During the League of Women Voters debate last night, Dan Severson and Steve Simon sparred over the endorsed Republican's vaguely-outlined "express lane" voting plan which Severson had noted last spring might leave some voters waiting "out in the cold."
Via the Uptake, here's the exchange and the transcript:
Simon: I I really don't support this idea of sort of a Lexus lane for voting or the so called express lane voting. First of all it seems to be intended to be a separate but equal system. All I have to go on is Dan's own words when he characterized it on a tea party TV show in the spring. He said 'if you don't want to show an ID, be my guest. You can go over to the side and wait in line two hours in the cold. That's fine.' end quote. I don't think that kind of sentiment has any place in the secretary of state's office. And it doesn't even make sense, in the sense that 90 percent of people have IDs. So wouldn't that be the long line? And wouldn't the people without IDs be the short line? I don't think it's very well thought out.
Moderator: You would like to speak to that Mr. Severson?
Severson: Well, just about the separate but equal statement that Representative Simon had mentioned in this. And I don't think that's appropriate in this process because really what we're talking about is new ideas and how do we accentuate these new ideas, how do we probe into how we can make the system better. When we begin the race baiting of separate but equal the whole type of deal I think we degrade the conversation and we need to keep it above board. We need… Minnesotans are tired of confrontative politics and I think it's time to let's just talk about the issues without being incendiary.
Simon: Well since it's early enough in the debate, I want to talk about the idea of incendiary politics. I agree it has no place in this office. I'm not the one, Dan Severson was on election night 2012, who said Minnesota's vote for Obama was immoral. I'm not the one, he was, who said last year that our schools in Minnesota, our public schools are teaching socialism to our kids. I'm not the one who two weeks ago at a press conference said that our commander-in-chief was intentionally, intentionally, that was the question, interfering with the military vote. That's incendiary. And that has indeed no place in this race or this office.
Rochester: Severson talks using Minority Liberty Alliance as a Republican tactic
Simon may not be aware of a case where Severson himself disclosed a cynical motive behind his organizing with the Minority Liberty Alliance. It's an interesting take from a guy pointing fingers about race in election contests.
In a 2012 Youtube of a Severson for US Senate campaign appearance before a group of Republicans in the Rochester area, Severson suggests that GOP minority outreach efforts are about forcing Democrats to siphon resources from swing areas as a means of “defending” the DFL base:
When [Democrats] see their area start to be targeted, they’re going to have to respond. And they’re going to take resources from Rochester. They’re going to take resources from St. Cloud. They’re going to take resources from the other parts of the state to defend these inner-city seats that they’ve never had to defend before. This is a long-term strategy.
Concern for the civic engagement of new Americans and citizens of color? Maybe not so much.
Here's the clip:
Bluestem also finds it curious that Severson defines St. Cloud and Rochester, both of which are increasingly diverse cities, as places that Republican "minority" outreach won't be engaged.
In September 2014, the Star Tribune reported about the growing Somali community's political involvement in Three political races show St. Cloud's changing face. Moreover, 9.7 percent of Olmsted County's population is foreign-born, according to a MinnPost article drawn from the American Communities Project.
Photo: Simon and Severson at the Minnesota Secretary of State debate on Tuesday at Augsburg.
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