Former candidate provides an intervention for the DFL

Anyone who’s ever covered the DFL knows that it can’t get along. More than a few DFL chairpeople have decided that there are better ways to get the pain of a sharp stick in the eye than trying to herd the diverse interests in the party into a cohesive group with an actual strategy.

Still, it was a touch surprising — and a little entertaining, we’re ashamed to say — to read the blowtorch that long-time Minnesota pol John Gunyou took to the party today in his Star Tribune op-ed.

Gunyou, who, for the record, once worked at Minnesota Public Radio, was a finance commissioner under Republican Arne Carlson (and also for the record, I’m not entirely sure Republican and Arne Carlson go together anymore), and was the endorsed candidate for lieutenant governor in 2010, a year in which the DFL’s endorsed ticket couldn’t find its way to the general election. Again.

He and Margaret Anderson Kelliher, the gubernatorial choice of the party, barely lost to Mark Dayton and Yvette Prettner Solon in the primary, splitting the DFL almost in half.

Gunyou seemed to reinforce that split today when he sounded positively Republican in giving the party his recipe for being relevant again.

Garrison Keillor led off your postelection response, before all ballots were even counted, with a whiny, condescending piece in the Washington Post. The working-class men and women who gave Republicans their victory know when they’re being insulted by an effete snob, even one masquerading as a folksy balladeer.

Another vivid example of your cluelessness is the ongoing coverup by the political elite to protect the buddies they fete with exclusive access to luxury suites in the “People’s Stadium.” Those would be the same DFL officials who have been lecturing suburban leaders for their supposed lack of commitment to equity.

Your electoral implosion was not driven by ignorant, racist, homophobic misogynists, and you need to let go of that morally smug meme if you ever want to regain the trust of middle-of-the-road D- and R-leaning voters.

While deplorables will always occupy a corner of the Republican tent, Democrats lost the country because you are tone-deaf to the perspectives of your rural and small-town fellow citizens, who justifiably feel ignored and left behind by the ruling order. It really is that simple.

Lest there be any doubt otherwise, Gunyou’s essay made clear he wasn’t speaking as a fan of Republicans:

You cannot afford to wait for the celebratory Republicans to fumble the scepter you handed them. They probably will, by arrogantly interpreting their election as a mandate, but you cannot rely on some self-satisfying I-told-you-so moment that will translate into a mea culpa from the electorate. See step two.

Tomorrow, the DFL’s Central Committee, the governing body of the party, meets in Lakeville. If you forget your sharp stick, don’t worry. There’ll be plenty on hand.

Related: It’s Not All About Clinton — The Midwest Was Getting Redder Before 2016 (FiveThirtyEight)

  • chris

    Implosion? They picked up 2 U.S. Senate seats and their candidate received almost 3 million more votes than corrupt Trump.

    • wjc

      It seems like if you don’t have an incendiary opinion, you don’t get published. I don’t think things are quite as dire for the DFL as pundits seem to think, but the “sky is falling” theme is what seems to be in vogue.

      I think I will wait and see how things look in April or June.

    • LifebloodMN

      You need to read the op-ed in the Trib (step one)

    • You’re arguing that Election Day wasn’t a disaster for Democrats?

      • chris

        Like I said, how can it be an “implosion” if they got more votes? They even got more votes for their U.S. house candidates but because of gerrymandering, took fewer seats overall. There are systemic problems that make it easier for republicans to hold power, that’s just a fact. Words like implosion and disaster do get more eyeballs but the pendulum will hit republicans pretty hard I think down the road.

        • Sam M

          After the election the R’s controlled the following non-exhaustive list:
          1. Presidency
          2. Senate
          3. House
          4. Supreme Court (I know hasn’t happened yet)
          5. Governors

          I don’t know that looks like a disaster to me. The popular vote sounds like the classic moral victory to me… which in MN sports counts the same I guess.

          • chris

            Well, you really need 60 votes to control the senate. We can all agree that the open Supreme Court appointment belongs to President Obama. But yes, if you forget about constitutional crisis level obstruction and gerrymandering, Dems lost this election even while getting more votes and gaining ground in congress. If people want to wet the bed with terms like implosion or disaster, that’s fine. I just hope you pull out those same descriptors for the GOP when the pendulum swings back.

            And really, let’s not forget about Russian hacking and Comey’s unprecedented interference. Yes Dems lost, but let’s not pretend moving to the right to please rural GOP folks is the answer.

          • Jeremy

            Comey’s intervention was striking, but arguably not unprecedented:

            All in all there are many factors, and moving to the right definitely isn’t the solution for Dems. Gunyou is correct that you need to appeal to perceptions beyond facts and logic.

            If Dems could stop being shills for the wealthy at the expense of the rural (and other non-wealthy) people, and instead fight for them, that would go a long way.

          • Sam M

            I think not having control in any of the 3 branches is a disaster. There are a million excuses for why it happened which you laid out but the reality is R’s have almost total control (We will see how they manage that).

            I don’t think the use of those terms has anything to do with R or D. It maybe have to do with the perception of the outcome prior actual election. Perceptions are a funny thing.

            There are or at least used to be rural Dems… probably shouldn’t forget about them.

          • Jerry

            To use an awkward metaphor: if you’re interested in this girl who is dating a guy, becoming more like him is not going to make her dump him for you.

          • Sam M

            Not speaking to her doesn’t help either though.

          • Jerry

            Is it not speaking to them or them not listening?

          • Sam M

            I think with that question you have their answer. Assuming it’s a them problem and not a me problem is why many turned away.

          • Jerry

            Considering the vastly disproportional influence rural voters have in this country, neither party is ignoring them, no matter what the perception is.

          • Rob

            A little too dude-centric, but we take your point.

          • Will

            6. State legislatures

            That’s pretty much everything in government.

          • Sam M

            Now you are just piling on.

          • Will

            Just putting into perspective the scope of the election results. I think the Dems need to realize that.

          • Complicating analyzing the election and coming up with a strategic plan for the future is, in fact, the Trump administraton, which is about to appoint yet another Goldman Sachs executive to a White House position. Will that resonate with an electorate that was at least partially influenced by the “insider” tag on Clinton because of speeches to Goldman Sachs. If not, what does that mean?

            In the latest Gallup poll, 52% think the federal government has a responsibility to make sure Americans have health insurance, a 7% gap over those who think otherwise. And yet, we’re told, the election swung on exactly that.

            What does this mean? We don’t know because there’s too much data to try to sort out yet.

            This is part of the problem of any assessment of why the election went the way it did. Everyone thinks FOR SURE that the reason it did is because whatever they already believed but I believe if there is such a thing as political SCIENCE, there still isn’t enough data and testing of that data to reach any conclusion that’s based in much more than opinion.

          • Will

            Virtually everything we do in life is for “entertainment” value now that we have a president Trump. Maybe the traditional news media focused too much on entertainment instead of intellect this past election season.

          • There was a fair amount of intellect in coverage. People didn’t want it. When I see the ratings rise for the oustanding PBS NewsHour, I’ll know the situation is changing.

            It’s like what I wrote about John Glenn and his inability to get people to embrace him as a leader. People said they want is people pretty much just like him. But they didn’t vote for him.

            People lie a lot about what they want.

          • Khatti

            To themselves as much as to anyone else.

          • BJ

            But didn’t they already have 3 of the 5 in the list?

  • Gary F

    The meeting tomorrow will be “scent free”? Correct?

    • Robert Moffitt

      Let’s talk later about the scent coming from the White House.

    • Rob

      Yes, unlike your post. But nice job focusing on the non-germane.

      • Gary F

        Little stuff like this is why folks don’t vote DFL.

        • RBHolb

          Because being “scent-free” is an essential item for any DFL meeting, right? Or do you just label everything you find silly as being important to Democrats?

          • Gary F

            I’ve been to my local Republican meetings, you can wear cologne/perfume if you want. I think its silly, and yes, its a Democrat thing.

          • RBHolb

            Nope, never heard of it. You might be confusing the issue with a bill Rep. Clark introduced to make schools scent free.

            I could make a joke about why wearing cologne/perfume might be tolerated, if not encouraged, at Republican meetings, but I won’t. I’m far too adult for that.

          • Jerry

            Since the average teenage boy has no idea how much Axe body spray is the right amount of Axe body spray (the correct answer: none), making schools scent free might be welcomed.

          • Kassie

            Myy office went scent free under the leadership of a Republican governor, so it isn’t just a Democrat thing.

        • Rob

          I don’t care whether you wear Axe, eau de Roadkill, or choose not to bathe for several days straight. To be so upset about trivial crap suggests minds that are way too focused on the trivial. But maybe I expect too much from my fellow human beings.

  • Jerry

    The problem with the Democratic Party is not the people who voted Republican, it’s the people who didn’t vote. Someone who didn’t vote for Clinton because they think she is too far to the left is never going to vote for a Democrat. The key to success is not abandoning those who support you to pursue those who don’t.

    • Would these be people who assumed there was only one race on the ballot?

  • Joe

    Wow. This guys sounds like a real nice fellow. Kinda easy to just sit on the sidelines and lambast both parties. By the way, he lost the primary by much more than Clinton lost the presidential, and by more than the DFL lost the Senate, so if this was an implosion, then he was even worse. Meaning, why are we taking advice from this angry man?

  • Mike Worcester

    //Democrats lost the country because you are tone-deaf to the perspectives
    of your rural and small-town fellow citizens, who justifiably feel
    ignored and left behind by the ruling order. It really is that simple.

    Sorry Mr. Gunyou, but anyone who says the results of this year’s election were the result of “simple” factors is the one looking through a narrow lens. Here’s why I say this (and I promise to try and be concise):
    I met voters who refused to cast a ballot for president because they just could not stomach either major party candidate.
    I met voters who said for the first time ever they voted absolutely straight party ticket, which led to the close results for both Reps Walz and Peterson.
    I met voters who said they were furious about the MNSure cost increases even though they had insurance through their employer and were not impacted in any way by those increases and they blamed them on the DFL.
    I met voters who blamed the DFL for Black Lives Matter and saw them as a danger (call that racist all you want but that is what was being said).
    And I met voters who felt that a woman’s place was not in the White House.

    This is just a short list but from this rural Minnesotan’s perspective, there was a whole heckuvalot more going on that Mr. Gunyou seems to believe.

    • MikeB

      You’ve hit the nail on the head. Many people were voting attitude, not on specific issues. Even issues in their economic interest

      • rover27

        I think a lot of rural whites really hate things like BLM and DAPL protests and associate those with Democrats(bad guys) and GOP with law enforcement(good guys). Makes me wonder if the civil rights movement of the late 50s-early 60s would have much northern rural white support today. Especially with Fox News, talk radio, social media, etc.

        • Rob

          Civil Rights laws are also laws, but not to rural folk, I guess…

      • Rob

        This election was a sublimely sickening example of people voting on attitude, and voting against their own interests.

  • asiljoy

    What perspective or policy position was ignored that would have made an impact? I see a lot of generalizations in the above without pointing to anything concrete or actionable, and provides zero solutions. But yay for more mud slinging. /s

    • Will

      Step 1 is admitting that there is a problem… maybe that should be the main focus since that first step is being completely ignored by many if not most liberals.

      • asiljoy

        I disagree with the premise. That’s my point. How were they ignored? What issues? What perspectives weren’t shared?

        • Will

          Your denial reinforces the original story’s premise.

          • Jerry

            That’s an awfully trite response to a valid question.

          • asiljoy

            I’m trying to understand. What was missed that the DFL could have spoken to? Given that he’s supposedly a specialist DFL in MN, I’d expect more precise arguments than, “We sure sucked in rural MN”.

            Something like, “We didn’t hear them when they said they needed jobs”. Or “We didn’t hear the farmers when they said needed relief from falling prices.” Or “We didn’t hear the Iron Range when they said they needed help revitalizing their workforce”.

          • Will

            Why not talk more about real solutions, talk about a universal basic income, talk about new and innovative types of education systems…instead we got a lot of the same old stuff, race baiting, running almost purely on being anti-Trump instead of creating your own new ideas that a working class person in rural areas might see as benefiting them.

          • Well not really. You got what the media wanted you to get.

            Clinton would hold events to tout all of the issues that are listed here:

            But the media needed a sound byte to react to whatever story they had already intended to do.

            It was impossible for anybody to break out of the campaign coverage of allegations and counter allegations. The media’s coverage of Clinton that focused on issues and ideas mostly was about asking her what she thought of Trump’s ideas.

            that really was on the media — and to an extent the people — who dictated that what they wanted wasn’t a campaign of issues and ideas. They wanted the juicy stuff.

            The fact that people don’t think candidates offered up ideas — even if they were ideas they might disagree with — shows how effective the media was on focusing on bright shiny objects and how compliant people are in chasing them.

          • Will

            You do recall all those political ads trying to tie local GOP candidates to Trump right? I’m pretty sure that was the main DFL strategy with the Bonoff/Paulsen and Craig/Lewis elections.

            I didn’t see many Dem political ads that even attempted to move away from the Trump connection other than Nolan’s ads and he did it because he was running where Trump was popular…Nolan won using that strategy too. Nolan had real positive commercials trying to show how he supported unions and sadly he had commercials attacking Stewart Mills for being rich as well; but it was nice to see some upbeat, positive commercials from the Dems/DFL (are national candidates within the state still considered members of DFL, I’m not sure how that works?).

          • // You do recall all those political ads trying to tie local GOP candidates to Trump right? I’m pretty sure that was the main DFL strategy with the Bonoff/Paulsen and Craig/Lewis elections.

            Scroll down(or up depending on how you have DISQUS configured) to my response to Gary F.

            Bottom line: That was a stupid strategy, and so was ignoring the fact Jason Lewis doesn’t live in the district in which he was running. That factoid was a hanging slider waiting for Angie Craig to belt it out of the park. And she took it for strike.

            That was insanely dumb.

  • Rob

    I didn’t see anything in Gunyou’s rant that would qualify as prescriptions for how the DFL can win the hearts and minds of rural folk.

    • Jerry

      Especially if you assumed that people actually voted on issues, winning their hearts and minds would require the DFL to stop being the DFL.

  • Will

    Great article, the key is to take advice and change. Dayton needs to come down hard on everyone involved in the Suitegate scandal, actually fire some people and create transparency. Next, the Dems need to actually reach out and listen to blue collar workers instead lecturing to them and accusing their political opponents as of being racists constantly.

    • Rob

      You’re right. Paid parental leave and living wage legislation are not something any self-respecting blue collar person would want.

    • Rob

      Fox News and Breitbart may have accused the Dems of lecturing to blue collar voters, but where’s the proof from legitimate sources?

  • Gary F

    After 2016 Election
    33 State Governors Rep 16 Dems, 1 Ind
    32 State house majorities Rep 32 Dem 13 Divided 5

    Its not just a Minnesota trend.

    • wjc

      But that didn’t just happen in this election.

      This election was bad for Democrats, but not as much of a disaster as is being talked about. The party needs to decide how to change, but I don’t think the right answer is to act more like Republicans.

    • The Republicans basically controlled everything in government but the White House and people said things stink so they voted to make it a clean sweep.

      People are interesting.

      • Sam M

        Swamps stink.

        • Yeah, I’m not a big fan of bumper sticker political science. Maybe this is the son of “Throw the Bums Out” but that doesn’t explain the incredibly high incumbent re-election rate.

          I’m looking for more heft on stuff like this.

          • Rob

            It’s called gerrymandering and the Koch Brothers Effect. Jane Mayer of the NYT laid it out very well on NPR just a couple of weeks ago.

          • BJ

            >that doesn’t explain the incredibly high incumbent re-election rate.

            Fear. Reelecting a person known for x, is better than electing someone else who is an unknown factor. Just because we don’t like congress doesn’t mean we like the other options we have been given.

            to quote myself “Looking at the polling numbers, and common sense, tells us that incumbents with approval under fifty percent (50%) or early polling with support under fifty percent (50%), reflects unhappiness with the incumbent. A challenger should not mistake this for a satisfaction with their campaign. Undecided status reflects not knowing enough about the challenger (Molyneux, 2004). Running against an incumbent with low polling numbers can increase the chances, but challengers do need to make sure that the voters know enough about them. ” link to full article ->

        • Rob

          Although bear in mind that it was a well-known swamp dweller who said: “We have met the enemy, and they is us.” I think Pogo’s observation very much applies to the phenomenon of people voting against their own interests to elect a guy whose notion of draining the swamp is to double down on all things swampy.

      • tboom

        I have no ready statistics to back it up, but I tend to believe voters prefer at least part of congress is controlled by the party opposed to the President. This may not be a conscious choice but it serves to ensure extremists from either party are unable to implement policy unchallenged. When congress and the Presidency are accidentally controlled by one party, as happened this year, the voters seem to correct that situation in the next 2 year cycle.

        This election was a head fake, the pols had Hillary winning so it made sense for swing voters to prefer Republican candidates for the House and Senate.

        • Rob

          I don’t prefer part of Congress to be controlled by the party opposed to the president – unless there’s a crony capitalist, autocratic kakistocracy in the white house.

          • tboom

            Presuming Republicans and Democrats could actually talk to each other and find common ground, I’d like split representation. However given the reality of our age, I guess I can get onboard with the gridlock model.

            Still as I watched the PBS special this evening about John Glenn’s life, I couldn’t help thinking this country needs a good shared vision right now.

          • Rob

            Nice notion, but I think it would be easier to herd cats than it would be to come up with a shared vision – let alone come to agreement on the nuts and bolts of how a shared vision would be implemented.

      • Blasko

        Gunyou’s probably right about a lot of things, but I do detect a sort of double standard at play. Trump was, and likely will be, excused for a lot of big-money, crony politics that Democrats are called out on. A lot of stink was rightfully made about Hillary’s obscene $400K fundraiser dinners. Trump’s upcoming dinner is a doubly-obscene $1M per plate, and yet there’s not much talk about it. I still scratch my head that a man who sits on golden armchairs and constantly says he’s better than everyone else at everything is seen as less “elite” than his competition. Some people just have it made, I guess and Republicans have to be loving it. We’ll see if there’s a price to pay later on.

    • Rob

      On the seventh day, the Koch brothers looked down upon all they had wrought, and said: “Life is good – for us.”

  • DavidG

    The question then, is if the DFL is supposed to start listening and appealing to white rural/working class voters, which portions of the current DFL coalition do they have to jettison to do so?

    Because it’s pretty clear that significant interests of the white rural/working class voters are in direct conflict with the needs of a large part of the DFL coalition.

    • wjc

      Exactly. Or the party has to decide what issues rural and urban DFLers can agree on, focus on those, and say that we are OK with differing opinions on others. Reduce the litmus test issues to a precious few.

  • Gary F

    Will there be a lot of “Fake News” reporting from there?

    • RBHolb

      You’re on a roll today, aren’t you?

      • If I could suggest that people stop with the one liners and, instead, try to bring some actual depth and knowledge to the subject, that’d be great.

        Any fool can throw spitballs. Let’s try to bring a little more to the table instead of trying to see who can p*ss people off with the one-liners.

        that’s trolling.

        And it boring.

        The state and country are dealing with serious issues requiring the brainpower of everyone who’s interested in making both better. That’s the “side” we’re all on. So let’s act a little more like it and bring conversation and ideas to the table.

  • Gary F

    Think Colin Peterson will get invited? He gets it.

    • Peterson gets it for HIS district. Ellison gets it for HIS district. Walz gets it for HIS district etc etc.

      That’s not the hard part. The hard part is getting it for an entire state.

      And it’s worth noting that DFLers tend to win STATEWIDE races.

      Lyle Koenen’s race was particularly interesting and unanalyzed in favor of these big sweeping proclamations.

      Pro-life, relatively conservative, anti same-sex marriage, farmer in a rural district.

      He lost.

      These things need to be analyzed further to figure out why because the conventional wisdom of the Internet would suggest he should have won.

      The other thing that should be analyzed is the DFL strategy of tagging their GOP opponents of fans of Donald Trump. Angie Craig completely ignored an obvious winning issue in a parochial state — that her opponent didn’t even live in the district he wanted to represent. Like Bonoff in the Third, part of her strategy was tying her opponent to Trump.

      That was a problem, because the voters obviously liked Trump.

      I’m guessing they could have been made not to like an outsider.

      • Mike Worcester

        Not only did Sen. Koenen lose, he lost badly. As did Rod Skoe (SD2), and Tom Saxhaug (SD4), and Kevin Dahle (SD 25), to name a couple. They were done in by many factors, one of which was for the first time in a while, folks in their districts, esp. Koenen and Skoe, who refused to split their tickets and send a Dem to St. Paul while still voting for a Repub at the top of the ticket.

        I lived in The Valley for a time (undergrad schooling), right when Collin Peterson was making his three runs for Congress. No one else wanted to take on then-Rep Stangland, but Peterson did. As you said, he knows his district. So did former Congressman David Minge. As did Tim Penny. And Jim Ramstad.

        I may be a partisan, but I’m also a poli sci geek, and political movements tend to take a while to fully manifest themselves barring some sort of economic or social calamity — ex. The Great Depression. So I’m left to wonder if what we saw in the 2016 election was the final stage of a movement in areas that are seeing severe population losses making that swing from one side of the spectrum to the other. Maybe?

        Thanks for allowing me this chance to ponder 🙂

        • Rob

          I’d argue that the newly-emerged white resentment movement has actually been in place for quite awhile, but was mostly subterranean because it lacked a Prez candidate willing to do the dog whistling so overtly. T.Rump did, empowering this movement to come out of the shadows.

    • Rob

      Petersen is a RIDD ( Republican in Democratic Drag), so whether he “gets” it or not is irrelevant for the DFL’s purposes.

      • I enjoyed the time I spent in the 7th district during the flooding of ’09. I understood people a lot more than I did before talking to them. Areas of the state are different. The DFL has to be a party of people who aren’t all the same and don’t share all the same philosophies 1-10 with litmus tests, if it is to survive. The 7th is different from the 4th and 5th and 8th.

        • Rob

          I’m down with the “everybody’s different” notion, to a certain degree. But I also feel there are core beliefs/principles that shouldn’t be jettisoned, even if that means the DFL loses more contests than it wins.

  • Khatti

    I think a large problem with the Dems and the DFL is the Intelligentsia that surrounds the party. These are the people the Republicans refer to as the elites. Many of them are academics who seem smug, autocratic, and more than a bit exotic socially. They seem to have a high-authority/low-responsibility position within the party–and they don’t run for office!

  • KTN

    Gunyou whines about Keillor, while completely missing the point GK is a satirist, not a political pundit. I’m curious about how many people Gunyou feels are maligned by Keillor actually read the WaPo – or were offended by this piece.

    Flinging poo is all the rage now, but even in this troubling time, substance matters, and yet here is another party leader devoid of substance – it’s painful to watch the party stumble (but not nearly as much fun as it will be to watch the Republicans de-evolve into chaos as the sociopath takes control).

  • rover27

    My feeling is that Trump’s over-the-top racially divisive and authoritarian campaign so divided the electorate that rural northern whites voted like southern whites have been doing for 150 years or more. He took the GOP Southern Strategy that started with Nixon and turned it up to 11. It’s a terrible thing for the country. I don’t think anyone thought such a blatantly bigoted campaign could not only win the GOP primary but the presidency as well. Even if he lost, he set a template that will be used by others. Unless something dramatic happens to get us back on course, we’re in for something catastrophic for democratic governance. And it was already wobbly.

    • Rob

      A very trenchant and sobering assessment, IMHO. Catastrophic kakistocracy, comin’ up.

  • The CIA revelation on the extent of involvement by Russia in installing a favored government should prompt a congressional investigation that should include the possibility of FBI complicity.

    That revelation should forestall all analysis at this point as the Russians have succeeded in their plot to undermine faith in the integrity of the system.

    These really are uncharted waters we are in now and all conventional wisdom no longer applies.

    • Will

      Do you think their plan is to blackmail the Trump administration by threatening to release the RNC emails?

      • I have no clue. These are scary times in uncharted waters.

        • Will

          Maybe it already happened, Trump seems to be going against the CIA’s reports that show that Russia was responsible for the hacking…maybe they simply asked Trump to deny those reports. I don’t like it, but here we are, Trump is our president and I’m fine using Trump to advance GOP ideas…we can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube at this point. More transparency is all was can demand and hope for.

          • Trump reportedly has skipped intelligence briefings. That gives him deniability.


            His reaction was “these are the same people who said Saddam Hussein has WMD.”

            These are not normal times, a president elect attacking U.S. intelligence agency information, while refusing briefings, in order to defend the government of the country’s primary “enemy.”

            These are not normal times.

            Hang on tight.


          • Will

            I don’t like that either, I have a feeling Pence will be the top informed person in government making most of the decisions when it comes to high level operations going on around the globe. I am open to see how it works, it might be better for our country than having Trump involved and micromanaging all those situations (which could be impacted by his mood or tweets he just read/tweeted).

          • I see Pence being president of the United States it Trump mismanages this mess.

          • Will

            Yep, maybe that was the plan all along…as soon as even a bit of bad economic or corruption information comes out I could see a lot of Republicans turning on Trump to put Pence in charge.

          • I’m going to hope there wasn’t a Republican plan for such a thing. I still have a small thimbleful of patriotic idealism.

          • Will

            Not so much a well thought out plan as more of a Plan B in case things go wrong, very wrong.

          • tboom

            Thank you Bob and Will for this thread. Important analysis.

          • Rob

            A glimmer of hope, then, that the incoming kakistocracy may be just slightly less of a clusterf&!k.

          • Rob

            We’ve never had much transparency, and in the post-truth world in which we are now trapped, we’re guaranteed to get even less. I expect to see Republicans introduce legislation entitled “Making American Government Transparent,” which we know will contain provisions for doing exactly the opposite.

        • Will

          Turn on CNN, it seems like Spicer offered the NYT access to the RNC behind the scenes and the NYT turned him and the RNC down, Spicer is adamantly denying that the RNC was hacked. Interesting conversation, seems like that denial is not being reported as loudly as the “confirmed” hacking story. I wouldn’t say it’s 100% just yet, I’ll be waiting to see the CIA reports on this whole thing.

          • The CIA reports are classified.

          • Will

            Yep, I hope they declassify it to settle this, this is more important to our democracy than “sources and methods”.

            Was the NYT able to see the report themselves or was it leaked in part to them? Did they see the entire report?

          • NYT has been behind the Washington Post on the story for months. I don’t know who saw what or how much of what.

            One of the interesting parts of the story was the administration, including the FBI boss, went to the Capitol to try to get a bipartisan buy-in to condemn and investigate Russian hacking,and to urge states to take federal money to secure their voting systems.

            Because if Obama had done that alone at the time, the allegations would have been that he was trying to influence the election. And, they’re right, that’s exactly what the daily dose would have been.

            McConnell and one other “high ranking” GOP rep, who I presume was Ryan, refused, saying that opening the investigation and condemning Russia’s influence would also influence the election. And they’re probably right, too.

            Meanwhile the FBI boss comes out with the “email server” memo to them, which stirs the pot even more, and then a week later comes out with the “nope, never mind” news release that is pretty much ignored and we have an election. Has the FBI been infiltrated? What was that all about?

            The question is what happens now? Clearly there is just going to HAVE to be a congressional investigation of some sort. The administration has already launched its own investigation and woe to the politician who says “oh, we’re not going to do anything, it’s probably no big deal and the Russians probably didn’t do anything wrong.”

            This is how a government gets crippled and perhaps Newt Gingrich will tweet soon about how brilliant the Russians might have been in its execution.

            Nope, these are not normal times. We’re likely in a cyberwar and we’re losing.

          • Will

            If there was clear evidence of Russian hacking the RNC how did no one pull a Snowden and release that info to the public/media? I would like a full investigation, wouldn’t members of Congress have access to that information? Isn’t this like the 9/11 report which had many pages held back as “classified”, perhaps we need to demand that our representatives in Congress read the document and tell us if we should be concerned and we need further investigation or not. This is an issue both parties should be looking at.

          • One of the things this administration has been really good at…. and really good since Snowden…. was making it impossible for whistleblowers to blow whistles.

            I presume this is all going to be up to the House or Senate Intelligence Committees.

            Chairman Devin Nunes press release does not inspire confidence that he’ll be able to step out of a partisan role, although this was before the WashPo story appeared that included the refusal of Republicans, probably including Nunes, to act:

            “Russia’s cyber-attacks are no surprise to the House Intelligence Committee, which has been closely monitoring Russia’s belligerence for years—as I’ve said many times, the Intelligence Community has repeatedly failed to anticipate Putin’s hostile actions. Unfortunately the Obama administration, dedicated to delusions of ‘resetting’ relations with Russia, ignored pleas by numerous Intelligence Committee members to take more forceful action against the Kremlin’s aggression. It appears, however, that after eight years the administration has suddenly awoken to the threat.”

            The most critical Republican so far has been Evan McMullin, R-UT.


            This morning, Lindsey Graham, R-SC, has been tweeting that he’s in.


            The instinct of politicians in these sorts of things is to circle the wagons politically. But at some point, lawmakers have to recall that they swore an oath. Historically, politicians have a tendency to rise to the occasion when it comes to external threats to the nation.

          • Rob

            I’m very worried that the Repubs will fall in behind Trump and try to keep this imbroglio tamped down.

    • chris

      As I mentioned on Friday, and was disregarded by many, trying to analyze this election and come to the conclusion that it was a disaster for democrats, without fully recognizing Russian hacking, and Comey’s late help to suggest there was some substance to the email issue when there wasn’t, without also mentioning that there was an investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia, is to entirely miss what happened.

      The answer isn’t for dems to genuflect to rural socially conservative voters.

      Given Trump’s massive ethical conflicts, and the knowledge that he received fewer votes than HRC, and now the confirmation that Russia was helping him, the electoral college should not vote for Trump.

      • You’re defining disaster by the method. The disaster is the result.

        • chris

          But the answer to change the result is not to attempt to woo more rural voters who are anti-government while relying on subsidies, supported trade hawk Trump while relying on foreign trade, and who are also socially conservative to a degree urban DFLers can’t meet.

          The result is apparently a disaster for the country not just the DFL.

  • One thing I thought of while reading the op-ed is this piece I wrote when the DFL portrayed Woodbury as radical right wing.

    I got a call from the DFL chair — he never went off the record so I can share it — who reminded me several times what a poor journalist (I interjected that I’m a blogger, not a journalist) and that I don’t understand the 2nd district and the suburbs, that it’s much more blue than it was previously etc. And that he should know because he grew up there.

    It’s a fair point but nonetheless, he didn’t know Woodbury, which re-elected its DFLers and kept its moderate Republican House member in one district, and also went for Clinton.

    The second district? It was a close race the 2nd District resident had against the 4th district resident who wanted to be the 2nd District’s congress person. 2 percent.

    But Woodbury was more DFL.

    What was shocking is that a DFL chairman would insult an entire city like Woodbury, where, as I pointed out, DFLers have done very well.

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

    What a dumb thing for a party chairman to say

    • crystals

      This entire conversation (including but not limited to staying on the record) seems unwise at best.

    • Will

      Jason Lewis isn’t even all that “radical”, he’s more of a libertarian when it comes to government spending and international interventions.

      But yes, it is quite insulting to Woodbury to suggest that they’re somehow associated with the radical right…I think that phrase has become so common place that it’s the immediate insult to throw at anyone who isn’t part of the DFL. No thinking about it, just throw it out there to and label your opponents as part of the “radical right”…even moderate suburbs…because they aren’t DFL enough for those in the DFL leadership.

  • “Trump zeroed in, Arnade said, on the one thing that mattered most: The system is rigged against them. They had no shot at achieving the American Dream.

    “You had hope leaving . . . and then Trump’s message coming in,” he said.

    Arnade said his time on the road, which continues, has changed him.

    “I learned to get rid of my education,” he said. “I had to stop being the guy who always says, ‘Well, actually . . .’ to prove I know better.”

    It’s a lesson worth learning.”

  • Rob

    Here’s more compelling evidence of Russian interference in the election…