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D.J. Tice

Commentary editor and columnist | Opinion
Phone: 612-673-4456

D.J. Tice is commentary editor and an opinion columnist for the Star Tribune, based in Minneapolis. He previously served seven years as political news editor. He has written extensively about Minnesota and American politics and history, economics and legal affairs.


Tice writes a weekly column and is a regular contributor to the Playing Politics podcast. He has been a writer, editor and publisher in Twin Cities journalism for nearly four decades. Tice was previously an editor at Corporate Report Minnesota and Twin Cities magazines, editor and publisher at the Twin Cities Reader, and an editorial writer and columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. From 2003-2009, he was the Star Tribune's state political editor, directing coverage of the Legislature, state government, the Minnesota congressional delegation, and elections. He is the author of two books of popular history. His collection of ordinary Minnesotans' memories, Minnesota's Twentieth Century, published by the University of Minnesota Press, was awarded the Minnesota Book Award for history in 2000.
Recent content from D.J. Tice
Blackbirds by the thousands, flocking near freshly cut cornfields to feed during their migration south, near Montgomery, Minn., in 2021.

The sobering splendors of autumn

It's a routine, its degree of urgency depending on time and place.
University of Minnesota’s Regent Steve Sviggum, Friday, June 10, 2022 Minneapolis.

Citizen Sviggum, a rebel for our times

When the subject is "diversity," only one point of view is welcome.
As the Minnesota U.S. Senate race recount begins on Nov. 19, 2008 , election manager Rachel Smith, third from left, receives the day’s first recount

Franken vs. Coleman: Minnesota's case study in election imperfection

Historic recount and court case showed vulnerabilities in remote voting system.
Abortion-rights protesters regroup and protest following Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade outside the Supreme Court in Washington, J

An abortion debate, wanted or not

Conservatives' historic court victory is a political gift to Democrats. And so the pendulum swings.
“Measured as police officers deployed per homicide, the law enforcement presence on American streets is far below that of Japan, the Netherlands, No

One nation, underpoliced, with injustice for all

New research comparing the U.S. with the rest of the "First World" suggests that both equity and justice would be served by having more cops — lots more — on the job.
Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun

Jensen and Hitler: Why Nazi analogies misfire

Scott Jensen is hardly the first to compare recent events to "Germany in the 1930s," but may he please be the last?
The Alexander Hamilton exhibit at Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, June 11, 2018, displays an image of the then-Vice President Aaron

Echoes of Trump in the trial of a founding scoundrel

Aaron Burr was a charismatic schemer, and his dubious treason trial is the best comparison we have to the storm surrounding our 45th president.
A small collection of various medicines.

How I survived my summer vacation

Thanks to medical marvels, which we shouldn't put at risk without full disclosure.
A police officer stands watch outside the Supreme Court following a leaked draft opinion that the Supreme Court has potentially voted to overturn Roe

High court crossfire looms on guns, abortion

Can the justices help America rediscover its democratic instincts?
“Minneapolis ... has suffered its full share of defeats in arbitration over the years,” D.J. Tice writes.

Report bashing MPD whitewashed arbitration flaws

And that's a problem, because if it prevents those flaws from being corrected, real reform will suffer.
Researchers “doubt that access to guns could be suppressed enough to disarm a population so strongly motivated to be armed,” D.J. Tice writes. Abo

A crossfire of hard truths on crime, policing

If we want people to feel safe, we need to get realistic about our problems.
“Global causes for inflation’s rise include the pandemic’s various disruptions to production and transportation ‘supply chains,’ sudden shif

The inflated mystery of our rising prices

In trying to protect our economy from collapse, we created another economic mess.
The new police arbitrators will not be chosen by unions and managements through a long-standing process of elimination that has seemed to many to give

For real police reform, look behind the scenes

It looks like there are changes happening in the crucial arena of arbitration.
The current Fourth Turning season, Neil Howe says, began with the financial meltdown in 2008 and is still unfolding, 81 years after America’s entry

For book that predicted season of 'crisis,' the time has come

What's worth pondering in a curious theory is the longer view of current events.
During this legislative session, the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence predicts “a bill to exclude all Social Security income from [state] taxa

Minnesotans need a break, but not on Social Security

It's doubtful such a tax cut would do much to grow our economy, but it may be one that can pass.
People march to Brooklyn Bridge during an anti-vaccine mandate protest ahead of possible termination of New York City employees due to their vaccinati

Free speech threats aren't new, just worsening

So says a Minnesota jurist who's been defending free expression for decades.
America would be well advised to notice that while President Vladimir Putin’s imperialistic motives in Ukraine are not virtuous, they are quite like

If we couldn't lick the Taliban, let's be cautious on Ukraine

History, geography raise the stakes and risks.
President Herbert Hoover speaks from the rear platform when his train stopped on a trip to California in November 1932.

Breaking through gridlock: a brief history

Can closely divided congresses ever get things done? Yes, but ...
President Joe Biden speaks during a virtual meeting with family and independent farmers and ranchers at the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower E

The high cost of humbug

Beware politicians who see prices and wages in need of improvement everywhere they look.
James Stewart and Donna Reed star in “It’s A Wonderful Life,” Frank Capra’s Christmas classic.

Why bittersweet is the flavor of Christmas

All the best holiday fables use the recipe.
In this image taken from video, former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter testifies during her trial on Dec. 17 in Minneapolis.

The verdict of a '13th juror' on the Potter trial

When does a mistake become a crime?
A photograph of Eric Dean with his arm broken was an exhibit presented as evidence by the prosecution during the May 2014 trial of Amanda Peltier in t

Minnesota is still not saving its children

State Supreme Court ruling brings a reminder that too little in child protection has changed.
Mayor Jacob Frey addressed media members outside the Hennepin County Government Center during a news conference in August.

Omar, Frey and the rise of the makeshift moderates

A disparate crowd gathers under a big tent, outside of which the winds are howling.
A meeting between Minneapolis City Council members and community members on June 7, 2020, at Powderhorn Park, was focused on “defunding” the city�

Defund the doubletalk

The charter amendment doesn't defund police, supporters say. But defunding is about the only thing the current charter prevents.
Nov. 2, 2004: Barack Obama (newly elected to the U.S. Senate from Illinois) and his wife, Michelle, holding their daughters Malia, 6, and Sasha, 3. Ho

Social studies and social discord: a brief history

I've been reading the 168-page PDF of Minnesota's proposed new standards (and you can, too). Here's how I interpret them in context.
Rep. John Thompson speaks at a press conference on March 5, in Minneapolis. Thompson is under increasing pressure from top state DFL officials to resi

Lessons from the Thompson affair

Cops' critics — as well as cops — face more scrutiny. And politics is as bogus as ever.
Democratic members of the U.S. House held LBGTQ and transgender pride flags outside the Capitol after the passage of the Equality Act in the House on

Religion, politics, law, sex — a witches' brew of confusion

The views of the Supreme Court's conservative justices appear to break into two camps, and the views of Democratic politicians appear to be ... changeable.
President Joe Biden addressed a joint session of Congress in April. Had the chamber been packed — it wasn’t because of the pandemic — the partis

The age of indecision

A central fact of our political era is that America's overheated electorate can't make up its mind.
Police gather en masse as protests continue at the Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct, Wednesday, May 27, 2020, in Minneapolis.

Who gains, who loses, with more (or fewer) cops on the street?

Research shows both the benefits and the costs of policing fall especially on Black communities.
Mandatory labor arbitration has long posed a demoralizing obstacle to strong management and firm discipline in law enforcement agencies across Minneso

Some actual, practical police reform deserves to be noticed

The Peace Officer Grievance Arbitration Roster is up and running.
U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., on April 17 while visiting demonstrators protesting the killing of Daunte Wright, an unarmed Black man killed by a

The verdict of a '13th juror' on Chauvin — and the trial

We must strive to respect the rule of law, even though our politicians don't.
Ken Burns’ documentary “Hemingway,” on the life of author Ernest Hemingway, airs this week on PBS. Above, Hemingway writes on his typewriter at

'Hemingway' faces hard facts

So did its subject.
Justice Paul C. Thissen, above at his swearing-in ceremony in 2018, recently made a ruling following a bad law — a law that can be fixed.

In praise of upholding the rule of law

Even, as puzzling as it may be, when it's a lousy law.
Gov. Tim Walz held up a supplemental budget at a news conference in 2020.

You know the story on Minnesota's taxing, spending results — don't you?

Actually, a comparison from the Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence tells a more complicated tale than what we usually hear.
President Joe Biden signs the American Rescue Plan in the Oval Office in Washington on Thursday. Even before the plan’s passage, this year’s defic

Washington's debt-defying show goes on

With the stimulus bill, it's Democrats' turn to perform without a net.
Crews placed concrete barriers and tall fences, some with barbed wire at the top, around the Hennepin County Government Center and the Hennepin county

The challenge of a fair trial for Chauvin

The presumption of innocence is strained amid public passions and pronouncements.
iStock5 dollar bill, 10 dollar bill.

A new consensus on the minimum wage? Yes, but …

It doesn't make a one-size-fits-all adjustment comfortable.
Gov. Tim Walz answers a question during a news conference to debut his state budget plan for the next two years on Jan. 26 at the Department of Revenu

Taxing the rich is trickier than it seems

Taxes incentivize people and businesses to change their behaviors, which is important when we consider who will pay in the end.
President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a rally on Jan. 6 in Washington. By his own words, he hates losing. The storming of the Capitol by his part

Trump: America's sorest loser

They've been a 'public nuisance' since the republic's founding.
Security fences were erected around the Capitol complex in Washington on Jan. 7.

Though nation still stands, our faith is shaken

Our cumbersome system did its job under pressure, but it's now clear that the veneer of civilization is thin.
The total spent on 2020’s election will reach around $14 billion, up from around $6.5 billion in 2016. Yes, Joe Biden won, but in most cases money�

Political cash plentiful, not all-powerful

Record-smashing dollars flowed into this year's election, but it seems that it does less than expected to sway the minds of voters.
President Donald Trump makes a statement at the White House in Washington, on Nov. 5.

Oust Trump. Disappoint the left. Just right.

America needed to jettison this president, but happily it did it without empowering the leftist fanaticism threatening to stampede.
Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, addresses a drive-in campaign event in Las Vegas on Oct. 9.

As always, Biden goes where the wind blows

Court packing evasion shows that the Democratic nominee is more weak than woke.
The Rev. Ed Sthokal, above on July 28, 1978, often said the important thing in life was “to love wisely and well.”

A send-off for a mentor who wouldn't have wanted a fuss

In his talks at the Demontreville Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Elmo, the Rev. Ed Sthokal sparked many thoughts. But there was one in particular.
The U.S. Supreme Court confounds attempts to shape it, D.J. Tice writes.

The unsculptable Supreme Court

Some justices just aren't malleable. What's more, they endure.
Is the Minnesota Supreme Court becoming increasingly political?

Legal dividing line hardens on the Minnesota Supreme Court

A string of politically charged 5-2 rulings suggest a state court separating into ideological blocs, a bit like a certain court in Washington.
A person sits on a statue of Abraham Lincoln in San Francisco on June 13 at a protest over the death of George Floyd.

With malice toward all, with charity for none

America's culture war rages on.
Minneapolis Police gather en masse as protests continued on May 27.

Here's why cops can't be held accountable

The second-guessing labor arbitration system makes it hard to discipline or fire problem officers, and it's been this way for decades.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said that for every $1 New York’s residents and businesses send to the federal government, Washington spends 91 cents

Blue state/red state, rich state/poor state: Who's bailing out whom?

A school of thought worth attention considers what state governments spend compared with what they can afford.
Dick Heller walked to a news conference outside the Supreme Court in 2008 on the day his right to keep a handgun was affirmed. At that time the court

Supreme Court's nondecision on guns produces a crossfire

Both Second Amendment and gun-control purists want more from a U.S. Supreme Court that has given them only the middle ground.
Gov. Tim Walz provides an update on the state’s next steps to respond to COVID-19 during a news conference on Wednesday, April 8, in St. Paul.

Is the anti-viral economic medicine we're taking safe?

It's past time for a cost-benefit test on our current plan.
Dynamic duo: President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2018.

Not so bad, this era for the courts

It's reawakened Democrats to the value of democratic process.
House impeachment managers Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and Rep.

In wake of the impeachment trial, beware the 'Never Say Never' voter

Aspects of the Trump resistance begin to look just as troubling.

Luxury begets affordable housing?

The magic of the market, in a chain reaction.
Former Supreme Court Justice Alan Page and Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari, right, listened to speakers during a forum on changing

Proposed state constitutional amendment: An invitation to judicial politics

The trouble with putting courts in charge of schools is the effect on courts.
Minnesota Chief Justice Lorie Gildea. The Minnesota Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a voter challenge to a law that allowed the state Republican Pa

Disputes over Minnesota's presidential primary point to the perils of too much reform

Even in democracy there can be too much of a good thing.
The House has voted to impeach President Donald Trump, but the timing of a Senate trial remains unclear.

Impeachment: A stalemate, and why should this be any different?

A prolonged impasse might offer the best way for us to move on.
“We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable,” wrote Thomas Jefferson before the need for a punchier phrase became self-evident.

When the best words had weight: Great moments in political rhetoric

Today it's tweets, but once we were moved by tight phrases built to last.

'Trump-itis,' a media plague

Rebirth of "partisan press"may make political, business sense, but hurt U.S.

Taxing the rich pays — to a point, estate tax study shows

Lessons for a wealth tax, and a related lesson for Minnesota.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., spoke in early October in Seattle about lowering the cost of prescription drug prices. She supports H.R.

What might drug price controls cost us?

We can't be sure. But plainer language will aid clear thinking.

Test of time: What school expectations used to be

Those overseeing the field have a high-minded approach to relatively low ambitions.
President Andrew Johnson.

This impulse to impeach is becoming a habit

It's one way among several that our country has normalized instability.
The New York Times building in New York.

Press still struggling on Trump 'stress test'

The latest Kavanaugh kerfuffle further demonstrates blurred lines and loosened standards.
Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras spoke with the Star Tribune after he was confirmed to the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Stras auth

Free speech? Or bigotry? Work it out in court

With wedding video case, this state contributes to the process.
Attorney General Eric Holder spoke at the U.S. Justice Department in 2015 to discuss the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014. Ha

'Murder,' they tweeted, falsely, seeking office

The Democrats find grist in the Ferguson story, but not the whole story.
First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, with health care plan, in 1993.

D.J. Tice: Beware the side effects of health care policy

History and a new study show the trade-offs, but politicos can't resist the allure of big promises.
Challengers to Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden — especially New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker — level charges that the veteran policymake

Crime laws didn't form in a vacuum — as I can attest

Now-detested policies were a response, people seem to forget.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “There’s plenty of money in this country,” he says. “It’s just in the wrong hands. We Democrats have to

How about an inequality debate based on data?

Useful context from the Congressional Budget Office.
In June, St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell announced the firing of five police officers for failing to intervene in an assault last year. The police u

Arbitration win rate for fired cops, if you stop to think about it, is high

Nearly half of fired cops are reinstated. That's not alarming?

Why my shocking fender bill might be a good thing for the economy

What a repair suggests about health care, education costs.
FILE - In this April 22, 2008 file photo, conservative columnist and pundit George Will appears in this office in the Georgetown section of Washington

The Conservative Sensibility: A (mostly) clarifying higher-altitude view

There is a busman’s holiday quality in George F. Will’s scholarly new reflection on American conservatism. Perhaps the most distinguished political commentator of his generation,…
Marines marching in Danang during the Vietnam War — a war that David Pence says he regrettably protested in the ’60s.

A worthy reprint for a distinctive thinker

David Pence, a Mankato physician and teacher, was a tireless voice for Truth as he knew it — and he reckoned with a truth of his own.

In Minnesota, a hair more freedom at last

Not every occupation needs a license, the state is realizing.
Umpire Al Salerno called for the start of the Twins’ first home game of the year on April 22, 1964, at Metropolitan Stadium. The Old Met was a swell

Diamonds are a boy's best friend

With Twins on top, I recall my (nonconcurrent) glory on the mound and at Met Stadium.