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Minnesota to go red in 2020? Color me skeptical.

President Donald Trump
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
President Donald Trump departing a rally in Duluth, Minnesota, on June 20, 2018.

Among the shocks of election night 2016 was how close Donald Trump came to carrying Minnesota. In the end, he lost it to Hillary Clinton by 46.1 to 44.6 percent.

Minnesota has gone blue in every election since 1976. That’s 11 in a row, the longest blue winning streak of any state. But the small size of the margin took a lot of people, me included, by surprise. As a result, our state, among the bluest of the blue over recent cycles, entered the discussion as a possible swing state in 2020.

According to a Strib story on Sunday, Team Trump is targeting our dear state for 2020, or so say some Trumpers who are quoted in the story, which included this:

“We’re really excited to be very, very ahead of the curve as far as historically staffing up, especially in a state that the president came within 44,000 votes of flipping last time,” said Stephanie Alexander, the Midwest regional field director for Trump Victory, a joint effort by the Republican National Committee and the president’s re-election campaign. “This is the first time this has ever been done,” she added.

The early infusion of GOP resources reflects a growing perception that Minnesota could be a battleground state — a status it has rarely been accorded in modern presidential politics. Nominees from both parties are expected to aggressively court voters across the Upper Midwest after narrow wins in states like Michigan and Wisconsin sealed Trump’s path to victory in 2016. Campaign manager Brad Parscale told the political news site Axios that Minnesota is one of the campaign’s top pickup targets for next year’s election.

Color me skeptical. I know of just one fact to support the idea that Minnesota is a promising pickup target for Trump in 2020, and you already read it above. It’s not irrelevant that Trump came close in 2016, but it’s not irrelevant that no Democratic ticket has lost Minnesota since Nixon-Agnew beat McGovern-Shriver in 1972.

So how about we look at a few measures that are a bit more recent than either 1972 or even 2016.

We had an election in 2018. Donald Trump wasn’t on the ballot, but the usual two parties were. One of those is the party of Trump and the other party (the DFL) is the party of not-Trump. The DFL won all of the statewide races, and none of them was close.

DFLers won races for all of the statewide constitutional offices — by margins ranging from 10 (governor’s race) to four (attorney general) percentage points.

The DFL won five of the eight races for the U.S. House of Representatives, and if you moosh all eight races together, Minnesotans preferred the Dems by 55.1 to 43.7. Both Senate seats were on the ballot, and the Democrat won one of them by 24 percentage points and the other by 11. (If you’re inclined to do so, you can discount that because of the popularity of incumbent DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar.)

The DFL nominee (not an incumbent) won the governorship by 11 points, and Democrats won all the other statewide races for statewide constitutional offices by margins of from two to nine points.

In 2018, DFLers flipped 18 seats from red to blue to take over majority control of the state House of Representatives. Republicans, who held a one-seat margin going into the election, flipped zero from blue to red. The state Senate was not on the ballot, but will be in 2020. Republicans control it narrowly and added one of their numbers after 2018 via special election. Which seems more likely, that Trump will carry Minnesota, or that the DFL will win control of the state Senate?

The latest measure of Trump ‘s state-by-state-by-state approval ratings that I could find online was by Morning Consult from June. It showed him 16 percentage points under water (more disapprovers than approvers) in Minnesota.

According to the Strib story, Minnesota’s unfailingly civil and upbeat Republican Party Chair Jennifer Carnahan recently attended a picnic on the White House lawn. Said the story:

As they posed for a selfie, the state GOP leader thanked the president for making three visits to the state since taking office.

“I told him, ‘We appreciate you coming and we hope to see you here at least as many times before the election next year,’” Carnahan said.

The president’s response: “I will be there.”

It’s a free country with open borders (between states, that is). You will continue to see Minnesota on the list of states Team Trump thinks it can flip into its column in 2020. And I don’t claim to know the future, but I think my evidence above bodes well for the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020 in Minnesota.

The closeness of the 2016 presidential race in Minnesota shocked me and many others. It could shock me even more if he carried the state in 2020, especially given the Democratic strength and Republican weakness demonstrated in 2018, which, if my math is correct, is closer than 2016 to 2020.

But the whole Trump phenomenon has taught me that the future is not always knowable. We don’t know whom the Democrats will nominate to run against him, nor even what adorable nickname His Excellency will apply to that candidate. So stay tuned.

Comments (89)

  1. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 07/15/2019 - 10:41 am.

    I concur with your assessment.

    I have no doubt that Carnahan has heard that vile “go back to your country” line directed at her more than once in her lifetime. Sad that she is silent on the subject now.

    Sad, but not surprising.

    • Submitted by John Evans on 07/15/2019 - 02:41 pm.

      I call foul! Carnahan’s minority genes do not make her more obliged to call out racist behavior.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/15/2019 - 04:17 pm.

        You’re absolutely right: she has a special obligation to call out Trump’s racist behavior because she is the face of the Republican Party in Minnesota. Unless the GOP wants to be the party of nativist white people, she needs to say this is wrong, without making excuses or trying to minimize it.

        I’m sure she’ll step right up and do that, any minute now.

      • Submitted by Leon Webster on 07/18/2019 - 11:40 am.

        You are right. We all have a duty to call out Trump’s vile, racist, xenophobic behavior. Every last one of us. And the silence of the Republican party speaks volumes.

  2. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 07/15/2019 - 11:24 am.

    I look at the 2016 election results as an anomaly because the Democrats had a polarizing candidate in Hillary. In 2020 the GOP has a far more polarizing candidate who makes it harder and harder each day he is president to gather any new voters. I suspect Trump will get more bizarre everyday between now and the 2020 election. Have you noticed every time Trump degrades someone with one of his nicknames it fits him perfectly? It is his way of trying to offload the traits he sees in himself, that he doesn’t like, and give them to someone else. There are all the immigration atrocities going on at the border with the cages, kids, and conditions. So, what does Trump do, he announces, normally secret, ICE immigration raids in 10 cities. Now that distracts from the border conditions, which makes his supporters believe he is a tough guy making the country safer by deporting several hundred people. Derogatory comments made by Trump don’t have to be accurate because he is feeding his supporters the information they need to attack the person or comment that is currently annoying him. It’s all about him. It’s all part of the Trump show. Trump loves to turn humans, big and little, into political pawns because it works with the GOP, as they can still stomach him. There are already cracks in the GOP as some are starting to get out of the party. There will be more. Trump is a great conman, and he is doing stuff to the country that will be hard to repair here at home and worldwide. How much longer can the Trump supporters hang on to Trump? Trump is tainting them with his racist rhetoric. You can’t have the beliefs and hang around a racist without being a racist like Trump.

    • Submitted by Misty Martin on 07/15/2019 - 11:58 am.


      You are SO right. How I pray that someone like Joe Biden can defeat Trump in 2020. I’m hopeful, but doubtful. God help this country if Trump gets re-elected! Can you EVEN imagine?!?

      • Submitted by Jerry Dow on 07/16/2019 - 08:55 pm.

        Biden cannot defeat Trump. Your party has to give up on that. Klobuchar can defeat Trump, and at the same time save Minnesota from going red.

        A women will head the ticket. Harris and Warren are way too far left of center in a nation becoming more conservative since Trump election. Especially now since the race card is being applied to him, white people and the GOP. That innuendo is a mindless cheap trick, and is solidifying Trump loyalists and expanding his voter base.

        Klobuchar is the Dems only hope. And if she is underfunded, will be gone by September. She is a reasonable moderate and has the potential to reunite the country. I am a trump voter, but should he lose, the nation needs her to mend the split.

        The mass population of dems are destroying themselves from within. You are again being mislead by the elite liberal members in your party, including the incessant leftist viewpoint spun out by big media. You are in such a state of hateful froth you are headed toward the disaster of 2016, this time via “1984”.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 07/17/2019 - 08:51 am.

          Klobs? Didn’t we go with a centrist who was unoffesive to Wall Street last time? How’d that pan out?

          • Submitted by Jerry Dow on 07/17/2019 - 01:44 pm.

            2016 Clinton selection was controlled by DEM elites. Debby Wasserman-Shultz killed off Sanders with the approval of party management despite his superior message and widespread appeal to Independents. Your party’s elites were delusional in thinking Clinton an appealing candidate, particularly among Independents and Rockefeller Republicans.

            Klobuchar is a modern style moderate at the center right of your party, and whose message can be strategically/temporarily shifted leftward sufficient to broaden her appeal. Her voter support in MN is 70% including registered Republicans. She has more political savvy, emotional sensitivity and vigor than Biden or Trump. Plus, she’s a female.

            US isn’t going to vote in a left wing president in 2020, no matter the delusional socialist love affair of your party’s elites.

            Compared to 2016, the upcoming 2020 campaign will be a much more difficult contest for your party. The odds are heavily fixed against you. Your party needs a winner, not an elitist picked, out-of-touch ideologue. Don’t let the Establishment mislead you.

            All Klobuchar lacks is money. She is your party’s best shot.


            • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 07/18/2019 - 06:58 pm.

              I love it when conservatives lecture Dems to move further to the right. Dems have cut capital gains taxes, deregulated Wall Street , and allowed Labor to circle the drain. But that’s not enough. All rightie then.

              But what I really want to hear is someone tell the GOP to move to the center.

    • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 07/15/2019 - 10:18 pm.

      Great analysis Tom. I agree with your points whole heartedly.

  3. Submitted by Rich Crose on 07/15/2019 - 11:51 am.

    The people I’ve talked to who voted for Trump said they voted against Clinton. They were afraid to tell the polls for fear of close friends mocking them. Now they’re going to vote against Trump because of his uncivility.

    Thanks to the Russians and social media, false stories ran rampant against Clinton –“She supports killing babies if the parents don’t want it” (Picture of cute little infant). She had people killed who double-crossed her (Marc Rich). She wants to take away your car, your farm, your house, your vacation –and put up solar panels. She ran illegal operations out of a pizza parlor. Who would vote for a baby killing murderer who wants to rob you and take your money?

    Let’s see what Parcells and the Russians come up with against the Democratic nominee in 2020 before we completely dismiss The Donald.

  4. Submitted by Gary Derong on 07/15/2019 - 12:12 pm.

    In 2016, Hillary was a candidate who engendered little enthusiasm. Couple that with the turbulent last month — Comey’s reopening his investigation of her emails, the Wikileaks dumps, and the flow of Russian disinformation about her on social media — and you had a race made closer by outside forces. I have no doubt Trump will try to create another crisis or two leading up to the 2020 election, but Minnesotans will be resolute about turning out the Democratic vote. Our educated population, prosperous daily newspaper and tremendous sense of decency will factor into a thumping of Trump. I would not be surprised to see Wisconsin and Iowa follow suit.

  5. Submitted by Pat Brady on 07/15/2019 - 12:25 pm.

    We had record turnout in 2018 and will in 2020.
    Regarless of the RNC sending in some outside talent for the state GOP, Trump coming to our state, and record amt of money he will spend here in 2020, MN iwll not flip into the Red column.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 07/15/2019 - 01:02 pm.

      This is the big factor.
      The low 2016 turnout gives the DFL a higher ceiling for 2020 than the GOP.
      Almost any Democratic candidate will engender more enthusiasm than Hillary did.

      • Submitted by Gary Derong on 07/15/2019 - 01:36 pm.

        The enthusiasm will be more a reflection of voters’ angst toward Trump than anything else. In any case, Minnesotans can expect to see Amy Klobuchar leverage her popularity in red counties to campaign hard for the Democratic nominee. Klobuchar the campaigner will be a more strident force than Klobuchar the candidate, and she’ll be blanketing the state, as will Sen. Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin.

  6. Submitted by Drew Gmitro on 07/15/2019 - 12:43 pm.

    Minnesota votes blue because of four cities: Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and Rochester. Look at the county map in the 2016 election. The entire state is RED, accept for the very, very small pockets of Blue in these cities. Unfortunately, these cities will always vote Blue. Liberals will vote for ever higher taxes of all kinds, income, property, gas, electric, you name it. Tax and spend as well as entitlements is the liberal mantra. Can’t wait to get out of this state. I moved here from New Jersey, another liberal bastion. New Jersey is number one in the country for “move outs”. NY isn’t far behind. People move out because of the outrageously, ever higher, taxes. My house in NJ cost similar to my house in MN, however my property taxes alone were almost as high as my mortgage. 400K house with 15K a year in property taxes alone. That’s approximately 4 times what I pay in MN. MN will eventually become a “move out” state as the Liberals continue, hat in hand demanding middle class taxpayers hand over evermore of their hard earned income to pay for more and more “entitlements”. Last one out please turn the lights off, there’s no one left to pay for it.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/15/2019 - 01:08 pm.


    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 07/15/2019 - 02:00 pm.

      People vote, not trees and cows.
      Land area is not a factor in elections.

    • Submitted by Josh Lease on 07/15/2019 - 02:13 pm.

      So, you moved here and things are better for you, but you think the place is still going to hell and everyone with money is going to leave? Your logic astounds and confuses.

      Besides which, liberals are not demanding that the “middle class” pay more, they’re demanding the wealthy pay more. If you’re making $250K+ a year? You’re not middle class. You’re just not.

    • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 07/15/2019 - 03:02 pm.

      Look to Mississippi they have everything the GOP wants.

    • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 07/15/2019 - 03:12 pm.

      Yes, because all those high tax areas like NYC, LA, SF and Silicon Valley just can’t sustain businesses or a housing market. If only they could be like those boomtown hotbeds like Mississippi and Alabama.

    • Submitted by John Evans on 07/15/2019 - 04:21 pm.

      Those cities are also called population centers.

      You seem awfully invested in telling us what liberals think. Your characterization doesn’t really sound like anyone I know. Maybe you would do better to just tell us in a straightforward, affirmative manner, what YOU think.

      I’m hearing that you want lower taxes, and don’t value the things those taxes pay for.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 07/16/2019 - 07:38 am.

      The most populous city in the state is a small area.

      I hope conservatives keep thinking that.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 07/16/2019 - 03:06 pm.

      Those 4 cities, and dozens, if not hundreds, of other cities.

    • Submitted by Tom Crain on 07/17/2019 - 07:31 am.

      This site has a interesting 3-D rotatable map that helps one understand how typical red/blue maps are deceiving. It shows the county-level results for the 2016 election.

  7. Submitted by Robert Lilly on 07/15/2019 - 12:48 pm.

    Can you imagine someone who voted for Clinton or stayed home because of the Clinton / Trump choice, suddenly moving over to the Trump column?
    I don’t think so. I’m worried about the national result but am fairly confident the streak will continue in this state and it likely won’t be close.

  8. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 07/15/2019 - 01:06 pm.

    Who will win MN? Probably the Dems.

    It will probably depend on the economy -which usually is a huge factor.

    It will also depend if the press convers the true agenda of the dems.

    Open boarders, free healthcare for illegals, outlawing private healthcare, huge tax increases on the poor and middle class.

    Boy – I do wish Walz was on the ballot this year.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/15/2019 - 04:13 pm.

      You forgot about the part where we outlaw “Merry Christmas.”

    • Submitted by John Evans on 07/15/2019 - 04:24 pm.

      Another conservative, (I guess,) who would rather paint a lurid caricature of what liberals want rather than telling us what HE wants.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 07/15/2019 - 04:30 pm.

      The only thing that should dampen your enthusiasm for that idea is that an opposing candidate is required to beat him.

      Maybe one of those state wide officers?

      Whoops, no Republicans there!

      Distinguished former office holders?

      See Pawlenty, Tim and Bachmann, Michelle

      On to hard charging state legislators?

      Well, maybe a county commissioner somewhere?

  9. Submitted by Mary Leizinger on 07/15/2019 - 01:29 pm.

    Judging from the cheers the Democrats received and the boos directed at the Republicans in the Edina and Chanhassen parades on the 4th of July, the GOP will struggle in 2020.

  10. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 07/15/2019 - 02:03 pm.

    The mess the GOP is in because of Trump and his supporters. Trump makes a comment and people think he’s finally hit bottom. Then they are disappointed the very next time he opens his mouth. Trump has no soul, no core, and no out of bounds. That is what happens when a person loses their principles and their soul. Without those two, Trump will never hit rock bottom. I can understand early polls showing a top candidate beating Trump as a maybe or maybe not. When the early polls show the top 5 beating Trump, it is hard to dismiss them as “Fake News”.
    The GOP congressional members have also lost their souls and principles with their silence when they choose to back Trump. I can’t use the word leaders, because they are not. Cowards is the word that comes to mind as they put themselves before country. Lindsey Graham said he is tired of being a defender of anti-climate change conspiracy. Why the big change? He knows the GOP’s stance has been a lie all along, just like “Repeal and Replace”, and now he is on the wrong side of science. Keep going Lindsey because there are plenty more GOP stances that are lies too.
    Listen to the claims that Trump makes, no matter the subject. They are exactly what he is doing and blaming it on the other side. The radical Democrats are driven by hatred, prejudice, and rage, says the guy that is driven by hatred, prejudice and rage. The Democrats want to destroy you and our country as we know it, says the guy that is okay if he destroys you and our country. There is not a single thing or person to vote for in the GOP.

  11. Submitted by William Duncan on 07/15/2019 - 02:27 pm.

    The best thing Trump has going for 2020 is not anything Trump has done, it is the fact that of the original 28 or whatever Dems running, not one of them is going to inspire the electorate to turn out.

    Dems it seems to me continue to run as an antiTrump party, rather than having looked hard at Clintonite/neoliberal economic/war policy and their loss in 2016, and reconfiguring Dem policy. If Dems think they are going to appeal to voters by basically saying we are going for the status quo of Clinton/Obama, then don’t expect to win.

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 07/15/2019 - 04:03 pm.

      Um, the leading candidates are Biden, Warren, Sanders & Harris. Yes, Biden is basically running on the platform you describe; Harris to a lesser degree. Sanders & Warren however, are suggesting a pretty significant shift in Dem policy. They account for something near 40% in current polling, while Biden’s share has dropped. It seems to me there’s significant appetite for a new approach.

      Trump meanwhile offers nothing beyond greivance and animus.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/15/2019 - 04:21 pm.

      Yes, the electorate is chock full of leftier-than-thou purists, who would rather see Trump re-elected than sully themselves by voting for someone who doesn’t absolutely track their beliefs on ever issue.

      The country’s trip to hell in a handbasket will be irreversible, but at least MY integrity will be intact.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 07/15/2019 - 04:34 pm.

      Your sentiments are in keeping with those Nader 2000 voters because no difference could be found between Bush and Gore.

      We now know one difference: 500,000 lives lost due to the Bush “war on terror”.

      • Submitted by Brian Simon on 07/16/2019 - 06:49 am.

        The people who still complain about Nader voters likely predicted Obama was going to lose to McCain. Neanwhile, the safe, “moderate” choice eventually lost to Trump. It’s true, sometimes the moderate choice, like Sen Klobuchar, can appeal across party lines and win big. But it’s also true that sometimes a passionate but genuine partisan, like Wellstone, can win too.

        When Dems talk about this country going to hell in a handbasket, they tend to skip over their own party’s contributions to that effort. Biden had his hands in the thick of many of those issues, whether the crime “reform” of the 90s or skewed priorities coming out of the recession in the aughts.

    • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 07/15/2019 - 10:15 pm.

      I guess I disagree, I think there is a HUGE desire among a growing percentage of the electorate to get back to some semblance of NORMALCY again, as Trump goes more and more off-the-rails (taking the Trumplicans with him for the ride), and his mental instability becomes more and more alarming.

      I think that the HUGE thing that the democrats have going for them in 2020 is Trump himself, and his behavior that is slowly turning more and more independents, conservative democrats, and even some moderate republicans off, and making them open to voting for a democratic president, for many perhaps for the first time in their lives maybe.

      I think if the democrats were smart, they’d do a ‘rope-a-dope’ on Trump and the republicans, and let the focus be on him, and in doing so convince more and more of the electorate of what a mistake it would be to reelect him.

      The worst thing that democrats can do IMO is to take the focus OFF of Trump, by fighting, disparaging and attacking each other, and by proposing policies like reparations for example, that again take the focus off of Trump and his crazy behavior, and instead gives him and republicans a powerful campaign talking point/bludgeon to rally those same independents, conservative democrats, moderate republicans and ‘never-Trumper republicans into sticking with him (despite his obvious short-comings).

      Instead of voting for the democrats who instead of offering the normalcy they crave, are looking a little bit out there and off-the-rails and crazy themselves with all the attacking of each other.

      I would say why not make the big push for medicare-for-all, green new deal and so on AFTER winning big in 2020, and the best way to do that IMO is to keep the country’s attention on Trump’s crazy words and actions, some of which the Mueller report show were criminal IMO, if only Mueller had had the stones to have actually said so in his report.

      Keep the electorate’s focus on Trump, that’s the winning democratic approach IMO, – he’s his own biggest liability, and the biggest liability to the Trumpubllican party as well I believe.

      That’s why the democrats were able to win back the house in 2018, Trump was acting like a childish demagogue in the weeks before the election (about the caravan “invasion”) and making himself the focus of attention for the public.

      And those independents, moderate democrats and moderate republicans and never-Trumpers decided as a result of Trump’s words and actions that we need a counter-balance to keep a lid on Trump, and many red districts were flipped democratic in 2018.

      The people voted for a return to normalcy and moderation in 2018, and I think if the democrats are smart, they will use that same desire to get rid of Trump and to win big in 2020.

      That’s how I see things anyway.

    • Submitted by William Duncan on 07/16/2019 - 08:44 am.

      Anyone here want to talk about all those lives lost in Obama’s misadventures in Syria, Libya, Ukraine, or any of six other Muslim countries he bombed regularly – or was that all Bush’s fault?

      Anyone want to talk about the hideous income inequality that built up after 2008, in the time of Obama? Or is that just because of Bush too?

      Anyone want to talk about the precipitous drop in pollinator numbers the last ten years. That isn’t all Obama, of course, but he nor Dems have ever seriously questioned big ag ruination of the land and waters.

      I could go on. As for the trend toward the left, free health care, free college, open borders? You can’t talk about free health care and then ignore subsidies for big ag crap processed foods making people ill over time. You can’t talk free college without talking about the 287% increase in 30 years in Administration (going the way of top heavy corporate). You can’t talk about open borders and then ignore the fact that there are 7.5 billion people on this planets at least a billion of whom would love to move to America.

      See, I don’t have anyone to vote for. Both parties are stuck in 20th century ideological BS. If this country is on a trip to hell in a hand basket, the cerebus holding that basket is a thing called consumer empire, eternal war, progress and growth on a finite planet.

  12. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 07/15/2019 - 03:33 pm.

    Here is a factor to consider. Trump exhaustion. His crazy antics and basic unlikeability wears people down. People need to be reminded that if Trump is defeated, particularly by a large margin, he is yesterday’s news and can be ignored, except by those who want to bring him up on criminal charges and start civil actions. For him, being ignored or even shunned for the loser he is would be the worst punishment.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 07/15/2019 - 04:57 pm.

      But his courts will remain.

    • Submitted by Gary Derong on 07/15/2019 - 05:29 pm.

      I would underscore that by warning voters that another four years of Trump would be so much worse now that he has untethered himself from his generals and others who acted as guardrails.

    • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 07/15/2019 - 06:36 pm.

      Once out of office, unless he goes to prison, Trump will forever be on Twitter. Hopefully the media will have the common sense not to cover his antics of disruption. With no Twitter his followers will be lost and not know what to say without Trump’s clues.

  13. Submitted by Brian Simon on 07/15/2019 - 03:54 pm.

    I have a hard time imagining any of the Dem nominees underperforming relative to Clinton. I also have a hard time imagining Trump improving on his performance. Can the machine smear the Dem nominee enough to drive yheir negatives higher than Clinton’s were? Can they spin Trump’s record enough to lower the negative opinions voters have (and have had for his full term) of him? It’ll take something well outside of the expected.

  14. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 07/15/2019 - 04:40 pm.

    Biden’s primary campaign pledge should be:

    “I won’t stick my finger in someone’s eye everyday.”

    And the final electoral tally: Biden 412 / Trump 126.

    Decide for your self:

  15. Submitted by John Webster on 07/15/2019 - 05:07 pm.

    I think it’s unlikely that Trump will win Minnesota’s electoral votes in 2020; his obnoxious personality doesn’t play well here, and the turnout will be massive. But last year a Minnpost commenter posted an analysis that showed that a better Republican candidate would likely have won here. Look at the chart with this Wikipedia posting. Give all the right of center parties to Trump: he gets 50.56% of the popular vote, not counting any write-ins. In a ranked choice system,Trump likely would have received a majority; at worst, the election here was a dead heat.

  16. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 07/15/2019 - 06:11 pm.

    Not sure I have anything worthwhile to add to the previous comments. Essentially, I agree with Eric’s headline (and Paul Brandon’s response to Drew Gmitro).

  17. Submitted by Joe Smith on 07/16/2019 - 06:58 am.

    Be skeptical all you want, I’ve never seen so many life long DFL folks saying goodbye to their party up here on the Range. They don’t particularly like Trump but the turn to the radical left they’ve seen in the past few years have really turned them off. They understand Medicare for all means worse coverage than they are getting now. They believe in the rule of law at the border, not open borders. Another thing they bring up is the “crisis of the week”, Kavanaugh, Avenatti, Stormy Danials, Russia, Russia Russia, the economy collapsing, manufactured border crisis that was real, the list goes on and on.
    If I remember correctly you guys were the same group claiming Trump had zero chance of winning in 16. I see history does truly repeat itself.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/16/2019 - 09:02 am.

      Up there on the Range is a very small selection of the Minnesota electorate. I also have the feeling that the participants in your anecdote are reflective of your own biases..

      • Submitted by Joe Smith on 07/16/2019 - 10:30 am.

        Nope RB, wrong assumption, these are lifelong DFL diehards. I’ve known them from the 60’s on and we disagreed on politics since I become enlightened in the 80’s. Jimmy Carter’s approach drove many of us to conservatism, but not them. These latest huge steps to socialism is one leap too far. They hold very few views I hold but the open border show of hands at the DNC debate did them in. So nice to see fellow Rangers see the light. As I stated, you and MR. Black said Trump had no chance in 16…. Keep thinking small grassroots changes in folks in the hinterlands means nothing…

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/16/2019 - 10:56 am.

          The population of St. Louis County, excluding Duluth (which is probably just as decadent as The Cities), is about 114,000 (less than 1/49 of the population of the state). The combined population of Hennepin and Ramsey Counties is about 1.6 million (between 1/4 and 1/3 of the population of the state).

          Yes, they’re the vanguard of a wave that will turn Minnesota red, which will only intensify once they learn how Republican labor policies are affecting them.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/16/2019 - 11:13 am.

          Additional thought: if your sample of “lifelong DFL diehards” consists of people whom you’ve known from the 60’s on,” you’re talking to some people who are, shall we say, getting on in years (roughly my vintage, BTW). I don’t know if I would take them as harbingers of political change.

          I will, however, stay off their lawns.

          • Submitted by Joe Smith on 07/16/2019 - 10:01 pm.

            Again as I said, change is happening and folks don’t seem to understand that America is center right and the Dems have gone off the left cliff. With lifelong DFLERS going over to conservatism there is definitely a movement from the radical left. No need to stay off our lawns, we are very easy to get along with…. We just don’t buy into group think…

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 07/17/2019 - 08:09 am.

              Umm, I think you’ve missed the point, again. While “aged” white Americans “may” (broad brushes are dangerous) trend toward centrism, they are, to put it mildly, not gonna be around a whole lot longer. We younger folks don’t share your values, and no, we aren’t gonna “grow into them”, “on the Range” or elsewhere. You’re the last gasps, not the borning cries.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/17/2019 - 10:26 am.

              If America is “center right,” then why do:

              56% of Americans favor single-payer health care:

              60% favor a wealth tax, as proposed by Senator Warren; and

              Republicans think that ignoring the “center” part of that cliche is a good idea, and continue to line up behind President Trump?

            • Submitted by ian wade on 07/17/2019 - 01:47 pm.

              From my perspective, Trump’s support is the very definition of “group think.” His voting bloc seems obsessed with conformity and obedience, while believing only what is essentially propaganda that must be preapproved by Trump himself. They will go to virtually any length to deny facts, no matter what evidence is shown to them.

            • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 07/18/2019 - 06:50 am.

              Joe, is there something in the water on the Range that causes union guys to vote for people who are dead set on eliminating the right to organize?

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/18/2019 - 01:31 pm.

                Joe is talking to a somewhat older cohort of Rangers. They’re either retired, or getting ready to retire, with pensions and health care guaranteed by collective bargaining agreements.

                Never mind what the kids want: they got theirs.

    • Submitted by Carl Spackler on 07/16/2019 - 12:13 pm.

      Agreed. The Dems have gone so far to the Left that they’re unrecognizable. When the Dem candidates all raised their hand at the debate saying they’d decriminalize illegal immigration and offer free healthcare that did me in. Also, the constant use of identity politics, suppression of free speech, sympathizing with Antifa and the constant use of victimhood has caused a gaping rift and is causing a lot of Dems to leave the party.

      I think Trump could very likely win MN in 2020. The Regressive Left has gone too far and has poisoned the well. It’s also not helpful when the likes of AOC pulls the race card on Pelosi. Not a winning tactic at all.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 07/16/2019 - 06:01 pm.

        Don Trump’s racist Twitter rants of this past weekend is identity politics writ large.

      • Submitted by David Lundeen on 07/17/2019 - 07:51 am.

        Norman Ornstein, perhaps the most prominent conservative writer, says in fact it’s the Republicans who have gone off the rails. They have shifted so far to the right, that they have become an unrecognizable, anti-democratic party.

        The left has hardly become extreme. The center has shifted right in the last 40 years. In that regard, Bernie Sanders is quite moderate in a lot of ways, and very much a Democrat in the FDR fashion.

        • Submitted by Jerry Dow on 07/18/2019 - 07:12 pm.

          Norm Ornstein is a neo-con, not a conservative. Pat Buchanan is the leading conservative thinker, and who is also a forceful advocate of US manufacturing, labor unions and Americanism.

          Neo-cons have been out of favor for over a decade, having sided with Bush 43 as he naively attempted to spread Jeffersonanism throughout the Middle East. Unfortunately, US troops remain in occupation of Afghanistan.

          Even today, the majority of DEMS clutch to Franklin D Roosevelt’s obsolete Big Government system despite its 88 year old ideology. DSA Sanders, and the New Left Progressives, are driving a wedge between themselves and the FDR dogmatics by rapidly moving to the far left-wing. Meanwhile traditional moderates Biden and Klobuchar are attempting to remain relevant at time when free nations all over the globe are growing doubtful of Socialism and its ties to Big Brother Internationalism, and where noble Great Britain is in the process of re-establishing its roots in Liberal Nationalism as separate from the continent.

          At the same time your DEM party is undecided in how to tackle the future, GOP voters are modernizing our political class in electing President Trump, who is in the process of rewriting the future of American politics for decades. Our goal is Liberal Nationalism, not Big Government collectivism.


    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 07/17/2019 - 09:00 am.

      And did that surge to the right on the Range power What’s His Name past Walz last year? Or did Walz cruise to victory?

      By the way, is the population of the Range growing or shrinking? As the 8th CD has grown geographically, it would appear the Range must be shrinking in population. How a shrinking base can power electoral change is a mystery to me.

    • Submitted by Aaron Albertson on 07/22/2019 - 01:57 pm.

      Tim Walz and Tina Smith both won St. Louis County by 26%, and only lost Itasca by 100 votes each

  18. Submitted by Tom Crain on 07/16/2019 - 08:15 am.

    While Hillary Clinton’s 2 point margin was a surprisingly narrow victory, do not underestimate how unpopular she was with voters of all stripes (except centrist Dems). Keep in mind she lost the MN Dem primary by a whopping 23%!

    Unfortunately for the deluded Donald supporters, HRC will not be his opponent on the ballot next year.

  19. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 07/17/2019 - 09:03 am.

    It’s funny, Clinton loses the caucus and squeaks by with 2% in the general election and her supporters are still denying she was a weak and unpopular candidate.

    Clinton’s defeat and narrow win in MN didn’t take EVERYONE by surprise. Some of us had noticed that she was a struggling candidate with huge problems long before election night. If you looked at the actual poll numbers instead of Nate Silver’s “projections” you would notice that her “lead” pretty much hung within the margin of error for the last two months of the campaign. Her Convention “bump” was surprisingly short lived, and the numerous controversies, real or imagined, fair or unfair, just kept piling up. I can’t remember a single controversy that managed to put behind her, despite all the promises that SHE was only candidate that survive the Trump storm. Trump managed to swat away one controversy after another while Clinton just kept collecting them.

    The fact that Clinton won’t be on the ballot again will be deciding factor in the next blue wave.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 07/17/2019 - 10:12 am.

      No-one is denying that Clinton was an historically unpopular candidate with lots of baggage (I would dispute the ‘weak’ characterization; she’s endured far worse than you or I and managed to conduct herself with a certain amount of grace and humility). She certainly didn’t help herself with her underwhelming VP pick or obvious lack of campaigning in the upper-midwest. I was merely pointing out the factual error of saying Clinton lost a state ‘primary’ by 23%; it was a caucus, which is inherently undemocratic. Don’t forget that Putin and his cronies were putting their fingers on the scale in both the party primaries and the general election.

      Ultimately, The 538 team’s “projections” were very accurate. Maybe you need a refresher on probabilistic forecasting. Nate Silver wrote an excellent 11-part series on this:

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 07/17/2019 - 01:03 pm.

        Yeah, when you guys aren’t denying that HRC was a weak candidate, your denying the fact that Nate Silver was wrong, we keep having to remind you guys that HRC lost the election for some reason.

        All you need to know about statistics and probability is that predictions rely on models, Nate’s models were wrong. We’ve discussed this at length in previous comment threads. Nate did not predict that Clinton would win the popular vote and lose the EC. They predicted she would win the election.

        The caucuses were plenty democratic when they put Klobuchar and Franken on the ballot. It looks like the process became undemocratic when “centrists” Democrats lost the ability to dictate the outcome. The caucus results pretty much reflected the general election results. 52% of respondents in the last Strib polls before the caucus gave Clinton an unfavorable rating of 51% compared to 38% for Sanders, and 61% for Tump.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 07/17/2019 - 04:21 pm.

          Sorry, my last few sentences got messed up there, to clarify: 52% of respondents had an unfavorable impression of Clinton, 38% for Sanders, and 61% for Trump.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 07/18/2019 - 09:39 am.

          There is a difference between a weak candidate and a weak candidacy. That’s called a “distinction with a difference.”

          Again, as far as 538’s projects are concerned, they were just that, projections. In fact, their model’s projections were the most bullish on a possible Trump win. Really good reading (especially further down the article where he discusses the midwestern collapse, after he discusses their model):

          “one of the reasons to build a model — perhaps the most important reason — is to measure uncertainty and to account for risk. If polling were perfect, you wouldn’t need to do this. And we took weeks of abuse from people who thought we overrated Trump’s chances. For most of the presidential campaign, FiveThirtyEight’s forecast gave Trump much better odds than other polling-based models. Our final forecast, issued early Tuesday evening, had Trump with a 29 percent chance of winning the Electoral College.1 By comparison, other models tracked by The New York Times put Trump’s odds at: 15 percent, 8 percent, 2 percent and less than 1 percent. And betting markets put Trump’s chances at just 18 percent at midnight on Tuesday, when Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, cast its votes.
          So why did our model — using basically the same data as everyone else — show such a different result?”
          -Nate Silver

          And caucuses are still undemocratic, regardless of the ideological bent of whomever is nominated. I’ll pick that hill to fight on.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 07/18/2019 - 10:50 am.

            Not belabor the point but:

            “There is a difference between a weak candidate and a weak candidacy. That’s called a “distinction with a difference.”

            No, that’s a actually a distinction without a difference. Who’s responsible for the candidacy if not the candidate? In fact this was one of Clinton’s biggest weaknesses, revealed by many observers at the time- she kept expecting someone else would solve her problems and produce her campaign.

            I’m afraid if you want to understand statistical modeling you have to do more than read 538 articles. What you seem to have missed is the fact that Silver himself admitted that his modeling was wrong, he didn’t account for undecided, and he didn’t balance independents and Obama voters, then there was white women. The thing about projections is that the most probable outcome is the one that actually happens, not the one you predicted. If the outcome you predict isn’t the outcome you get, you can’t claim to have discovered the most probable outcome. If the outcome doesn’t match the prediction, it’s a failed prediction. Just because you can go back and explain the failure, doesn’t covert it into a success. No, 538 didn’t guarantee Clinton’s victory, but that’s no probability works. They claimed that Clinton’s victory was the probable outcome… she lost, therefore her defeat was actually the most probable outcome.

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 07/18/2019 - 01:28 pm.

              Well, it was clearly TO belabor the point, but I digress.
              I corrected a statement about whether or not there was a primary or a caucus in MN in the 2016 election. I get that Hillary is the proverbial pea under your mattress; so if you believe that correction in and of itself is an inherent defense of Hillary Clinton’s entire campaign strategy, so be it. But you also brought up Nate Silver. I pointed out that 538’s projections were more accurate than the majority, if not the totality, of national polling outfits. From a popular vote percentage, their final analysis had Clinton/Trump with 48.5/44.9; the actual outcome was 48.8/46.1, respectively. That’s the point I was trying to make.

              To belabor _this_ point, however, I believe a statewide primary would be superior to a party caucus. I’m just not certain as to whether is should be an open or a party-primary.

              • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 07/18/2019 - 03:14 pm.

                Nate got it wrong, he may not have got it as wrong as others, but our elections are win-lose single outcome events, you don’t get points for being close.

                You can go into as much detail or complexity as you want regarding Clinton’s 2016 campaign. I warn you however that the more you look the worse it gets. That campaign was multi layered onion of incompetence.

                The age of reliable polling and projections based on that polling may well be over and long gone. Any poll that doesn’t doesn’t try to capture at least 60% of respondents on cell phones isn’t getting a good sample, and even then, cell phone users are very selective about answering calls from unknown numbers or callers. At the same time cell phones exclude a significant senior population. The upshot is that getting representative samples may well have become impossible. You can try some fancy data tricks to compensate for this, but the further you get away from simply being able to call a representative sample the more unreliable you sample is.

                We switched to primaries instead of caucuses already haven’t we?

  20. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 07/17/2019 - 10:24 am.

    Despite what all these “concerned” people say about the Democrats not going “too far left,” the issue is not left or right, but which candidate convinces the voters that he or she understands them.

    There are a lot of justifiably angry people out there, and in 2016, Trump, with his angry persona, convinced naive voters that he understood them and would help them. Of course, he was simply using the con man’s skill at scoping out his marks, and he has neither replaced the ACA with something better nor reduced the deficit, to name two of his big issues.

    In contrast, Hillary promised little but the status quo and hardly showed any enthusiasm for her own campaign. She misguidedly thought that she could win based on the votes of Republican women and support from big contributors. She didn’t even visit Wisconsin.

    For all the accusations of Warren and Sanders being “too far left” (the favorite insult of high-income people who would be Republicans if only the Republicans weren’t rushing headlong toward fascism and theocracy nowadays), they are no more “far left” than FDR or LBJ were.

    News flash: There are no real “far left radicals” on the national scene. I know some real far left radicals, actual Marxists, and they do NOT consider anyone in the Democratic Party or Bernie Sanders to be “comrades.” In fact, by world standards, Sanders and Warren are merely center-left.

    The problem is that Reagan pushed an ambitious agenda, and to their everlasting shame, the Democrats largely acquiesced, at most, softening some of the harsher measures.

    Bill Clinton signed several bills that were originally Republican ideas, such as NAFTA and welfare reform, and offered few original ideas.

    When Obama was looking to reform health care, he consulted with the insurance companies in closed-door sessions (a practice that should be banned) and adopted a variation of the Heritage Foundation’s proposal.
    He naively thought that the Republicans would vote for a program they loved when Mitt Romney instituted it in Massachusetts. Nope, they rejected, and campaigned against it, using horror stories from British and Canadian tabloids, even though the ACA is like neither of these systems.

    Because of continual Democrats attempts at compromise and a reluctance (timid or bribed?) to take bold steps of their own, the Republicans have controlled the agenda for nearly forty years.

    Both parties, to their everlasting shame, have gone along with Bush’s wasteful and illegal wars, and Obama had to go and mess around in other countries, too. My dearest wish is a president who will kick America’s intervention addiction.

    An entire generation has grown up knowing the Democrats only as a party that reacts weakly to bold Republican initiatives, a party that is coasting on its last bold initiatives from fifty years ago.

    For that reason, no matter what the right-wing media claim, today’s Democrats are in Nixon territory ideologically. (You know, the Nixon who started the EPA and changed food stamps from a local experiment to a national program and made overtures to the Soviet Union and China.)

    Democrats who actually propose their own initiatives are a novelty to voters under the age of forty. They have never seen Democrats who open impeachment hearings against a sitting president, investigate the crimes of the CIA, or provide medical insurance for the seniors whom no insurance company wanted to insure.

    I can imagine wealthy Democrats-who-used-to-be Republicans looking at Warren and Sanders and thinking, “But my taxes will go back up, and I won’t be able to make so much money off insurance shares and people I don’t like will benefit from these programs. Give me Joe Biden, who won’t change any of the things that ensure my extremely comfortable lifestyle.”

    I am afraid that if the rich Democrats persuade the DNC to go all cautious and scared and nominate Biden or someone like him, someone who arouses no enthusiasm, I will be waking up on November 4, 2020 to another Trump term and quoting Dr. Phil (I don’t watch him, but my late mother did) at the DNC, “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 07/18/2019 - 06:45 am.

      It’s true that Clinton didn’t campaign in WI, but she did campaign in Michigan. And every time she did she went down in the polls in that state.

      She also campaigned plenty in Pennsylvania and lost there as well.

      She was a bad politician with lousy campaign skills.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 07/18/2019 - 09:40 am.

        Frank says: “She was a bad politician with lousy campaign skills.”

        Yes, at the end of the day that’s the ONLY way you could lose to Donald Trump. Trump was a disaster as a candidate, the only way to lose was to be an even bigger disaster.

        So what’s done is done, whatever. My only concern is that the same people who gave us HRC still think they’re the experts regarding “electability” in the room, and they seem to think that Biden is their second chance to prove they were right about HRC. In the meantime American voters are looking beyond the next election, they don’t just want a president who isn’t Trump, they want someone who lead us out of this morass of “bipartisan” or “partisan” failure. I worry that a Democrat who simply promises to replace Trump will fail. What if Voters decide that having survived the 4 years of Trump, they can wait another 4 years to see if Democrats come up with a better candidate?

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