Talk about having your finger on the pulse.

In 2008, Sen. John McCain marched out of St. Paul and the Republican National Convention as the GOP’s presidential nominee — and promptly lost Minnesota by 300,000 votes.

The senator from Arizona was followed in 2012 by Mitt Romney running on his private-equity platform. He lost our state by 226,000.

The swamp calls this progress.

In comes Donald Trump in 2016, with little money and no paid staff on the ground, and he nearly pulls off an amazing upset, losing Minnesota by just 44,000 votes or 1.5% — the closest margin for a Republican since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

Yet none of this stops Minnesota’s own clique of never-Trumpers from their tiresome attacks (“Minnesota Republicans, what are you going to do?” May 15) on the president and those Republicans who dare to back him — who appear to be quite numerous. Indeed, Trump has by far the highest approval ratings among Republicans since Reagan.

For practical purposes, David Durenberger hasn’t been a Republican for some time, and Tom Horner literally left the party long ago. But that hasn’t stopped the media — in particular the Star Tribune — from treating them as grand old patrons of the Grand Old Party.

Their criticisms, however, ring as hollow as their brethren on cable news spewing the most vile invective at Trump Republicans. It’s easy to see why — their cozy world of inside baseball has crumbled faster than the national pastime under the police-state national lockdown they admire.

The fat-cat public relations contracts political mercenaries have fed off are gone, replaced by a Republican Party that’s representing the working class at the expense of the carried-interest crowd. And by a president who eschews unilateral disarmament in favor of fighting back.

That’s what really explains the inscrutable hysteria from a few establishment Republicans who joined Democrats in trying to remove a duly elected president from office on charges they knew to be false. It betrays a particular kind of rank pettiness coming from 11th Commandment has-beens who lectured conservatives on how they needed to circle the wagons around Messrs. McCain and Romney.

Make no mistake, these are the folks who backed Republicans only when party leaders weren’t interested in getting tough on China, securing the border or putting America first. These are globalists backing industry bailouts along with open borders and the welfare state. Yet now they rail against Minnesotans who know they will never get the freedom and prosperity they deserve from anyone espousing green new deals at the expense of the Iron Range or from former senators who could never quite gather enough votes for single-payer insurance.

It won’t matter. The realignment is already too far along to stop Minnesota from turning red. Democrats may never let a crisis go to waste, but their credibility has taken a massive hit.

From Russian and Ukrainian impeachment hoaxes to Michael Avenatti to defaming Covington high schoolers and Brett Kavanaugh. And now they and their dwindling band of political miscreants are backing former Vice President Joe Biden — “personal flaws” and all.

No doubt Durenberger and Horner will also support Democratic incumbent Tina Smith in this year’s Senate race, along with all the politically correct CEOs and their big corporate PACs pouring beltway cash into my opponent’s coffers. In fact, Smith has already taken tens of thousands of dollars from companies outsourcing jobs to China while selling the family’s stock during a coronavirus crash.

These folks are giving hypocrisy a bad name, yet a day doesn’t go by where the media doesn’t eagerly promote some never-Trumper’s last ditch and desperate attempt at relevance.

Are we really to believe the “ethical and moral roots” of two pro-abortion rights advocates attacking Republicans while refusing to mention a Democratic Party that’s all in on what Daniel Patrick Moynihan once called infanticide?

Or candidate Biden promising Beto O’Rourke “will be the one who leads” gun-control efforts in order to “save lives?”

Why, “hell yes.”

When I was a kid visiting my grandparents in north Minneapolis, I’d ask them for a dime, walk a block from their apartment on the second story of a neighborhood house and head down to the five-and-dime on Dupont and Broadway for hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day. My maternal grandparents didn’t have money, but they had a safe neighborhood.

But for far too many residents, the “good life in Minnesota” has faded faster than the credibility of the magazine that coined the phrase.

The primary reason for today’s polarization is clear: the Democrat Party has shifted so far to the left as to be unrecognizable to average voters. A recent Pew Research Center study reveals this leftward lurch which explains much of the partisan gap in public opinion.

Perhaps the “resistance” Democrat drift is why so many of the malcontents are lashing out these days. But I suspect another reason is that the GOP is finally showing these impostors the door and they know it.

Here’s hoping it doesn’t hit them on their way out.


Jason Lewis represented Minnesota’s Second Congressional District in the U.S. House, 2017-2019. He is a Republican candidate this year for the U.S. Senate.