Can someone please tell me what Gov. Mark Dayton, Sen. Al Franken and the DFL Legislature plan to do with another term in office? Because I have no earthly idea.
I know what they have done in the past, and it’s impressive — an improved economy, health care system, and fiscal outlook.
But progressives are also supposed to lead the way forward. The dictionary says a “progressive” is “a person advocating or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas.”
Where is the “new” part? Where is the “advocating” part?
It’s entirely possible that I’m not paying close enough attention, because this campaign season is putting me to sleep. But I can’t discern where these top DFLers propose to take Minnesota.
- ACHIEVEMENT GAP PROGRESS? For instance, the education achievement gap is a morally shameful and economically perilous problem. What specific solutions does the DFL offer that are sufficiently bold to at least narrow that persistent gap?
- CLIMATE CHANGE PROGRESS? Climate change is the most urgent problem of our times, and Minnesota remains hopelessly addicted to dirty coal-fired power plants and cars dependent on environmentally destructive fracked petroleum. I know the DFL supports more renewables and less fossil fuels, but how exactly are they going to realign financial incentives to make that more of a reality, and not just rhetoric.
- COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY PROGRESS? College is increasingly important for earning a good living, and increasingly out-of-reach for middle- and lower-income families. What progressive ideas does the DFL offer to address this important challenge?
- RETRAINING PROGRESS? Many unemployed and underemployed workers lack the career skills to thrive in a fast-changing economy. While increasing the minimum wage and funding job-creating bonding projects are great steps, what specific education and training help does the DFL offer to help those workers adjust to our economy’s new normal?
Does the DFL have a “secret plan” for more progress on any of these issues, like the secret plan President Nixon promised to end the Vietman War? If so, why is it secret? I just finished watching the PBS televention series about the Roosevelts, and I was reminded that Teddy, Franklin and Eleanor reaped political rewards by fearlessly advocating for bold solutions to society’s toughest problems.
Again, Minnesota DFLers have earned reelection. They have a strong record of paying back schools, implementing reforms that have a record 95% of Minnesotans with health insurance, improving tax fairness, increasing the minimum wage, passing marriage equality, funding job-creating infrastructure improvements, delivering all-day kindergarten, and balancing the budget on-time, in a fiscally responsible way. That’s very impressive work, at a time when extreme Tea Party-backed Republicans have offered only mindless obstructionism.
But we live in an impatient “what have you done for me lately” world. To prevent an electoral setback a few weeks from now, DFLers need to fire up their progressive base enough to get them to vote at higher rates than they typically do in non-presidential year elections. And in terms of a bold new progressive way forward, Minnesota DFLers haven’t offered much to fire them up.
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