DFL chair slams Woodbury, home of DFL politicians

DFL Chair Ken Martin provided a how-to in alienating voters of Woodbury with his reaction to Jason Lewis’ announcement that he’s entering the race for Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District, even though he lives in the 4th Congressional District. In this case, Woodbury.

Here’s Martin’s press release:

It’s nice to see so much interest in the second congressional district this election cycle, however Jason Lewis and his extreme priorities are out of sync for this district. Even the Republicans in CD 2 would be embarrassed by Lewis’ far-right views, not to mention the fact that he doesn’t even live in the South Metro.

His radical views may play in Woodbury but they won’t resonate with families throughout the 2nd district.

Lewis is nationally known for his radical opinions and backwards rhetoric and the last thing Minnesota families need is to send another dysfunctional voice to Washington.

In a time when so little is getting done for the American people in Washington, we can’t afford to send another divisive ideologue to Congress who has no interest in doing what is best for the people of the 2nd Congressional District, only in doing what is best for the far right wing of his party.”

Why would “radical views” play in Woodbury?

DFL politicians have had success there on a regular basis. One of two state representatives is a member of Martin’s party.

The state senator is also a DFLer. Susan Kent knocked off GOP incumbent Ted Lillie in the last election.

A previous state representative — a Republican — was one of the five GOPers who broke with the party to vote to allow same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

In the 2012 constitutional amendments that would ban same-sex marriage, voters in both of the city’s legislative districts easily turned the attempt aside, by a wider margin than many of the larger communities in the 2nd District.

Not exactly radical Republicanism there.

Oh, the congresswoman representing Woodbury is a DFLer.

It’s true that Woodbury leans more right than left, but it’s also more purple than red, and the legislative seats have often been swing seats.

It’s also an area that state DFL leaders have never quite understood since its Democratic pedigree is more centrist than leftist, which — outside of Minneapolis and the Iron Range — is how you get a Democrat elected.

  • Khatti

    “It’s also an area that state DFL leaders have never quite understood since its Democratic pedigree is more centrist than leftist, which — outside of Minneapolis and the Iron Range — is how you get a Democrat elected.”

    Now this is the interesting question…isn’t it. Whenever I listen to Democrats talk about the rich I get this uncomfortable feeling that I’m listening to a Calvinist minister talking about the devil: not exactly an exercise in nuance. And I would like to hear some nuance because, in this case anyway, the devil is also the goose that lays the golden eggs. What happens if the goose finally gets tired of being threatened with that hatchet and calls you out?

    What worries me as well is how moribund the party seems. The Dems seem utterly enthralled by their own cliches. There is the ritual of the firsts: the first gay proctologist, the first woman urologist, the first cross-dressing rat catcher. I’ve been listing to this nonsense for thirty years now. Do you have anything new to say?

    • Where Woodbury is concerned, a fair number of the DFL voters are the RINOs that Republicans purged from their party.

      • Khatti

        In other words people who are somewhat lost in this world.I recently heard David Brooks say something interesting: that both parties need to work together because each has only a partial truth. Not an observation that is going to get a lot of traction in this environment.

  • jon

    Having values that align with the electorate is the old way of getting elected.

    The new way is first to get name recognition, by doing something stupid, then be offensive and vulgar so the media pays attention to you and you don’t need to spend money on getting your name out there.
    Lastly, call your opponent names, make up rumors about them, see what sticks and then whatever does linger with more than 10% of the population you embrace and repeat over and over again until it becomes accepted fact.

    Your personal views and facts don’t matter. Consistency in your arguments don’t matter.

    I thought this was only the case at the presidential level, but then I attended the mayoral debates for my small suburb last night… and they were very catty (also there was one question about cats, it needed to be repeated several times for the sitting mayor who just looked befuddled… good times.)

    • I get the DFL strategy. Make Lewis, who has tremendous name recognition, the evil carpetbagger from Woodbury. You have to make Woodbury look like the evil stereotype (which has, by the way, kept DFL candidates — the majority of whom are also women — from getting much help from the state party over the years). But, at least politically, the stereotype is badly flawed.

      The DFL doesn’t understand the suburbs and this only reinforces the anti-suburb mentality that dominates it.

      That’s also the challenge the DFL faces in the 2nd District.

      • >>…call your opponent names, make up rumors about them, see what sticks and then whatever does linger with more than 10% of the population you embrace and repeat over and over again until it becomes accepted fact..<<

        They've only started doing the negative campaign thing since right around the founding of our country.

        Meet the new boss, same as the old boss:

        http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/wayoflife/08/22/mf.campaign.slurs.slogans/

      • >>The DFL doesn’t understand the suburbs and this only reinforces the anti-suburb mentality that dominates it.<<

        The DFL just doesn't understand the Third-ring suburbs / Exurbs. Inner ring suburbs generally vote DFL.

        Yes this is a bit old, but still holds up:
        http://www.mprnews.org/story/2008/02/20/suburbpolitics

        • There’s a contempt for the suburbs that shows through from the people who dominate DFL politics (i.e. Minneapolis). I think that’s made it more difficult for a DFL candidate to get traction there and why the Republicans have owned them.

          I remember the brouhaha after Curtis’ very fine article, which is based on the definition of what it means to be Democrat (or DFL if you prefer) that I think has frustrated a lot of suburban voters.

          The DFL doesn’t call them DINOS, but it treats them as if they are. As I indicated they’re far more centrist than, say, a Keith Ellison DFLer.

          Orfield’s suggestion that a community becomes more DFL as it becomes poorer is an interesting one, perhaps an accurate one, and completely symptomatic of how the DFL as an institution struggled to create an identity in the suburbs.

          I would contend that one of the reasons that DFLers who do well in the ‘burbs do well in the ‘burbs is because voters can’t hold their nose as well anymore. That has as much to do with the GOP as anything the DFL is doing.

          • Jim E

            “There’s a contempt for the suburbs that shows through from the people who dominate DFL politics (i.e. Minneapolis). I think that’s made it more difficult for a DFL candidate to get traction there and why the Republicans have owned them.”

            Huh? As a long-time suburban resident, I’m not sure what contempt I should be feeling from the DFL. Education and transportation, issues promoted by the DFL, are of major concern in my neighborhood.

            I’m also curious which suburban GOPers have “owned” DFL candidates recently. I live in a suburban district which used to be all red, went purple, and is now apparently blue.

            The GOP flipped one suburban district in 2014 (56B), which had become much more red after redistricting shifted the boundaries south from Burnsville to Lakeville. This is as close to a “swing district” as you can get in MN. The electoral result is almost entirely dependent on voter turn-out, not ideology (DFL wins in 2006, 2008, 2012 – GOP wins in 2010 and 2014). In the 2014 off-year election, with low turn-out, the GOP won.

            I’d wager that Roz Peterson is plenty worried about getting re-elected in 2016. History is not on her side.

        • LivingLiberally

          Exactly correct. And it doesn’t really matter if Democrats “get” third-ring suburbs. The current Republican party is designed to primarily appeal to these voters. Both outer-suburbs and modern GOP policy have their roots in the white-flight that has defined modern American politics and demographics for the last 50 years.

          These voters are directly opposed to the politics of the Democratic Party’s core constituency. “Getting” these voters would just harm their support from voters who are already voting for them.

          • Which is the cities which are almost 100% DFL, if not entirely DFL. How do you expand your appeal and begin to understand that an entire voting population is not monolithic (although, yeah, I get that the core constituency figures if you live in the suburbs, you’re racist)?

            In all of this, I see a continuing decline in the ability of politicial candidates to say what they are and who they are, by relying on the creation of boogeymen that defines what they’re not.

          • LivingLiberally

            The suburbs that the DFL does poorly in are generally some of the most conservative areas in the state. The DFL does poorly there because those voters don’t agree with the core principles of the Democratic Party. And altering those principles would hurt their support among people that currently vote for Democrats.

            The news media likes to ignore the fact that plenty of voters have ideological beliefs and that it’s impossible for politicians to appeal to everyone because of these beliefs. It’s not a weakness of the Democratic Party that the most conservative Americans don’t vote for them. It’s a rational result of a political system that gives voters meaningful choices between the parties that can represent them.

            And this is why most people working in politics realize that it’s more important to get the people who support you to vote than it is to try and sway the small group of “moderates” that are up for grabs each election.

          • Yes. it’s also why you end up with two parties controlled by the extreme left or right, and leaving the center wondering why they have nobody.

            But at the moment, as I indicated, the DFL in the suburbs is a reflection of the GOP — a reluctance to embrace the extreme right — than an embrace of the extreme left.

      • Jim E

        I agree that the Woodbury mention was a poorly executed attempt to portray Lewis as an outsider, but disagree with the contention that the DFL doesn’t understand the suburbs.

        The suburbs are socially and economically moderate. Folks generally support marriage equality, balanced budgets, and investments in education and transportation. All views that tilt towards supporting DFLers.

        The DFL successfully defended incumbents in all but one contested suburban district in 2014. The 2014 GOP focus on exurban and rural districts was a tacit acknowledgement that they aren’t as competitive in the suburbs as they used to be.

      • LivingLiberally

        So basically the DFL doesn’t understand suburbs like Woodbury, but the majority of elected state lawmakers from Woodbury are Democrats? There seems to be something wrong with that logic.

        If you want to concern troll about a certain party not “getting” certain populations look at Republicans nationally and there absolutely pathetic electoral record in urban centers.

        • The DFL as an institution, and a DFLer as a candidate are two different things.

          I suspect you know that.

          I know a DFLer a few years ago — former Republican, like many suburban DFLers — who ran for the Legislature against a sitting Republican. She tried to get some significant help from the party, insisting — correctly — that the district was much more centrist than the party was thinking.

          “We’re not putting anything into that race. It’s not competitive,” our reporter at the time was told when I suggested checking to see if the district was on the party radar, as indications IN the district suggestion.

          She won the race. So did the other DFLer in the other Woodbury district who couldn’t get traction with the party, and so did the Senate candidate who was having the same experience (they both told me at the time).

          Sometimes the district knows more than St. Paul does.

          As I said, a DFLer can win in the suburbs, but you’re going to have a difficult time running as if you’re in Phyllis Kahn’s district.

          • LivingLiberally

            Being a political party, I think it’s pretty fair to say that DFL candidates are a pretty fair reflection of the DFL as an institution. And that institution is doing just fine in plenty of suburbs, including Woodbury.

          • // And that institution is doing just fine in plenty of suburbs, including Woodbury.

            It almost sounds like a place where “radical views” wouldn’t play as well as, say, the 2nd.

  • Brian Simon

    Simply put, Woodbury is a pejorative. People who live their may not realize this.

    • Well, they DO live in Woodbury after all.

      😉

      • Jerry

        I blame having to navigate Tamack Village. I’m pretty sure that is one of the circles of hell.

    • I think the people who live there understand it fully. Woodbury represents something many people find distasteful. But in terms of politics, it’s far different from the way people use it.

      For the record, chair Martin says he wasn’t saying radical views play better in Woodbury. He points to the use of “may” and his only point was that Jason Lewis lives in Woodbury.

    • Jim in RF

      Agree. “Woodbury” has taken over from Edina as the smug “I’ve got mine, now you go get yours” enclave. Not true, I’m sure, but these names sort of get applied and stick. Blaine and Kenwood know.

    • 212944

      People in Woodbury understand well how the community is portrayed, often by people who never leave their own communities.

  • al

    I am so sick of the hypocrites (a.k.a as Democrats). Not one peep from Ken Martin about the fact that Jim Graves lived in the Linden Hills area of Minneapolis while running for the 6th district Congressional seat in 2012. At least Woodbury was part of CD2 until redistricting moved it into CD4. Is there any intellectual honesty in the Democrat party? Any?

    • I don’t think Woodbury was in CD 2. I think Woodbury was in CD 6 under Bill Luther.

      John Kline ran in the 6th District against then congressman bill luther until the district was redistricted. Mark Kennedy was the congressman in the Second until the 2000 census moved him to the 6th and Kline to the 2nd. Luther then opted to run in the 2nd instead of the 6th.

      In the last redistricting (2010 census), it was moved in the 4th.

      • al

        Wrong. the very southern part of Woodbury was in CD2. Most was in CD6 prior to recent redistricting.
        And you didn’t comment about Jim Graves living in Linden Hills area (heart of CD5) yet ran for CD6. Why is that?

        • //Wrong. the very southern part of Woodbury was in CD2.

          True, after the 2000 redistricting. I was thinking back to the first Luther/Kline years.

          Re: Graves. What is it you would you like me to say about that?

          • al

            I get angry with the media that they have already jumped on Jason Lewis for not officially living in CD2 (even though he moved there when that part of Woodbury was part of CD 2. Yet, I never once saw MPR or any other local news media make mention of Graves’ actual residence. Perhaps you can answer why that is?