Politics with J. Patrick Coolican

Supreme Court majority will be Dayton appointees, female

Good morning.

Gov. Mark Dayton is off to Croatia and this looks to be a very quiet week around St. Paul.

Last week I talked to Charlie Weaver, executive director of the Minnesota Business Partnership, which includes the state’s largest companies, and he expressed some optimism that a deal could be still be had over a public works and tax bill. (The former collapsed at end of session; the latter was “pocket vetoed.”) 

But Weaver, who was a GOP lawmaker and then chief of staff to Gov. Tim Pawlenty, also said something revealing: “I’ve never seen a governor lose an argument when (the Legislature) is not in session. Whether it’s Pawlenty or Perpich or Carlson, you are not going to out-market a governor once session is out.”

The governor has the megaphone, and this governor will be touring the state after July 4, getting headlines in all the local papers and time on local radio.

“If you’re claiming you’re going to win by blaming the governor, I don’t buy it,” Weaver concluded.

The counterpoint is that politics has changed and is driven by negative polarization (hatred for the other team) so much that doing nothing but opposing Dayton is enough to rally the GOP base.

Dayton threw gas on the fire Tuesday by saying perhaps negotiations would resume when House GOP Speaker Kurt Daudt is finished with his primary against a Republican running to his right. 

Judge Anne McKeig has been appointed to be the state’s first American Indian jurist on the Supreme Court, and her appointment gives the court its first female majority since 1991. The Supremes are now a Dayton bunch.  Ricardo Lopez with the story.

Gophers’ wrestling coach is in way, way over his head now.

Teach your kid how to pound a nail or learn electrical work: Construction unemployment in Minnesota is an astounding 2.1 percent, Adam Belz reports, meaning wages are bound to shoot up. Reiterating a previous thought: Many economists would say Minnesota should skip bonding this year and wait to do a bigger infrastructure bill when there’s a downturn and construction unemployment rises.

Here are the must-read passages of the Benghazi report. 

Legal recreational pot will go on the ballot in California. If it passes, one in every six Americans will live in a place where recreational pot is legal. It will also be on the ballot in Nevada and Maine. Minnesota will take up the rear on this issue. The religious left and right will unite against as they have on gambling and Sunday sales. (Though both those issues are mostly about powerful interest groups and their money, obviously. I’m not some babe in the woods, people.) But anyway, this is happening, so be ready. 

There’s a notion that Trump will outperform his polling and/or that he does better in automated and internet polling, meaning people are ashamed of their preference for him, which understates his support. Neither is true. He underperformed relative to polls until he ran away with the nom, and he does better in live phone polling than internet or automated.

But good news for Trump and the GOP: Dead heat between Clinton and Trump in the Quinnipiac.

“The whole world is watching!” Security concerns about the GOP convention mount. (That’s a reference to the 1968 Democratic convention for ye youngins.)

Trump campaign sending campaign $ solicitations to British members of Parliament, which has a few problems: 1) They don’t like him and immediately ridiculed him on Twitter; 2) You can’t accept donations from foreigners.

H/t Adam Belz, this chart marks the incredible progress of humankind: The number of people in India and China living in extreme poverty has collapsed, and yet all we get is negative nannies all day on cable news.

How are we using the windfall -- $20 billion this year alone -- from low gas prices? By drinking and smoking it. That’s only a slight exaggeration. We’re also using it on hotels, restaurants, cars and other consumer goods. One of the dumbest criticisms of Obama was that gas prices were high in 2012 because he wanted high gas prices and had enacted policies to increase them. Presidents have very little influence on oil markets to begin with, and it would be political suicide for a president to increase gas prices anyway, but there it was, day after day in some media quarters. (You would never hear those same voices credit Obama for low gas prices, obviously.) High gas prices had little to do with Obama, just as low gas prices have little to do with Obama. Still, with his approval rating up above 50 percent, he is probably reaping some benefit, however undeserved.

It’s been two years to the day since ISIS declared its caliphate, as Rukmini Callimachi notes, a day marked by recovery of bodies of the dead and injured at the Istanbul Airport in Turkey. Callimachi says in a Tweetstorm that ISIS is uncharacteristically quiet about its attacks in Turkey, probably not wanting to alienate the Sunni population there while also leaving open the possibility that Kurdish separatists -- at war with Turkey for decades -- were responsible. The attacks at the airport, which follows several others, are taking a toll on the tourist economy, which is hugely important in Turkey given all the important sacred sites, both Christian and Muslim. On the upside, ISIS is driving Turkish President Erdogan, who had been a useless autocrat, into the arms of the West, including a reconciliation with Israel.

A reader wrote Tuesday to tell me an item was too inside baseball, and it was a fair criticism. A reminder that I’m open to suggestions and criticisms, including the mean and personal kind: and Twitter: @jpcoolican. 

Have a great day all.

-- J. Patrick Coolican



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