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D.C. Memo: A qualified success

photo of amy klobuchar speaking at debate
REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Sen. Amy Klobuchar has qualified to participate in the fifth Democratic presidential debate.

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, Klobuchar qualifies for the next Dem debate, new legislation from the Minnesota and Missouri delegations, and Rep. Ilhan Omar sets the stage for a foreign policy on the left.

The president next door

Sen. Amy Klobuchar spent the last month pushing to get her polling up in at least a small increment, from two to three percent, the qualifying threshold for the Democratic debates. As of Thursday, she’s there.

Fresh off the media buzz from the Oct. 15th Democratic debate, Klobuchar has been able to move up one percent in two types of polls: Iowa and National. The polls that qualify her for the next Democratic debate:

  1. Des Moines Register/Mediacom/CNN — Iowa (9/14-9/18): 3 percent. +/- 4.0 margin of error.
  2. CNN/SRSS — National (10/17-10/20): 3 percent. +/- 3.7 margin of error.
  3. Suffolk University/USA Today — Iowa (10/16-10/18): 3 percent. +/-4.4 margin of error.
  4. Quinnipiac University — National (10/17-10/21): 3 percent. +/- 4.6 margin of error.

Safe at Home

Minnesota Sec. of State Steve Simon. Rep. Betty McCollum. Rep. Dean Phillips. Rep. Angie Craig. Lawmakers from the state of Missouri?

All of them are working together on one bill: The Safe at Home Act, which would mandate federal agencies accept P.O. boxes provided to victims of domestic violence by the state government.

Read more at MinnPost.

Trump poll

Minnesota is the newest battleground state, apparently. A new Star Tribune poll puts things into perspective for the Trump Campaign, which aims to invest heavily in Minnesota.

While voters are evenly split on impeachment, clear majorities of voters believe the president lies and abuses power.

Boundary Waters

The question of mining near The Boundary Waters Canoe Area is one of the most contentious issues in the state of Minnesota (and in the presidential race?). While President Trump cancelled a study into how copper-nickel mining would impact the region, MinnPost’s Walker Orenstein reports on how Rep. Betty McCollum is trying to bring the study back.

On a trip to Ely, Sen. Tina Smith told locals it was “a mistake” for the Trump administration to stop the study, and said in a statement to MinnPost that copper-nickel mining in the BWCA’s watershed should get extra scrutiny.

“I’m pushing for the completion of a study that will lead to more informed decisions about proposed mining near the Boundary Waters and I believe that the results of the study must be available to the public,” she said.

Read more at MinnPost

Election security

The House voted to pass major election security legislation, the SHIELD Act, on Wednesday. All Republicans voted no. Every single Democrat in attendance voted for the bill except Minnesota’s Rep. Collin Peterson.

In the Senate, Klobuchar has come to the floor twice this week to urge Republicans to take up the bill. Both times she has been denied by her Republican colleagues.

“This is the second time that I have come to the floor this week to urge the Senate to take action on election security legislation,” she said on the Senate floor. “It has been 1,006 days since Russia attacked us in 2016, something that has been confirmed by all of President Trump’s top intelligence agencies.”

Omar op-ed

As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ilhan Omar has tried to establish clear foreign policy priorities for the left wing of the Democratic party. In that vein, she has a new op-ed in the Washington Post this week: Sanctions are part of a failed foreign policy playbook. Stop relying on them.

The crux of the piece is here:

Sanctions are not meant to be an end in themselves, but we too often use them as a lever without a plan for what comes after, whether they achieve the desired result or not.

After years of improving relations between the United States and Iran, the sanctions put in place by the Trump administration have instead devastated that country’s middle class and increased hostility toward the United States, with tensions between the two countries rising to dangerous levels.

In other news

Quote of the week

“Abuse of power is not a crime. Let’s fundamentally boil it down to … the Constitution is very clear that this has to be some pretty egregious behavior, and they cannot tell the American people what this case is even about right now,” said former Acting Attorney General Mathew Whittaker in an interview on Fox News.

What I’m reading

Jason Leopold for Buzzfeed: The Secret Service Interviewed Eminem Over “Threatening Lyrics” About Trump And Ivanka. These Docs Prove It.

The Freedom of Information Act is good. It lets us obtain documents like this. Jason Leopold, who’s been called a “FOIA terrorist” by government officials, has a story about Eminem and the Secret Service that’s worth a read.

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.

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 10/25/2019 - 11:54 am.

    “Rep. Ilhan Omar sets the stage for a foreign policy on the left.”

    I have to wonder if everyone on “the left” really thinks apologizing for every rogue nation and sworn enemy of the US is really a good foreign policy for a US Rep. to be supporting.

    Perhaps, “the far left” is a more precise description.

    • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 10/25/2019 - 09:59 pm.

      Rep. Omar says – “Sanctions are part of a failed foreign policy playbook. Stop relying on them”.

      Hmm.. Sounds like kind of a very, very simplistic, over-generalized type of judgment to me, the kind a freshman representative is who is full of herself, despite a lack of experience or wisdom, would say.

      So what is her solution to foreign relationship problems with foreign countries if sanctions are so universally bad as she claims?

      It’s easy to criticize an imperfect attempt to have leverage in a foreign relations situation like sanctions, but unfortunately this is not a perfect world, and I don’t hear a lot of actual solutions from her.

      Is she saying the various sanctions that were voted on Russia were not a terrible idea also? Should we go to war with Russia when they take over other foreign countries, since “sanctions don’t work”?

      I agree with her that the president has made a mess of things regarding Iran by scrapping a treaty with Iran without anything well-thought-out plan to replace it, but to just make a general blanket statement that sanctions are bad, or don’t work, etc., etc., is similar I think to Trump genealizing that “trade wars are good and easy to win!”, or claiming that replacing and improving on Obamacare would be “easy”, and that “You’re going to have such great health care, at a tiny fraction of the cost—and it’s going to be so easy.”

      Right, it’s all so easy – when you’re a rookie like Omar or Trump who doesn’t understand at all how tough some of these issues actually are.

      These simplistic types of statements reflect people like both Omar and Trump who really are novices, have no real idea what they’re doing, but are so full of ego that they make numerous off-the-cuff judgements about complex real-world problems and loudly claim that it will be easy to create better solutions better than previous folks implemented before them, far wiser and more experienced people who actually studied those complex problems at a far deeper than they have.

      It’s kind of interesting, I’m an independent, and the more I think of it, despite their political differences, it seems to me that “the squad” as they call themselves has a fair amount in common with president Trump – they are inexperienced, generally think things are easier than they actually are, make a lot of quick, snap judgements that actually reflect poor judgment, and like the president are so full of egotism that they loudly and proudly and confidently insist they know what’s best, instead of taking a step back and learning and considering the counsel of others, which would be more appropriate, considering their inexperience.

  2. Submitted by Connor OKeefe on 10/25/2019 - 03:47 pm.

    It’s no question; Sen Klobochar presents the most rational case among the Democrat candidates, but she has no shot.

    I wonder if moderate Democrats will feel as betrayed as Sanders’ supporters did when he was denied his shot by the machine.

  3. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 10/26/2019 - 07:10 pm.

    Only in Minnesota can a move from 2 to 3 percent (after some more candidates have dropped out) get someone named “The President Next Door”. Truly, there is an alternative universe.

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