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Nov 04, 2010

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Kjellbs

Well said.

Robert

The fact remains that the failure of the Dems to mobilize their base lies with their lack of spine and willingness to take a stand on the issues that got them elected in 2008, an anti-corporate, anti-war campaign. Instead of moving to the right, they should have used their majority to make real progressive changes. Now we all will suffer the consequences of their cowardly political manuevering.

The silver lining is not looking forward to the next elections and trying to get moderate, corporate controlled democrats into power, its the wake up call to progressives that we need to organize and build power outside of the two party corporatocracy that will sell us out at the drop of a hat.

Brad Griffith

I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but the Minnesota Senate caucus nor the Minnesota House caucus do not recruit or choose the candidates for local Senate and House units (districts). Nominations for elective office are put forth by the directors of the local party units and citizens of the party unit and voted upon (endorsed) during the Senate District Convention.

As to the need to clean house on Plato Boulevard, I agree that a purge is an extreme reaction, however a thorough and honest evaluation as why the Democratic Farmer Labor Party lost the election. After that review, a substantive plan of action needs to occur.

Losing both the Minnesota House and Senate is not a glass is half full event.

Jeff Rosenberg

My biggest problem with the DFL -- the legislative caucuses as well as the central committee -- has been our inability to craft our own narrative and communicate with voters. This isn't just about the state chair; it seems like a cultural problem that pervades the whole party.

Javier, you say that the DFL may have lost the legislature because we had few accomplishments and were consistently out-maneuvered by Pawlenty. While I agree, I think that is a function of our failure to communicate. We couldn't out-maneuver Pawlenty because we never convinced Minnesotans that we were in the right, so we were afraid to push our own agenda too hard.

Were this year's failures entirely the DFL's fault? No, the nationwide Republican wave played a big role. But we've been having these communication problems for years, and it's time to do something about it so we can turn things around in 2012.

GiGi

I disagree with Brad..I know of many instances where the Speaker has gone to cities to recruit a candidate.
The problem Democrats seem to have is getting out their message.
Republicans have Fox News and most of the talk shows spewing lies and hatred..what do The Democrats have, a couple stations no one watches or listens too.
Minnesota did very well..Remember there have been times in the past where we lost everything accept maybe Attorney General's office.
This isn't the time to whine, this is the time to get behind those candidates having recounts..we aren't dead yet.

Liz

I thought that this was a very thorough and uplifting assessment of our election and the days to come for our state. Yet, what I think a lot of people have seen as a failure of this election, is that nobody saw this coming. We were so focused on getting a DFL governor and concerned that we'd have another four years of Pawlenty-style conservatism, we'd didn't stop to think of what was going on around the state in local races. Perhaps we couldn't have been prepared for an upset like this, after years of DFL domination in the legistlature, or couldn't have expected the kind of Republican, tea-party turn-out. But why not? We spend thousands of hours phonecalling, and door-knocking across the state and it's kind of shocking we didn't get a whiff of anger or reactionism. Organizers are also supposed to know their numbers, and it appears that not only did the DFL not know, they have no system in place to know. WTF?

Phoenix Woman

Minnesota's not the only state to see its legislature flip to the Republicans. As I have been telling people, the economy is what's on people's minds -- and polling for nearly a year has shown that the economy, and the time wasted on a health care bill written by a WellPoint VP, had people thinking negatively about Democrats at all levels -- state, local and national: http://elections.firedoglake.com/2010/11/03/the-scale-of-the-gop-wave-was-evident-for-almost-a-year/

Because President Obama didn't push for a stimulus package big enough to do the job -- which he could have done the way he did the health care bill, via reconciliation -- he set the stage for this result.

LaRue

I think people in the DFL were reluctant to face up to the extreme level of anger that motivated voters in this election. This anger resonated with the passive-aggressive Minnesota culture (often referred to as "Minnesota Nice"). This whole situation was not helped by the close resemblance of the last legislative session to a grade-school playground with no responsible adult in sight.

Americans are circling the wagons and forgetting that if we do not hang together, we will most assuredly be hanged together--by people whose main motivator is greed.

Phoenix Woman

By the way, there are several races besides the Dayton one being recounted. At least three House seats allegedly won by the Republicans have winning margins of well under a hundred votes.

As Rob at the Cucking Stool points out (http://thecuckingstool.blogspot.com/2010/11/republican-control-of-minnesota.html), if 700 votes had gone differently (http://politicsinminnesota.com/blog/2010/11/number-of-votes-by-which-dfl-lost-house-majority-357/), Dems would still have the House if not the Senate.

Sarah Barton

DFL Loses the House and Senate Because of Stupid Moves (0.00 / 0)
This post reflects the huge disconnect between St Paul/Plato and the Suburban Districts that brought them back into the majority. Here is how the DFL lost the elections in the Suburbs:
1) The DFL operates as if everyone is in a safe district in Minneapolis or St Paul. When they forced a vote to appease special interest groups for a tax hike, they handed the gavel over to the republicans. They knew this vote was headed for a veto, but they forced it anyway - bad politics. Making Tarryl Clark vote for a tax increase sealed her fate. This was inexcusable.

2) Polling confirmed that voters did not want to hear about and did not believe anything regarding "accomplishments". By the way, how do you expect the legislature to "force the governor into a corner" without enough votes for an override? Accomplishments had no bearing on the election.

3) The DFL did next to nothing to protect their endorsed governor candidate. While suburban districts could have supported Margaret, they polled negative on Dayton. We need a better nomination process and we need to support our endorsed candidates.

4) The DFL tried to sell the ticket from the bottom up instead of Top down. Voters were not excited about Dayton, so they used the more popular local candidates to try to prop him up. You need some one at the top of the ticket that energizes the voters, not one that makes them stay home. In the end our side was not excited and stayed home, while the other side was very energized and turned out the vote.

5) The DFL did polling early that did not indicate trends that developed during the races. Candidates that polled positive early on, where hit with a barrage of negative attacks designed to keep our voters at home and their voters energized. As a result, the DFL poured money into campaigns that lost by large margins, while ignoring those campaigns that could have been saved.

We need new leadership in St Paul with a clear coordinated message and better organizing. It is well past time for Menedez to go and get someone who can think and act strategically.

Minnesota Central


May I offer my impressions as an outsider (meaning that I am unaffiliated with any political party) ?

First, take note of the Politics in Minnesota story that listed five House races that a swing of less than 700 votes would have resulted in the DFL holding the majority.
Those races might be symptomatic of what happened … it wasn’t that the MN-GOP performed so well, but instead that the DFL just did not get the voters to participate.
Look at HD-1-B, where Representative Lieder received 8,191 votes in 2006 (the last gubernatorial election year) versus her Republican opponent’s 6,139. In 2010, the Republican won getting 6,528 … so an increase of 389 votes … rather insignificant … but Rep. Leider only received 6,397 meaning that she lost 1,794 votes versus 2006 … the result was that the overall participation was down … meaning Apathy Won !
A similar pattern in HD-42-A where Representative Rudd’s 2006 vote tally of 9,963 shrunk to 8,582 in 2010 while the Republican candidate’s tallies went up from 8,131 to 8,689 …. Essentially, the overall participation was down but the MN-GOP slight increases in voter support were enough to change some districts.
Add to that the number of Independent Party candidates and at least one true independent, John Grimm in SD-25 who got 4,516 votes or 13%, the need to get your base out is critical.

Second, IMO, the DFL ignored too many districts … as they had trouble getting candidates. This may have been the first time that the MN-GOP fielded challengers in every district. In my Senate District, the DFL did not field a candidate … that obviously did not help the House candidate … but that’s another problem … from when the yard signs started to appear, I never once saw one campaign sign for her … nor did I receive any mailer or campaign literature on her candidacy …. Why should I vote for her, when I don’t know even know her name until I saw it on the ballot (and BTW, she did not get my vote, it went to the Independence Party candidate who I was contacted to support.)
Another district is HD-21-B where after a Republican retirement in 2008, there was an open seat … the District went for McCain (54%-42%) but the Republican Paul Torkelson won the House seat by a scant 525 votes … this year, Torkelson did not have a challenger.
How can the DFL expect to win when it does not even offer candidates ?

Third, the House Republican Caucus spent it’s monies wisely … it dumped $20,760 to $32,800 into 22 races … it won 21 … plus count the monies funded through outside groups like TakebackMinnesota, Coalition of Minnesota Businesses (for example spending $31,000 to help Republican challenger Dan Fabian defeat Dave Olin in HD-01-A, or the $14,900 expended against Marsha Swails in (HD-56-B) producing a win for Andrea Kieffer.) Plus the Voices of Conservative Women which did two mailings in HD-38-A resulting in the defeat of Sandy Masin and victory for Diane Anderson.

The question that the DFL leadership should ask itself is : What did you see coming ?
Obviously, David Bly in HD-25-B and Representative Brown in HD-27-A had razor thin margins in the past, so this year being extremely competitive should not be a surprise … but everyone should be asking : What happened in Jim Oberstar’s District ?

Statewide, it’s great that over two million people voted, but over a million did not … APATHY won again ... and the DFL took a harder hit than the MN-GOP.

Sally Jo Sorensen

Here are the comments that Tom "Two Putt" Johnson hoped to leave on this post--which he included in his first email contact with me-- but which I never found in moderation. I assume their absence was a computer glitch, and I asked him to repost them, but Mr. Johnson has taken a much more intentional reading of their absence.

As I have not received permission to use his commenter information (spoofing is to be discouraged, even with the best of intentions), I am posting them under my name. Here are his remarks:

"...defeatism..."
'scuse me?

Anybody that knows me, knows the LAST thing I am is a defeatist.

The problem we have here is twofold:

1) Bad messaging, and
2) An ineffective messaging infrastructure.

And both problems need to be fixed.

TPT

Editor's note: not exactly gasoline on the flames of the discussion. Nor were these comments unable online, since Mr. Johnson posted them on the Morillo-Alicea diary at the Minnesota Progressive Project:

http://mnprogressiveproject.com/showComment.do;jsessionid=FC7AB04F39B637E18EB4199A38D5B865?commentId=14639

I sincerely hope that Mr. Johnson finds it in himself to forgive Typepad.

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    Sorensen, editor and proprietor of Bluestem Prairie, serves clients in the business and nonprofit sectors. While progressive in outlook, she does not caucus with any political party.

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