for office or who are working for some liberal non-profit–Republicans don’t usually want to run so we’re left with the guys who are happy making $40K a year in the legislature– or the county commissioners pocketing $100K a year while they run for governor. Emmer had to be subsidized by donors so he could run for office. Many root causes to the GOP’s problems here.

      It’s why Trump is so great, he doesn’t need the job. He’s lost net worth while serving. Until more successful-in-the-private-sector-Republicans are willing to sacrifice and run for office, nothing changes. Under eight more years of liberal Democrat rule in Minnesota with even higher taxes and more regulation, it may all be moot.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/28/2018 - 06:45 pm.

        MN POTUS votes:

        Romeny 2012: 1.32 million

        Don Trump 2016: 1.32 million

        Sounds more like a terrible Dem candidate than a better GOP candidate.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/28/2018 - 08:00 pm.

        “He’s lost net worth while serving”

        Hmmm, how did you gain access to his tax returns?

        The only thing we know with certainty, based on fact, is that when Trump tells us anything, we have documented there is a 70% chance it is not true. As I have asked, and never been answered in previous posts:

        1. If your child lied 70% of the time would you accept it and move on?
        2. If your spouse lied 70% of the time, would you foresee a lasting relationship?
        3. If you employer lied to you 70% of the time would you accept it or move on to a new job and boss?

        I get that Trump delivers the goods to many conservatives: tax cuts, right leaning judges and the constant ability to drive his political opposites bonkers. But, is that worth giving up the most fundamental element of any relationship: I trust you?

        Ms. Kihne: Is there a line that cannot be crossed? What is it and what would you do if/when we get there?

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/28/2018 - 08:58 pm.

        Curious, what is the difference between “collectivism” and “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union” …..
        And then: what is the objective we are suppose to be working for?

      • Submitted by Hiram Foster on 11/29/2018 - 06:23 am.

        People voted for a guy who believes President Obama was born in Kenya. If that isn’t racism, it at least creates a presumption of racism.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/29/2018 - 12:31 pm.

        That is hilarious. I’m not sure Trump has any net worth – his financial incompetence in managing his inheritance is why Putin owns him in the first place. Being president has allowed this grifter to line his pockets with every dollar of taxpayer money he can.

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/29/2018 - 01:16 pm.


          Trump kow tows to Saudi Arabia to “protect” our great oil importing relationship, accepting that the occasional journalist may have his head chopped off.

          And our #1 oil importing partner, Canada? Trump antagonizes them at very opportunity.

          Why? Saudi’s spend lots of $$$ with the Trump organization and Trudeau gets under Trumps very thin skin.

          It is not about our nation’s interests, it is about money and personal relationships to Trump.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/30/2018 - 12:49 pm.

          Hey Pat, it’s not the the tax payers he’s bilking. He’s also bilking his donors. His campaign spends every nickel possible on Trump businesses.

  11. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 11/28/2018 - 12:39 pm.

    Seems to me you’re asking the wrong question. Ask them what they *dont* want, that leftists do.

    I largely agree. Republicans have become a negative party. And much of what they don’t want are things that benefit cities. And since cities are where the votes are, this helps to explain why they lose statewide elections.

  12. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 11/28/2018 - 01:08 pm.

    As long as Minnesota Republicans embrace Trump’s Nee York nasty rather than Minnesota nice, there is no hope. Paulsen and Lewis are prime examples. With no record to run on, they attacked their opponents relentlessly. Contrast to Tom Emmer who had a record and ran on it. The Republican House had been lead by a guy whose agenda seemed to be going out of his way picking fights with Mark Dayton rather than actually an agenda that could get approved. Big mistake not to find an alternative that Minnesota could buy into. The Republican leader of the Senate comes off much better – more diplomatic. Republicans who actually try to get along with Democrats and help shape legislation will help the party turn it around. There are models for this, but one has to go back before 2000 to find them.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/28/2018 - 06:47 pm.

      Don’t forget the racism. If the racism isn’t condemned and “only” tolerated, that, too, is what the MN GOP is running on.

  13. Submitted by Tim Milner on 11/28/2018 - 01:11 pm.

    The Republicans could regain control of the state with 2 moves.

    1 – Solving the labor shortage in Minnesota (experienced by all types of companies in every corner of the state) by supporting a meaningful change to the immigrant problem. Republicans need to get off the citizenship issue and instead focus on a permanent work visa program that allows immigrants to have jobs. Simply tie the number of permanent work visa issued to the unemployment rate and you have a win win. Immigrants wanting a better life get jobs, companies needing workers get workers, and the whole citizenship/amnesty issue is placed on the back burner – where it belongs right now.

    2 – Reverting to their original ways of being the fiscally responsible party. That’s not the “No Tax Ever” or the “Starve Government” policies of recent years. It’s the “we better get some bang for our buck or we’re not funding it” policies of yesteryear.

    There is a huge, huge populations of 30-60 years Minnesotans ready to support a fiscally conservative, more socially tolerant conservative party. These folks are never going to be Democrats. But they certainly could be Republicans – with just a little turn toward the center and away from some of the extremists.

    Unfortunately, the extremist control the party machine so it’s likely to never happen. But the Republicans could recover very quickly with just these 2 shifts.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/28/2018 - 08:06 pm.

      The funny thing is the 2 organizations that used to be in lock step with the MN Rs: The MN Chamber of Commerce and the MN Business Partnership have indicated that it is easier to negotiate with Ds on new ideas than the Rs. The Ds will engage, the Rs run away for fear of alienating the right side of the right…

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/29/2018 - 09:50 am.

        And yet, the business types still spend heavily to elect R’s. I just don’t get it. They want mass transit, enact “all are welcome here” workplace policies, then work for the crowd that hates those things. Weird.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/29/2018 - 02:26 pm.

          Cognitive dissonance. They want a good infrastructure for their businesses, and they want an educated populace. They personally do not want to pay taxes to get those things.

          In the immortal words of Leona Helmsley, “Only the little people pay taxes.”

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/29/2018 - 03:26 pm.

      We don’t need more migrants or immigrants. They just drive wages down. There are more than enough citizens to do the jobs but companies don’t want to pay a decent wage. Why would they when they can get cheaper labor to come in? Take GM for example, the plants they are closing pay around $25 an hour to assemble cars. Their Mexico plants are staying open and only pay $3 an hour for the same job. Why wouldn’t they close plants here?

      You miss the biggest immigration issue, illegals. If we don’t enforce the rule of law we end up with chaos. Compassion has nothing to do with it. They can leave and apply thru legal means but they must obey the law.

      On the tax/spend side, they need to stand on cutting spending. They need to be more like Coolidge and less like Bush. They need to make the point that cutting spending (and taxes) is what is best for the economy and the people in general. The less you take from people the more they have to invest and spend. They will invest and spend it much more wisely than govt.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/29/2018 - 06:34 pm.

        Literally every single word of your comment is false. The things you say have no basis in reality.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/29/2018 - 08:58 pm.

        Why yes, they SHOULD emulate the guy who set the table for the worst economic calamity in modern history. Considering it led to half a century of liberal dominance, I’ll take it.

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 12/03/2018 - 04:24 pm.

          Coolidge had nothing to do with 1929. He (along with Harding) actually got us out of a depression that was just as bad and he did it in just 3 years. Unlike the Democrats that extended the GD well into the 40s. If it weren’t for WWII , there’s no telling how long it would have continued. Coolidge and Harding understood the correct move in a downturn is to cut govt spending thus allowing the bad debt to clear out of the economy so growth can begin again.

          • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 12/03/2018 - 10:16 pm.

            Right-wingers like to say that “it wasn’t government spending that got us out of the Depression. It was World War II.”

            Yes, and what was World War II but the biggest round of government spending that the country had ever seen up to that point? Men going into the armed forces and earning a paycheck, whether they were previously employed or not; women and teenagers taking the jobs that the men had vacated plus the jobs producing military equipment, planes, and ships. It was easy to save money because so many goods were rationed or completely unavailable.

            But ever since the Reagan years, the Republicans have acted as if military spending doesn’t count as the kind of government spending that they continually rail against, so their confusion is perhaps understandable.

            • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 12/05/2018 - 06:46 am.

              You’re conflating 2 different issues. It wasn’t just the war spending (a major war totally changed the entire economy ). What actually changed things was Bretton Woods and the fact that our entire industrial system was left untouched during the war. You can also factor in the many thousands of deaths to our working age population which meant there was no shortage of jobs for many years after the war.

              Govt spending doesn’t end depressions, it actually makes them worse by prolonging them. Compare 1920 to 1929 for instance. After WWI we had a severe depression. Harding (and Coolidge) cut federal spending by something like 75% and by 1923/24 we were back to full employment and the depression was over. 1929 was the opposite, FDR/Hoover went on a spending spree and the depression dragged on well into the 1940s.

            • Submitted by Greg Smith on 12/18/2018 - 02:12 pm.

              The fact the most of Europe was a smashed mooonscape might have aided our economy as well

  14. Submitted by Marc Post on 11/28/2018 - 02:37 pm.

    There is no Republican Party or GOP anymore. There is only Trump and his base.

  15. Submitted by Aaron Albertson on 11/28/2018 - 02:57 pm.

    Well, they could start by kicking the extremists to the curb and run real moderates, but that’s probably not happening any time soon. And no, Walz isn’t some socialist. The GOP might wanna reflect on why they call him one

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/28/2018 - 08:21 pm.

      Moderates are just Democrats that haven’t gone full left wing yet. What you end up with in Moderates is them already being left of center then compromising on even further left of center policies. There’s no point in having an opposition party if they’re the same as the Dems.

      The GOP used to stand for limited govt while the Dems have always been for big govt. Today, most of the GOP are just big govt dems with an R after their names. Trump is one as well… he talked big during the election then dropped all of his good ideas and just maintained the status quo.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/29/2018 - 09:53 am.

        Limited government? Ha! GOP state governments around the country have abandoned the idea of local control, which they used to profess a love of.

        And what about right to work for less laws? Big gubment inserting itself between two private parties because big gubmint knows whats best.

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/29/2018 - 03:28 pm.

          As I said, they need to stand on limited govt like they did many years ago.

          Right to work laws aren’t perfect but they do protect workers from being forced to join unions. A person should never be forced to join a union just to keep their job.

          • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/29/2018 - 05:07 pm.

            Compulsory union membership has been illegal for generations.

          • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/30/2018 - 11:10 am.

            A few posts back you cited the 50’s as an example that came closest to you ideals of what our country should look like. Please note that those times coincided with the highest rate of union membership ever in US history. Your cause and effect influencer was Govt. spending, maybe it was really income levels influenced by high union membership. Income spread from high to low was never closer than this period.

            • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 12/03/2018 - 09:40 pm.

              At their highest, roughly 35% of workers were in unions (1954). So no, it wasn’t unions that caused the US to do so well back then. It was the fact that we were rebuilding the rest of the world after WWII.

  16. Submitted by Bill Mantis on 11/28/2018 - 03:36 pm.

    Until MN Republicans explicitly repudiate Trump and Trumpism, they’re hopelessly naive to expect a resurgence. I urge them to read Rick Wilson’s new book “Everything Trump Touches Dies” and to follow his advice to the letter.

    • Submitted by Sheila Kihne on 11/28/2018 - 07:01 pm.

      Yes, let me read one of the most highly paid political consultant’s books about “principles”. If Trump would’ve hired Rick Wilson, I can guarantee you he’d sing a completely different tune. See “Parliament of Whores” by PJ O’Rourke. Please.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/29/2018 - 12:38 pm.

        Don’t shoot the messenger- everything he touches does die. His business career is one failure after another. If Trump had put his inheritance into average-performing mutual funds, he’d be worth many times what he claims he’s worth. Its absolutely nuts that people see this trust-fund failure as a competent businessman.

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/29/2018 - 03:30 pm.

          He’s a billionaire. Hardly a failure by any stretch of the imagination. You may not like him as a person but he’s done well in the business world.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/29/2018 - 03:53 pm.

            First, we don’t know that he’s a billionaire. His estimates of his own worth, by his own admission, will vary according to his mood on a particular day. Some sources have estimated that he is worth between $150 and $250 million, an allegation that led him to file a libel suit (add that suit to the “failure” column). Personally, I think this is a big reason why he doesn’t want to release his income tax returns.

            Second, he has a long string of bankruptcies and failures, many of which were due to his own hubris (Trump vodka? Sure, read all about it in Trump Magazine while you’re flying Trump Airlines).

            Third, he was heavily financed by his father and other less reputable (!) sources. With his history, why is there only one major bank willing to extend credit to his organization? Maybe you can ask the executives of Deutsche Bank during their perp walk in Frankfurt.

          • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/29/2018 - 06:43 pm.

            Actually, he’s an utter failure in the business world. Again, if Trump had put his inheritance into average performing mutual funds, he’d be worth many times what he says he is. And who knows if he’s even worth that (or even a billionaire at all) because he wouldn’t release his taxes. But we know about the bankruptcies and business failures. And the fact American banks won’t lend him money.

            Anyone who thinks Trump is successful at business has no understanding how business works. Absolutely none.

  17. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 11/28/2018 - 03:36 pm.

    You need a party that stands for something beyond hatred and bigotry. The Republican Party doesn’t have a core of any kind that can be relied on. The Party is peddlers of fiction so I have no idea who to believe or when to believe them. That is why the party is headed for the bottom. Repeal and replace the ACA 70 plus times and then can’t do it nor have any answers for it. Deficit hawks until your party is in control then add 2 trillion to the deficit. Deniers of science when we have those trained in science trying to tells us about the problems we are causing and will be facing. Against something just because the Democrats are for it. The Party has had 2 years to go beyond a phony wall and work together for a comprehensive immigration plan. This past election they created fear and anxiety pre-election about a “caravan of immigrants coming to America that are murders, rapist, and middle easterners”. Post-election the Caravan problem disappears. We have the world’s biggest liar in the White House and the Republicans don’t have anyone willing to speak truth to power, unless they aren’t going to run again. The Republican leadership has too much baggage to be effective. All of this trickles right down to the Minnesota Republican leadership. Who does the public have in the Republican Party they can go to to get a response and know it is the truth. Elections have consequences and the Republicans just experienced some of the consequences . The Republicans need to stop looking for divisive issues and work the issues that will benefit everyone, not just the special few. Get rid of the hatred of anything that isn’t white. Look inward for the Party problems. You can see on this site the deniers can’t believe there is anything wrong with their party. Keep thinking that way and the Republicans will lose another election. No one is responsible for the party problems but the Republicans. The party has been eaten alive by the tea party.

  18. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 11/28/2018 - 05:14 pm.

    It’s hard to imagine a better illustration of why the Minnesota Republican Party isn’t doing as well as it would like than to compare the comments to this article by Ms. Kihne (1st in line on my MinnPost feed) and Mr. Foster (2nd in line on my MinnPost feed).

    There are several issues, and I won’t attempt to address them all, but I’ll start with this: I’ve never met anyone, of any party persuasion, who believes “…government is the answer to any problem.” I’m 74. I’ve met a lot of people.

    I look forward to Ms. Kihne’s description of how the state GOP chair used her office for self-promotion and as a dating service. If Ms. Carnahan managed the latter, I’d say it was among the most creative and constructive uses of GOP party chairmanship in recent memory.

    Ms. Kihne also further illustrates one of the Republican Party’s problems, one highlighted by the logo on the podium in the photo that leads Mr. Slocum’s column. I’d argue that the goal of running for office – whether Democrat or Republican – ought to be serving the people of Minnesota, **not** promoting your particular political party. “Turning the state red” puts party ahead of serving the public, and “turning the state blue” would do the same thing. Neither one is useful in solving problems that are far more complex than election slogans.

    Out-state politicians and their supporters, as well as the hard-core right-wingers who assume any and all politicians are crooks, generally ignore a very important reality:


    Elections are won by voters, not by crops or cows. Pretty much in line with the rest of the nation, more and more of Minnesota’s population lives in metropolitan areas. Urban and suburban/metropolitan citizens have different priorities than do those living in the countryside. Railing against the “twisted reasoning” of voters living in metropolitan areas will get the GOP nowhere in Minnesota for that reason alone. This is a rural state only if one’s focus is exclusively on maps that show area. In that context, it’s much like Colorado, where I used to live. Geographically, a 25-mile strip along each side of I-25 in Colorado from Pueblo north through Colorado Springs to Denver and then on to Fort Collins adds up to a very small percentage of the land within Colorado’s borders, perhaps 5% or 6%, but 80% or more of the state’s population lives within 25 miles of I-25.

    In Minnesota (here’s something for Greta Kaul to research), I find myself wondering what portion of Minnesota’s population lives within 25 miles either side of I-35. Pick your starting point at the south end – Albert Lea? Owatonna? Faribault? – and head north to (and include) Duluth. Add in those living within 25 miles of I-94, from Stillwater to St. Cloud (west of St. Cloud it still **is** a rural state until you get close to Fargo). I’d guess the percentage of Minnesota’s 5+ million living in those two geographic strips is near 80%, if not more.

    Ms. Kihne will be perpetually unhappy, as will Mr. Senker and Mr. Gotzman, as long as they write and think as if all city-dwellers are useless slugs whose only purpose in life is to get another government handout. The figures will show that rural areas, which often feel neglected, are generally getting proportional spending from the legislature, and there are some urban dwellers who might argue that we spend **too much** on out-state Minnesota.

    I understand that out-state Minnesotans might feel that they’re getting the short straw when it comes to appropriations from the legislature, but when most of the voters live in metro areas, it not only makes logical sense, it makes political and even ethical sense, for the majority of citizens to have a greater voice in government than the minority. Harping on “self-reliance” and “personal responsibility” – as if most of us have never heard those terms and don’t want to practice them ourselves – will not resonate with voters outside the right-wing fringe, none of whom are themselves any more “self-reliant” or “personally responsible” than their neighbors who vote DFL rather than GOP.

  19. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/28/2018 - 06:54 pm.

    2016 was not the crest of a wave for the GOP in Minnesota. Nor was it even a high water mark. It was merely a low point for the DFL.

    The GOP POTUS candidates won the same number of votes (1.32M), as well as the same percentage of votes (44.9%) in 2016 as in 2012.

    The DFL share of the vote dropped from 1.55M in 2012 to 1.37M in 2016, while the total number voting stayed mostly the same. The MN GOP misread the 2016 results.

  20. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/28/2018 - 08:39 pm.

    Here’s another idea. Learn how to conduct a legislative session.

    Daudt was like most GOP majority leaders. All they know is management by crisis. Hold off on any specifics, then cram everything into one bill just before midnight after negotiating in secret and before anyone can read it, then adorn. That forces the guv into a high stakes take it or leave it position.

    If the guv vetoes the bill, blame it all on him and refuse to budge.

    Don Trump’s migrant “crisis” is no more a crisis than the budget crises this crowd love to create. Maybe Gazelka will do better. Apparently he can manage his own checkbook, unlike Daudt and the MN GOP.

  21. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 11/29/2018 - 06:25 am.

    You need a party that stands for something beyond hatred and bigotry.

    Well they need to create a party that stands for not hating the city as much. And the belief that people in the cities and suburbs hate rural Minnesota.

  22. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 11/29/2018 - 06:12 pm.

    Just a name change just isn’t going to do. You need to jettison the tea party and get the moderates back that are willing to work with Democrats in a meaningful way. Poison pill politics won’t work any more, but I guess you found that out already when the voters spoke very clearly.

  23. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 11/29/2018 - 08:05 pm.

    I don’t hate rural people. But I find the common rural attitude of “This isn’t what I’m used to, so I’m automatically against it, especially if city people like it” to be extremely annoying and counter-productive.

    And hey, I know that not all rural people are like that. I have relatives in Greater Minnesota.

    But when someone who has never been to the Minneapolis or St. Paul and probably got his ideas of urban life from watching reruns of “Law and Order” and listening to the streams of lies on AM talk radio, starts ragging on cities, I understand where Trump’s votes came from.

  24. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/04/2018 - 10:25 am.

    I think if Republicans want to recognize this as a problem and resolve it somehow they need to stop listening to people like Mr. Slocum. This isn’t a marketing problem, it’s not about “branding”.

    Republicans simply need to end their love affair with ignorance, dishonesty, and intolerance. They need to seek participation rather than dominance and representation rather than control. They need stop being tired of “losing” and start getting tired of being wrong all the time. They need to abandon magical thinking and stop whining about paying taxes.

    Forget the urban rural divide, the fact is there aren’t enough rural voters to control the government so to the extent that Republican’s “succeed” there it will be an empty victory. To the extent that rural voters vote with that divided mentality they will harm themselves and alienate themselves from their own source of assistance. If you think I’m your enemy, and you throw hand grenades into MY living room… frankly that’s going to end up being YOUR problem no mine. Don’t expect me to ignore your hostility and intolerance and keep paying for all your stuff indefinitely.

    So long as Republicans keep thinking they just have to “explain” their ideology and “values” better… the will continue to lose relevance. The problem is that their ideology and values suck beans, they can’t brand or market themselves out of that problem.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 12/04/2018 - 02:42 pm.

      “Republicans simply need to end their love affair with ignorance, dishonesty, and intolerance.”

      Dude, that’s pretty much the core tenet of their ideology at this point.

  25. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/04/2018 - 10:57 am.

    To the extent that the DFL has a problem connecting with “rural” voters it’s the same problem they have connecting with everyone else only to a different degree. To the extent that they’re agenda is “winning” instead of problem solving they repeatedly “win” and leave problems on the table our of fear of “over-reach” .

    It’s a weird dynamic that leads them to conclude that “agreeing” to spend half of what’s actually needed to repair and update our transportation infrastructure; (despite having the votes to fix it) will somehow impress rural voters living with decaying infrastructure.

    All we need from Democrats is for them to be our liberal Party instead of our “centrist” Party. Liberal policies work, not just because their liberal but because they’re based on reality and the belief that reason and analysis produce the best policy as apposed to “revealed” wisdom of some kind or compromises that fail. Do THAT… and you’ll connect with voters no matter where they are.

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 12/05/2018 - 01:06 pm.

      Liberal policies don’t work. Just look at most of Europe, Venezuela, Zimbabwe et al. They are not based on reality either. They are mathematically impossible to implement over a long term as there isn’t enough money to pay for them.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/05/2018 - 01:22 pm.

        “Liberal policies don’t work” Quite the blanket statement. I suppose you would then consider America what A “Totalitarian country” at least that is where Trump wants to take us! Might want to provide some definition around your views of “Liberal Policies” Like Freedom of Speech, the Press, Religion, 2nd Amendment, etc. are those not “Liberal Policies”?.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/05/2018 - 01:44 pm.

        Liberal democracies are the most successful forms of government ever devised. Show me the wealthiest countries in the world with the highest standards of living and the greatest latitude of personal liberties, and I’ll show you a liberal democracy based on liberal principles and policies.

        If you think Somalia or Bangladesh are more successful than the US or the Netherlands… show us your numbers. As for Venezuela , Zimbabwe etc., if you study your history you’ll find that right wing dictators ruined those economies, not liberal democracy. Those countries are still dealing with post colonial and post Cold War legacies.

  26. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 12/04/2018 - 12:00 pm.

    “Forget the urban rural divide, the fact is there aren’t enough rural voters to control the government so to the extent that Republican’s “succeed” there it will be an empty victory.”

    This goes to the asymmetry of our politics. In very broad strokes, the Republicans are a negative party, they don’t want to do things, they want to prevent things from being done. And in our consensus form of government, they often don’t require a majority or anything close to achieve their goals. Republicans “succeed” when they do nothing. In order for Democrats to “succeed” they must do lots of somethings, and doing things is always much more difficult than doing nothing.

    To some extent, Republicans also benefit from the perception that Democrats are the party of government, even when Democrats don’t control the government. That’s why Donald Trump whose party has controlled all three branches of government can blame his failure to achieve his very limited agenda on Democrats.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/04/2018 - 07:50 pm.

      “In order for Democrats to “succeed” they must do lots of somethings, and doing things is always much more difficult than doing nothing.”

      Well, nobody said it would be easy but yeah, you have to talk about doing things people want done, and when you’re in power, you have to do those things instead of negotiating them away or scaling them back to the point of failure. Here’s a hint: When people talk about things they really really want done… don’t tell them their “pipe-dreaming” and offer to do little or nothing instead. Here’s another hint… if you know how govern and run the government… be the Party that governs and runs the government, that’s not a BAD thing, stop pretending it is. Democrats have a habit of losing the votes they can get by chasing votes they’ll never get.

  27. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/05/2018 - 10:20 am.

    Those of us who have been paying attention have been concerned about rural Minnesotan’s for decades. Urban/suburban Minnesotan’s like myself have always been well aware of the fact that rural areas have been suffering from some of the worse poverty for years. We also know the drug crises and epidemic has hit rural areas much harder than most others.

    People like myself have spent lifetimes caring about rural Minnesotan’s in need. From family farms to small town main streets and their businesses, we’ve always been willing to push out whatever services are needed; and we’ve never complained about paying for it. WE’RE the ones who always want to push more funding out to rural transportation infrastructure, education, and health care. State-wide high-speed broadband was OUR idea- Republicans claim you already have it. Whatever.

    So now rural Minnesotan’s want a divide? You want to be more like Somalia than Denmark? You want to attack MY values and transit systems? You want to throw “hand grenades” into my government? OK well guess what: When I hear about YOUR problems I’m finding it more and more difficult to care. You want to send Republican’s to St. Paul who are more worried about my values than your roads… go ahead it’s a free country. Here’s the thing: I’m not going to change my values, and you need my money to fix your roads. You REALLY want a divide… you can have it because your welfare is no more important to me than it is to you. Good luck.

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 12/05/2018 - 01:41 pm.

      The thing missing in most of the comments is that many rural people want less government not more. Govt supplying broadband is just more govt and more taxes. Broadband is already available via cell phone providers, satellite and many ISPs are also putting fiber in rural areas now.

      Minnesota is a very high tax state. We are losing a lot of businesses and upper income people which shrinks the tax base. Less government, less spending, fewer regulations and lower taxes is what Minnesota needs and what many rural (and possibly a fair number of urbanites) want. Smaller, effective govt vs large, wasteful govt.

      Case in point, light rail has cost this state billions (initials costs to build and annual losses to run and maintain) in losses yet they keep running it and now expanding so it’ll lose even more money. All of that money would have likely fixed all of the roads and bridges in the State easily with money left over.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/05/2018 - 05:34 pm.

        Having lived in rural Minnesota, I can tell you that they are perfectly fine with big government, as long as it benefits them. The only waste is in the money that goes to the moochers in the big city.

        Plenty of people in rural areas get SNAP benefits, WIC, and housing assistance. Would modern agriculture be possible without guaranteed loans and subsidies? When milk prices got too low, farmers were paid to take cows out of production. I don’t recall any beefs about big government then.

        It’s also not just cash transfers. My rural idyll was during the height of the farm crisis of the early 80s. Big government was fine when it meant protection from creditors (when is there going to be a moratorium on student loan collections?). I lived in the Red River Valley, where the major cash crop (sugar beets) was, at the time, protected from competition from imports by strict limits–government picking winners, as it were.

        Of course, it’s all about whose ox is being gored. The farmers who relied so heavily on government for every aspect of their livelihoods (right down to the farm they inherited from an ancestor who traced his title back to a free or low-cost land grant from the government) would certainly agree with you about the need for small government. They, however, will tell you just as loudly how essential their particular slice of the pie is, and why it’s not wasteful at all.

      • Submitted by ian wade on 12/05/2018 - 05:56 pm.

        You don’t speak for rural people. Rural folks are fine with more government as long as it benefits them. As for the rest of your post, it’s just the same tired GOP talking points that have been retched up and proven wrong ad nauseam.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 12/05/2018 - 07:31 pm.

        Lots of broad assumptions, please put some numbers on the table: “Case in point, light rail”, “Broadband is already available via cell phone providers” show that it is not subsidized by the folks in the metro areas? “We are losing a lot of businesses and upper income people” Please show the numbers. “Less government, less spending, fewer regulations and lower taxes is what Minnesota needs” Prove the theory, dosen’t seemed to have worked in Kansas!

  28. Submitted by Charles Thompson on 12/05/2018 - 06:53 pm.

    Bright lights big city. Habitable world is shrinking. Online world is both shrinking and expanding at the same time. Taxes are not the issue. It’s what you get for the money. We have a gigantic military budget which constantly expands, partially based on its flag waving, flyover appeal. At the same time the military is gaming climate change as a given while over half the Senate and the president acts as if it’s a hoax.

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