You can’t turn on the television, radio, your computer, even open a music app on your phone without hearing messages from local and national candidates. Most of the messages are pointless party-line talking points creating adding to the noise of an already divisive election.
When Biden mentioned his campaign platform in yesterday’s debate as: coming up for a plan for COVID, moving manufacturing back to the US, and making sure Federal dollars are spent on American made products, you wonder if he accidentally pulled up the Trump website platform page. All of these items are already “in progress” in Trump’s first term and continued in his 2nd term platform.
What are the Democrats really running for?
Endorsements give a clue to a candidate’s views. Of course, the ol’ gun and abortion groups throw their endorsements at their appropriate candidate, but this election we’re seeing more and more extreme leaning groups backing candidates – and the candidates showcasing those groups on their websites and social media. Why would a candidate promote an endorsement by a radical group if they didn’t believe in that group’s message?
Four local candidates, Jen McEwen (Senate District 7), Jennifer Schultz (House 7A), Liz Olson (House 7B), and Ashley Grimm (St. Louis County Commissioner District 3) are all endorsed by the progressive group TakeAction MN, an organization that strongly supports and promotes Ilhan Omar, as well as John Thompson (House 67B), the candidate that lead the angry, foul-mouthed protest in a residential neighborhood in Hugo, Minnesota.
The Minneapolis Police are looking into allegations of ballot harvesting for Ilhan Omar.
“ALLEGATIONS OF VOTER FRAUD BEING EVALUATED,” the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) announced on Twitter Monday.
“The MPD is aware of the allegations of vote harvesting. We are in the process of looking into the validity of those statements,” the department said.
From John Thompson’s Rally:
I didn’t come here to be peaceful. Don’t run now. Don’t run now racist white people. I’m here. Oh yeah, we pull up. We pulled the f-up, Blue lives ain’t sh–, and if people here don’t support black people, f–Hugo, Minnesota.
Why the f– is we so peaceful in this [homophobic slur removed] neighborhood? F– your motherf–ing peace, white racist motherf-ers! This whole god d-state burned down for $20 god d-dollars, you think we give a f- about burning Hugo down”.
TakeAction MN’s key issue is the Black Lives Matter Movement, though they recently added “State Campaigns” to their website that cover climate control and education. A recent blog post by a TakeAction MN Leader, Helen Clanaugh, a Duluthian who identifies herself as a St. Olaf college student, reported on a kick-off party featuring Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Clanaugh said that Omar “provided inspiring context for the moment we are in.” She also shared that she read the poem Field Trip to the Museum of Modern History by Franny Choi that “looks a the history of racial capitalism and police brutality from a future without police.”
Clanaugh says “This poem realizes how detrimental policing has been to our society and looks to a future without this damaging practice.”
TakeAction MN wants their supporters to “Call Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and tell him to defund police.”
Is this the message our local candidates support? In a recent Almanac North Interview, Jen McEwen delicately tiptoed around the topic when asked if defunding the police is something we should do here, she said “We’re at a renaissance of thinking about public safety… what does a public safety apparatus really look like?” She said public safety could vary from place to place but police departments reacting to social ills and problems with force isn’t always the best answer. On her website, McEwen says “Equity disparity in Minnesota is some of the worst in the nation, leading some to refer to Minnesota as “the deep north”. Causes are deep and far-reaching crossing over into economic, public safety, and civic institutions. Eliminating these disparities will require comprehensive, far-reaching reforms in all of those areas.” Flambed to burn off all the lawyer-talk, we think that means the “police have to go”.
Other candidates like Jennifer Schultz and Liz Olson, proudly display the endorsement logos on their websites, but neglect to include any platform information on the group’s main focus. Schultz’s site only discusses healthcare reform, economic inequality, and educational issues, while Olson’s doesn’t outline a clear platform at all – just her “vision”. This is the typical Democrat strategy to try to appeal to moderate and older voters while still looking for support from radical groups.
Ashley Grimm also sports endorsement logos on her site without any platform information connecting to the groups’ key issues. She does, however, have a glowing endorsement from Helen Clanaugh, the TakeAction MN leader who she identifies as the MN Young DFL Vice President. Clanaugh says, “[Ashley] holds progressive values near to her heart and will always stand with the people, even if it isn’t the popular thing at the time.”
If the issue isn’t “popular” what does “standing with the people” mean? Standing with what people? People with radical ideas that aren’t popular?
Both Grimm and McEwen are also endorsed by Our Revolution, a national progressive group pushing a radical agenda. The home page of their website boasts a red, white, and blue Bernie Sanders. They support single-payer healthcare (Medicare for All), the Green New Deal, cancelling student debt, a moratorium on deportations, and dismantling the military-industrial complex.
McEwen swings even farther from the middle with her MN350 endorsement, a group that also supports the Green New Deal and Stopping Line 3. Climate Change is McEwen’s top issue. Her online platform explains she is for a Clean Energy economy because we are on the “brink of a climate emergency and mass extinction event.” She explains that our NE MN “resource-based economy and heavy reliance on fossils fuels” is placing us at high-risk by the climate crisis and not stopping projects like Line 3 and other carbon-based industries would only perpetuate our dependence on fossil fuels and keep us from building and investing in clean energy.
On Almanac North, McEwen said, “I’m opposed to the rebuild of Line 3. We need to transition to a clean energy economy with in the next 10 years and they have warned us that if we do not transition within these next 10 years the worst of what the climate crisis has in store for us will be realized…the quality of life for people on the planet will be severely impacted in dramatically negative ways.” She believes if we do the necessary replacement work on Line 3 – the work needed right this minute to protect the environment – that “we’ll be left with stranded assets and workers will be left high and dry”.
Understanding candidates’ endorsements help give insight on where their loyalties lie and the decisions they may make if voted in.
Are public safety and clean energy important topics? Of course, but radical, overreaching change will do more harm than good in these circumstances. It’s incredible to think that people believe, especially in the case of Line 3, that there will be a day when we just flip the switch off for all carbon-based energy and flip the switch on for clean energy. There is no feasible way that will happen. So many of our big industries, including the steel industry on the Iron Range run equipment in places and circumstances (think 30 degrees below zero) that will take decades to modify to be powered by clean energy, if ever. The irony being the clean energy will require an awful lot of steel to make happen. That being said, our mining industry has made great strides in reducing their carbon footprint and will continue to do so. The reality is the United States leads the world in our efforts to reduce pollution and be more “green”, yet all of the effort and investment we do here is negated dozens of times over by production in countries like China and India.
While we should continue to push the envelope on climate and public safety, we need candidates that will make our local issues their top priority. Candidates that know the only endorsement that matters is that of their constituents.