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In U interview, Emmer is cagey about RNCC use of ‘socialist’ label for many Dems

This will eventually be about U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer’s performance Tuesday in an online interview at the University of Minnesota. But first:

There are currently 233 U.S. House seats occupied by Democrats. Two of them, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, identify themselves as “socialists,” actually “democratic socialists.”

Rep. Tom Emmer
REUTERS/Leah Millis
Rep. Tom Emmer
The current Republican Party relies heavily on using the S-word for demagogic purposes. Specifically, the Republican National Congressional Committee attaches the S-word, as an adjective, verb, and noun but seldom as an adverb, to the names of a huge portion of Democrats and Democratic candidates for Congress (very few of whom use the word to describe themselves).

I call this redbaiting. And, since Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District representative is chairman of the NRCC, I have sought an interview with him to discuss this matter. Emmer has ignored my requests, except for allowing a member of the committee staff to send me a link to a tape in which he embarrassed himself on the topic. (A transcript of the Emmer definition is viewable in that previous piece, here.)

My offer to talk to him about it stands. But I’m done renewing requests for the interview.

I used to have a higher opinion of Emmer (who, after all, replaced Michele Bachmann in Congress). I formerly viewed him as bright, nimble, friendly and charming. But he lost my respect when he declined my request for an interview to discuss his definition of socialism, since he was using the word constantly.

Yesterday, Emmer participated in a Zoom interview with University of Minnesota political scientist Larry Jacobs, so I sent in this question:

Under your leadership, the strategy of the NRCC has been to label most Democrats  “socialists,” including many who do not identify themselves by that term. …

There are some who see elements of fascism in Trumpism. You are a big Trump backer, but I assume you don’t consider yourself a fascist. Whether you do or not, would you object to others publicly labeling you a fascist? Or if someone considers Donald Trump a fascist and then assumed that you, a fierce supporter of Trump, are also a fascist, would that be fair comment, if you’re free to label those who don’t consider themselves socialists as “socialists?”

Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are not voluntary programs. And they redistribute wealth. Do you consider them “socialism?” Which of them would you eliminate or make voluntary?

The graduated income tax takes more from the wealthy than from the poor. Do you consider that socialism? If someone proposed raising taxes higher on the wealthy to do more to help the poor, would that be socialism?

If you are going to continue to use the word “socialism” to apply to all liberals, who generally approve of programs that depend more on revenue from the rich to help the poor, please define the term, and if you would not eliminate all programs that do so, please explain why not?

Jacobs didn’t ask my question(s). But he did raise the general topic, including the possibility that it would not be healthy for U.S. political discourse if we spent our energy calling each other “socialists” and “fascists.”

Speaking to a different audience from those reached by the NRCC’s mailings, Emmer was cagey, if not completely evasive. “They’re the ones who call themselves that,” he said, meaning “socialists.”

Jacobs pointed out that exactly two of the 233 House Democrats describe themselves as socialists.

Emmer suggested that anyone who supported Nancy Pelosi is under suspicion. Jacobs said that Pelosi has resisted the more extreme ideas and crafted a coalition of mainstream liberals that can pass bills.

Emmer shifted to the “Green New Deal,” which he explicitly labeled “socialist.”

The discussion soon passed on to other issues, good ones, but not linked to my obsession with Emmer’s redbaiting. For example, Trump’s performance in dealing with the coronavirus  (Emmer gave him high marks) and the national upheaval over racism growing out of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

Emmer, who is just back from appearing at Trump’s rally in Tulsa, where he got a call-out in the stands from the POTUS, also said that Trump was thinking about declaring Juneteenth to be a national holiday.

Correction: An earlier version misidentified one of the two members of the House who self-identify as democratic socialists. They are Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib.

Comments (80)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/24/2020 - 10:58 am.

    Fascist is a fair statement, Failure to live up to his sworn duty to protect the constitution is also a fair statement. (Yes socialism is written into the constitution, read the preamble)

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 06/24/2020 - 11:23 am.

      Socialism is not in the Constitution. The “general welfare” clause has nothing to do with socialism.

      Can you name any actual actions by Trump that are fascist? I doubt it.

      • Submitted by Kevin Schumacher on 06/24/2020 - 12:00 pm.

        How about tear gassing American citizens in a public square so he could aggrandize himself?

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 06/24/2020 - 07:16 pm.

          The police tear gas rioters all the time. That’s not fascist , it’s just enforcing existing law.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/25/2020 - 08:59 am.

            Thus expanding the definition of “rioters” to include “people peacefully protesting and congregating,” and “to enforce the existing law” to mean “clearing the way for a sacrilegious photo op.”

            • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/27/2020 - 11:12 am.

              …From Merriam-Webster:
              ” ri·ot
              noun, often attributive
              : an assemblage of three or more persons in a public place for the purpose of accomplishing by concerted action and in a turbulent and disorderly manner a common purpose irrespective of the lawfulness of the purpose.”
              A nonviolent protest is not a riot.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/29/2020 - 09:09 am.

                Exactly my point, unless “being inconvenient to the Great Helmsman’s photo op” is considered violent now. Which, for many, I’m sure it is.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/24/2020 - 12:06 pm.

        I’ll give it a try:

        Fascism (/ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, as well as strong regimentation of society and of the economy which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe.

        US Citizens peaceably exercising their first amendment rights of free speech in opposition to the President’s polices were forcibly removed from Lafayette Square to accommodate a photo op for the President.

        How many more examples would you like?

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/24/2020 - 12:09 pm.

          Oh, and I should add, the paramilitary force doing the forcible removal were uniformed, unidentified troops, assembled from different governmental policing units and instructed not to answer if they were requested to identify the agency they worked for.

          Can you imagine the right wing outrage if Obama did any such thing?

        • Submitted by David Bowman on 06/24/2020 - 05:32 pm.

          I also thought Representative Emmer to be a better replacement for Bachman. As it turns out, not much. At the very least, it doesn’t seem that he includes God as one of his constituents. His unbridled support of the current administration is puzzling. Maybe it’s just an affirmation that he is a Republican.

      • Submitted by Wy Spano on 06/24/2020 - 12:57 pm.

        Here’s a link to a rather famous list, famous, that is, in political science terms, of the 14 characteristics of fascism. I think you’d have to agree that Trump attempts to satisfy pretty much every one, though the nature of our governmental structure inhibits him doing it in some cases. Socialism’s definition, by the way, is considerably easier to discern: it’s a place where the state owns the means of production. Some add to that definition that the state then attempts to equalize the distribution of benefits. But all states attempt, in some way, to equalize benefits. Indeed the U.S. does the worst job of any country in equalizing the benefit of income. We don’t really have any socialism in this country. We only have people labeling any attempt to improve the lives of some segment of society with tax money as socialism. Here’s the link:

        https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/fasci14chars.html

        • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/24/2020 - 02:25 pm.

          C’mon Wy,

          That can’t be a list published in 2003. It has to be a summary of Trump’s governing philosophies and just faked to seem to be published in 2003.

          Beginning with Item 1

          1.Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
          Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos

          MAGA Anyone?

          The only other explanation is Trump found the list and used it as his operator’s manual.

        • Submitted by Ed Leitze on 06/24/2020 - 03:01 pm.

          Mr Spano, this list describes aspects of both political parties in the last century but is most prominent in the Republican Party of the last 30-40 years. The president is only an extension.

        • Submitted by David Markle on 06/24/2020 - 03:42 pm.

          Thanks for the linked list which includes, ” Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts: Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.” This statement is misleading. Fascist governments have promoted the arts, but they tend to promote and tolerate only that which coincides with the fascist leaders’ views about art.

          Further, in its earliest stages where it originated as a relatively liberal movement in Italy, the kind of governmental system fascists wanted actually resembles the way U S. federal and state governmental arts agencies are structured, although ours are actually less democratic!

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/24/2020 - 12:57 pm.

        Dennis, it you want to provide a list, I will.

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/24/2020 - 03:10 pm.

          Please feel free! It is after all a comment section.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/25/2020 - 09:48 am.

            Setting aside the expectation that an American Fascist would necessarily look like Hitler or Mussolini, we have several examples of Trump’s Fascist tendencies, working backwards:

            The impulse to use force and coercion rather than the rule of law, i.e.: “beat him up, I’ll pay your legal fees”, “when the looting starts the shooting starts”, “If the States don’t establish order I will”, etc. etc. Everything from his foreign policy fiasco’s to his economic blunders has been driven by the impulse to make “war” of some kind on someone and extract submission. His latest deployment of federal military assets to get him across the street for a photo op is probably the pinnacle of his attempt to wield military force on behalf of his own ego.

            The claim that president rules the nation without restraint, i.e. “The president rules, that’s just how it’s gotta be”. Multiple attempts to “rule” accordingly decrees and proclamations.

            Disdain for the rule of law and any constitutional limits to his power or authority. He’s committed multiple crimes and lashes out at anyone or anything that limits his authority. He’s attacked everyone from the courts to the media, even individuals. Like all Fascists he’s a criminal running a criminal regime.

            The attempt to establish himself as a ruler free of legal restraints has been ongoing since he got into office. He’s spent years replacing and installing cabinet members, executive staff, and department officials who’s primary qualification is loyalty to himself. This is the primary feature of his government that has paralyzed itself during the latest confluence of crises. His minions are trapped between attempting to actually work the levers of government competently or meeting Trump’s demands for loyalty.

            In general Trump’s entire presidency has been a continuous effort to bypass the checks and balances and limitations of liberal democracy. He’s actually hostile to democratic principles be they legal, electoral, or legislative.

            Trump has been actively seeking to nullify the electoral process whether it be with facile attacks on mail in votes, and other voter suppression schemes, or soliciting help from foreign governments.

            And then of course there is the continual and ongoing attempt to shape reality with lies and propaganda.

            Meanwhile, the Republican Party has enabled Trump’s impulses as much as possible simply because they’ve been drifting towards fascism for decades. Emmer’s problem is that his own Fascists tendencies have been revealed, even if his district continues to vote for him.

            What we have is a bizarre spectacle of a Fascist president and Party trying to run a democratic government. So far their attempts to establish a Fascist government have failed, but they won’t stop trying. Fascism will never find the popularity in the US as it did in pre-war Germany and Italy, but if we’re not careful we may have to fight another civil war to keep Fascism at bay. In many ways we’ve simply been lucky that our first Fascist president (and hopefully our last) and his fellow Republican Fascists have been so incredibly incompetent and disfunctional.

            Like Trump and his fellow US Fascists the European Fascist of last century were psychopaths and damaged personalities. However unlike Trump Hitler and Mussolini had some organizational skills, innate intelligence, compliant populations, and absolute control over their national media outlets. Trump is a buffoon trying to heard cats with an 11 year old mentality and a dental floss lasso. He’s historically unpopular and incompetent, but he has followers, and IS in the White House.

      • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 06/24/2020 - 01:48 pm.

        Disparaging and criticizing the media by labeling factual reporting in print, and on electronic media, that reflects badly on the political figure in question as “Fake News,” is a tried-and-true fascist technique, going back at least as far as Benito Mussolini in the 1920s. My dictionary defines the term “fascism” as a reflection of “authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice.”

        Mr. Trump’s campaign assertion that “I alone can fix it” strikes me as pretty authoritarian. Insisting that immigrants from Mexico are “thugs and rapists” strikes me as rather intolerant. Declaring (before the courts nullified his executive action) that immigrants from Muslim-dominated countries were prohibited from entering the U.S. is both authoritarian AND intolerant. Thus, without even trying, it’s not difficult to document Mr. Trump’s actions as “fascist.” That Mr. Emmer is a strong supporter of Mr. Trump is more an indictment of Emmer and his supporters than it is an endorsement of Trump.

        My dictionary also includes in its definition the following: “…tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one national or ethnic group, a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demogogic approach.” In a nutshell, I think you’ve just read a brief description of the Trump presidency.

      • Submitted by Eric Snyder on 06/24/2020 - 02:34 pm.

        Here are other things not in the constitution:

        -heterosexual marriage as an exclusive institution
        -capitalism
        -corporate pollution
        -Christianity
        -libertarianism
        -the doctrine that property rights are more important that human rights broadly conceived
        -etc., etc.
        -the ability of corporations to stop union drives

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/24/2020 - 03:16 pm.

        BB, your idea of socialism is probably far different from mine and I suspect many others!
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Types_of_socialism

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 06/24/2020 - 07:36 pm.

          Socialism is the State owns the means of production and tries to divide things up equally. The end result is a very select few at the top (politicians and business magnates) get wealthy while everyone else shares poverty equally. The US was not founded on Socialism , not even in the slightest.

          Capitalism has brought more prosperity to more people than all other forms of economic systems combined.

          Unfortunately, we have more of a Cronyism or Oligarchy type of system than a Capitalist system now. Big business has lobbied Congress enough to drive all competition out of the market in many cases. They use Govt to regulate the smaller competitors out of business.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/25/2020 - 10:32 am.

            The only place that I know of where Socialism has actually been implemented is the early Israeli kibbutzim.
            Russia has always been a feudal society — it never had a capitalist base from which to develop socialism. That’s why Marx and Engels expected socialism to be first implemented in Germany and Britain — certainly not Russia or China.
            I have personal doubts about socialism based on my professional knowledge of human behavior, but that’s a different analysis.

          • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/25/2020 - 05:29 pm.

            Bob:

            Given that definition, are you acknowledging that Social Security, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act are not socialist programs and we can put that argument behind us?

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/25/2020 - 05:38 pm.

            You didn’t read the link, Personally, I think your definition of Socialism isn’t worth the electrons it takes to visualize it. Why do they call it “Social Security” who owns the means of production for that program? Why do they call it “Socializing” when you get together with folks? Who owns the means of production for the “Bridge Club”?

            “Capitalism has brought more prosperity to more people than all other forms of economic systems combined.” I’m sure you can prove that point, please also address how wonderful capitalism was for the slaves of the capitalistic plantation owners, also the steel workers, coal miners etc. etc. etc.

            • Submitted by Susan Maricle on 06/26/2020 - 12:38 pm.

              Add to that social media and ice cream socials. If a person is against socialism, or what they perceive the be socialism, they should abstain from the above activities.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/27/2020 - 01:16 pm.

            “Capitalism has brought more prosperity to more people than all other forms of economic systems combined.”

            Actually no, it hasn’t. Were it not for the “socialist” reforms that rescued capitalist economies during and after the Great Depression capitalism would like have collapsed. In fact, that’s what the Great Depression, an economic collapse the likes of which no one had ever seen before in human history. Prior to the reforms capitalism did not yield more wealth for more people, it concentrated more wealth in fewer hands. Capitalism didn’t produce widespread prosperity, it produced the Gilded Age.

            The countries with broadest prosperity and highest standards of living today are those with strong governments and “socialist” safety nets, unless you think Somalia is a model for economic success. And it’s important to note that the worlds wealthiest countries are constantly rescuing their wealthy and propping up their wealth with huge economic (i.e. “socialist”) bail outs and subsidies. The idea that capitalists or the wealthy simply out-compete everyone else in some kind of “free” markets is delusional.

      • Submitted by Richard Steuland on 06/25/2020 - 08:49 pm.

        How about attacking reporters who dare to question his motives, actions, character and morals? How about disparaging whole groups such as Muslims,Puerto,Ricans, Hispanics, GLBTI and women in powerful positions, how about packing the Courts with yes men, how about threats to citizens? Today’s Republican Party is a cesspool of misguided religious zealots, racists, bigots and low info voters. The base of Trumps supporters are not lovers of Liberty but of Authoritarianism.

  2. Submitted by Michael Hess on 06/24/2020 - 11:11 am.

    Emmer, like the rest of the republicans Minnesota has sent to Congress, has disappointed in his unwillingness to preserve any integrity or spine on the behavior or policies of Trump. Parroting disproven political catchphrases isn’t leadership it’s called being a shill. Did we send people to DC to lead or to shill?

    • Submitted by Sandra Nelson on 06/24/2020 - 12:07 pm.

      Thank you, Michael Hess. My thoughts exactly, more eloquently expressed.
      Thank you, Eric Black. Your incisive questions demand answers. Please keep the pressure on.

  3. Submitted by Roy Everson on 06/24/2020 - 12:15 pm.

    Your questions were great Eric, hope there is a chance to pose them again. “Emmer supports fascists” is better than “Emmer is a fascist” because a shill isn’t likely an idealog.
    The s word has cast a spell on Republicans for a century. What they reallyi, really mean by socialism is anything that results from democratic government that they don’t like. They hate democracy, but cannot admit it because it’s politically incorrect to say so, so they merely substitute the word socialist for democratic.

  4. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 06/24/2020 - 12:28 pm.

    No worries. I’m sure the cagey-ness will disappear and the label will be applied lavishly, correctly and with gusto in the coming months.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 06/25/2020 - 01:28 pm.

      The GOP has nothing else to run on. They might as well continue to make stuff up.

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 06/26/2020 - 08:09 am.

        You DO realize there are 2 Democratic US Reps that openly describe themselves as Socialist, right?

        And I cannot count the times I’ve read comments from people who identify themselves as “Democrat” supporting Socialism. It is what it is.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/26/2020 - 09:51 am.

        Why wouldn’t they? It’s worked so far.

        I just don’t know if basing electoral success on the pathologically gullible is sustainable.

  5. Submitted by Brian Simon on 06/24/2020 - 01:27 pm.

    Emmer, and Republicans in general, don’t want to talk about issues because they lose on the issues. Instead they use scary words to mischaracterize their opponents.

    Of course, when dems fall into this trap and start throwing around ‘fascist’ and the like, they’re not helping the discourse either.

  6. Submitted by LK WOODRUFF on 06/24/2020 - 01:32 pm.

    Only 2 in congress call themselves ‘democratic socialists’. This is quite different from socialism and is quite successful in, for example Scandinavian countries as it is quite equitable to all.
    Trump shows strong Fascist tendencies; he also fits the white nationalist/supremacist definitions and often uses words and actions that they embrace. Remember that the rise of Fascism in Europe resulted in the world wars that caused great oppression, loss and death.
    And then there is communism. I urge everyone to bring up the formal definitions of each and compare their notable differences. I’m on my phone so it wb challenging to do.
    Lastly, the REPs have long been good at labeling, obfuscating, calling others names, etc. I can only assume it’s a learned behaviour/bad habit. I find it to be lazy, not at all creative or helpful, and likely a distraction cuz: they’ve got nothing else. No new or fresh ideas. No programs or jobs that would help ‘the people’. Just power and money grabs that longterm will bankrupt the country further. I urge every voter to do their due diligence and research every candidate thoroughly. Ignore the words and focus on their actions, will define their true intent. If they aren’t working FOR YOU then they are aligned with others. In which case why would you elect them to represent YOU??

    • Submitted by Colin Brownlow on 06/24/2020 - 03:17 pm.

      I wish they’d stop referring to them selves as democratic socialists and use the term social democrats. I think its more descriptive, avoids labelling yourself as a socialist and is generally more acceptable.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/24/2020 - 07:15 pm.

        I think that Bernie, et.al. would like to view himself as more socialist than the European Social Democratic parties.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/25/2020 - 11:56 am.

          Don’t drink too much of your own cool-aid Paul. Every time anyone asks us, we tell you we want to more like Denmark. And every time anyone ask Sanders’s he references FDR.

          • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 06/26/2020 - 08:15 am.

            So you seek to be a racially and culturally homogeneous country with 1/3 of the US population?

            Tall order.

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/26/2020 - 09:56 am.

              Curtis, I think you mistakenly posted in the wrong comment thread. Socialism of any kind has nothing with racial quotas or distribution, and the New Deal was certainly not organized around any explicit diversity campaign. A “socialist” society can be as homogeneous or diverse as any other kind of society.

          • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/26/2020 - 09:10 am.

            And FDR’s initial goals for Social Security were to provide a starting point for improving the lives of elderly Americans.

            Hmmm… Not unlike the initial goals of the ACA: A starting point for improving health care affordability and availability. Not the immediate 100% solution demanded by some. As FDR told us:

            “We can never insure one hundred percent of the population against one hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.”–

            President Roosevelt upon signing Social Security Act

            Seems FDR is more Obama than Sanders….

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/26/2020 - 10:03 am.

              Nice try Edward but Social Security wasn’t the only component of the New Deal. FDR was far far far more ambitious and productive than Obama. ACA looks more like the Heritage Foundation proposal that HRC tried to float back the 90’s than any New Deal program. It’s going to be tragic but interesting to see how centrists and incrementalist react if the SCOTUS strikes down what’s left of the ACA. Medicare will the only program left standing and expanding it will the only option left.

              • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/26/2020 - 01:27 pm.

                “Nice try Edward but Social Security wasn’t the only component of the New Deal”

                Agreed. My only point was that if look at SS at the time of its’ origination and the ACA at the time of its’ origination we see certain similarities as described by FDR himself. SS has evolved over the years with many enhancements and we can hopefully expect President Biden will initiate some ACA enhancements during his term in office.

                Beyond the ACA, and healthcare we can see that Obama did a pretty good job on jobs, with far less challenges than what FDR faced.

                I do believe that we would see modern day equivalents to the WPA and CCC if we had lasting employment during a D administration with the support of a D congress. Put Rs in there anywhere and not so much…

                • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/27/2020 - 11:20 am.

                  I’m afraid your still stretching Edward. Sure, there are “some” similarities between the ACA and New Deal programs, but the distinguishing feature of the ACA is it’s deliberate design and intent to be as unlike New Deal programs as possible.

                  The primary feature of New Deal programs was the creation of new government entities that administer programs. The ACA was a neoliberal attempt to produce New Deal results without creating a New Deal program. And we have to note that attempt has failed. We wouldn’t be having this discussion if he ACA had been as successful as the New Deal.

                  Unlike the FDR Democrats of the 30’s and 40’s those like Biden, Obama, and the Clinton’s are actually hostile to New Deal programs. You guys have been telling us for decades now that anything like MFA is impossible and your hostility towards the idea and those who promote is palpable most days. This is why Sander’s is a New Deal Democrat, and the “New Democrats” i.e. are more accurately described as moderate Republicans.

                  • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/28/2020 - 07:58 pm.

                    And let’s not forget the make up of the 74th Congress (1935 – 1937) of the USA when SS was enacted:

                    68 Democratic Senators
                    322 Democratic House Members

                    That is the beginning, middle and end of how significant progressive change gets done.

                    The progressive left is completely delusional if they believe that Bernie at his arm waving best would have achieved anything in a split government.

                    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/29/2020 - 10:06 am.

                      And lets not forget that the “centrist” Democrats have made the Republican Party the most powerful Political Party in the world. By losing all but two of the last 7 presidential contests, and handing us unpopular candidates and presidents (Neither Clinton or Obama were very popular) and losing congress, and states all over the country. If we’re going to look at political “reality”, we can’t ignore the persistent electoral failure of “moderate/centrism”. Even now, Democrats aren’t so much emerging a power as Republicans are self destructing. Were it not for Trump, Biden would have little chance of capturing the White House in November.

          • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/29/2020 - 10:43 am.

            “By losing all but two of the last 7 presidential contests”

            What am I missing here?

            1992 Clinton
            1996 Clinton
            2000 Bush
            2004 Bush
            2008 Obama
            2012 Obama
            2016 Trump

            Four and three for the Ds and Trump needed the stars to align like we will never see again to win.

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/29/2020 - 11:07 am.

              Edward, please:

              Reagan
              Bush
              Clinton
              Bush
              Obama
              Trump

              If we go back to Nixon it’s 3 out of 9.

              Do I need to quantify the States and Congress as well?

              • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 06/29/2020 - 04:39 pm.

                Please do, since two elections now count as one we may have a few more states than I know of.

                And if we go back to FDR we see a very nice symmetrical tie at 7 D and 7 R Presidents in our 50/50 nation with Joe Biden soon to break the tie…

      • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 06/26/2020 - 08:13 am.

        A rose by any other name.

        People are not quite as gullible as some leftist seem to believe. Collectivist agendas have been characterized as “liberal”, “progressive”, “democratic” as well as Socialist. Peel away the label and it’s all the same, failed dogma.

  7. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/24/2020 - 02:52 pm.

    Rep. Emmer truly is in a pickle here. He knows that it is inaccurate and unnecessarily inflammatory to make wanton accusations of socialism. On the other hand, tribal loyalty prevents him from stepping up and saying that it’s the wrong thing to do, or that we should, at the very least, use the term with some nuance.

    That’s too bad for him, I guess.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/26/2020 - 11:28 am.

      Sorry RB, I just always try to point out that references to “tribes” in these conversations are at the very least borderline racist. Real people live in REAL tribes and the intolerance, polarity, partisanship, hate, ignorance, bigotry, whatever is being referred to as “tribalism” in these conversation has nothing to with tribal societies. Emmer is firmly grounded in OUR society, and we do NOT live in a tribal society. Let’s own our evils and shortcomings rather than blame someone else’s society for them eh? Emmer is a partisan hack… let’s just call him that, no need to bring tribes into something they have absolutely nothing to do with.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 06/26/2020 - 12:27 pm.

        And now you’ve had me go look up what “tribe” means in anthropology.

        As I understand it, the term is no longer used in academic discourse because of its fundamentally colonialist overtones. The major critique seems to be that the term “only reliably indicated people not considered fully civilised in that era.”

        I present that critique with no further comment on the use of the word in this context.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/27/2020 - 11:07 am.

          Thank you RB.

          I should point out however that Anthropology itself has been a major tool of colonization. It’s actually not about the “definition” of “tribal”, it’s the fact that people use someone else’s living culture as reference for the worse features of OUR OWN culture, as if there are no positive or admirable features of tribal societies. What make it’s racists is the fact that this language puts living human beings in an historical box, as if “tribes” are a thing of the past and those who lived in them have disappeared, it’s that complete disregard for the existence of REAL people, and the re-purposing of their living culture as a mere repository for the garbage of our own culture that reflects colonial (and possibly racist) assumption. When we see “tribal” used in these conversations, it’s never a compliment or sign of admiration, it’s always denigration that dismisses and entire culture as inferior.

  8. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 06/24/2020 - 06:28 pm.

    Labeling Democrats “socialists” is silly, because the present day Democratic Party establishment has been in Nixon territory ideologically since the Clinton years.

    Unfortunately, our schools don’t teach much about history or about political and economic systems (except “Communism bad” when I was school), so the average person is pretty ignorant in this respect.

    Both Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would be considered middle-of-the-road in most Western countries.

    • Submitted by Curtis Senker on 06/25/2020 - 10:39 am.

      Democratic Party establishment has been undermined by Socialists. Anyone who pays the least attention knows that’s a fact.

      • Submitted by ian wade on 06/25/2020 - 01:04 pm.

        “Anyone who listens to Fox News all day knows that’s a fact.”
        Fixed it for you…

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/26/2020 - 11:02 am.

          It’s so funny isn’t it Ian? These guys really don’t realize that they’re standing behind one of if not THE most unpopular president who’s on verge of leading them into an historic defeat and collapse of their own Party. The fact is that Fascism is destroying their Party and threatening the nation, but they’ve actually created this alternative universe. If one of them weren’t in the White House it would be comical.

  9. Submitted by John Heine on 06/24/2020 - 09:43 pm.

    Emmer knows better — he deliberately and ungrammatically refers to “the Democrat [sic] Party” and “my Democrat [sic] friends.” If he really had any respect for his friends (or any intellectual integrity) he would address his friends by their proper name. Why don’t journalists ever call Emmer or other Republicans on this rhetorical insult?

    • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 06/25/2020 - 10:31 am.

      For a while, I responded to people who said “Democrat Party” by referring to their party as the “Republicanic Party,” on the ground that they had obviously stolen one of our syllables, so we should own it.

  10. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 06/25/2020 - 07:31 am.

    Wow, you respected Tom Emmer? I guess you may have missed a lot back in the day. It was a while ago, but I remember listening to a female Minnesota legislator talking about his bullying tactics in meetings and on committees, can’t remember her name. It seems to me that he either lost his house to foreclosure or nearly lost it while running on a fiscally conservative campaign. Maybe its because I grew up in the same area as him, but I never ever had any respect for him. Seriously how can you respect ANYONE who thinks Donald is good at his job?

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/26/2020 - 11:11 am.

      You have to remember Henk, this is the old “objective” standard wherein simply being in the room of influence or power got you a ticket to the media and a requisite level of respect and attention no matter how toxic or daffy you were. One of the first comments I ever wrote here in Minnpost was scolding one of the writers for referring to Tim Pawlenty as a “nice guy”. And don’t forget to look at the list of MinnRoast celebrities, Emmer’s name appears.

  11. Submitted by Bill Mantis on 06/25/2020 - 08:54 am.

    Virtually all cities in the US provide the following “socialist” services: schools, libraries, police protection, fire fighting, road construction and maintenance, public health clinics, water and sewer. The federal government provides socialized medicine to vets and socialized pensions in the form of social security.

    If socialism is inherently evil, as Tom Emmer implies, which of these would he like to see eliminated?

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/25/2020 - 09:55 am.

    Emmer’s safe in his district, but the magical thinking, ignorance, totalitarian impulses, and dishonesty that comprise his politics are collapsing his Party’s power. Aside from revealing his disfunctional mental process there’s little to be gained form anything he says or does because it’s just noise in service of pathology. These guys have debate-gamed themselves into oblivion. The only real danger is that they’ll force the rest of us into a violent confrontation rather than slip away into the night when start losing elections.

  13. Submitted by Carl Brookins on 06/25/2020 - 10:44 am.

    Emmer, Carnahan, all the rest of the national and local so-called “Republicans” Lincoln would be sick to his stomach. My dad, a life-long conservative,would be sick to his stomach. Trumpists have so distorted the positions of this nation, and have come so close to destroying the functionality of this nation that we are on the edge of a true crisis. Just look at the way they talk about their political opponents! Their leader lies every time he opens his mouth and these people not only condone it, they promote it! And none of them will stand for an honest, thoughtful interview with a professional journalist.

  14. Submitted by ian wade on 06/25/2020 - 01:09 pm.

    Anyone who listened to Emmer while he was working radio with Bob Davis should have known that this guy is just another lightweight, dog whistle blower who loves to rail about government but can’t seem to tear himself away from making a living off of it.

  15. Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 06/25/2020 - 08:59 pm.

    I heard the interview and thought Emmer did a reasonable job of explaining his blatant lies, little else. The guy never answered a direct question when it came to politics. I had a little respect for him when he stood up to the racist in Saint cloud who were attacking the Somali community, but looks like he’s giving into the force. Just another Saint cloud safe district hack

  16. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 06/26/2020 - 06:22 am.

    Republicans get to call us Socialists because Godwin’s Law says we don’t get to call them Nazi’s.

  17. Submitted by Tom Wilson on 06/26/2020 - 12:36 pm.

    No matter how hard Emmer tries, he can’t stop being being a talk show host! I long for the entertainment ms. Bachmann provided! Not the word salad of Emmer….

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