Politics with J. Patrick Coolican

The polls are now open in Minnesota

Good morning

Absentee voting begins today, and you no longer need a phony excuse to do it. This will be an increasingly important aspect of field operations, as parties and groups try to bank votes before Election Day. More in tomorrow’s Star Tribune.

Let’s start with some good news: Nicholas Kristof is mostly unreadable, but this is a good reminder of how human misery is on the decline: As recently as 1981...44 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty, according to the World Bank. Now the share is believed to be less than 10 percent and falling….For the entire history of the human species until the 1960s, a majority of adults were illiterate. Now 85 percent of adults worldwide are literate and the share is rising.

It’s inside baseball but could be seen as a hugely important story once this election is finished (mercifully.): The Clinton team made the strategic decision in May to sever Trump from the rest of the Republican Party, Ruby Cramer reports from the trove a hacked DNC emails. This came as a surprise to DNC staff, who expected Clinton to continue the Dems’ long running narrative about GOP radicalism, which to them led perfectly to Trump. That narrative would help down ballot Dems in a proverbial wave against the Trump-led Republicans.

Instead, Clinton wanted to give suburban Republicans permission to see Trump as something different and feel free to reject him without rejecting down ballot Republicans or Republicanism in general. We saw the strategy writ large at the convention, when President Obama and Joe Biden continued the theme that Donald Trump is not a normal Republican.

It’s classic Clintonian triangulation: It’s a smart play for themselves but leaves the rest of the party, which had hoped to marry Trump to the GOP, in the cold. (You can see this happening in CD3, where Terri Bonoff is desperately trying to make Rep. Erik Paulsen a Trumpkin.)

Looked at from another angle, this move is actually a generous olive branch to Republicans in preparation for a Clinton presidency, which is remarkable given the Clintons’ long history of tussling with the GOP that includes impeachment and -- who knows? -- might involve another impeachment in the future.

Today in Trump, his campaign paid his businesses $8.2 million, he doesn’t seem to know what Common Core is, and Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post’s house neocon, offers a conservative critique of what she calls Trump’s “pity party” for white, working class men. On the upside, a good poll in Colorado, especially with a key group: College educated whites.

Release, nicely timed to re-election campaign: Representative Dave Baker, R-Willmar, attended today’s grand opening of the newly renovated Minnesota Poultry Testing Lab in Willmar. The lab, which recently underwent an $8.5 million renovation, is a collaboration between the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and was built to help prevent future epidemics affecting livestock like the avian flu outbreak of 2015.

One man’s important food safety research is another man’s corporate welfare.

The great and powerful Glen Stubbe gave me a little trove of mail he collected at home in Apple Valley, from both House and Senate. Here’s one tying DFLer Erin Maye Quade to her boss Rep. Keith Ellison. Check out my Twitter feed for more. And Stubbe’s for his great photography including his specialty, political photography.

This is a good opportunity to ask you for help: Please take photos of the mail you’re getting and send them my way: or Tweet at me: @jpcoolican. Also, I have cut the cord so don’t watch cable TV -- tell me what ads you’re seeing in CD2, CD3 and CD8, as well as House and Senate candidates. We are seeing a decent amount of TV in legislative races.

Senate graphic.

House graphic.

Coleman (with an eye on 2018?) vetoes proposed tax hike in St. Paul.

Alondra Cano, ahead of an ethics vote of her own on doxxing a citizen who sent her complaint emails, threatens colleagues and says she’ll release evidence of them using city resources to do politics. My advice from afar: If you want a future in politics, stay away from the Minneapolis City Council.

Saw this headline (“Drug maker pleads guilty in Woodbury teen’s fatal OD”) and thought maybe we were getting some corporate accountability in the tens of thousands of opiate deaths since 2000. Silly me.

Nice list of fall activities in our Travel section.

For your weekend read, I enjoyed this discussion of Jane Jacobs, the great savior of the city.

If you live in those battleground districts (see our House and Senate graphic above) please let me know what you hear from door knockers.

Have a great weekend all.

-- J. Patrick Coolican



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