Politics with Jennifer Brooks

How the DFL lost in 2016

Good morning.

Analysis of the 2016 voter file from a DFL source: Greater Minnesota turnout was higher than expected by 30,000 voters, while in the cities/suburbs/exurbs it was 40,000 fewer than expected. So, total turnout was about what they thought, but for the DFL the composition of the total was way off, and obviously more Greater Minnesota voters and fewer city voters is bad for the Dems. Google search data show "MNsure rates" spiked when the rates were announced, beating Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on that day, indicating that yes, health care rate hikes was a top issue.

Why 2016 feels transformative in the Legislature: Going into the election, there were 68 of 134 House districts with a Republican lean vs. 65 DFL districts. Now: 73 House districts with a GOP lean vs. 61 DFL. This shows the uphill climb for the DFL next year. In the Senate, it's now 36 Senate districts with a GOP lean vs. 31 DFL.

Still, the DFL has an advantage in statewide races: Trump nearly won, but he did no better than Mitt Romney. The DFL legislative caucuses performed poorly because DFL voters are all packed into a smaller set of districts clustered in the cities. If the democratic socialists currently battling for a seat on the Minneapolis Park Board really want to effect change, they should move to Greater Minnesota.

Nice segue: Let’s play, Is it The Onion? Or a Minneapolis Park Board candidate? Devin Hogan wants to be on the Park Board:

My name is Devin Hogan and I believe no human being is illegal...I am a market gardener and small business consultant. I have a rescue cat named Kitty. I don't own a car. I am a homeowner and renter. I moved here from Chicago in 2010 to start an intentional community....The global financial system drives trickle down oppression, including in Minneapolis and our parks.

When you think of oppression, the first thing you think of, no doubt: Minneapolis parks.

A tell? Speaker Kurt Daudt's floor manager, Bobby Patrick, has been named head of government relations for Medical Alley Association. Daudt, who has said he'll decide (or announce a decision) on running for governor in the next few weeks, has successfully kept his team together for several years, until this departure. So...either B. Patrick knows Daudt is likely running and leaving the Legislature, and he's not interested in working for his successor. Or, this is a sign that Daudt is not running and will remain speaker and there's no exciting gov race or executive branch job in Patrick's future, so it's time to cash in. Or, none of those. Either way, this is a significant loss.

Jasper Fforde, "Something Rotten:"

“Sorry," [Hamlet] said, rubbing his temples. "I don't know what came over me. All of a sudden I had this overwhelming desire to talk for a very long time without actually doing anything.”

Potential DFL attorney general candidate: Samuel Clark. Graduate of Harvard, Yale Law School, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar. African-American, currently St. Paul city attorney. Still in his early 30s. Run or not, this guy is going places.

Friday GOP candidates for governor gather in Shoreview for a chamber of commerce breakfast forum. Despite all the rigmarole about Daudt and Tim Pawlenty, Rep. Matt Dean is plugging away, in the middle of 87 counties in 87 days tour.

Jen Brooks reports Senate health care deal would save MinnesotaCare $724M, but Trump said three contradictory things about a potential deal in like six hours so no counting chickens before hatching, etc.

Minnesota bid for Amazon said to be "modest," and include $3M (that's million with an "M," which will buy a nice house in Kenwood.) A source in the governor's office said if Minnesota makes it to the next round there could be more robust incentives. Their strategy was to present educated workforce, site potential and transportation and logistics advantages. Like the really hot guy or gal at the dance who is even hotter because he/she doesn't need to make a desperate plea.

Gov. Mark Dayton was asked at his news conference whether he will endorse DFL candidate for governor. He said a couple have asked, but he won't endorse. He endorsed in the St. Paul mayoral race because he is a St. Paul resident and has known Melvin Carter since Carter and his own brood were kids together. He has endorsed Barb Johnson and Lisa Goodman in Minneapolis city council races.

From my colleague Erin Golden, who was at the news conference and has covered the state's Driver and Vehicle Services MNLARS debacle extensively:

Asked if MNLARS’ “rocky” rollout concerns him with regards to the upcoming implementation of Real ID (or if it concerns the federal government, which he wants to grant Minnesota more extensions):

I would dispute 'rocky.'' It’s not been perfect, but once again, Republican legislators are just delighted to jump on something if they think they can do damage to the credibility of the state government, especially the Democratic governor. The House put on its website: contact us in less than 2,000 words with whatever problem you have with MNLARS. But if you need help, if you want somebody to actually do something about it, here is the number of someone at DPS you can call. They have no interest in helping anybody, they just want to accumulate ammunition for their purposes.

Later, pressed on the many reports of problems:

I don’t know how many deputy registrar’s offices there are in the state. A couple thousand? So some of them, 2, 3, 4, 5, 50, 100, yeah. Any one is too many. But you get the anecdotal information, which has been fed into you – and I’m not saying there haven’t been some serious snafus, there have been -- but 99-point-whatever percent of those transactions have gone smoothly. And those aren’t the ones that are of interest to anyone else.”

(Of note: there are 174 offices.)

From the governor's office: To honor those wounded and killed in the terrible attack in Mogadishu, Somalia, this past weekend, Governor Mark Dayton will light the Governor’s Residence blue tonight, Tuesday, October 17, 2017. The Residence will be lit blue to reflect the flag of Somalia.

Curious, given the direction of the Republican Party under President Trump, what state government’s relationship with the Somali-American community will be like under a GOP governor. Remember that Trump called our refugee population a "disaster." Certainly GOP Rep. Tom Emmer has been very active and vocal in his outreach, including formation of a Somali caucus in Congress. Related: St. Cloud to consider resolution calling for a moratorium on refugee resettlement, Kelly Smith reports.

Tax Foundation out with business tax climate index, and Minnesota has one of the worst in the nation. Wyoming has the best tax climate in the country, according to this index, so make of that what you will.

Rep. Tom Marino withdrew his name from consideration of drug czar after Washington Post/"60 Minutes" investigation of a law he authored that would hinder the DEA from taking legal opiates off the streets. Interestingly, when he was mentioned as potential drug czar in the spring, he withdrew his name because of a family health problem, so he's withdrawn his name from cabinet consideration twice, which is kind of an achievement tbh. Here's some interesting background on him from MoJo.

As a US attorney, Marino gave a reference to his “close friend” Louis DeNaples, a convicted felon his office investigated for potential mob ties. When the Department of Justice reportedly launched an investigation into the reference, Marino resigned, and got a job working as DeNaples’ in-house lawyer.

Great interview of comedian Patton Oswalt, whose wife died. Losing her and raising his daughter as a widower is a big part of his newest standup special. The interview is by Matt Zoller Seitz, whose own wife died very young and left him as a widower father. This answer about the meanness of Twitter is very resonant, seems to me. Lonely people used to watch TV to keep them company. Now they have the illusion of community in social media and the ability to yell at random strangers.

Q: Why do you think people feel they’re entitled to have an opinion on what other people do with their romantic life after losing a mate?

Because there’s no one listening to them. It’s really sad. You see these anonymous accounts, and you realize no one listens to them on even a one-on-one basis. It’s that thing where you feel like you’re floating in this void and anything you can do to feel alive — even if it hurts you or hurts other people — you’ll do it. It’s like a social-media form of cutting. They want to feel something. It’s really, really sad. You look at these lives and they just don’t feel anything. If they don’t feel anything, then they will try to feel any feeling, good or bad.

Still and all, a beautiful day today, so enjoy it!


-- J. Patrick Coolican



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