Bluestem has been reading and hearing variations on a Republican claim that current Minnesota policies favored by DFLers are so awful that one need only look to cities on the shared border with the Dakotas to see the consequences of these policies.
Not one city on the Minnesota side is bigger than its twin on the Dakota side.
The answer appears to be no, with the exception of Ortonville, which is still bigger than Big Stone City, and appears to always have been so since both border towns were established.
Thus, we're a bit taken back to find this statement on the website for Jeff Backer, the endorsed Republican candidate for Minnesota House District 12A:
. . .It is a sad fact that not one community on the Minnesota side of the border is larger than its neighbor in the Dakotas. One primary reason for this misfortune is year after year St. Paul, and representatives like Metro Jay, continues to burden its citizens by asking them to pay more taxes which make it harder for family farms, main street businesses and families alike to survive and thrive. . . .
Ortonville is in the district Backer seeks to represent, so we're wondering which dirty hippie in Big Stone County misled him.
We're not sure what the Minnesota Legislature did in the 19th Century to make Fargo, Grand Forks and Wahpeton such thriving metropolises while stunting our own hardy Red River communities, but it's been echoing down through the decades. Backer blames freshman legislator Jay McNamar (DFL, Elbow Lake).
Farmers seem to like McNamar, who has been endorsed by both the Minnesota Farm Bureau and and the Minnesota Farmers Union PACs, so the retired educator and coach probably hasn't made life too tough for them.
This isn't the first time Backer's geographic challenges have come to Bluestem's attention. Many of his Facebook followers came from Bangkok and Istanbul, and he was deeply concerned this spring about Iranian warships steaming toward the United States. For a guy who attacks his opposed as "metro," Backer seems to have an odd configuration of the local.
Photo: Downtown Ortonville in 1908. It's still bigger than Big Stone City, South Dakota. via LakesNWoods.com.