Monday, October 11, 2010


Minnesota Monday: Politics

One thing I am learning about Minnesota is how profoundly the culture and social institutions here are influenced by the state's Scandanavian heritage. There are many ways it seems more like Europe than Texas, and politics is one of them.

Unlike the rest of the country, Minnesota has an effective three-party system, and only one of the parties is very familiar.

The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party is a descendant of the strong progressive history in this state. It seems, in general, to be pretty darn liberal-- very different than the Democrats in Texas.

The Independence Party, which came out of the Ross Perot campaign in 1992,has had major party status in Minnesota continuously since 1994, and in 1998 elected the governor (Jesse Ventura). This time around, they are running the sensible-seeming Tom Horner (who is my neighbor, apparently).

In a more familiar vein, we also have a strong Republican party. The current governor, Tim Pawlenty, is a Republican, though he seems to be focused more on running for President than running the state right now.

Since we are in the middle of an election season, one fascinating thing I am seeing is how much substantive discourse there is about actual issues. The three candidates for governor seem to be debating each other nearly every day, and when they do they seem to focus on policy issues. The Republicans do call the DFL candidate a "liberal," but he seems to shrug and admit it. The DFLers say that the Republican candidate is supported by Newt Gingrich, which is true. Mostly, they talk about tax policy in concrete terms. This seems fairly unique these days-- in most other states, we see games played over having debates, and a lot more name-calling.

By "other states" do you mean...Texas?
That's way different than my admittedly-brief experience of Florida politics during the time I was there prior to my cruise. Allow me a dramatic reinterpretation:

Republican Ad (cut to a scene of lots of seniors standing in line) -- "Do you know that Democrats are trying to get the government to bankrupt your Medicare, so that they can send you to FEMA death panel camps? They will let gay people teach your children that being gay is OK and what ALLAH wants them to do. Please, vote Marco Rubio to prevent your children from being eaten alive in Satanic Democrat rituals."

Democrat Ad (a very earnest looking candidate's face appears) -- "I'm not going to do any of those things, don't worry!"
So you are saying that the Democrats aren't denying they "said" any of those things, just that they won't do any of those things???? ....thank God for Mark Rubio.
Aww it ate my response.

I was saying that the Democrats are spineless wimps, and if enough campaign commercials accuse them of ludicrous stuff, they end up saying, "Oh, that's a valid point, but I promise no baby-eating for at least the first two years of my tenure."
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