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Why Minnesota is more blue than purple

DFLers savoring victories last Tuesday night
MinnPost photo by Bill Kelley
It’s no big deal that a Philadelphia columnist called us purple. Not the wrongest thing I’ve ever heard.
Minnesota has given its electoral votes to the Democratic candidate in every presidential election since 1976. That’s 11 straight. That’s the longest blue streak in the country.

You can dismiss that longest streak part as a bit of a fluke if you like, because in 1984, when our native son Walter Mondale was the Democratic nominee, he carried just one state (ours, plus the District of Columbia).

But leaving that slight flukiness aside, going blue in 11 straight presidential elections is the beginning of an argument that Minnesota should be considered a pretty darn blue state, certainly in national elections, and notwithstanding how shockingly close the current incumbent in the White House came to carrying Minnesota in 2016. (The margin ended up being Hillary Clinton by 1.52 percent, to keep Minnesota’s blue streak alive.)

A passing reference to ‘purple’

Why bother with the argument about how blue we are? I was set off by a passing reference, by an out-of-town columnist, quoted in a Strib story Sunday, about the possibility that Sen. Amy Klobuchar might run for president. The columnist (Philadelphian Will Bunch) said:

If you went into the lab and ran Tuesday’s algorithms to design the perfect Dem for 2020, she would look almost exactly like Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who won a landslide re-election in her purple state on Tuesday.

He’s not the only one saying such things about Klobuchar. And although she been coyer than other likely 2016 presidential candidates, she’s on every pundit’s list of Democratic presidential wannabes, and has been climbing in the (silly but addictive) likeliest next Dem presidential nominee rankings that people are publishing. CNN’s latest list has her at No. 4.

It’s no big deal that a Philadelphia columnist called us purple. Not the wrongest thing I’ve ever heard. In fact, you could make a case for it, but I think you’d have to overlook much of the evidence to do so. So I just felt like amassing the evidence that Minnesota is more accurately described as a fairly blue state. There are hints of purple, but not nearly enough to justify assigning us that color.

The case? Start with this:

The last time Minnesota gave its electoral votes to the Republican presidential nominee was the Nixon landslide of 1972, when Nixon carried every state except Massachusetts. Before that it was the 1956 Eisenhower landslide over Adlai Stevenson in 1956. So that’s 11 straight presidential elections and 14 out of 15, since we liked Ike. Yes, Minnesota was once a very Republican state. It went for Abe Lincoln both times he ran. And stayed Republican until FDR in 1932. Starting in 1932, its electoral votes have gone to the Democratic nominee 16 out of the last 19 presidential elections. How do you get “purple” out of that history?

According to Morning Consult, Trump’s most recent Minnesota approval rating was 41 percent, tied for the 11th lowest among the 50 states. Shouldn’t that be an offset against how close Trump came on Election Day?

But this little diatribe isn’t about Trump. It’s about whether Minnesota is best understood as a purple state. I say no.

DFL domination in U.S. Senate races

In U.S. Senate elections, since the 1944 merger of the Democrats and the Farmer-Labor parties to form the modern DFL, and counting only regular (not special) elections, the DFL nominees have won 17, compared to eight for the Republicans. I call that domination — not total, but domination, by one party.

It took longer for the DFL to establish dominance in U.S. House elections, and perhaps dominance is too strong a word. But the last time the Republicans won a majority of our eight U.S. House seats was the 1968 election (five Republicans/three DFLers). Since then, the most common outcome has been a 5-3 DFL majority in our delegation, although there have been several 4-4 ties and a couple of 6-2 DFL wins. The 5 Dem/3 Repub split this year was interesting mostly because four of our eight seats changed parties, but since the four changes included two Republican pickups and two DFL pickups, we ended up with a 5-3 DFL majority in our U.S. House delegation, which was where we started.

The Minnesota governorship has been the area of weakest DFL domination in recent history. Republicans clearly dominated that office before the D-FL merger. Four straight Republican governors held office from 1938-1954. But that’s ancient history.

Since then, DFLers have won the majority of the races but the office has gone back and forth often. The recent victory of DFLer Tim Walz — and by a double-digit 54-42 percent margin — after two terms of DFLer Mark Dayton, marks the first three-term winning streak of either party since DFLer Orville Freeman won three straight back in the 1950s (when the gubernatorial terms were just two years long). And, of course, there was the one-term of Independence Party nominee Jesse Ventura.

So you could make a case for purplishness if you focused just on governors. And if you look at partisan ups and downs in the state Legislature, it’s a similar pattern to what I described above about our U.S. House delegation. In the last 24 sessions, the DFL has held the majority in state House 15 times to eight for the Republicans and one tie. Although it should be said that most of those Republican-led Houses were recent, and it should be said that if you looked only since 2000, Republicans have controlled the House for more sessions than the DFL has. But, in November, the DFL won a very solid 75-59 majority. Is that purple?

Historically, DFL control of the Minnesota state Senate has been even stronger, 21 out of the last 24, although again, two of the three Republican-controlled-Senate sessions have been recent, including the past two sessions. I don’t want to overstate my case. After a long period of DFL domination of the Legislature, the last decade has been closer to parity.

The statewide constitutional offices

But that’s not true of the statewide constitutional offices, other than the governorship. The other statewide offices have been dominated – and that’s a weak term in several of the instances – for decades by the DFL.

Before DFLer Keith Ellison won the office of Minnesota attorney general this month, DFLers had held that office for (this is not a typo) 60 of the last 64 years.

Before DFLer Steve Simon was re-elected as Minnesota secretary of state, a DFLer had already run that office for 36 of the last 44 years.

The office of state auditor has been different (and complicated because one auditor switched parties during her second term, but accounting for that) the two parties have split that office fairly evenly since 1975 (although Republicans completely dominated it for decades before that. Republicans controlled the office for 21 out of the last 38 years. But DFLer Julie Blaha won the office this month.

Philadelphian columnist Bunch won’t be the last one to call Minnesota purple. And I’ll defend to the death his right to do so, as well as my right to disagree.

Comments (55)

  1. Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/26/2018 - 09:37 am.

    Minnesota is a mostly rural state. The issue is the Metro. Over half the people in the state live on the metro area. They tend to lean more left than rural people. Just look at a breakdown of counties. Area-wise MN is very red. But the metro population runs the show which is normal for many states. IL is mostly red outside of Chicago.

    A lot of it has to do with the Welfare state. People want their govt largesse so they keep voting for whoever will give them the most. That tends to be Democrats. When the next economic collapse happens it may wake a few up to the error of their ways but I’m not holding my breath.

    • Submitted by Brian Scholin on 11/26/2018 - 10:03 am.

      Total bunk. Check to see which direction tax dollars flow before you make claims like that. I’m in “greater” Minnesota, but I understand that we would be lesser, were it not for the economic powerhouse of the metro area and the DFL tax policies over the decades. Of course, the metro gets something from us as well, but it is not “welfare”.

    • Submitted by Joseph Senkyr on 11/26/2018 - 10:10 am.

      While this is a very common point of confusion among right-wingers, and I’m sure I won’t be the one to finally convince you, I’ll remind you that people vote, not land, no matter how much you might wish it was otherwise. Well over half the people in Minnesota live in the MSP metro area, with another huge chunk living in the smaller metro areas of Duluth and Rochester, which means, (bear with me here) that Minnesota is mostly a metropolitan state by population. And, again, people vote, not land. In Minnesota, in Illinois, and everywhere.

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/26/2018 - 10:34 am.

        That wasn’t the point I was making. By land area, MN is red. It’s select areas where much of the population lives. The author of this article is using land area when he says MN.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/26/2018 - 11:51 am.

          Wold you be happy if the author said that voters living in the l;and mass defined as “Minnesota (a.k.a. “The Minnesota electorate”)” voted more blue than purple? Or, knowing that land doesn’t mean much in electoral terms, can we just use the more colloquial and more convenient moniker “Minnesota?”

        • Submitted by Patrick Tice on 11/26/2018 - 12:00 pm.

          Got a couple of degrees in geography, and I don’t come to that conclusion. In fact, everything in the article, beginning with the very first sentence referring to electoral votes, is built on population – not acres of crops or forest.

      • Submitted by Greg Smith on 11/26/2018 - 10:42 am.

        Would not checkerboard be a closer analogy?

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/26/2018 - 10:33 am.

      Well, not exactly…

      Our convoluted tax code is the product of years of effort by both parties to both please their constituents and build their vision of Utopian tax policy. Either way, it is the law we all must adhere to.

      Tax policy changes are NOT “giving someone back their money” changes are, as described by Mr. Barnes:

      “People want their govt largess so they keep voting for whoever will give them the most”.

      Giving 100,000 people a $100 food stamp credit is no different than giving a rice farmer in Arkansas a 10 million dollar crop subsidy.

      Of course we do both. In equal measures. D or R…

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/26/2018 - 10:45 am.

        And I have always advocated we do neither. No one should get a handout or subsidy from govt. Let the free markets work and you would never need welfare of any kind. That and stopping all the money printing (aka debt creation).

        Most people have no clue how much they’ve lost simply due to debt. The money supply alone has increased on average by 6% or more annually for at least 20 years. That’s 6+% inflation right there. Anyway, I just try to enlighten people to the facts as I’m neither D or R.

        • Submitted by Patrick Tice on 11/26/2018 - 12:16 pm.

          Free market Darwinism is always in vogue with libertarians – the most childish way of understanding economics, but it has never worked because markets don’t serve everyone’s needs, nor do they always operate in the best interest of current or future generations. Thus, market failures, dangerous practices & products, pollution, monopolistic practices, financial manipulation, fraud, and all the rest are circumscribed by government regulation. So although capitalism has (because of its ability to scale easily) brought prosperity, it has also necessitated regulation.

          Ironically, what passes for conservatism these days finds its leadership from the likes of Donald Trump, a daddy-has-money graduate of a business school that somehow granted him a diploma in spite of his obvious lack of business acumen. It’s obvious that he has never read Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations.

          • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/26/2018 - 01:42 pm.

            Your name calling aside, free markets fix all of the issues you tried to claim they create. Monopolies can’t exist in a free market. Polluters would be put out of business by the free markets. Govt regulation creates all of the problems you just listed. Regulations protect polluters by only requiring they pay a paltry fine. The EPA has existed for decades yet polluters keep polluting and toxic spills keep happening and no one is ever jailed or put out of business for it. Monopolies are rampant in our current cronyism system. You know nothing about economics especially if you’re against free markets.

            As for Conservatism, Trump isn’t one and isn’t really relevant to the topic at hand. Conservatism, like Liberalism, should go the way of the Dodo. Limited govt and free market capitalism is what should be advocated by all.

            • Submitted by John Evans on 11/26/2018 - 04:18 pm.

              I would call the system you’re advocating a utopian vision. In a perfect market, profits trend toward zero. Great fortunes are made in established markets only by disrupting this dynamic, usually by creating market inefficiencies, such as monopolies. Unregulated markets destroy themselves. That’s why, in practice, Capitalism requires a high degree of regulation.

              All successful, stable capitalist economies are regulated. There are no examples of successful, stable, unregulated economies. Free Market mysticism and wishful thinking won’t do it.

              • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/26/2018 - 04:27 pm.

                That is a completely false assumption about Capitalism. Free markets self regulate when they are allowed to be free. Monopolies cannot exist in a free market because there is always competition. Monopolies exist due to regulation. The fact that govt always regulates Capitalism doesn’t mean Capitalism requires it. It simply means govts can’t help but to try to control everything. Without control, govt has no real meaning or relevance. Politicians would have nothing to do. So they meddle and regulate.

                • Submitted by Mark Iezek on 11/27/2018 - 08:43 am.

                  So called free markets are a fantasy. Corporations are quite capable of all sorts of anti-competitive measures without any assistance from government and consumers are nearly powerless once corporations eliminate competition.

            • Submitted by Mark Iezek on 11/27/2018 - 08:53 am.

              Yes, the EPA has existed for decades. And compared to pre-EPA vehicles, emissions of pollutants like particulates, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides have been cut roughly 99%. This did not and would not have happened with so-called free market competition.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/26/2018 - 12:47 pm.

      Oh, I see. That’s why Don Trump has revived a Depression era welfare program for farmers, to the tune of $12 BILLION.

      That will create a lot of dependency on the Don Trump Administration, so he still wins the farm vote in 2012.

      Now it makes more sense to me. Couldn’t figure out why a GOP POTUS was expanding big gubmint.

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/26/2018 - 01:44 pm.

        Trump is just another big govt politician. What he does or doesn’t do is all on him. He’s no different than Obama or Bush or Clinton et al. Republicans are not really any different than Democrats. They are just the slightly lesser evil.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 11/26/2018 - 02:33 pm.

      That’s totally backwards. The metro area supports the rural areas in Minnesota. Rural residents get far more back from the state than they pay in taxes. That’s the real welfare going on in Minnesota.

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/27/2018 - 01:41 pm.

      Try a few facts:

      the rate of poverty in rural areas is greater than urban areas, and with a gauge like SNAP utilization…10.9% utilize SNAP in urban areas, 14.6 percent in rural areas.

      as for the utilization of disability as a proxy for welfare, the rate of disability increases from 11.8% in the most urban metropolitan counties to 15.6% in smaller micropolitan areas, and 17.7% in the most rural/non-core counties.

      and the rate of out-of-wedlock births are greater for rural women (white or black)

      Couple these facts with the fact that rural areas are the recipients in per capita terms of urban largess and it seems to me your rural folds are of the “gimmee” mindset.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/26/2018 - 10:19 am.

    Since I am not a historian, it would be interesting to look at older republican view points on the economy etc. vs today as well as the positions taken by those elected. Seems Arnie was a fairly left wing republican. The other point is, seems the republican party loves to provide welfare to corporations, one need look no farther than the $1.5T deficit fueled tax giveaway supported by the righties. The Dem’s seem a a bit more concerned about the masses, than the already super well to do, Although the out state is more red, there isn’t much of a population, although some folks think that acreage or trees should vote and get more credence than poor or disenfranchised people, seems to be a right wing philosophy. .

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/26/2018 - 10:40 am.

      There’s a problem with your analysis. The wealthy did better under Obama than any President since 1949. In fact, the bottom 90+% went negative in terms of their share of gains under him for the first time in that period as well. Look at the list of billionaires, mostly Democrats.

      To claim Democrats care about the masses is ludicrous. They simply buy votes with welfare programs. Poverty has gotten worse since LJBs great society nonsense as well even though we’ve spent over a trillion dollars fighting it. Republicans aren’t much better but they generally are the lesser of the two evils.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/26/2018 - 12:40 pm.

        “Poverty has gotten worse since LJBs great society nonsense as well even though we’ve spent over a trillion dollars fighting it.”

        Poverty in the US started decreasing in 1959, and bottomed out in 1973. The percentage of Americans living in poverty started to increase in 1981.

        You see, it was morning in America.

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/26/2018 - 01:54 pm.

          And? The welfare state is an abject failure. LBJs Medicare is bankrupting the nation. You’ll soon learn a real economic lesson when the next crash hits.

          Since 1959 the M2 money supply has grown 4,900%. Do you think wages and income have come close to keeping up? THAT is where much of the poverty is coming from. Then you tax people more and more to pay for expanding welfare programs and you get a real mess.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/26/2018 - 02:56 pm.

            “You’ll soon learn a real economic lesson when the next crash hits.” Ever since I was a 14-year old McGovern supporter, people have been telling me that “someday” I would learn what economics was all about. Since then, crashes have hit and recoveries have happened. Since then, I have seen the steady erosion of the blue collar middle class that I grew up in. Some of that erosion has been due to market forces, but a lot of it has been due to government policies that blatantly favored the wealthiest. The one thing that did not cause that erosion was the trickling down of wealth.

            “Since 1959 the M2 money supply has grown 4,900%.” The M2 money supply includes non-cash assets, such as the appreciation of real estate and the growth in value of investment portfolios. If you’re going to start in on the old “printing money” line of thought (“Bring back the gold standard, by cracky!”), you should be relying on M1.

            “Much of the poverty” is coming from the fact that the benefits of economic growth have flowed upwards to the wealthiest, and have not gone in any meaningful way to those at the bottom of the economic heap. In a way, I suppose that relates to M2, as the wealthiest stand to benefit from that augmentation.

            • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/26/2018 - 03:39 pm.

              M1 has gone up 2600% in the same time. It really doesn’t matter which of the 2 you use they both show the same thing, massive inflation that has sapped the purchasing power of all but the wealthiest people. The erosion of the middle class actually started in earnest in 1971 when Nixon ended what was left of the gold standard. It was all that was holding back the unbacked credit emission. When unbacked debt it emitted, it’s an increase in the money supply which steals your purchasing power because your money isn’t worth as much as before.

              Both parties have catered to the wealthy for as long as we’ve both been alive. The crash that is coming will likely be unlike any seen since at least 1929. It could easily dwarf that one as well. One would think we’d have learned not to use Keynesian economics but apparently the lesson hasn’t sunk in yet.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/26/2018 - 12:51 pm.

      I’m not sure it’s about wanting trees and acreage to vote.I think it has more to do with a condescending attitude toward people who live in the Metro. It’s a very elitist and anti-people power view of the world.

      They try to tell us those rural folk are so much more wise, in ways mysterious, to us dirty Metro folk. You know, citiodts.

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/26/2018 - 02:44 pm.

        Not at all. Rural people tend to be more independent and enjoy individual freedom. People in large urban areas tend to want more govt programs and govt “protection”. That’s why large metros tend to vote for Democrats.

        Yes, farmers get subsidies but shouldn’t. That also means metro residents shouldn’t get food stamps or welfare either.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 11/26/2018 - 03:23 pm.

          Clever! I see what you did there. By omission, you suggest that more urban folks are on SNAP than are rural folks. But the data tells us the opposite is true.

          • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/26/2018 - 03:42 pm.

            Nope. I was just pointing out that farmers and rural people get subsidies as do urban people. But many here complain about Ag subsidies which is why I picked them out. And since there aren’t really any Ag subsidies in the urban areas, I picked out 2 popular subsidies for that area.

  3. Submitted by Steve Roth on 11/26/2018 - 10:36 am.

    You can make an argument that an overly bloated military budget, a tax giveaway that isn’t paid for and will set records for the debt incurred, massive amounts of corporate welfare and a general disregard for oversight and checks and balances are the biggest examples of late of “government largesse.”

  4. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 11/26/2018 - 01:27 pm.

    I’m not a native, so I can’t go back decades and decades in terms of my own personal experience, but based on my time here, and assuming Eric’s reporting is reasonably accurate, which has been the case since I began reading MinnPost some years ago, the notion that Minnesota is more blue than purple seems to me pretty accurate. Joe Senkyr makes the same point I would make – it’s votes that count in elections, not acreage.

    Mr. Barnes is at least partly in error, both philosophically and practically. Not only is Patrick Tice’s critique on the mark, and HR Holbrook’s comment about “Morning in America,” and Brain Scholin as well, there’s an inconvenient fact that those who like to use the argument that Mr. Barnes is using conveniently ignore. It’s this: There is not now, nor has there ever been, the sort of “free market” to which Mr. Barnes refers – an economy in which government plays no role.

    From the time in the dawn of humanity when a tribal or clan leader turned to his fellow clan members and said the equivalent of: “I like the cowrie shells of the tribe in the next valley, but we don’t have any. Let’s go get some,” there has been government involvement in every society’s economy. It’s not just the Marxists in Russia or South America, or the fascists in Italy or Germany or, once again, South America, or the tribal chieftan on a South Pacific island, or Barack Obama, or Donald Trump. There are **no** examples in the historical record of working societies with anything that approaches a functional economy without government involvement. Government has been an active participant in the economy of the U.S. since long before the Revolution, and a primary reason for our abandonment of the original Articles of Confederation was that there was not **enough** government involvement to allow the economy of the newly-formed nation to function. The Constitution set up quite a few rules about how things were/are intended to operate economically precisely for that reason.

    We’ve never had a “free market,” nor will we ever have one. Industrial societies all have “mixed” economies, with their governments playing larger or smaller roles, depending upon the era and political leadership. Especially in an industrial society, regulation is absolutely necessary to assure everything from uniform currency standards, to weights and measures, to television signals, to nutritional standards, to medical care. Mr. Barnes would apparently have us drop back to the Paleolithic. I, for one, don’t want to go there.

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/26/2018 - 02:56 pm.

      While you may be correct that we haven’t had a truly free market, we have had a much less regulated one and we actually had real growth and we all did better. Today’s US economy is regulated into a mash of monopolies. That’s why healthcare is so expensive for example. I’m educated enough to know humans aren’t yet ready to absolve themselves of the evils known as govt. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t discuss a better way. All forms of govt move towards totalitarianism. The speed at which they do so varies from govt to govt. Some never make it and collapse or get overthrown.

      Claiming I want us to go back to the Stone Age is hyperbole and a logical fallacy. I actually want us to move forward to complete individual freedom and truly free markets where everyone can succeed (or fail) on their own. No more monopolies etc.

      Free market Capitalism has pulled more people out of poverty than any other system tried so far. Socialism or any variant of it only impoverishes the people and takes away their freedoms and rights.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 11/26/2018 - 03:49 pm.

        Please support this statement: “we have had a much less regulated one and we actually had real growth and we all did better” Or do you mean when folks were “free” to pollute as much as they wanted where ever they wanted, and were “free” to enslave people, and “free” to take what ever land they could from whomever they wanted?

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/26/2018 - 04:19 pm.

          Look at the 1950s. Far less regulation yet we had real gdp growth and families did a lot better. Some of that goes with being the only major economy left standing after the war as well. Even in the 60s we were still doing well.

          • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 11/26/2018 - 04:50 pm.

            Just a side note. It’s true we had less regulation in the 1950s and early 60s. We also had sustained prosperity – largely due to the factor you’ve already named. We were pretty much the only big industrial economy that was in good shape at the end of WW II. We also had rivers so poisoned that they caught fire, and numerous other examples of industrial pollution that didn’t just put people’s lives at risk, it killed them outright. More to your point about prosperity, we also had, under Eisenhower, and upper-tax-bracket federal income tax rate of over 90%. We’d all be doing a lot better in 2018 if that tax rate were still in place, but it’s now well under 30%, while we shred what little social safety net this country has, using the utterly false premise of “budgetary restraint.” Actual budgetary restraint would **raise** taxes on upper incomes to both fund existing programs and to pay down the national debt (this applies at the state level, as well). Republicans, however, have flipped a switch somewhere, and the party that harped constantly about “fiscal responsibility” has now decided that foisting this financial burden off onto my grandchildren is completely fair and painless. They’re wrong on both counts.

            There’s ample historical evidence – no matter what decade you want to choose from 1850 to 2018 – that industrial capitalism without tight regulation will invariably end up lining the pockets of the wealthy at the expense of the other 95%, and destroy the only environment we have in the process.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/26/2018 - 05:39 pm.

            “Look at the 1950s.”

            Racial discrimination was, for the most part, legal; in fact, it was required in some places.

            Laws against air or water pollution were, at best, weak (the common law/free market doctrine of nuisance substituted for anything effective).

            Workplace safety was left to the dubious control of worker’s compensation schemes.

          • Submitted by Brett Adams on 11/26/2018 - 07:11 pm.

            Ahem. Ike also had a 90% top tax rate, booming post-war industry (while the rest of the world was just trying to recover), and he created one of the largest socialist projects in US history – the National Highway system, under the rationale of defense.

  5. Submitted by Brian Simon on 11/26/2018 - 01:27 pm.

    Instead of looking at races won, perhaps we should look at votes cast. More to the point of purplishness, perhaps we should look at split tickets. One could look at Klobuchar’s victory and claim we’re oh so blue. But look at Walz’s squeaker & suddenly we’re more purplish. Ventura’s win was purple, as were Pawlenty’s pluralities. Trump’s near win must indicate something, though that may have more to do with his opponent than party affiliation. Which, again, supports the purple conclusion.

    And, speaking for myself, I’d vote a bit more purpley if the right hadn’t gone off the deep end. Which makes me think the state could and would be more purple, except the repubs keep moving the goalposts further right. Come to think of it, my other data point is a friend who recently voted DFL for the first time, as a 40 year old. That other party is driving voters out. Bring back some Arne Carlson types & this state will get pretty competitive.

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/26/2018 - 02:59 pm.

      How exactly has the gop moved to the right? What specific examples can you give that makes them appear so bad? I’d truly like to hear them because I don’t see it as an outsider. In fact, in my lifetime the GOP has moved to the left in my opinion.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/26/2018 - 04:33 pm.

        In my lifetime, the GOP has:

        Dropped its historic support for an Equal Rights Amendment from its platform;

        Switched from acknowledging a difference in opinion on legalized abortion to making opposition to a woman’s right top choose a shibboleth for party support;

        Stopped backing the Voting Rights Act; and

        Abandoned its strong support for environmental protection, declaring such measures to be “job killing,” or even indulging in the hallucination that a “free market” approach will solve everything.

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 11/27/2018 - 09:09 am.

          I’ll address some of those….

          An equal rights amendment isn’t needed. The 14th already covers equal protection. The CRA was a disaster as it actually took away private property rights of all businesses. The govt has no business dictating how a business is run. The proper solution was to let the free market work. Things were already changing before the CRA was passed.

          Abortion is killing a human. No woman has ever had a right to do that. The proper solution is don’t get pregnant if you don’t want a child. The gop actually made a good move on this but they only pay lip service to their claims. A woman’s choice happens when she chooses to have sex.

          They should be (and are) pushing voter ID. If you need an ID to buy booze, smokes, open a bank account etc then you should need one to vote. I’d even say we should use ink on the finger if necessary. For something as important as voting, every precaution should be taken to ensure accurate voting.

          The US has the cleanest environment on the planet. We’ve gone way over board on it. It’s so bad you came even fill in a low area of your yard as it might be considered a wetland. Some places even have laws about rainwater on your property. Cutting back a lot of those ridiculous regulations would be a good thing.

          Overall, these few things are completely negated by their move to embrace big govt.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/27/2018 - 10:51 am.

            So you’ve abandoned the idea that the GOP has moved to the right, in favor of arguing that it’s been a good thing? Whatever.
            “An equal rights amendment isn’t needed. The 14th already covers equal protection.” I remember when the GOP dropped its advocacy of the ERA. Whatever they said about it at the time, it was widely understood to be a sop to the Phyllis Schlafly wing of the party. In any event, the 14th Amendment does not provide complete protection against gender-based discrimination. Classifications based on gender are subjected to an intermediate level of scrutiny, meaning that a discriminatory policy will be upheld if it furthers an important government interest by means that are substantially related to that interest (compare and contrast strict scrutiny, applied to claims of discrimination based on race or national origin, or when fundamental constitutional rights are infringed).
            “The CRA was a disaster as it actually took away private property rights of all businesses.” If you mean the ERA, it did nothing of the kind as it did not pass. If you mean the Community Reinvestment Act, I did not mention it, but once again, it did no such thing. “The govt has no business dictating how a business is run.” Libertarian whining and pouting to the contrary, yes, if it is the consensus of the people. It’s called the government’s police power, and it is subject to the limitations of the Constitution. Cope. “The proper solution was to let the free market work.” Because that has always worked so well in the past, right? “Things were already changing before the CRA was passed.” Were they changing fast enough? As one who was not impacted by gender discrimination, I don’t feel qualified to address that point.
            “Abortion is killing a human. No woman has ever had a right to do that.” I’m afraid society disagrees with you. The proper solution is don’t get pregnant if you don’t want a child. The gop actually made a good move on this but they only pay lip service to their claims.” Is that why they fight mandates that insurance cover contraception? Lip service? “A woman’s choice happens when she chooses to have sex.” A man has no agency in this at all?
            “They should be (and are) pushing voter ID.” And racial gerrymandering, and denial of access to the ballot (closing polling places, shutting down early voting, generally taking measures to make it harder for the disfavored to vote). “If you need an ID to buy booze, smokes, open a bank account etc then you should need one to vote.” That’s a cute, yet tiresome, talking point. Are any of those necessary to the functioning of a democracy? Should we make it harder to buy guns? “I’d even say we should use ink on the finger if necessary. For something as important as voting, every precaution should be taken to ensure accurate voting.” But never mind what the Russians did.
            “The US has the cleanest environment on the planet.” So says President Ananias von Munchausen. You sho0uld know by now not to take any of his assertions as anything resembling the truth. In any event, it seems that the environment is cleanest in Switzerland. The U.S. in at 30, behind Portugal but ahead of Slovakia. “We’ve gone way over board on it. It’s so bad you came even fill in a low area of your yard as it might be considered a wetland.” Before you go outside to play in the dirt, remember that the wetland on your property is likely filtering the groundwater for your neighbors. “Some places even have laws about rainwater on your property.” In western states, where water is precious. “Cutting back a lot of those ridiculous regulations would be a good thing.” Ridiculous is a matter of opinion. Rules about testing irrigation water for pathogens may seem ridiculous to some (it was an Obama-era rule, so the Trumpoids consider it ridiculous by definition). Those who want to eat a salad may disagree.
            “Overall, these few things are completely negated by their move to embrace big govt.” Like limitations on reproductive freedom? I thought you said that was one of those good things.

      • Submitted by Brian Simon on 11/27/2018 - 01:20 pm.

        There was a time when the GOP were proponents of balanced spending – matching rvenue & expenditures. That has gone out the window. Now less spending & lower taxes are (allegedly) always better, regardless of what gets cut.

        Much like for taxes, in the GOP, less regulation is always better. Consumer rights are irrelevant. Workers’ rights are unimportant. Environmental considerations are absurd. Instead, let corporations pursue profits inimpeded by any government supervision or corporate resposibility for their communities. Eliminate legal liabilities for pollution.

        There’s more, but I tire of typing on my phone.

    • Submitted by Mark Iezek on 11/28/2018 - 09:32 am.

      I’m surprised at the characterization of Walz’s 11.5 point victory as a squeaker. A double-digit margin isn’t what I would call a squeaker, I would call it a solid victory.

  6. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 11/26/2018 - 04:13 pm.

    Through retirement and relocation, Minnesota’s population of high skill, high income earners is declining, and being replaced with low skill, low income newcomers.

    We see the same thing happening in most leftist states.

    Less tax base; higher demand for all those sweet government services.

    Enjoy the blue.

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 11/27/2018 - 01:26 pm.

      Do you have data?

      Anecdotally, I don’t see it. Compared to our immediate neighbors, MN is bluest, has the strongest economy & best educated workforce. Yes, boomers are retiring & migrating south. So what? Youngsters are movi g here for opportunity in a diverse, dynamic economy, much like I did 25 years ago. From what I can see, things are way better here than in Milwaukee, Des Moines, Soux Falls or Fargo. Or am I missing something?

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 11/27/2018 - 01:46 pm.

      Lol. You neither support this statement, nor attempt to. But, no problem. Just let me know when it’ll be a good idea for people to stop retiring.

      And maybe you can tell me why, in the out state red zones, aging is a larger trend than within the Metro area blue zones. Maybe it’s because there’s nothing to attract younger people to those places? Of course, there’s the chicken and egg question: Are only older folks in red areas because they’re red areas, or are the red areas red because they’re filled with older folks. Be careful not to confuse age with wisdom.

      And why we have one of the largest number of Fortune 500 companies per capita in the state. See, No, we’re not #1, but we do have a certain set of disadvantages: our biggest port is Duluth, and it gets freaking cold here. Still, with those big negatives, we do pretty ok (how’s that for a Minnesota saying?).

      And also, tell me why Minnesota’s income is growing faster than our red counterparts. (Compare e.g., Minnesota to Missouri and Don’t get me wrong, we have some work to do on income inequality, but we certainly aren’t seeing a decline in income, let alone high income earners. After all, all those Fortune 500 companies tend to have well-paid employees.

      All in all, blue is pretty nice. Minnesota nice. If you don’t like it, the borders are open to Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, and even Wisconsin.

    • Submitted by Steve Roth on 11/29/2018 - 11:34 am.

      And, Kansas. That experiment has paid off fantastically.

  7. Submitted by Aaron Albertson on 11/26/2018 - 07:00 pm.

    There’s one glaring omission from this piece. While Tina Smith/Tim Walz won by 12% each, the national environment was pretty good for Democrats. The house vote was D+8. If you take out the races with only one party on the ballot, it probably goes to D+6. So in a neutral year, you have shift 6 points to the right. In this scenario, Klobuchar wins by 18, Walz/Smith by 6. Simon wins by 3. But this also means Ellison loses under this scenario, Blaha is in recount territory, and the state House stays red. While Dean Phillips is winning, Angie Craig is in a tie, and seeing how close Peterson was, his seat could have flipped. So while yes, MN was very blue this year, the environment helped a lot. In other years where the environment is more favorable to the GOP, MN could be more purple.

  8. Submitted by Joe Musich on 11/26/2018 - 08:19 pm.

    ‘Tis the season…as Dickens sat with his family in debtors prison as a young man I wonder how that experienced influenced his opinions on the free market and influenced his writings? Old Scrooge was influenced to affect his own free market views under ghostly influence. This visits however inducted influenced him to review his life. We can crack wise and attempt to influence the debate over the color of Minnesota but I for one would rather consider how the state contributes to it’s citizens real well being as opposed to it’s philosophical well being. So my measurement depends on citizen success and how elected leaders implement programs which will contribute to helping that for each and every citizen.

  9. Submitted by Paul Yochim on 11/27/2018 - 05:04 am.

    Where’s the diversity in the featured photograph?

    • Submitted by Dave Carlson on 11/27/2018 - 10:50 am.

      Start with four of the five pictured being women… one of whom (Lt. Gov. Flanagan) has Native American ancestry. Add in Rep. Omar in CD5, Keith Ellison as AG, and a number of representatives of Hmong and other cultures now in the state legislature.

  10. Submitted by Dave Carlson on 11/27/2018 - 10:41 am.

    The absolutes of Democracy/Libertarianism and Free Market Capitalism gives people the freedom to be greedy… and not in the best interests of the general populace, which is what society should be all about, we are all in this together. Who takes care of the failures of the total free market scenario presented by Mr. Barnes?… do they just starve out on the streets? And does he really believe the regulations which have resulted in measurable cleaner air and water and land should be rolled back to the days of black lung, toxic riverways and mercury/lead poisonings?

  11. Submitted by Be Joeshmoe on 11/27/2018 - 06:54 pm.

    A typical liberal blind spot. Minnesota is almost as borderline as Wisconsin, and has elected many conservative governors, as well as congressmen. Remember the absurd Bachmann? Klobuchar would be as effective a candidate as Mondale. Minnesota Mild does not win elections. However, she’d be an excellent vice-president. Minnesota is a bubble, it is not an influential state outside the Upper Midwest, just as the Twin Cities are generally overlooked.

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