Once again, leading figures of the DFL Party seem determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Lori Swanson, whom I admire for her work as state attorney general, jumps into the gubernatorial contest that already features U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, who is a very qualified outstate candidate, and state Rep. Erin Murphy, the endorsed DFL candidate (“Shake-up in the race for governor,” front page, June 5). Meantime, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, our Fifth District congressman, decides to run for state AG against endorsed candidate Matt Pelikan, Mike Hatch and state Rep. Debra Hilstrom at this late date, triggering a mad rush of candidates for his position (“Ellison joins AG race, DFL hopefuls line up to replace him in Congress,” StarTribune.com, June 5). At least whoever wins the primary for his position will almost certainly win in the general election. Nevertheless, I must ask myself, why does our party form a circular firing squad whenever opportunities are brightest?

Jeffrey Loesch, Minneapolis

• • •

Lori Swanson has effectively written out a check payable to the Tim Pawlenty for Governor campaign. I consider mining near the BWCA as the No. 1 issue that will define our generation, because of its acknowledged 500-year legacy. As an urban liberal who desperately wants to avoid more of the Pawlenty-Trump insanity that has taken over the Republican Party, I believe Swanson should have taken the DFL convention’s rebuke to heart. She could have come back in a couple of years and been a strong candidate for statewide office again. Instead, she has put personal ambition ahead of the best interests of Minnesotans.

Stan Jacobson, St. Paul

• • •

The Minnesota gubernatorial race isn’t a consolation prize or a Plan B when things aren’t going your way politically. Minnesotans deserve a governor who has given the office more serious consideration. On the DFL side, state Rep. Erin Murphy has been all over the state for well over a year talking to voters about issues that the next governor will address. That’s authentic respect for the challenges all Minnesotans increasingly face.

Eileen Weber, Hastings

• • •

I was 17 when I attended my first precinct caucus in Minnesota in 1972. I was so excited to caucus and vote for U.S. Sen. George McGovern that fall (after turning 18). But the many caucuses and conventions I have attended since then have taught me several lessons. One is that the entire process is agonizing and that only the most dedicated can withstand the boredom of sitting around for hours, watching attendees slowly give up and drift away. Another is that those who show up are typically devoted to their cause but often have little interest in compromise or accepting anyone who isn’t ideologically “pure” in their eyes. One could certainly argue that was the case in 1972 when McGovern won the Democratic nomination but went down in flames on Election Day. This year seems to be no exception. At DFL conventions recently, good, respected Democrats were denied nomination. We now have a DFL slate of candidates for federal and statewide offices composed entirely of liberals who live in the metro area. I sincerely hope they don’t go down in flames like McGovern, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. My hope is that some day the caucus/convention process, which further polarizes our already-divided political system, is eliminated. Only 2.5 percent of Minnesotans who voted Democratic in the last election attended a precinct caucus this year. We need and deserve much broader participation when selecting candidates for office.

Rick Groger, Minneapolis

IMMIGRATION

Is this who we are? Treatment of child detainees is inhumane

Thank you to U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon for calling attention to the plight of children at our southern border (“US senator refused entry to facility holding migrants’ kids,” StarTribune.com, June 4). These children have been separated from their parents and placed in detention following an inhumane and misguided order from President Donald Trump. Merkley was not allowed entry to the detention facility. I think he ought to go back there every day with increasing numbers of senators and representatives to protest this unfair practice of children, even 2- and 3-year-olds, being taken away from their parents. The Red Cross should be allowed entry to ascertain the condition of the children. A more humane approach to immigration is badly needed. Is this really what Americans want to see?

Mary Moriarty, Plymouth

TRADE AND TARIFFS

Soybean farmers backed Trump, but he’s oblivious of their needs

I agree with the letter writer that it is difficult to believe that state farmers weren’t aware that China purchases over half of Minnesota-grown soybeans and “that tariffs are always met with countertariffs” (“State’s smart soybean farmers voted patriotically, not selfishly,” Readers Write, June 3). But I would add that in all likelihood Trump was never aware, and remains unaware, of both realities.

Gene Case, Andover

SOUTHWEST LRT

When you consider the whole project, criticism doesn’t add up

When people complain about the cost of Southwest light-rail transit, they usually simply divide the total cost by the miles of track — “Southwest LRT: Vertiginous investment cannot possibly be worth it. (Or can it?),” Readers Write, June 2, and “County Board OKs SWLRT funding boost,” June 1. However, there is more to it than just building track First, there is the other infrastructure that needs to be built or installed, including 16 stations, several flyover bridges, a tunnel under Hwy. 62, a tunnel under the choke point in the Kenilworth corridor, track and railroad crossing signals, a crashwall for the BNSF Railway, a new freight rail connection for the Twin Cities & Western Railroad Co. and several pedestrian pathway upgrades. Then there is the cost of an operations and maintenance facility in Hopkins as well as 27 new trains to be built by Siemens. Also, according to the American Public Transportation Association, up to 2 percent of the total cost for projects such as Southwest LRT is dedicated to station art. Lastly, there are lawsuits brought over the Southwest LRT that cost time and money to settle. Before making the argument that Southwest LRT isn’t worth it, don’t assume that 1 mile of track costs $138 million.

Eric Ecklund, Bloomington

The writer is a student at the University of Minnesota majoring in transportation planning.

SAMANTHA BEE AND ROSEANNE BARR

What most are missing

I have to disagree with most people discussing the Samantha Bee and Roseanne Barr controversy. It’s not about comparing what they said and the outcome of said statements. Rather, we must look at the more important issue of patterns. Bee said a bad word once on her TV show. Barr has a history of xenophobic comments. I believe in giving someone a second chance, but I’ve lost count of how many chances we’ve all given Barr. She has shown a pattern of horrible comments and therefore was rightfully fired from her TV show, and Bee was not.

Avi Rosenman, Minneapolis

LITTERING

Are we lazy or just ignorant?

As I travel around the Twin Cities, I can’t help but notice the garbage along the side of our roadways. Is it that people do not care and just toss whatever they want out their car window? Is it the garbage collectors who have debris flying out the back of their trucks? Please take time to care for your environment. Why should those who care have to look at someone else’s garbage?

Cathy Dziuk, Eagan