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DFL endorses Erin Murphy for governor

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
State Rep. Erin Murphy speaking to DFL delegates following her endorsement for governor.

Delegates to the 2018 DFL convention in Rochester were asked to choose between voting with their heads or voting with their hearts.

They ultimately — after six ballots — chose their hearts.

State Rep. Erin Murphy will carry the party’s endorsement into the primary election Aug. 14. That came after the St. Paul resident outlasted first state Auditor Rebecca Otto and then U.S. Rep. Tim Walz. She won not only the party’s label of approval but the party apparatus of field offices, field agents, voter lists and other resources.

“It is no time for tippy toe politics,” she told the more than 1,300 delegates Saturday. “Minnesotans demand and they are asking more of us.” Murphy sought to turn her attention not to a DFL primary but to the person she expects will be the nominee of Republicans, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

What Murphy didn’t win was an uncontested primary. After dropping out after seeing the trend to Murphy on the sixth ballot, Walz and his running mate, Peggy Flanagan, told a post-election rally outside the Mayo Civic Center that they would take their campaign to the primary.

Walz, who has won a south Minnesota congressional district won by a Democrat only twice in a century, billed his campaign as one that could win in a post-Trump state. Not only could he appeal to disaffected Democrats in rural Minnesota, he had good support in the Twin Cities as well. That support was only strengthened with the addition of Flanagan, well-liked among progressive DFLers in the Cities.

He gave his convention speech with a map of the state behind him, one displaying the red swaths of the state won by GOP members of Congress. Only he and Flanagan could run and win statewide, Walz said. “I ran in 2006 because George Bush kicked some students out of a rally and I got pissed off,” Walz said. “I’m pissed off again. But this time I’m bringing a friend,” a reference to Flanagan.

Rebecca Otto made the case that the DFL shouldn’t endorse someone who’s chief appeal was to moderate voters. She claimed that the real story of 2016 was the tens of thousands of DFL voters stayed home. They need a reason to vote, she said. “We shouldn’t be the party of big money,” Otto said. “We should be the party of big ideas.”

Murphy took issue with Walz’s map. “Using a map that shows how we’re divided is a hateful message,” she said.

Pushing for an endorsement

State DFL Chair Ken Martin spent the convention trying to push the party toward an endorsement — something he said has happened for gubernatorial races for decades. But he also wanted to make sure that endorsed candidate ran alone in August.

Martin said that only four candidates for governor who entered primaries against endorsed candidates won those primaries. Of those four, only two became governor. What isn’t often mentioned is that one of those two is current Gov. Mark Dayton. The other was Rudy Perpich.

Martin told the Feminist Caucus Friday that the 2018 election represents “an existential choice” for the state and nation and that Minnesota was the epicenter. That’s because of its two U.S. Senate races, four nationally targeted U.S. House contests, an open governor’s race and the state House up for grabs.

While Democrats have done well in primaries in other states, especially states that have been controlled by Republicans, Martin warned against complacency. “Don’t fall into the trap the past is a prelude to the future,” Martin said. “Wave elections just don’t happen. We have to make them happen.”

A loss, however, would create complete control of state government by Republicans for the first time in 60 years. Not only would that give them control over policies like education, worker rights and women’s rights, it would give them say over redistricting. “We are a blue state in a sea of red.”

Republicans meeting this weekend in Duluth are also likely to have a contested primary; Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson won the party’s endorsement and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who did not seek the endorsement, is going straight to the primary.

“We can start the conversation about the general election while they are still fighting each other,” Martin said.

But that doesn’t appear to be happening, at least based on Walz’s pledge to his delegates. Martin, however, said Saturday evening that he plans to talk with party leaders and the unendorsed candidates before the end of candidate filing on Tuesday.

“Since I became chair in 2010 we haven’t lost a DFL-endorsed candidate in the primary. I vigorously will defend this endorsement. I believe in our party process…” Martin said. “Whoever decides to run in a primary should know that this is not your grandfather’s DFL anymore.”

Rebecca Otto
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Rebecca Otto made the case that the DFL shouldn’t endorse someone whose chief appeal was moderates voters.

Martin said he will be talking to the candidates “to remind them how important it is for us to truly unify, to avoid a costly primary that divides us and turns us inward.” Unlike Otto and Murphy, Walz did not promise to stay out of a primary if someone other than him was endorsed.

Murphy said she expects there will be a primary. And she said she will wait until Sunday to announce a lieutenant governor running mate. She said she delayed until after the endorsement in hopes that it could be a tool for uniting the party and avoiding a primary. “I will be reaching out hope to have conversations with the others who were in this race to see if we can find our path forward to a unified ticket and unified effort to go forward and forestall that primary,” she said.

Attorney general upset

The convention had a first run of drama before noon, when the endorsement voting for attorney general took place and produced a result few expected. Incumbent Lori Swanson is seeking a third term after flirting with her own run for governor. While she was undecided about her plans, Minneapolis attorney Matt Pelikan jumped into the race. But unlike others who thought about running for attorney general — including reports that U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison would get in — Pelikan stayed in.

His speech to the convention focused on what he called three words — drugs, guns and antitrust. He said Swanson was lacking in all three. He accused her of being late to national challenges of the immigration ban and changes to net neutrality and lawsuits against opioid manufacturers. And he was introduced by the Rev. Nancy Nord Bence, executive director of the gun control group Protect Minnesota.

Swanson appeared on the stage but did not speak, instead letting a series of others offer their reasons for supporting her. One, former Attorney General Mike Hatch, criticized Pelikan’s lack of legal experience.

“You can’t be in the wading pool and think you can swim in the ocean,” Hatch said, perhaps a crack about the giant inflatable pelicans that the candidate displayed around the convention hall.

On the first ballot, however, Swanson tallied just 52.2 percent of delegate votes when she needed 60 percent for an endorsement. She then shocked the room by telling state DFL Chair Martin that she would no longer seek the endorsement of the party. He then called on the convention to endorse Pelikan by voice vote, which it did.

Swanson’s future plans are unknown. Martin said it is possible she enters the governor’s race or files for attorney general despite the endorsement of Pelikan. The candidates for attorney general were not brought to the stage to announce whether they would honor the endorsement decision of the convention as was done with the candidates for governor.

Minneapolis attorney Matt Pelikan
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Minneapolis attorney Matt Pelikan’s speech to the convention focused on what he called three words — drugs, guns and antitrust.

“I was tired of speculation and the game of musical chairs in St. Paul — who’s in, who’s out, what position are they seeking,” Pelikan said. “I don’t want to spend time speculating on what she’s going to do. I want to focus on how we can have a true progressive attorney general and make a difference for both equal rights and economic opportunity.”

But the vote, and the shape of the governor’s balloting, indicated the leftward tilt of this convention. Murphy had gained key endorsements in the weeks leading up to the convention from influential progressive organizations, including the ISAIAH offshoot, Faith in Minnesota.

The party estimates that half of the delegates are new to the process and are attending their first state convention.

Political math

Walz won the first ballot but it was closer than expected, with Walz getting 41.5 percent of the votes, Murphy 39.6 percent, and Otto  18.5 percent. Otto stayed in for a second ballot but lost support and dropped out before ballot three.

Murphy benefited much more from Otto’s decline than Walz did, claiming two-thirds of the Otto voters who switched. That vaulted her into first place at 47.1 percent, with Walz falling to second with 45.3.

With just the two front-runners left, ballot three boosted Murphy past 50 percent but still short of the threshold need to win the endorsement. It was before the next ballot that things got interesting. Cheers went up from Walz delegates as he walked into the room, holding hands aloft with Otto. Was it an endorsement? No, said Walz. Both candidates were uniting to call on delegates to vote for a no endorsement and allow all candidates to contest the primary.

It didn’t work. Ballot four pushed “no endorsement” to just under 40 percent but Murphy stayed over 50 percent. Ballot five saw both Murphy and “no endorsement” grow stronger but a stalemate was becoming obvious.

Murphy’s team kept pushing for an endorsement. “We must reject cynical politics that seek to silence our voices. We need to unite to keep our state blue in November,” she tweeted. “A primary does not benefit the people of our state. An endorsement now does. Let’s do our work for the people of Minnesota.”

In response to a question from a delegate, Martin made an impassioned plea for an endorsement. Without one, the party must stay on the sidelines until after the primary on August 14. “Our state party, our coordinated campaign, all of our field offices, field organizers and others would not be doing work through the summer months on this governor’s race,” Martin said.

“We only have 156 days until the election,” he said. “We can’t wait August 15 to start taking on Tim Pawlenty and the Republicans. Let’s work through this, let’s slog through this, let’s endorse a candidate and come out of this convention unified DFLers.”

That seemed to have an effect. The last balloting of the day pushed Murphy to 58.7 percent, a sign that her victory was likely on the next ballot or the one following that.

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
U.S. Rep. Tim Walz did not promise to stay out of a primary if someone other than him was endorsed.

Walz seemed to concede with a statement from himself and Flanagan that read: “The best news is that Rochester’s Mayo Civic Center this weekend was full of the energy we need to win and we’re excited for 500,000 DFLers to have their voices heard. Let’s be clear, Democrats will leave Rochester united in our values. But the robust debate on who can best deliver a progressive message and win in November will continue.”

He then took his delegates from the floor and held a rally outside the civic center and told Martin that he was withdrawing. The convention delegates were then asked to endorse Murphy by acclamation, which they did.

What will Otto do? She withdrew with a cryptic statement, that she and her lieutenant governor pick Zarina Baber would “take the weekend to think about this.” Martin said he hadn’t talked to Otto but called her a good supporter of the DFL and thought she was keeping open the option of running if the convention ended without an endorsement. She had earlier pledged not to run if one of the others was endorsed.

But she also told one of the two candidates seeking the endorsement today for state auditor — Julie Blaha — that she would not be running for that job again. The other DFL auditor candidate is Jon Tollefson.

On Friday, delegates did as expected and endorsed incumbent U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith. It was slightly easier for Klobuchar, who was unopposed, while Smith won easily but had to go through a process with three other candidates — Ali Ali, Richard Painter and Nick Leonard. The convention also endorsed Secretary of State Steve Simon for another term.

Comments (124)

  1. Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/02/2018 - 10:51 pm.


    What Martin didn’t mention was that the endorsement challengers are the only ones who have won. There hasn’t been a non-incumbent DFL endorsed candidate elected in over 40 years. Likely because its a terrible process that produces bad candidates. Like Erin Murphy. Thank god there is a primary.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/03/2018 - 09:20 am.


      Nothing like an echo chamber to get you riled, but also keeps you deaf to the, there are lots of voters that don’t think like you, and if you don’t listen, they won’t vote for your candidate. The state is bigger than the metro, the DFL just dosen’t get it, your chance of getting anything of what you want diminishes if your party candidate isn’t elected. Sorry but that is called compromise.

  2. Submitted by Aaron Albertson on 06/03/2018 - 12:14 am.

    A primary is different

    I’d guess farmers weren’t able to come to the convention since it’s peak season to grow crops

  3. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 06/03/2018 - 06:30 am.

    Let me quote.

    “Murphy took issue with Walz’s map.’Using a map that shows how we’re divided is a hateful message,’ she said.” Note. Walz displayed a map that show in red the part of the state that voted Republican in the last election.

    Walz showed the “inconvenient truth” that we have a divided state. We need someone who can heal the division. In the US Senate, we have someone who does that – Amy Klobuchar. Everyone loves Amy because she is a healer and that is what the people of Minnesota find most appealing in a politician.

    Walz has demonstrated this same appeal to Democratic, independent and even some moderate Republicans in his district He is teacher who showed an ability to learn and communicate a clear message – that to win the Governorship and regain control of the Legislature, the DFL has to do much better in rural Minnesota.

    Murphy accuses him of being a hater for pointing this out, itself a hateful claim. Politics is about getting elected to represent all the people, not just the political activists whose views match yours 100% of the time. Lay off the guilt trips. It feels very Republican to me – intolerant of other views.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m voting for the winner of the primary, as voting for a Republican given the wall of hate Republicans have erected is unthinkable, but please going forward, channel Amy rathr than nasty for the sake of all of those you want to represent.

    • Submitted by Gene Christensen on 06/03/2018 - 11:38 am.


      Otto won the 1st CD last time she ran, so did Klobuchar, a couple of city people. Rick Nolan wins in the 8th without selling his soul to the NRA. I’m all for including out-staters, but you shouldn’t have to sell your soul to the devil to do so. After 12 years of support by the NRA and mass shooting after mass shooting, are we really naive enough to believe Walz came to Jesus when he decided to run for a new job?

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/03/2018 - 04:05 pm.


        Otto is not a city person. She lives in the 6th congressional district, which she made very clear throughout her campaign. She wanted people to know that she isn’t a city person because she understands that its an electoral handicap.

        A lot of politicians have come to Jesus when seeking new jobs, especially when the demographics of the people voting for the new job are different. I’m actually more concerned about candidatew like Murphy, who is campaigning like she’s running again in Mac-Groveland and not statewide.

        If guns are your issue, your choice is recent convert Walz, who will get elected governor. Or Tim Pawlenty, who will crush Erin Murphy and will usher in stand your ground and other gun-rights laws.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 06/03/2018 - 05:44 pm.

        Just Win Baby

        I’m not at all concerned about Walz and guns, he’s not going to give away the store.

        More importantly, this race is the Super Bowl, the World Series, and the Stanley Cup all rolled into one. If the GOP controls all of the levers, they will ram through their agenda in a very short period of time, knowing it will take a generation or two to undo it all. Right to work for less, prevailing wage, voter suppression, severely gerrymandered districts, decimating public employee unions, private for profit charter schools plundering the public treasury, gutting transit and road spending, and that’s just getting started.

        Politics isn’t about being fair to candidates. Murphy today picked a gay Metro legislator for Lt. Guv. I don’t care who loves who, I do care who wins this race. And after Murphy’s pick today, I’m really questioning her ability as a campaigner. This pick is a big juicy fast ball, waist high, right over the plate for the GOP to campaign out state. For conservative leaning rural voters, this confirms a narrative. This could be the worst statewide operation since Ann Wynia, who somehow managed to lose to Rod Grams.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/03/2018 - 11:12 pm.


          Everyone who got a city-mandates raise or sick leave in Minneapolis will lose it – preemption will be among the first things out.

          You woule have hoped Murphy woukd have found a rural legislator to at least try to appeal to outstate voters. Her choice could not have been much worse in that regard.

          • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 06/04/2018 - 11:24 am.

            Allow me to retort

            1.) The gay metro legislator who Murphy picked was the only DFL House Rep to flip a district in 2016 — and she did so in exactly the sort of second/third tier suburb that is going to be a major battleground in 2018.

            2.) The GOP is going to attack any and every DFL candidate — even the guy from Mankato — as an out-of-touch liberal elitist. Erin Murphy could have picked the 2018 version of Pa Ingalls and it wouldn’t have mattered one bit to how her opponents attack her.

            3.) Erin Murphy grew up in Janesville, Wisconsin, and worked as a nurse. She was in a union, just like that guy from Mankato, and hasn’t had to flip-flop in order to take gun control positions supported by large majorities of Minnesota’s population. What a crazy lefty radical!

            4.) Yes, it’s an unconventional pick. The DFL in this state has been paralyzed by the conventional wisdom as it kicked away Legislative majorities. Maybe a little non-conventional thinking is OK.

            • Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/04/2018 - 11:49 am.


              The argument that the other side is going to attack whoever it is so it doesn’t matter who we nominate is a terrible argument. They will indeed attack anyone. The trick is whether those attacks stick, so the differences matter.

              The idea that growing up somewhere will convince outstate voters that she’s not a St. Paul liberal shows how out-of-touch the Murphy contingent really is.

              • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 06/04/2018 - 12:38 pm.

                “The argument that the other side is going to attack whoever it is so it doesn’t matter who we nominate is a terrible argument. ”

                That’s not the argument. The argument is that we don’t have to let Republicans dictate who we nominate just because we feel we have to check a box.

                “The idea that growing up somewhere will convince outstate voters that she’s not a St. Paul liberal shows how out-of-touch the Murphy contingent really is.”

                Mark Dayton and Tina Smith are the walking embodiments of “big city elites” and they won. I think a middle-class nurse from St. Paul can do just fine.

                • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 06/04/2018 - 05:53 pm.


                  State and national politics are far different today than they were in 2010, when Dayton was elected Guv. The false narrative of an urban/rural divide has gained traction. And Smith has never been elected to office on her own.

                  • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 06/05/2018 - 11:35 am.


                    Smith wasn’t on the ballot in 2010. She was in 2014, during peak State Office Building hi-jinks.

                    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 06/05/2018 - 08:00 pm.

                      To Reiterate

                      Smith has not run for, or won, statewide office on her own. You couldn’t find two people who voted Dayton/Smith because of Smith. I’m not trying to diminish her in any way. But to suggest she has a track record when she has none is ridiculous.

                    • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 06/06/2018 - 08:58 am.

                      That’s true. But if one is going to criticize the Murphy – Maye Quade ticket as too metro-centric, you can’t ignore the fact that the 2014 ticket was Mark Dayton and Tina Smith — and they won! The idea the Murphy and Maye Quade are more “urban liberal elitey” than Dayton and Smith is preposterous.

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/06/2018 - 09:37 pm.

                      What’s preposterous

                      With all due respect, is equating Dayton, whose very name is synonymous not only with Minnesota politics, but also with Minnesota culture and history, to Murphy. While she is a fine person and fine legislator, I’m sure, I could walk down my street now, and find perhaps 1 other person (a political junkie of the opposing stripe) who could pick her from a 2 person line-up. While that can be an advantage in some respect, it also poses the problem of Republicans painting whatever caricatures they like upon her, and unlike Dayton and the cantankerousness (for lack of a better term) of his late stage political career, I have no reason believe Murphy has what it takes to push back.

            • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 06/04/2018 - 12:41 pm.

              Number 1

              Is the best reason to leave Quade where she is, so the seat can be held.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 06/03/2018 - 11:59 am.

      It’s an Odd Comment by Murphy

      To point out the the GOP has done very well in some part of the state is in no way hateful. It’s not only a cheap shot, it’s also just wrong, and it makes me question her judgement.

  4. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 06/03/2018 - 12:05 pm.

    Reverse Coat Tails?

    I haven’t anyone mention this possibility, so maybe I’m way off base here. But I wonder if the out state voters that are prone to the GOP political message of division would be more likely to vote for the GOP candidate for legislature if Murphy is on the general election ballot. Especially if it looks like she’s a has a decent shot of winning, it would, in their minds, be a hedge against a metro elitist. Look, with Karin Housley running, there’s already an metro elitist millionaire in a state wide race.

  5. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/03/2018 - 05:22 pm.

    This is so typical…

    8 comments and not a single observation about anything any of these candidates want’s to do, or their proposals, or their vision for MN, or their ability to energize liberal voters. THIS is how the DFL keeps putting losers on the ballot, no one talks about what they want to vote for, or what kind of agenda they support, and everyone’s pretending to be strategists and experts about who someone else will vote for. THIS is not how you select viable candidates and it’s the very nexus of the crises in the Democratic Party.

    The centrist idea that Walz will win the rural Republican vote is simply facile. One thing that Otto has pointed out: “There was no “Trump surge” in MN. Trump got nearly the same votes as Romney, but Clinton got 178,000 fewer votes than Obama. We don’t need someone who can appeal to Trump voters; we need someone who can turn out disaffected Democrats across the state!”

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 06/03/2018 - 06:44 pm.


      I’d be fine with Otto. At least she is a proven vote getter out state.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/03/2018 - 09:45 pm.


      And what vision/agenda is it we are missing? “The centrist idea that Walz will win the rural Republican vote is simply facil” Didn’t see “strategists and experts” saw folks file opinions. At the end of the day a governor, governs the entire state, sorry to break the news, that includes “Trump voters”. To answer your comment, yes the winning Governor should have something to offer “Trump voters” , at least that’s what some of the folks outside the echo chamber think. Do you think some of those “Trump Voters” just might be “disaffected democrats”?

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/03/2018 - 10:53 pm.

      Fine and good

      But is Murphy that person? I’m liberal, and my response is meh. There’s more complexity within Democratic circles than just one’s measure of liberalness. There’s strong themes of parochialism too, for better or worse. You do need to turn out outstate liberals too, and I fear a tradtional metrocentric liberal campaign, headed by metro liberals (who often give short shrift to like-minded out staters within the party apparatus) won’t do it. Forget the Trump voters, how does Murphy energize our own, whose priorties may not align with hers? Not every liberal ideal is equal, nor is every liberal politician.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/05/2018 - 08:52 am.


        One problem that the Democratic Party has is that there are too many “liberals” in their ranks that aren’t actually liberals. No liberal, outstate or otherwise voted for Donald Trump, so no, there’s no need to “flip” them back. By definition if you voted for Trump, you’re not a liberal. This entire theory that somehow Clinton lost liberal votes to Trump is simply facile. Whatever Trump voters may be… they’re not liberals.

        You see this all the time, you see self described “liberals” who instinctively reject liberal agendas or don’t believe liberal agendas are realistic. Listen, if you don’t believe liberal agendas are “realistic”… you’re not a liberal. If you don’t believer liberals can win elections… your not a liberal. If you don’t support liberal policies… if you actually reject liberal policies and fight to suppress liberal candidates and keep them off the Democratic ticket… you’re not a liberal. If you think Democrats will win elections by being more like Republicans… you are simply NOT a liberal.

        This isn’t a litmus test, it’s just a basic observation. We’re stuck with two Parties in this country for better or worse. If YOU don’t think the Democratic Party needs to be the liberal Party, you’re not a liberal. I don’t know what you are… but you’re not a liberal. So this is the battle we’re currently waging, and it’s a battle among those who see the need for a liberal Party, and those who do reject that vision.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/05/2018 - 11:32 am.


          No one said they did. They may however, have not voted at all. Turn out means just that, turning out voters to support you, not just stealing votes from your opponent. While you and I might feel it necessary to vote every time, whether or not we like who’s running, not everyone does. As to my liberalness, you can think as you like, although your desire for all to subscribe to your particular set of liberal values sure smells of a litmus test to me. That I don’t subscribe to Murphy’s particular views on things like identity politics does not mean I’m not liberal, it means I think those views are flawed and damaging to liberalism, and should be cast aside in favor of better ones.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/05/2018 - 03:25 pm.

            We KNOW Obama voters stayed home

            You are simply not going to turn out Republican voters for Democratic candidates, THAT is a pipe dream. And you’re not going to energize the Obama voters that sat out the last election with a campaign directed at Trump voters… how is this not obvious?

            If anyone is running on identity politics at this point, it’s Walz. And if anyone thinks Walz is going to bring Minnesotan’s “together”… that would be centrist pipe-dream #17. That’s paradox of centrism, the more centrist try to suppress “extremes” the more ineffective government is, and more ineffective government is the more desperate voters become… and more desperate voters become the more vulnerable they are to extremism. Hence… Trump.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/05/2018 - 03:44 pm.

            No litmus test

            It’s just that liberalism is a real thing, it has definitive characteristics, it’s not just whatever you want yourself to be. I don’t actually care whether or not you or anyone else IS a liberal, but if you’re calling yourself a liberal you should be one. I don’t call myself a Jew… because I’m not a Jew. If you don’t believe liberals can win elections, or if you think liberalism is some form of “extremism”, you’re not a liberal anymore than someone who doesn’t believe in Jesus can be a Christian, that’s not a litmus test, it’s just and existential fact. If you want to be a liberal then by all means… be a liberal. But the days of people who constantly fight to keep liberal agendas off the table… calling themselves liberals; may be coming to end.

            Mainly what I see with pseudo-liberals is folks who are desperately trying to regain their comfort zones of the past, mostly affluent white folks, and mostly males. The political problem is that their comfort zones of the 90s, and pre-recession 2000s, were decidedly NOT working for millions, in fact the majority of the rest of America. We sat on worsening crises for decades because the elite and the affluent weren’t affected particularly much by those crises.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/05/2018 - 04:57 pm.

              Except your making yourself the arbiter

              As well as deciding which issues are important. Is #metoo liberal? Must everyone calling themselves a Liberal support it line by line? Do I need to subrogate my concerns for things like the environment and the economic fortunes of the poor becasue vocal liberal minorities have decided sexism and racism have to be “solved” first? I’m sorry, but you can’t claim to be speaking for liberals, and liberalism, when in reality all you represent is those who yell the loudest.

              • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/05/2018 - 05:31 pm.

                Except I HAVEN’T mentioned any issues…

                All I’ve done is point out that liberals believe in being liberal… and you seem to be arguing with me about that. I’m not arbiting anything, only you know the answers to the questions I’m asking, and I don’t care what your answers are. You aren’t actually talking about the issues that are important to you, so far (unless I’ve missed it) all you’ve done is decide that Murphy is less electable than Walz. My whole observation on this thread is that NO ONE is talking about issues, priorities, or agendas. The assumption is that whoever wins will win on identity alone.

                • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/05/2018 - 06:29 pm.

                  I did actually

                  Perhaps less pontificating is in order? I focus on economics, particularly for the poor, and environmental concerns, Otto was my preferred pick as well. I don’t think Murphy is electable its true, but as I don’t care for the “woke” wing of liberalism and its politics of retribution, I wouldn’t want her as governor anyway. I can’t see her campaigning without including that agenda, its the only way she can differentiate herself. Nolan’s mining fixation negates that ticket. The gun issue isn’t that big a deal to me, perhaps it is for you.

                  To act as if all liberalism is equal is just not reality. The problem being of course the self- factionalization we insist on engaging in prevents our unifying to see that all goals can be met.

                  • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/06/2018 - 10:59 am.

                    Thank you Matt

                    That was a very thoughtful comment and I appreciate it. I just want to clarify, I think the problem is the notion that all liberalism is equal… it is not, that’s my point.

                    I want to talk about what liberalism is, and make liberalism a key feature of the Democratic Party. My take on Walz is that he’s the least liberal (with the possible exception of Swanson) and the least likely to promote liberal policies and solutions if he gets elected. Furthermore, as the least liberal I think he’s actually less electable because he won’t be able to distinguish himself from Pawlenty. Pawlenty’s appeal such as it was, was his “moderation”. If the Republican candidate manages to thread the needle between Trump fanatic and moderate, Walz will have a really hard time convincing liberals that he’s liberal, and others that he’s not too liberal. Walz will spend too much time trying to get votes he can never get, and to little time generating energy among those who would vote for a Democrat.

                    On the other hand, Pawlenty was never really a strong statewide candidate, he “won” elections in weird three way election cycles. So who knows.

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/06/2018 - 12:20 pm.

                      I think

                      The main problem I have with your outlook is the constraints it places on what liberal POLICY should look like. For example, farmers have increasingly turned conservative, by your measure, those are votes we won’t win, so we quit attempting to craft good, liberal farm policy? Outdoorsman skew right, so we ignore the obvious opening created for common ground by the conservative public land grab? These are traditional liberal bastions of governance, centrist only in that there are otherwise conservative folks who might like our ideas on the topic. I don’t understand the mindset to limit ourselves only to those subjects that are already in agreement amongst ourselves when easy outreach IS possible with the right messenger. That Walz is strong on issues outside the current liberal mainstream doesn’t necessarily make him any less liberal, it could well be that liberalism has, through any number of reasons, become myopic in the scope of what it chooses to address.

                    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/06/2018 - 03:45 pm.

                      Liberal farm policy

                      “For example, farmers have increasingly turned conservative, by your measure, those are votes we won’t win, so we quit attempting to craft good, liberal farm policy? ”

                      On the contrary, it’s actually centrists who argue that we should quit crafting liberal farm policies because they claim farmers won’t vote for them. I say liberals craft liberal policy, be it farm policy or otherwise. Liberals can’t craft conservative policy in order to get conservative votes… those who craft conservative policy are by definition not liberals. We already have Republicans crafting conservative farm policy, why would liberals craft MORE conservative farm policies? Liberals craft their policy, conservatives craft their policy, and farmers (and everyone else) decide who’s policies they like best and vote accordingly. That decision to abandon liberalism in search of conservative votes is killing the Democratic Party, ultimately that’s how Trump got elected, and that’s how Republicans took the MN Legislature.

                      And anyways, if you give voters nothing but conservative policies to choose from, how can they ever trend any direction other than conservative? Liberals need to be liberal, you win some elections, you lose others, but if you stop being liberal… then you’re… not a liberal. We need a liberal alternative, and that means we need the Democratic party to be a liberal party.

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/07/2018 - 10:58 am.

                      On those points we agree

                      Excepting what actually happens in practice. Its not a matter of crafting liberal vs conservative policy, its that policy that certain factions of liberalism have no interest in, ie farm policy, are not created at all, or given such little thought as to be useless. I guess the issue is more that of priority, and that it seems support for certain factions of liberalism comes with the implication that others will be ignored. That’s the myopia to which I refer.

                    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/07/2018 - 11:25 am.

                      OK, but…

                      There are plenty of liberal policy initiatives and ideas out there for everyone, whatever their priorities may be. This is how the “F” in the DFL got there in the first place after all. And liberalism has much better track record of bringing people together and resolving “divides” than any of the alternatives. The more centrists try to bring us together… the more divided we seem to become for instance, it’s almost a paradox.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/03/2018 - 11:08 pm.


      Its not facile. Its fact. Walz did win that vote. He got elected in a district that Trump won easily. He got Trump voters.

      But you know what – lets have a primary! What better test to see what will turn out Democrats. Everyone is talking about Murphy and Walz, but no reason Otto can’t run too – she sounds pretty bitter about how the convention went down (as she should be).

  6. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 06/04/2018 - 07:44 am.

    “want” to do?

    Sorry Paul, but I’m tired of what inexperienced candidates “want to do”. I want somehow that “will do”. I don’t need a lightweight newcomer like Murphy. I want someone to get things done.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/04/2018 - 08:26 am.


      All three Democratic candidates have the requisite experience. Otto is the only one who’s actually won a state wide contest. But you get to vote for whoever you want to vote for, for whatever reason. Just don’t pretend you know who everyone else will vote for.

  7. Submitted by Teresa Fishel on 06/04/2018 - 08:14 am.

    Not a lightweight and gets things done

    Health care, one of our most pressing issues, is one of Erin Murphy’s strengths. When she was former MN House Majority leader, she led the fight against Pawlenty’s efforts to gut health care, and won. In the legislature she has supported education, equal rights for all people, and health care. Erin is positive, enthusiastic, will bring in votes for the diverse population that is now part of Minnesota, she listens, and she will fight to make Minnesota a better state for all who live here. She is exactly who we need running for Governor and if Walz was truly interested in bringing the state together, he would work with her instead of against her.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/04/2018 - 08:34 am.

      Not really

      In addition to being totally unelectable, I have always been underwhelmed by her. I interacted with her campaign earlier this year and was shocked by how a nurse and legislator could be so ignorant about healthcare.

      If Walz wants to bring the state together, he’ll do everything possible to defeat Murphy in an actual democratic process.

    • Submitted by Pat Brady on 06/04/2018 - 09:19 am.

      Erin Murphy is an experienced state legislator

      Murphy knows what is a good budget and a bad budget for all residents of MN. She understood that smoke and mirrors budget of the Pawlenty era on the backs of school distrcts across our state was the worst GOP idea in years. She voted against it.
      Murphy understands that we need long term funding for our state infrastructure, not a” patch a pot hole and call it a day” method.
      MN is ready for our next governor to move forward on common sense gun reform, protecting our vulnerable seniors with active oversight of nursing homes and long term care centers, afordable housing throughout the state, and promoting clean water, air and protecting our wonderful state parks and forests for future generations.
      These are not partisen issues but common sense policies for our enire state.

  8. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/04/2018 - 08:33 am.


    What we’re seeing here in these comments is a reflection of moderate republicans (who call themselves “centrists”) that have taken over the Democratic Party. All you’re seeing here is basic impulse to suppress liberalism… and the fact that this suppression is enforced within a “liberal” party tells us that we simply do not have (yet?) a liberal Party.

    History is clear on this point, the more Republican the Democratic Party become… the fewer elections they win. This is because without a liberal Party voters always lose no matter which Party “wins”.

    And by the way, I’m just assuming that all of these Walz supporters who attacked Sanders supporters for being sexist are have just decided that gender equality isn’t really an issue anymore?

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/04/2018 - 10:29 am.


      You have this idea that everything is about liberals vs centrists, that this is the only issue in elections. A lot of Walz supporters I know were Sanders supporters, while Murphy supporters (and Murphy herself) supported Clinton. Its a lot more complez than your binary analysis.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/05/2018 - 08:27 am.

        Basic, not simplistic

        Liberalism isn’t the election issue, it’s the nomination issue for Democrats. It’s simply facile to suggest that Sanders’s had a base of support among centrists. We KNOW that centrists fought hard to suppress progressive candidates, and they certainly fought hard to keep Sanders off the ballot.

        People have a lot of different reasons for voting the way they do in the end, I ended up voted for Clinton, that doesn’t make ME a centrists. Nevertheless Centrism is about suppressing liberal and progressive agendas and candidates.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/05/2018 - 10:46 am.


          I know Sanders die hards who support Walz. And I knew die hard progressives who supported Clinton in 2016 because of Sanders bad record on guns.

          It really is a lot more complicated than your Centrists vs liberals analysis.

    • Submitted by John Eidel on 06/04/2018 - 11:41 am.

      In what specific ways is Tim Walz not a progressive? I have a hard time finding any issue where Walz’s positions fall outside of the progressive mainstream with the strong exception of his “A” rating from the NRA. I don’t think his appeal to rural MN lies in Clinton-style triangulation but rather in a strong commitment to Ag issues and an impressive record in Congress on veteran issues. He favors the ability of any Minnesotan to buy into MN Care, supports a $15 minimum wage, supports increased education funding, is strong on LGBQ issues and racial equality, etc. He might be more of a hawk in Congress than I am comfortable with, but his ability to wage war as governor of this state is pretty limited. I am willing to stand corrected on this, but I don’t see any issue where Walz is anything but a strong progressive.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/04/2018 - 12:34 pm.


        Good luck getting with getting an answer. Bernie Sanders cast a lot of anti-gun control votes over the years and he’s still progressive Jesus.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/05/2018 - 08:13 am.

        Clinton claimed to be a “progressive” as well

        Centrist frequently claim to be progressives during campaigns, then when they get elected they return to station. Walz entire campaign message is that he’s a centrist who can “unite” Minnesota. What that means is that whatever support he’s currently offering for progressive agenda’s like Single Payer, $15 minumum, etc…. will be negotiable when he gets elected. Walz can point to progressive agendas he’s currently claiming to support… but he can point to no progressive agenda that’s he’s spent his political career fighting for.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/04/2018 - 08:30 pm.

      I think you might have it backwards

      My fear is that the Murphy campaign is gonna become “I’m with Her, pt 2.” This is the identitarian wing of the party in full flower, not the Bernie wing. The Quade pick just dials it up to 11.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/05/2018 - 10:48 am.

        Let’s hope not

        The difference is that Murphy actually comes from a more progressive place, she has a strong liberal message and agenda, and since nobody knows who she is she won’t be able to run on her “identity”. She’s also NOT the most unpopular or distrusted candidate Democrats could put on their ballot. All of these factors probably push her away from a: “I’m with her” Clinton identitarian campaign.

        I would have preferred Otto, but it looks like she’s out, as of this moment she hasn’t announced a plan to run in the primary. I can vote for Murphy and if she runs an energetic campaign I think she can win, and I think her agenda is for Minnesota.

        It’s going to be tough for Democrats because they still haven’t defined themselves or their agenda as a liberal alternative that will get things done. In addition, that third term for a Party is always a tough nut in MN, getting that third (and maybe fourth) bite of the apple is never easy in this state. This is why a guy like Walz is more likely to lose to a Republican, instead of voting for a Democrat who promises to work with Republicans voters will just elect a Republican to work with Republicans. If Democrats don’t give voters a clear and compelling alternative… they’ll lose… again.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/05/2018 - 11:40 am.

          What’s her strong liberal message?

          That’s the problem. The election is 5 months away. The Republicans will have a clear message to their throngs, “defeat the liberals”, Murphy is unknown to all but the wonkish among us. I’m afraid this is gonna be a name recognition contest, for better or worse, you can rail on again about the direction of the party, but I honestly don’t think it matters this time around. Particularly now, with an array of heavy hitters aligning around the other offices, Murphy runs a clear risk of being left in the background. If that happens, and Pawlenty is the opponent, I don’t care what positions she holds, we lose.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/05/2018 - 03:16 pm.

            Who’s the Republican candidate?

            No one knows anyone at this point, that’s why politicians have campaigns. You think the guy Republicans just nominated is a household name? Please. Every candidate runs the risk of being left in the background, that’s what happened to Clinton for instance. And I hate to tell you this but Walz isn’t universally known candidate either. No matter who the candidate they will have to run a successful campaign if they want to win.

            As for Pawlenty, all I can say is if Democrats don’t have a candidate that stands FOR something rather than a candidate that just stands against Pawlenty, Walz or not, they’ll lose. So again, it comes back to having a liberal candidate that has a compelling agenda and a vision that voters want to vote FOR. Voters want to be part of something larger and more important than an election “victory” for some candidate. Keeping it “blue” is not a priority, but living wages, health care, affordable education, infrastructure, racial and gender equality, those are are priorities.

            • Submitted by ian wade on 06/05/2018 - 03:43 pm.


              Keeping it “blue” IS a priority. Democratic policy can’t be enacted without Democrats being elected.

              • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/05/2018 - 08:45 pm.

                Uhhh no

                People won’t vote just keep or make something “blue”, blue is color, not an agenda or policy. Simply electing Democrats gets us no where unless Democrats promote solutions and policies that address the needs of the people who elect them. For decades now either Democrats or Republicans always win… and voters always lose. So no, don’t expect voters to turn out to keep things blue, that wasn’t a good enough reason to bring them out in the last election, and won’t be a good enough reason the next time around. Democrats need to understand that.

                • Submitted by ian wade on 06/06/2018 - 01:08 pm.

                  SCOTUS appointments alone

                  should have been enough to get people to the polls. One look east across the St. Croix should have been enough. And let me remind you that every educational and social program, every regulation that has kept our food safe, our water clean and our workers safe has come courtesy of the Democratic party. I’m beyond tired of hearing that we don’t have an agenda.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/05/2018 - 06:46 pm.

              Except he’s not

              This would be Johnson’s second run, no? To those that matter for him, the base, he IS a known quantity. How many nominal Democrats know Murphy? How many know her policy positions. That’s the problem, you want to run a wonkish, policy campaign, headed by a virtual unknown, expecting that those undecided enough to be open to it are gonna take the time to parse it out, research and digest it in whole, and come around to support in, by primary time, 3 months. OR, they’ll hear a known entity, speaking well-rehearsed boilerplate talking points, telling them exactly what they want to hear and who to blame, repeated a hundred times. Man I wish obviously intelligent liberals like you could be made to understand the insanity of your approach. Dislike Walz all you like, he wasn’t my first choice either, but at least recognize he IS a better politician than Murphy, that while YOU may not care for pandering, a great many people do, it’s how political campaigns have been won for hundreds of years. Will he be liberal enough for my taste should he be elected, who knows, but he’ll definitely be more so than the Republican we’ll elect banking on the rationality and intelligence of the electorate.

              • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/06/2018 - 04:04 pm.


                I wish Democrats like you would stop pretending you posses a superior grasp of politics and political reality. If Murphy is such a horrible politician how did she get elected, and how did she get the Party endorsement? Obviously she has some political skills, and some campaign skills. The fact that Walz got elected doesn’t make him a “better” candidate, all of the candidates have been “elected”.

                You haven’t see the campaigns yet, you can’t possibly know who’s going to have the better campaign. What’s insane to assume that Walz can tap into the irrational mindset of Trump voters, if THAT’S your plan, it’s pure magical thinking and you’re descending into madness.

                No one wins elections with the votes they DON’T get… Why are so many Democrats so confused about that?

                • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/07/2018 - 11:09 am.


                  Within one’s own organizational party structure is an entirely different animal than within the voting population as a whole. The short answer, having attended DFL state conventions, is that metro delegations hold ALL the power. That Murphy won over like minded delgates is no surprise, we nearly endorsed folks like Pallmeyer and DID endorse the likes of Kelliher in the not so distant past. Fine and good if the only votes in question are those same metro delegates, not so much for everyone else. I don’t understand the view that all those who are not a metro liberals are somehow only Trump supporters, and should thus be ignored, but I’d suggest you get out of SLP sometime and meet a few, it might open your eyes.

                  • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/07/2018 - 04:39 pm.

                    The world beyond SLP

                    “I don’t understand the view that all those who are not a metro liberals are somehow only Trump supporters, and should thus be ignored, but I’d suggest you get out of SLP sometime and meet a few, it might open your eyes.”

                    Yes, it’s very difficult to understand the imaginary views that no one is actually expressing, but what does that have to do with my being trapped in SLP? I did get out of SLP once, in the early 80’s… for about 20 minutes, does that count? 🙂

                • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/07/2018 - 11:51 am.


                  As I ponder the totality of your commentary, I find myself more and more perplexed. You rightly promote the promotion of a liberal agenda, with, from what I can tell, is an economic focus. Understandable considering your history of support for Sanders and that vision. However, here and elsewhere, you’ve repeatedly stated the need for Liberal candidates to stop attempting to cater to the stereotypical “Trump voter” and focus, from what I gather, on the base alone. But isn’t it the whole purpose of the Liberal economic platform to appeal to those same folks you argue we should ignore? That by offering them an alternative to slash and burn capitalism we can draw them to our cause? That despite the wedge social issues on which many may disagree we could at least unite around that? I, at least, took that as the central message that Bernie was trying to convey. If that’s the case, wouldn’t it make sense to make the messenger someone who is more palatable, in a social issue sense, to those same voters? I get that you have reservations on Walz being that guy, from the economic message sense, but is it not also true that there really isn’t a way for a Murphy/Quade ticket to overcome the social issue baggage to deliver it either?
                  That would seem to be the catch 22 with regards to you previous point about how the convention was won, I don’t know how a candidate who you might find reasonable on a policy basis, and I find palatable on a social basis, ever gets through that process.

                  • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 06/07/2018 - 02:02 pm.


                    What “social issue baggage” is going to be too hard for Murphy-Maye Quade to overcome? Whatever goodwill Walz had on the guns issue is effectively gone now. In fact, it might be worse for him because he’ll be painted as a flip-flopper, too. And Walz supporters keeps telling me Walz is sufficiently progressive on everything else. So why will it be harder for the Murphy ticket?

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/07/2018 - 04:31 pm.

                      Pick one

                      Outside our liberal circles, things like BLM, #Metoo, and immigrant rights are NOT the cultural touchstones they are within. Where they are discussed it is with derision by our opponents. Now please don’t misunderstand, I am in full agreement that the issues raised by these movements ARE important and need to be addressed, I simply believe that the way to do that is to first obtain the power to do so, then craft the policy. Using them as a plank to get elected is a death wish, particularly in a state as demographically homogeneous as ours truly is. Murphy WILL run on these issues, she was elected to do so, her selection of running mate leaves no doubt. It’s just not gonna work, its idealism writ large, with no thought given to the actual reality.

                    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/07/2018 - 05:01 pm.

                      Outside liberal circles?

                      “I simply believe that the way to do that is to first obtain the power to do so, then craft the policy.”

                      THAT- is Machiavelliansim. Machiavelli wasn’t a liberal.

                      You’re basically saying that Democrats should keep their real agenda secret until they get into power… and then make all kinds of liberal policy… that’s actually the antithesis of Liberalism. AND your saying you don’t think people will vote for liberal policies, which is why we can’t run on liberal policies… that’s also an anti-liberal mentality. Finally, your promising us that one you get into power, despite eschewing liberalism… we can rely on you to develop and enact liberal policies once you have the power to do so. You see the problem right? One might try to get into a liberal circle once and while. This strategy has made Republicans the most powerful political Party in the world, I don’t know why Democrats would continue to support it.

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/07/2018 - 06:30 pm.

                      Machiavellian, no. Successful, yes

                      Though I don’t think you intend it, your last sentence speaks volumes. Do Republicans campaign on further enriching the wealthy, punishing the poor, and further marginalizing workers? No, of course not, because while those are indisputably their goals (along with any number of other odious ideas) they actually make an effort to sugarcoat it enough to dupe the uninformed into buying what they’re selling, to the tune of all three branches of federal governance, both houses of the State legislature and varying local and regional offices nationwide. Your response to this is, “Well they are underhanded, WE would never stoop to “selling” our message with anything but unvarnished truth”, and continuing to lose, over and over. There’s no prize for sportsmanship in politics.
                      I don’t think retribution politics (what too much of the social movement side has become) is liberal, it’s just revenge seeking. No I don’t think people will vote for other people’s revenge, particularly when it forces them to accept culpability for other’s actions. You give to much credit to the idea that raising awareness will somehow change minds. Such rhetoric might be cathartic for the affected groups, it does nothing to move the dial toward power, which, all pearl clutching aside, is where the liberal policy to redress these grievances WILL come from. Its kinda hard to enact all the liberal social policy that folks seem to want, with no seat at any law making table. How much policy has been written and enacted at any of the various March for ____, I certainly can’t recall any, can you? Maybe you think you can “solve” racism, sexism, and xenophobia in time for the November elections, or find some means of convincing the large number of people who harbor those views to stay home, but I choose to place my bets on the more likely outcome that you won’t. Running a campaign focused on those issues would seem to be rather foolish.
                      Why it’s so hard for some to see that the positive force of the liberal economic message has been, and continues to be, overshadowed by the spectre of these stupid, no win, wedge protests is a mystery to me.

                    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/08/2018 - 10:26 am.


                      You lost to Donald Trump, and think that’s success?

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/07/2018 - 07:09 pm.

                      Or perhaps a more direct illustration of the problem

                      Which is a variation on the time-honored fallacy of the left, that copious explanation of the intricacies of every issue can somehow trump (no pun intended) simple, digestible messages. To whit, please, if you would, sum up the philosophy of white privilege, the concept of rape culture, provide all the relevant statistical data underscoring police brutality against minorities, and reference all historical data showing our nation’s history of discrimination of minorities both racial and cultural, as well as all statistics regarding gun violence in MN in fewer words than: “Erin Murphy and Erin Maye Quade think all white people are racist”,” Erin Murphy and Erin Maye Quade think all men are sexist.”,” Erin Murphy and Erin Maye Quade are anti-police”, “Erin Murphy and Erin Maye Quade are going to take away every gun in Minnesota”, “Erin Murphy and Erin Maye Quade are anti- Christian.”
                      It’s an unwinnable battle, nuance vs emotion and fear. There’s no reason to engage in it, when there’s far better things to highlight.

                    • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 06/08/2018 - 08:14 am.


                      I’ve spent multiple hours around Murphy during this campaign and I wouldn’t say those issues are the core of her campaign. Now, she doesn’t run from them, by any stretch of the imagination, but she leads always with health care, education and economic opportunity.

                  • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/07/2018 - 05:39 pm.

                    Matt’s confusion

                    “As I ponder the totality of your commentary, I find myself more and more perplexed.”

                    Yes, I can see you’re perplexed and confused, however I’m not sure I resolve that here. Maybe we should get together for coffee or something sometime.

                    In short, the only thing I can do is point out once again that your confusion stems from the fact that your not a liberal. I don’t know what you are, it’s not my job to classify you, but you’re not a liberal. For instance you say:

                    “you’ve repeatedly stated the need for Liberal candidates to stop attempting to cater to the stereotypical “Trump voter” and focus, from what I gather, on the base alone. But isn’t it the whole purpose of the Liberal economic platform to appeal to those same folks you argue we should ignore?”

                    One of the primary features of liberalism, and this goes all way back to the Enlightenment, is the idea that human beings can be rational creatures who exercise their intelligence to learn about their environment, and make intelligent decisions. In other words, as Obama was fond of saying… don’t do stupid things. Wasting time, money, and energy trying to get votes you’re never going to get… is not a smart thing to do, it’s not a rational application of human intellect.

                    The purpose of liberalism is certainly not to craft policies that don’t appeal to liberals, or to search for platforms that appeal to those who don’t believe in liberal principles… THAT would be anti-liberalism… and yes, anti-liberalism is characteristic of the Democratic Party. THIS is why your are perplexed, you’re a Democrat, not a liberal.

                    Liberals promote liberal policies because they believe that liberals policies, like living wages, and public education, are the best policies, whether EVERONE agrees with them or not. So no, it is not a liberal principle that liberals should craft economic policies that fascists will agree with; because any policy a fascists agrees with will not be a liberal policy, and if liberals don’t promote liberal policies… they are not liberals, they might be Democrats, but they’re not liberals. How is this not obvious?

                    Now, yes another liberal principle (in modern times) is to appreciate diversity and recognize and respect human dignity. Part of that is having a willingness to dialogue with those who disagree. That does NOT mean however that sharing power with racists and dictators is a liberal objective. Duh and double duh. We fight for equality whether racists, sexists, or dictators like or not. We didn’t end slavery by reaching out to slave owners. We didn’t end Jim Crow by reaching out to racists. Sure, you can always dialogue with people, but when it becomes obvious that they’re never going to agree you don’t abandon the fight for equality or any other liberal policy.

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/08/2018 - 10:01 am.

                      At no point in history

                      Has the liberalism you espouse been thus. With so much to unpack, we’ll just go point by point.
                      1. Liberalism is about recognizing the intelligence and rationality of individuals (I assume you mean the voting populace here). Sure, if one is writing a philosophical thesis, or giving a lecture, but I assure you, there has never been a politician who give this thought 2 seconds time. POLITICS, on whichever ideological spectrum you care to speak about is focused on winning, and the power derived from that winning. Good or ill, THAT is the goal. Ideology will dictate how that power is utilized, but no flowery notion of the noble idealism of Liberal thought will change that such a pursuit is necessary to actually get anything done.
                      2. Some of the greatest Liberal policy in history, the New Deal and the Marshall Plan, were crafted specifically to appeal to non-Liberals. Pre FDR our country had voted conservative for a decade plus. It was the ultimate ascendancy of supply side capitalism. Those voters didn’t just disappear. They were courted, and won over to the cause by FDR and his promises of a new prosperity, in the depths of the worst economic calamity in history. You think he didn’t tailor his message to do so? FDR was many things, stupid was not among them, he was under constant attack from the same forces his new found supporters had voted for, in some cases, all their lives. He SOLD them on his plans, and kept doing so until it was reality. As for reaching out to fascists (more on that later) not only did Liberalism reach out, it literally rebuilt the lives and homes of millions that did a whole lot more for the cause of honest to God, self described fascism than any one-time Trump voter has dreamed of. It made century’s long allies of all of them.
                      3. Slavery wasn’t ended out of any Liberal ideal at all, Jim Crow either. Emancipation occurred as a military stratagem, in the course of a war effort that at the time wasn’t going well. Lincoln would have preferred to not have done it. Civil Right legislation came about as a legacy effort, (and distraction from an unpopular war effort) of the singular personality that was LBJ. The Civil Right movement certainly brought pressure that gave cover to those less inclined to do so, but sans the personal force of will Johnson exerted, I expect the process could have taken decades more. He did it for personal gain, period.
                      4. Conservatives revise history enough for everyone, we needn’t do the same. It’s fine that you hold such a lofty view of ideology, but as someone so well versed in the lie of “magical thinking”, don’t fall into the trap of thinking yourself immune. You live in the real world, gravesite of every “enlightened” philosophy unwilling to couch itself in the knowledge that perfection isn’t possible, and purity an unattainable goal.

                    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/08/2018 - 01:11 pm.


                      You seem to think you divorce the idea of liberalism from politics… and still claim to be practicing liberal politics. You are mistaken in this regard.

                      You’re history is fanciful but the New Deal was a classic liberal policy initiative. Republicans and conservatives fought it tooth and nail. It was extremely popular because the historical trend is one of increasing popularity of liberal policies and agendas. The movement to end slavery didn’t begin at Gettysburg. And around the world liberals ended slavery without having to resort to military might. The civil rights movement wasn’t initiated by LBJ or Democrats, and it certainly wasn’t promoted or embraced by the likes of Wallace.

                      The fact that you refuse to attribute progress to liberals… just tells us you’re not a liberal. That’s OK, you don’t have to be liberal if you don’t want to be, by why claim to be one?

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/08/2018 - 02:48 pm.


                      Ignoring history is tiresome.
                      Do you think this is Field of Dreams or something? That somehow liberal legislation just pops up in whole clothe, no politicians involved, no voters needed, and somehow gets enacted into law sans any work whatsoever. Then like magic, liberals appear to flock to this guiding light of wisdom? FDR was a GOOD politician, he overcame mistrust of his privileged background, and convinced millions of previously conservative voters to back his vision of liberal change. In your eyes he was just some vessel of universal truth, unimportant but for the fact he was pushing the right agenda. Your aim is to divorce the human element of the politician from the “pure” message of Liberalism, essentially stating we could run anyone, so long as the message is correct. This is lunacy.

                      Did abolitionism exist, yep, were American slaves freed by them, or by Lincoln and his proclamation. Was the Civil Rights movement started by LBJ, nope, but would it, with its exactly zero representatives in the law making bodies of power, been able to pass into law the legislation ending (in law anyway) the Jim Crow south, nope. Quit taking more credit than is due, and altering reality to fit your narrative. Its unbecoming.

                    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/08/2018 - 10:48 pm.

                      Matt, I’ve noticed you have a tendency invent your own oppenent

                      “That somehow liberal legislation just pops up in whole clothe, no politicians involved, no voters needed, and somehow gets enacted into law sans any work whatsoever.”

                      We’re talking about selecting the best and most electable candidates here, and we’ve been talking about it a lot. Where could you possibly get the idea that myself or any other liberal doesn’t realize that politics is the mechanism by which Democratic societies enact policy and govern themselves? Liberals invented the political system your referring to, do you really imagine we don’t understand how it works?

                      You might want to reel-in your tendency to condescend a little bit.

                      My position has nothing to do with diminishing humanity in the service of ideological purity. I simply expect that a liberal politician will be…. liberal. It’s not THAT high of a bar, and it’s certainly no purity test.

                      Could we run “anyone” and win as long at they have the right message? I think Donald Trump answered that question rather definitively, clearly some Democrats haven’t learned the lesson. At any rate that’s NOT what I advocate, I’m simply point out that the fact that a candidate needs to have a message, and I think Democrats will win with liberal messages. Clearly some Democrats seem to think they can run anyone and win… that’s not MY delusion.

                    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/08/2018 - 10:21 am.

                      (More on that later)

                      As to avoid making an even longer screed.
                      5.The whole concept of “Trump voters”, as apparently fascists. Again, I don’t know what you were thinking in 2015 and 2016 hy as Bernie was talking of his “Revolution”. Were you under the impression that only Liberal folks under 30, college educated and middle class, were supposed to apply? I was under the impression that it was intended to rally the poor, the dispossessed, the marginalized. All terms that would seem to fit the stereotypical vision of the “Trump voter” that you seem now to regard as a fascist, incapable of reconciliation, rehabilitation, or regard. You speak to me of Machiavellian scheming, but how exactly do propose to implement your vision? As you don’t apparently plan to convert any persons currently opposed, is the plan to just roll over them, kicking and screaming, consequence be damned? That certainly HAS precedent in history, none of it good.

                    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/08/2018 - 01:08 pm.

                      Trump and his supporters

                      Anyone who doesn’t recognize the dictatorial tendencies of Trump and his supporters is probably beyond redemption. Be that as it may, YOUR the one who keeps claiming that we need to invite these extremist to share political power… you may think that’s a good idea, but it is most definitely NOT a liberal idea. And sharing power with extremists… doesn’t reduce extremism by the way.

                      The thing you seem to keep ignoring is the numerical fact that Trump supporters are a minority, Democrats can easily win elections without their votes, but they will never win elections with their votes because they won’t vote for Democrats.

                      I’m looking at your comments over-all you seem to be arguing that Democrats can ignore minorities (like BLM) who’s may vote for Democrats, but focus on winning minority votes (Trump supporters) that you cannot get. Are you TRYING to destroy the Democratic Party? You’re focusing on the wrong minority.

                • Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/07/2018 - 03:53 pm.

                  Murphy got elected in an extremely liberal district that looks nothing like the state as a whole. Any any loser can win the DFL endorsement. In fact, looking at the history, you could argue that only losers can win the DFL endorsement.

  9. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 06/04/2018 - 12:39 pm.

    Taking Over the House

    The Lt. Guv pick is not terribly significant, it’s more about not committing an unforced error. And Murphy erred.

    The DFL needs to put itself in the best position possible to take the House. Giving the GOP a much better shot at Quade’s district does not do that, to put it mildly.

    Then, as mentioned, her pick aids the narrative about Democrats “shoving gay marriage down the throats” of socially more conservative rural voters. When I’m in a battle, I try not to supply the other side with ammo. When Hillary Clinton was accused of being a Wall Street darling, it stuck because for one, she was, and for another, she made big bucks giving speeches the text of which she would not release. When the accusation fits the narrative, it sticks.

    This really makes me question the judgement of Murphy and her staff. There are plenty of lt. guv. candidates Murphy could have chosen, but Quade had the best chance to keep her seat blue.

    • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 06/04/2018 - 03:36 pm.

      If you have to pick…

      … winning the Governors race is more important than the House. Let’s not forget that Speaker Kelliher was forced to eat Pawlenty’s school shift.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 06/04/2018 - 06:40 pm.

        Channeling the Late Great Dark Star

        “You need to raise your standards, son.”

        It’s not either or. We want both, and need to take a serious run at both, given neither is close to guaranteed.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/05/2018 - 11:07 am.


        Lets not forget that Kelliher was totally incompetent and a horrible candidate.

  10. Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/04/2018 - 02:12 pm.


    I saw a great comment on Facebook:

    if the entire State of Minnesota was South Minneapolis, Murphy would be a great candidate.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/05/2018 - 08:20 am.


      Yes, this is the part where all those who couldn’t imagine Clinton losing, or Dayton and Franken winning, claim to be the experts in the room regarding electability.

      Every candidate has strengths and weaknesses. Every candidate must campaign to win. This centrist delusion that they can predict electoral outcomes as if campaigns are irrelevant is simply facile. We’ve seen ALL of these arguments and predictions before. If Walz gets on the ballot and loses, it won’t be because Republicans were unbeatable.

  11. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/05/2018 - 08:39 am.

    Now we’re up to 35 comments, and still…

    No Walz supporter who’s complaining about Murphy’s selection has made even a superficial effort to discuss Walz’s agenda or priorities for MN. We just see a lot pontificating about who’s “electable” based on Murphy’s zip code.

    This is the worse kind of identity politics and it’s exactly how centrists Democrats stalled major initiatives in MN, got Tim Pawlenty elected (twice), and put Donald Trump in the White House. If you think Democrats can win elections without giving voters a clear and compelling reason to vote for… Democrats, you’re leading the Party (and the rest of us) to ruin.

    And by the way, here’s mathematical fact: The VAST majority of voters in MN live in the metro area, it’s a lot easier to lose an election by getting the rural vote and losing the urban vote than it is to win the urban vote and lose the rural vote in a state wide contest. Once again, centrist lose by campaigning for the wrong vote.

    The idea that Democrats need to prioritize Trump voters is political suicide pure and simple.

    • Submitted by Debra Hoffman on 06/05/2018 - 11:06 am.

      Democrats, You’re leading the Party to Ruin

      I’m with him – thanks, Paul!

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/05/2018 - 06:58 pm.

      You haven’t

      Listed Murphy’s either. Possibly because neither has laid them out beyond the usual convention political boilerplate. It seems your issue with Walz comes down to personal distrust, that he’ll go back on his campaign
      to the left once elected. That’s at least that’s what I glean from your commentary. Is that any less ephemeral than forming an opinion based on perceived lack of electability? You have no evidence of his dishonesty, only your perception that his talk of reaching across the aisle will lead to his giving away the farm, so to speak. I can say I find the prospect of large numbers of apolitical general election voters being dissuaded from voting for the Murphy ticket, by copious amounts of negative campaigning from the right, to be a likely prospect. I think Walz gives them less to work with, and as such has an advantage. I could be wrong too. Neither view is fact, both have merit.

    • Submitted by Margaret (Maggie) OConnor on 06/06/2018 - 08:54 am.

      Walz agenda and priorities

      I lived in Mankato for about 15 years, moved to Minneapolis just prior to Walz’s first run for Congress. He taught my kids’ AP class (government I think), and was going to lead a trip to China until the SARS outbreak put a kabosh on that, so I got to see him in action at the pre-trip meetings. Here’s my experience with him. Walz talks the same way to different audiences, doesn’t slant his words depending on who has gathered. He doesn’t say “mines are bad” he says he is committed to protecting the BWCA, and committed to getting good jobs in Northern MN. Another example, when he first ran (2006), he was asked on radio (his first interview I believe) about his stand on the Family Marriage Act. This was when the issue was brought forward by the Right as a wedge issue. He said (and I’m paraphrasing) that the most precious thing in his life was his marriage to Gwen, and he wished everyone could have that. He didn’t make it a front line issue, but he didn’t hide himself behind words to make it un-offensive to his conservative district. He and his wife were a vocal safe haven for GLBT students at West High School, he didn’t jump on that issue to gets votes, or to get cheers from an audience that can’t imagine not supporting GLBT now that it is a safe issue. Walz hasn’t suddenly moved to the left, he also is not rigid. When he decided the NRA wasn’t someone he wanted to have supporting him he gave the money they’d given him to a veteran’s group. Several of my friends in Mankato were Republicans, and to my amazement after they talked with him they were ‘won’ over and have stuck with him.

      His agenda? Education, ‘gun violence prevention’ (he has voted for: universal background checks, “No Fly, No Buy” legislation, CDC funding to study gun violence, co-sponsor to the original bumpstock ban), clean air and water, functional government… just like all the dems.

  12. Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/05/2018 - 10:32 am.

    Because it doesn’t matter

    The minor differences between Walz and Murphy (and Clinton and Sanders) are progressive pipe dreams that will won’t come to be anytime soon in this political environment. It’s irrelevant.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/05/2018 - 12:30 pm.

      Pipe dreams

      It’s always kind funny when those who thought the most flawed, unpopular, and distrusted candidate they ever put on their ballot would win… make fun of someone else’s “pipe dreams”.

      Meanwhile, Sanders’s pipe dreams have become a basic platform for the Democratic party while Clinton’s agenda… what was Clinton’s agenda again?

      And I hate to point this out but according to Walz supporters he’s one of the Democrats who’s adopted all of those pipe dreams.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/06/2018 - 07:08 pm.

        OK “Again” Why Walz

        We need a governor for the entire state, not just the progressive metro. Walz is “Proven” to have out state understanding and elect-ability, we all ready know he is left, Let me repeat, a governor that can govern and understand the entire state, not just the progressive metro. Many of us are very tired of the alt-right, alt-left war, that goes nowhere, can we start working together for a better MN? This is the echo chamber you just don’t get. Looking for a Gov. that can talk and work with the taxpayers as well as the tax takers. Sorry if that doesn’t fit the progressive everyone else out of the pool model. Bridges not more battle fields.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/07/2018 - 09:13 am.

          Circular reasoning

          Any one who gets elected to the governors office represents the entire state, that’s not an special characteristic that Walz owns. The problem with your logic is that it assumes a candidate who wins rural votes but loses “urban” votes can prevail in a general election. Given the population distribution in MN the math just doesn’t support your rationale. The focus on rural appeal is simply facile, and to the extent that “rural” MN supports Trump, no Democrat is going to get those votes, so you’re organizing a campaign around voters who will never vote for you’re candidate. Democrats may well be the only political Party in the world that routinely practices that kind of suicidal election rationale.

          Obviously since support for Trump and Republicans isn’t 100% among rural voters, Democrats WILL get some rural votes in any event, there’s reason to assume or predict that Walz and only Walz can get those votes. Any candidate that runs a compelling campaign and connects with voters can win those votes.

          We can all complain about extremism if we want, but it’s centrism not liberalism that’s delivered unto us this crises of stagnation. Yes, we can see that centrists want desperately to get back into their comfort zones. What centrists don’t understand, and the reason they’re dragging the Democratic Party to ruin, is that while they may have been comfortable with the previous status quo, that status quo was actually toxic for everyone else.

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/07/2018 - 09:41 am.

            Echo Chamber

            Represent the whole state means “Listening and working with them” not shading them out because they aren’t liberal.or conservative. (I didn’t say win rural and lose urban, quite the opposite). As earlier some of us want a state agenda (Not a alt-left or alt right agenda), why did you not address that point? And what crisis of stagnation is that? I could just as easily say its the radical (rights and lefts) that have stalled out the majority in the center! You talk distribution curves, the majority is in the middle not the tails.
            The tails are where the extremes go, then they yell at the center folks and tell them they aren’t pure! The statistics fit the political model +/- a little error. Toxic for everyone else, Really? Do you know what real poverty and suppression looks like? Example: Population density: If Mpls (just Mpls, not the metro) . was as densely populated as Manila its population would be 6,483 M not less than 500K, and on and on and on.

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/07/2018 - 10:10 am.

              Thank you

              “Represent the whole state means “Listening and working with them” not shading them out because they aren’t liberal.or conservative.”

              Thank you, I had no idea what: “representation” is. But tell me, how do you know that Murphy plans to “shade out” rural MN? And do you know that Walz won’t “shade out” the metro area? You seem to making a lot of assumptions based on zip code.

              • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/07/2018 - 11:50 am.

                As noted earleir

                Proven elect-ability track record in a non-progressive dominated section of the state. He is also not a metro-centric candidate. Meaning observations like a leftist could not lose the 5th district if they tried, and there is benefit to having an out state candidate, called sense of getting their voice heard, exactly what we city folk have been hearing from the out state folks for years, (Why did “T” do so well in out state MN?) Governing the entire state interests vs. just getting your own agenda.Forest through the trees. What about the distribution curve, are the statistics wrong?

                • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 06/07/2018 - 01:55 pm.

                  Um, OK.

                  “T” has been a life-long resident of New York city, except for a four-year detour to an Ivy League college in Philadelphia.

                  So maybe we should worry less about the zip code their mail comes to and more about the message. Perhaps you all can point to specific things in Erin Murphy’s legislative record or proposals as a governor candidate that leads you to believe that she can’t advance an agenda that will benefit outstate Minnesota?

                  • Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/07/2018 - 03:50 pm.


                    The zip code is much more important than the message, at least when the differences between DFL candidates are as small as they are here. Murphy’s agenda would benefit outstate Minnesota, much more than any Republican agenda. But the Republicans have spent years cultivating urban/rural resentment and outstate Minnesota won’t vote for a St. Paul liberal.

                    Murphy could have helped herself with an outstate Lt. governor pick. The message of picking Maye Quade is that Murphy holds rural voters in utter comtempt.

                    If Murphy wins the primary, Republicans will control the state.

                    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/08/2018 - 09:37 am.

                      Zip codes are more important than the candidate or the campaign

                      “The zip code is much more important than the message,…”

                      The idea that the candidate, the message, and the campaign are irrelevant, is exactly how Democrats put Trump in the White House. This is facile “reasoning” pretending to be political wisdom, but more importantly it’s precisely how and why Democrats have been losing for decades and Republican whacko’s have become the most powerful political Party in the world. Democrats continue to follow this kind of nonsense at their own peril.

                    • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 06/08/2018 - 12:28 pm.

                      This perspective is interesting to me

                      Essentially, you would be giving a veto to Republicans over how Democrats do things. I’ll say one thing for Republicans, they don’t go around navel-gazing all day, worried about what Democrats are going to say about them. There’s a pretty darned good chance that Minnesota Republicans are going to put up a candidate for governor that spent the last eight years cashing multi-million dollar paychecks for Wall Street. Meanwhile, Minnesota Democrats are kvetching about whether nominating a nurse from St. Paul is a bridge too far.

                      (this is meant to respond to Pat)

  13. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 06/05/2018 - 05:16 pm.

    2016 Redux, Not

    There are few if any relevant parallels between the POTUS race of 2016 and MN Guv 2018. There is no HRC in this race.

  14. Submitted by Joe Musich on 06/05/2018 - 08:57 pm.

    First off…

    It is time a women was elected Governor in this state. It has been a long time since we have had a Social Democrat. But we have. And correctly stated a Clinton is not on the ballot. Those are big levers. As is healthcare. The trade war which is not going to go away is also going to play a bigger state role then has been so far mentioned. Preserving the environment will grow as a concern in state politics. What to look for is how Murphy will do in the 8th. When one looks at what happened to endorsement up there with the more progressive candidate that area may not be as Trumpian as some would assume. I think at best this is a very shallow Trump state. The right messaging could bring a bigger win then one might expect.

  15. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/05/2018 - 09:07 pm.

    The Echo chamber

    Months ago in a different topic different discussion the message was put out: The far lefties have an echo chamber problem. The discussion above seems to bear out that theory. Liberals on this topic aren’t progressive or liberal enough and on and on. As a couple posters pointed out, we all seem to have out own ideas, and do not prescribe to the “cool-aid” as some folks prescribe we must to be a true democrat, or true, progressive or true liberal.

  16. Submitted by Bob Petersen on 06/05/2018 - 11:29 pm.


    Almost all of the comments are never around anything that Democrats have been trying to stand for. Only Mr. Udstrand seems to have any sensibility in what is going on. The Dems at all levels are continually going to the left, whether it’s Sanders, Ellison, Murphy, etc. And no matter the experience, they all attack Republicans, sometimes relentlessly. Politics is vile from all, no matter what side of the aisle. The recent DFL convention is merely adding on to what has been a long trend of Democrats losing over a thousand seats nationwide and growing. People are fed up with what the Democrats have been pushing, spend more and more money while taking more and more, the vilification of religion and personal defense, and that people who commit crimes have more rights than law abiding normal Joe’s and Jane’s. And anyone that feels differently about these things are called every name in the book.
    But that’s okay. It’s clear from the comments that identity politics mean so much more to those on the left than anything else yet claim the high road on decorum. I wonder how many more people are going to call in sick for a ‘mental health day’ the day after the next election.

  17. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/06/2018 - 11:24 am.

    Part of the problem with Party conventions and endorsements

    One problem with the races thus far is that it’s all inside ball stuff. For whatever reason none of the candidates have thus far spent much time campaigning for votes in any meaningful way, so they remain largely unknown. My hope is that now we’re in the primary phase Walz, Murphy, and Swanson will bring out their campaigns and show us what they’ve got. I’m not going to vote for anyone based on their “rural” appeal, so if Walz wants my vote he better have something else to offer. My vote is available, but I’m not interested in electing Democrats who will try to accommodate Republican extremism, keeping it “blue” isn’t my priority, I’m thinking beyond that. I want to see candidates that are FOR something, not just against something, and I want to see Democrats that are running FOR liberal priorities and policies. If Walz can convince me he’s THAT guy, he can get my vote.

  18. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/07/2018 - 11:02 am.

    I just want to make a observation about divisiveness.

    I assume there are those who get tired of my more less constant complaints about “centrism” but nevertheless I’d like to make an observation.

    One of the primary myths of centrism is that it’s an antidote for divisiveness, centrists like to think they all about bringing people together. The fact is, ironically the exact opposite, and you see that here in this comment thread.

    Here we have a perfectly nice article about Erin Murphy winning the DFL endorsement, and it’s Walz centrists, not progressives, not liberals, not even Republicans, who jump all over the endorsement condemning the endorsed candidate and vowing to fight on in primary! And these are the guys who claim to have the candidate that will bring us together? These guys who dismiss liberalism as a pipe dream, attack the other candidates (and their supporters), and condescend to all those who disagree. They can’t even bring themselves to say: “Well, on to the primaries and may the best candidate win.” they have to attack Murphy. What’s not “unifying” about that? And then they want to blame progressives or someone else for the divisiveness in Party?

    My point is that centrism is it’s own form of irrational extremism, and as an extreme, it promotes divisiveness and prevents resolution.

  19. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/07/2018 - 11:38 am.

    My last suggestion… in this thread

    Democrats and liberals actually have a very convenient yard stick available by which to evaluate the Candidates. All we really have to do is look at the Republican bills Dayton vetoed, and ask the candidates if they would have vetoed the same bills, and if so why or why not. So Walz says he’s for the BWCA, AND he’s for jobs on the Iron range. That’s a very safe, non-committal, and unspecific position, so let’s ask him whether or not he would have vetoed all the Republican Wild Rice bills that Dayton vetoed? THAT get’s us into the real meat of the matter. Likewise of course with the other bills and the other candidates.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/07/2018 - 01:15 pm.

      No it dosen’t

      You are living in a Win-lose, world (just like “T”) Walz is looking for a Win-Win world! That is a big difference.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/07/2018 - 02:07 pm.

        I’m living the real world…

        Who’s “T”? And who “wins” when we stomp on Native American treaty rights and cultural heritage (i.e. Republican wild rice laws)? You’re saying nobody loses if sulphide run-off pollutes lakes and streams? Sounds like you’re looking for a Republican to vote for.

        • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/08/2018 - 09:22 am.

          Don’t think so:

          “T”=Trump, Who said stomp? Your point is there is no possible way under the stars to accomplish both? Life is full of risk, can we come up with a good plan to manage it, and accomplish both? Tough issues require tough and creative thinking.. Suspect there was no possible way to do lots of things at one time as well, like go to the moon. Seems you don’t even want to try, already hunkered down for the win-lose scenario.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/08/2018 - 10:33 am.

            My point is…

            Liberal policies are the best way to accomplish “both”. We protect water, honor our legal obligations, and create a sustainable economy that doesn’t require ecological destruction. Better jobs, clean environments, THAT’S a win-win.

            • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/08/2018 - 01:08 pm.

              Its a problem.

              “Liberal policies are the best way to accomplish “both”.” Suggests that ~ 1/2 the voting populous can’t come up with a good idea. (i.e. NIH, Not Invented Here syndrome, from this vantage point that is not the sign of a progressive “open minded” individual.That is not a win-win, looks more my-way highway, Trumpian!

              • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/08/2018 - 01:20 pm.

                This is getting a little goofy

                “Suggests that ~ 1/2 the voting populous can’t come up with a good idea. …”

                Good ideas don’t emerge equally from certain percentages of a population, and our population isn’t divided equally among two groups. Most often the best ideas emerge from individuals or small groups who study problems and generate solutions. So… no Republicans haven’t had a really “good” idea since Nixon went to China.

                • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 06/08/2018 - 05:45 pm.


                  Seems like Arnie C. did pretty good for MN! But I guess its perspective, and If you don’t have an open mind, your perspective is pretty limited.

                  • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/08/2018 - 09:07 pm.

                    Arnie Carlson…

                    Sure, Arnie had some good points… but the Republicans you want to reach out to now have ostracized him, and Pawlenty is no Carlson. And Carlson is no Trump supporter.

  20. Submitted by Cathy Erickson on 06/07/2018 - 05:48 pm.


    There is a lot to digest in this comment thread.
    My questions are these:
    Are there progressives that are not (will not) voting or voting GOP because the current DFL platform isn’t progressive enough? How does a more progressive platform equate to more votes and the DFL maintaining the Governor’s Office?

    I thought I was a centrist, but after seeing the term described as “irrational extremism” I’ve decided I’m an “a la carte-ist”…I’m not middle of the road, I’m not content, but my check-list for betterment does not include all the same things a progressive agenda might.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/08/2018 - 03:44 pm.

      I’ll try to answer Cathy

      “Are there progressives that are not (will not) voting or voting GOP because the current DFL platform isn’t progressive enough? How does a more progressive platform equate to more votes and the DFL maintaining the Governor’s Office?”

      Not that I can speak for all progressives, but progressive never vote for the GOP. I’m wondering if you meant to ask whether or not there are progressives who won’t DFL because it’s not progressive enough? The answer to that question is short is simply yes. However, Sanders’s surprised us all by coming so close to winning the nomination, many progressives had simply written off the Democratic Party, and some had/have even written off electoral politics all together.

      But frankly, I wouldn’t worry too much about progressives because that’s not actually the problem. Sanders for instance is characterized as a “progressive”, but he’s really just an New Deal Democrat… he’s a liberal, he only looks “progressive” from a moderate Republican perspective. Progressives got excited about Sanders, but his agenda isn’t really THAT progressive. The progressives that aren’t going to vote for the DFL haven’t been voting the DFL anyways, so that’s not actually an issue. The main advantage to liberal policies is that they are incredibly popular, they don’t just appeal to “progressives”. Those “pipe” dreams are now standard features of Democratic campaigns all over the country, and they’re winning.

      Liberal platforms are more like to win elections for Democrats because their more popular than most of the other platforms, and voters are obviously not happy with the status quo. Centrism always ends up suppressing liberal platforms because centrists themselves are more conservative than liberal. Centrists assume mistakenly that the electorate is more conservative than it really is. You have to remember that elections like the one that put Trump in office don’t actually reflect attitudes and values. Trumps platform for instance was THE most popular platform, his agenda is and was decidedly unpopular… his platform was just more popular than Clinton’s.

      If you dig into any major issue, you find that American’s are basically more liberal than conservative. Even with our most “divisive” issues like abortion, once you drill down you find clear majorities in support of liberal positions. If you simply ask people for instance if they think women should be forced to carry and deliver babies they don’t want to have for a variety of reasons, opposition to abortion almost evaporates. Once you start talking about the specific reasons women have to wanting to end their pregnancies in the real world, opposition to abortion drops below 8% – 10%. Liberal policies are popular and effective, Democrats just refuse to run on them because as centrists, they don’t believe in liberal policies.

      • Submitted by Cathy Erickson on 06/08/2018 - 05:35 pm.

        Thank You!

        Paul, thanks, this helps with some understanding.

        In Minnesota, in the race for Governor, what platform would you lay out that would win the most voters in the primary…and also the November election?

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/08/2018 - 10:14 pm.

          Platforms for November

          I’m afraid I don’t have a detailed platform to give you, but I would recommend comparing Walz: and Murphy:

          I tend to like Murphy better because of the way she prioritizes her agenda, and I think she’s more specific about actual policy proposals. Walz’s agenda is OK, but Democrats have a history of running liberal and then returning to centrism if they get elected, and Walz and his supporters (judging by comments here) tend to trigger bait-n-switch suspicions in my mind. We have to watch these campaigns and candidates in action to see how dedicated we might think they really are to their platforms. And seriously, I think one way of getting into their heads is asking them specifically whether or not they would have vetoed the same bills Dayton vetoed. Walz for instance makes a big pitch for Native American rights (Flanagan, his running mate, is Native American) but if the guy balks at vetoing all the wild rice bills Dayton vetoed, he’s telling us his platform doesn’t represent his mentality or his priorities. Walz says he supports a statewide $15 minimum wage, but would he veto a Republican bill blocks cities from establishing such a wage? Of course we would ask all the other candidates the same question.

          One thing any candidate needs to do is focus on handful of basic compelling messages. You can’t run a: “trust me I know what I’m doing” campaign. You can’t run a: “Go to my website and look at all the details” campaign. And you can’t run a: “I’m NOT the other guy” campaign. And you can’t run one campaign in one part of the state and a different campaign elsewhere, you need to be consistent.

          And as someone else mentioned here, Democrats need to get their act together, and run together behind some basic liberal policies, be it minimum wages, or sustainable jobs, economic security, infrastructure, education, etc. Karen Sandness put it well:

          ” If they’re smart–and sadly, I’m not betting on it–they will get together and agree on a list of no more than five specific proposals aimed at specific problems that affect the majority of residents. Once they agree on that list, they should all campaign on it and mention it at every public appearance, adding any others that are of interest locally or that they have expertise in, but always going back to the list of five.”

          One of the things that went wrong in the last couple election cycles is many Democratic legislators seemed to distance themselves from Dayton, instead of coordinating a strong central message and working together. It’s actually really weird, you have these centrist Democrats that claim to be all about working with rural Trump voters, but they don’t want to work with their fellow liberals, and they complain about all the divisiveness?

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/08/2018 - 11:10 pm.

        Sorry for the typo’s

        I meant to say that Trump’s platform was NOT the most popular platform, it was just more popular than Clinton’s. Unfortunately Clinton provided a very low bar for Trump to step over.

  21. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 06/08/2018 - 03:05 am.

    You’re forgetting that there are two kinds of liberalism

    All this talk about “too liberal” and “not liberal enough” misses the point that there are two kinds of “liberal,” and any given person may be one or the other or both.

    The stereotypical liberal is the type who is often derided as “mired in identity politics.” I’m talking about the social liberal, who is for racial and sexual equality and a laissez-faire attitude toward personal behavior, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.

    Then there is the economic-political liberal, who supports a strong social safety net, unions, small business instead of large corporations, small farmers instead of agribusiness, a clean political system, and perhaps a less militaristic foreign policy.

    A lot of affluent people tend to be the social liberals and economic conservatives. When people say, “I’m socially liberal but fiscally conservative,” it sounds to me as if they’re saying, “Don’t control my personal behavior, but don’t do anything that will impinge on my financial standing or my comfortable lifestyle.”

    Social conservatives who are political/economic liberals are rare, but they do exist, especially among pacifist religious groups, such as the Mennonites. Their pacifism leads them to question first the military-industrial complex and by extension, other social and economic structures.

    The first type of liberalism is a hard sell in conservative communities, because people may be believe that they don’t know any racial or sexual minorities, or if they do, they have developed strong negative stereotypes about them. I’ve heard people from up north say terrible things about their Ojibwe neighbors, and there have been news reports of groups going around in rural towns fomenting hatred of Muslims. The local businesses may be utterly dependent on illegal immigrants, but the townspeople reserve the right to despise them. In matters of behavior, the small towns may have high rates of unwed pregnancy and substance abuse, but residents like to tell themselves that these are urban problems or the result of bad influences from the city. (I lived in such a town in Oregon for seven years.)

    The second type of liberalism has the potential to solve real problems that non-wealthy people everywhere face: the cost of health care, the cost of post-secondary education, the lack of living-wage jobs, our decaying and increasingly old-fashioned infrastructure, and a current administration in Washington that seems determined to slash the safety net developed over the past 90 years.

    If I were running statewide (and no, I don’t have the proper temperament to be a politician), I’d emphasize the economic-political issues. If a heckler started going on about “letting perverts marry” or “killing innocent unborn babies” or “letting the Muslims take over,” I’d say, “And how is banning gay marriage going to help the fact that you can’t afford to see a doctor? How is banning abortion going to provide jobs for this town? How is hating Muslims going to prevent the Republicans from making you wait till you’re seventy to go on Medicare?”

    I’d have the candidates hold coffee and cookie fundraisers for $10, because getting 200 people to contribute $10 almost guarantees 200 votes, while receiving $2000 from an individual doesn’t even guarantee one vote, because that individual may be hedging his bets by giving to both candidates in the hope of favors later on.

    I’d give up the potentially corrupt custom of charging attendees at the annual DFL dinner a premium to talk to the statewide and national candidates, because that is a surefire way to make sure that they hear only from the affluent.

    I’d recruit local Democrats to talk up the candidates and personally see that all their DFL-leaning neighbors go to the polls. My late mother used to achieve great attendance at church events by personally phoning all the potentially interested people and inviting them, asking if they need childcare or a ride or accommodation for an illness or disability or had special dietary needs.

    I have Facebook friends (people who were originally professional contacts but have become good friends that I have met personally) all over the country and on five of the seven continents. When the news came out that California had only 21% turnout for its recent primary, they were appalled. I asked one of the California residents if she was aware of any get-out-the-vote activities locally, and she said that she had seen none.

    The DFL has a lot of work to do. Never mind who the candidates are. Positions that appeal to a broad range of people, candidates who have the personal touch, and a strong local presence in each of the 87 countries (even if it means recruiting the only five registered DFLers in some countries) will be key.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/08/2018 - 10:30 am.

      Excellent commentary

      All I will add, is that it seems, in my opinion, that there is a decided push to further entrench and divide these two factions in recent years. I won’t delve into blame, but I will say that it is bringing, and will continue to bring, nothing but harm to both if not resolved.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/08/2018 - 11:30 am.

      I would say this is a false distinction

      If you don’t think a liberal economic platform is viable or realistic, your not a liberal. Why? because social and economic features of society simply cannot be separated, you can’t address social inequality without addressing economic inequality. Those who say they are social liberals but economic conservatives aren’t a different kind of liberal, they’re just confused about what a liberal is, and they are not liberals. You simply cannot separate economic disparity from social disparity. Social oppression is intrinsically connected to economic oppression, they are not different or separate realms. Consider health care for instance, you can’t say that those without access to health care or affordable health care enjoy the same social status and affluence as those who do. Likewise we cannot cleanly separate interpersonal features of sexism from it’s economic features. The executive who grabs a woman’s rear end and expects her to make the coffee is the same executive who pays her 56 cents on the dollar compared to the men in the office. You can’t separate the financial and economic aspects of sexual assault in the workplace from it’s physical aspects, one reason women remained silent was the fear of economic retribution.

      If someone says they think economic conservatism has a better chance of solving “real” problems, that someone simply cannot claim to be a liberal. One of the basic principles of liberalism has always the intrinsic connection between economic well being and social and personal well being, any attempt to treat them as separate entities is a facile paradox.

      What Karen is actually describing is neoliberalism, a term that is admittedly confusing, but actually represents a form of anti-liberalism. Neoliberlism is the basis of the “Third Way” New Democrats (that’s what they called themselves) like the Clinton’s promoted in the late 80’s and early 90’s. This was manifesto of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) which collapsed in 2012 or so. The more influence the DLC captured within the Decmocratic, the more anti-liberal the Democratic became.

      The rise of the neoliberals was accompanied the the near collapse liberal social agendas precisely because you cannot separate them from economic agendas. It’s not a coincidence that abortion rights have been constantly eroded since the mid 80’s while neoliberals took control of the Party. Progress towards almost every and any kind of social equality has virtually stalled, and some cases rolled back during the realm of the neoliberals… that’s not a coincidence.

      Eventually we reached the point, and we see it here in this very comment thread, where Democrats instinctively reject liberal proposals. As Bill Clinton pointed out when he enacted a series of conservative economic policies: “We all become Eisenhower Republicans now”.

      So no, this not a form of liberalism, it’s anti-liberalism. We need a Democratic party that is liberal because we already have a Republican party that promotes and creates conservative economic policies. A Democratic Party that competes with Republicans with an agenda of conservative economic policies is toxic to our nation.

      • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 06/08/2018 - 01:56 pm.

        I like to refer to the “socially liberal but fiscally conservative” crowd as “the yuppie Democrats.”

        They want to be nice and laissez-faire on personal behavior and they lack the superstitious fear of dark-skinned people and religious and sexual minorities that characterizes many supporters of the current occupant of the White House, but then they will tell you that universal health care is “impractical,” that Social Security and Medicare will inevitably go broke and should be privatized, and that they want a “strong defense,” as if the U.S. doesn’t already have the most powerful military in the world.

        They’re about an inch away from being Libertarian.

        The Democrats began losing ground in the early 1980s when a largely Southern contingent (Bill Clinton and Al Gore, Sam Nunn, among others) started crowing about “bipartisanship.” Now bipartisanship is a wonderful thing when the two major parties get together to tackle a real-world issue in a beneficial way, but in this case, it too often mean “They decide, we acquiesce.”

        I was living in the Twin Cities during the farm crisis, when farmers were being hit with the double whammy of low prices for their products and record high interest rates, and many lost farms that had been in their families for generations. At the time, the Democrats still held a majority in the House (they held it till 1994). So what did they do? Nothing much. If they had been smart, they would have proposed and passed a low-interest refinancing program for distressed farmers. The Republicans held the Senate, but a lot of them were from farm states and could have been persuaded to go along.

        Reagan probably would have vetoed such a bill, but then the Democrats could have said, “See who your real friends are?”

        Similarly, they complained a bit when Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, but they did nothing substantial, acquiescing to the beginning of the de-unionization of America.

        Large numbers of Democrats also supported Reagan’s cruel interventions in Central America. Living in Oregon, I was actually ostracized by my county Democratic committee after two years of faithful participation for trying to pass a resolution opposed to Reagan’s Latin American policy. If ever a region needed a revolution, that isthmus of people living in near-feudal conditions was it. (I know people who lived and traveled in the area as Peace Corps volunteers and missionaries.) So Central America was “saved” from “Communism” by means that even Castro’s worst enemies never accused him of, and now look at it, producing floods of refugees.

        Fast forward to 2003 and the Iraq War Resolution, the prelude to the biggest foreign policy disaster of the twenty-first century so far. Nearly 40% of House Democrats and the majority of Senate Democrats (29 to 21) voted for it. What good is an opposition that doesn’t oppose?

        Fast forward to 2009. Obama tries to be all nice and “bipartisan” (I have come to hate that word) by presenting the Republicans with the Heritage Foundation’s insurance reform plan.The Republicans proceeded to play this one with their typical devious propaganda techniques.

        Since there was little publicly available information about the ACA proposal, the right-wing media started spreading horror stories from Canadian and British tabloids, never mind that the ACA was nothing like either system and that the Canadian and British systems are completely different.

        This effort was so successful that I ran into committed Democrats in the Twin Cities who said things like, “Obama is trying to give us what they have in Canada” or “We need something like what they have in Europe. I don’t understand the opposition.”

        I wanted to see what was in the bill so I went searching online. There was nothing easily available, and I finally dug deeply enough in the internet to find an executive summary written by the Kaiser Family Foundation. My immediate reaction was “This is just the Massachusetts Plan taken nationwide, a complex mess that does nothing for the affordability issue, and if it passes, the Republicans are going to say ‘We told you so.'”

        What was even worse was that Obama caved in to the seven Blue Dogs in his own party and took out the public option, twisting the arms of the much larger Progressive Caucus to vote for this deeply flawed bill because “he needed a win.”

        And in a couple of years, the Republicans were saying, “We told you so, and none of us voted for it.”

        Then in 2016, we had maverick candidates in both parties. Whatever you think of Bernie Sanders, he managed to attract enthusiastic overflow crowds and amass a couple million in small donations despite a near-blackout in the media until he started winning primaries, 23 of them, and coming within a couple of percentage points of winning a few others. This should have been a wake-up call for the Democrats. Even if they didn’t want to run Sanders, they should have noticed that he attracted his following by making specific proposals about issues that affect the average American’s daily life.

        Hillary Clinton adopted watered-down versions of some of Sanders’ positions, but her campaign seemed to consist of mouthing platitudes (the Al Gore approach), having her surrogates say things like “It’s time we had a woman president,” and making snide remarks about Trump supporters. She said that she wanted to win over Republican women and major corporate donors but ignored the previously blue states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. As it was pointed out above, it wasn’t so much that the Republicans gained ground in Minnesota as that a significant number of Democratic-leaning voters stayed home.

        The way I see it, the Democrats have a partly deserved image problem. Rural voters see them as concerned only with urban issues. Many potential voters nationwide can’t see how having a Democrat or Republican in a particular office makes any difference to their lives.

        Everyone knows what the Republicans stand for, and they pretty much follow through with what they say they want to do, no matter what the Democrats think. Meanwhile, the Democrats mostly respond to Republican initiatives instead of making their own bold, game-changing plans. Sometimes they act as if their main job is not to offend the Republicans (e.g. apologizing for the Wellstone memorial when they should have responded with an indignant, “How DARE you?”)

        After the primary, we will have a slate of candidates for Minnesota. If they’re smart–and sadly, I’m not betting on it–they will get together and agree on a list of no more than five specific proposals aimed at specific problems that affect the majority of residents. Once they agree on that list, they should all campaign on it and mention it at every public appearance, adding any others that are of interest locally or that they have expertise in, but always going back to the list of five.

        Our nation can’t stand another round of Democratic timidity and cluelessness. If we had a parliamentary system, I’d vote third or fourth party–that’s how disgusted I am.

        • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 06/08/2018 - 02:48 pm.

          Clinto & MI

          Hillary Clinton didn’t ignore Michigan, but she should have. Every time she campaigned there, here numbers went down.

          But your points are spot on.

  22. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/08/2018 - 11:56 am.

    And it’s the not just social agenda’s that have collapsed

    I would point out that neoliberal focus on economics (and enduring faith in “free markets”) has actually failed in a variety of ways. If American’s were satisfied with their economic status Trump could never have won, and Republicans could not have captured the MN legislature.

    In fact, it was the Clinton era neoliberal infatuation with libertarian-Chicago School market theory (ala Greenspan) that set the stage for the Great Recession.

    So again, the notion that conservative economics have a better chance of solving “real” problems isn’t just anti-liberal… it’s just wrong.

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