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D.C. Memo: A bad tweet about Minneapolis

The meaning of the Midwest; Republicans retiring in droves; Klobuchar debates; and more.

photo of minneapolis skyline at night
Minneapolis, a noted Midwestern city.

The D.C. Memo is a weekly recap of Washington political news, journalism, and opinion, delivered with an eye toward what matters for Minnesota. Sign up to get it in your inbox every Thursday.

Welcome to this week’s edition of the D.C. Memo. This week in Washington, Minneapolis teleported to the East Coast, House Republicans turn in their congressional pagers, and Amy Klobuchar pitched policy in 15 seconds.

C’mon (Redux)

On Twitter, there was a bad tweet. Which often happens. But this one had to do with Minnesota:

“Saying @RashidaTlaib (D-Detroit) and @IlhanMN (D-Minneapolis) are from the Midwest is like saying Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) is from Texas or @repjohnlewis (D-Atlanta) is from the Deep South. C’mon,” said Jonathan Weisman, the Deputy Washington Editor at the New York Times.

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Other journalists were quick to point out that this sort of language excludes people of color from the conversation about the Midwest and the South. Weisman apologized for the Tweet and deleted it, but did not seem to back down from the point he was making.

The statement, whatever its intention, gets at a highly problematic presumption ascribed to a lot of journalism: “real America” is rural. Everything else… isn’t. It’s tropey and overly simplistic language that doesn’t do a service to readers.

Or as the Star Tribune’s Jennifer Brooks put it: “Your race, your creed, your orientation, your politics, and your Norwegian grandma don’t make you a Minnesotan. … Living in Minnesota makes you a Minnesotan.”


Republicans in the House are retiring left and right. Rep. Will Hurd of Texas became the ninth Republican this year to announce retirement plans, with six announcements happening just as members were heading into a long recess away from Washington.

While several reporters have argued that these retirements signal a problem for Minnesota Sixth District’s Rep. Tom Emmer, who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), there are potential benefits. Longtime Republicans who don’t feel like bouncing around their state, and the country, to do extensive fundraising, social media pushes, and television appearances, could be replaced with candidates up to the task. And that may inject a fresh energy into some of the toss-up House races.

When Rep. Pete Olson of Texas announced his retirement last week, Emmer had this to say in a statement:

Whoever the socialist Democrats nominate will be forced to defend their party’s radical agenda of socialized medicine and killing oil and gas jobs with the Green New Deal in a solid Republican district. This will remain a Republican district for the foreseeable future.

That said, the NRCC’s counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has signaled that they intend to spend heavily in places like Texas. And the non-partisan Cook Political Report currently places the race as a toss up.

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The president next door

Wednesday’s debate gave Sen. Amy Klobuchar a chance to try and break out of her low numbers in the polls and make her pitch for the presidency. Unfortunately, a lot of Klobuchar’s points (everyone’s points, for that matter) were interrupted by the moderators.

“Thank you, Senator Klobuchar,” CNN’s Jake Tapper said in one instance, interspersed with Klobuchar trying to get another word in. “Thank you, Senator Klobuchar,” he said again. “Thank you, Senator.”

I had the chance to talk to a few folks hosting watch parties for their preferred candidate, or just for civic involvement. Popcorn. Drinks. What else? Read more at MinnPost.

Outside of the debates, do you want to know who — besides Amy Klobuchar — Minnesotans are supporting in the Democratic primary? Greta Kaul has the info for you. Read more MinnPost.

In other news

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Quote of the week

“Did I miss something? Minneapolis and Detroit are both in the Midwest,” said the Star Tribune’s Matt DeLong.

What I’m reading

Michael Calderone for Politico: Black journalists push media to cover ‘hyper-racial’ moment in politics

“Race and politics,” said AP reporter Errin Haines Whack, “is really the story of our time.” What it means for outlets to cover race honestly in 2020 and avoid repeat mistakes of 2016.

Chloé Cooper Jones in the Verge: Fearing for His Life

Eric Garner was killed by police in 2014. His words (“I can’t breathe”) became a rallying cry against police brutality around the world. Garner’s death, which was filmed on camera, was referenced at the Democratic debate on Wednesday. Audience members heckled New York Bill de Blasio to fire Daniel Pantaleo, the office that placed Garner in chokehold and killed him.

This feature is a deep dive on Ramsey Orta, who filmed his friend’s killing, and by several accounts, was punished for it.

Alex Samuels in the Texas Tribune: Julián Castro’s unconventional campaign manager wants “to run a campaign that will make him proud”

Maya Rupert is the third Black woman to run a presidential campaign. The campaign manager for Julián Castro, Rupert explains why she wanted to run the campaign: “I’m so proud every time I get to talk to young black women and I get to tell tell them what I’m doing. I love that moment. But I also want this to be a campaign the Latino community feels a lot of pride around.

“I want to make sure there’s a group of people,” she said, “who are looking at this and thinking — finally — ‘I got next.’”

That’s all for this week. Thanks for sticking around. Until next week, feel free to send tips, suggestions, and sound advice to: Follow at @gabemschneider. And don’t forget to become a MinnPost member.