DFL CD7 Outreach Officers Report for May 2018

DFL CD7 Outreach Officers Report for May 1, 2018:

Happy May Day, and hope you’re enjoying this International Worker’s Holiday and day of protest! Followed by the celebration of Cinco de Mayo, Mexico’s Independence Day- There are celebrations in Pipestone on May 12th and Willmar on May 19th, and probably a few more I ain’t heard of. Please have your local DFL units make these events, with Cinco and all the Pride Celebrations and Pow Wows there’s thankfully more events than I can make! Parade season starts in May too, followed by county fairs in July, August, and even at least one in September.

Convention… Wasn’t this the best ever? I was impressed by the incredible turnout and dedication of the delegates and alternates, and we had plenty of candidates and visiting DFLers too. I was on the nominations committee and was impressed by the quality of our candidates for party office. We had some tough choices to make and I think all the applicants got a position, although it may not have been their first choice. And thank you for re-electing me, I’ll do my best to reward your vote of confidence. We also amended our constitution to have odd year meetings to elect officers so we’ll have more time to make congressional endorsements and national convention delegates at the even year conventions.

What if the GOP got their wet dream and all the minorities and Hispanics moved out of rural America? GOP, be careful what you wish for… In the redistricting following the 2010 census the average district had to have around 711,000 population, and CD7 was able to slide by with 668,000 odd souls. But take away people of color and Latinos and were down to just short of 594,000, which means the redistricting map makers would have had to add a bunch more counties to get enough white non Hispanic people to number that 711,000 to make a district, requiring extending our already oversized district all the way south to Iowa and damn near to downtown St.Cloud. It gets worse- Current 2020 population projections say that we’ll need around 769,000 to be a congressional district, and population in the rural mid west has barely increased in the last century. Minnesota’s two rural districts, CD7 and CD8, together have a white non-Hispanic population of around 1,203,000, good for a seat and a half in congress after the 2022 redistricting. To get 3 seats in the post 2022 congress with no minorities or latinos we’d need to add the only 30% or so rural current 1st and 6th districts to the 7th and 8th and every Minnesotan more than an hour’s drive from downtown Minneapolis would have to share 3 instead of the current 4 representatives with a lot of suburbanites, Rochester, and Duluth. The GOP’s rural “vision” of a white english speaking rural America would have similar consequences in other partly rural states- The 2012 redistricting left only 34 districts that were mostly rural, and if the GOP had their way at best a dozen would survive after the 2022 redistricting. You’d think the 30 odd GOP congress members poorly representing these rural districts would be rolling out the red carpet for minorities and Latinos just out of survival instinct… But that may be too much to expect from a party whose leaders think they can pass a farm bill without the food aid needed to draw the support of the other 401 congress members from urban districts…

Respectfully submitted, Dyna Sluyter


CD7 Outreach Officers Report, March 2018

To win we need to build a coalitions, not cults…

What the heck is this Outreach Officer doing, prattling off topic again? Well, our duties include bringing underrepresented groups into the party process, and those groups often have belief systems that complement but are subtly different than our own. Examples: An unemployed miner and an environmentalist may have different views on mining. A senior surviving on social security and a young minimum wage worker may have different views on the program’s funding. Then there’s the differences of opinion arising from our diverse demographics and geography- Due to the high cost of living in the metro counties a real minimum wage is around $20 an hour, while $13 an hour will provide the same standard of living in many of our rural counties. And while “big ag” had little use for the BWCA and it was successfully protected, we struggle to protect both our lakes and family farmers from “big ag” in rural southern and western Minnesota.

So it’s tempting for these diverse groups to get cult like, adopt their own extreme dogma, and demand that the rest of the party agree. But it takes big tents of DFLers to win elections, and the ideologically pure inhabitants of the “pup tents” seldom win a primary, never mind a general election. And while an extreme candidate can turn off a goodly lot of DFLers in urban districts where DFL candidates routinely get 70% of the vote and still win, out here in CD7 and in much of rural Minnesota where darn near half the voters are loyal republicans we win with mainstream candidates that carry our core DFL values to win the votes of DFLers and independents as well. The whole of our DFL party is greater than it’s parts, and wins elections too!

And if you want organize with a group of like minded DFLers, we got these neat groups called Constituency Caucuses. Join one, organize and advocate for your group or cause, and we’ll all be working together for victory come election time!


Trolls, Bots, and the Hacking of Democracy…

The internet was designed to be anything but secure… Over a quarter century ago when I first dialed in nobody demanded proof that I wasn’t a dog, troll, or a bot that we only dreamed of then. Other than your ISP wanting assurance that you’re a paying customer, nobody seems to care if you’ve got a dozen or better yet thousands of identities… Heck, your driving up their ad revenue! Back in that heyday of usenet I witnessed not even a handful of activists use multiple identities to start a whole little movement that even succeeded in securing a six figure grant to fund their nonprofit.

They were mere amateurs by today’s standards of internet hijinks… A horde of shadowy operators will shamelessly sell you thousands of bots to puff up ratings of your products or bash a competitors. Thanks to the rise of increasingly cheaper computing capacity and smarter artificial intelligence, by 2012 foreign elections were being manipulated by social media trolls. Having honed their dubious skills abroad, Russia’s trolls attacked our 2016 presidential election, dragging most likely to fail candidate Trump to a technical victory while promoting derision between the Bernie and Hillary supporters and dragging Hillary down with serial lies that though unbelievable looked authentic enough to be believable by the gullible.  Even Daily Kos wasn’t immune… I used to have pretty good luck getting my diaries promoted to the Rec or Community Spotlight lists, but looked like Kos’ algorithms had been hacked and I got ban threats instead of recs.

So here we are in 2018, the trolls are smarter and the bots are cheaper, and all the publicity will probably make them multiply. The internet is as insecure and anonymous as ever, And here in Minnesota we’ve got enough enough competitive races to darn near flip the U.S. Hose and Senate alone, AND we’re electing the governor who will approve or veto redistricting. The social media manipulating trolls and their bots may have already orchestrated the take down of Franken and there’s been a suspicious rise in traffic attacking our leading candidate for governor lately. Our social media will be polluted with the misleading trolling of bots, our websites hacked, and the lazier traditional media will even echo the lies.

Get ready.


CD7 Outreach Officers Update, 2/8/18

We survived the caucuses… On to the conventions!

First, a plea for civility- Every one of our gubernatorial candidates is an upstanding and outstanding progressive DFLer, and none deserved to be called a “DINO” or similar epitaphs. Let’s vigorously advocate for our favorite candidate, and refrain from trying to elevate our candidate by tearing down another.

Second, winter weather and scheduling conflicts allowing, I’m going to make the rounds of some of our CD7 conventions. I’m not running for any party office (though I will serve again if asked), just doing my duty as a CD officer.

Finally, please remember to elect an Outreach Officer if your county unit constitution provides for one. If not, amend your constitution to add an Outreach Officer! If that doesn’t work, please remind the Vice Chair you elect that their duties include outreach. This is a huge district… Several counties will be having their conventions together in Thief River Falls on Saturday and I’ve love to make it, but a 600 mile round trip on two lanes in winter is pretty iffy. That assumes the current snow will stop so I can get the new car to Sioux Falls for an overdue oil change first. These geographical challenges are pretty common in this huge congressional district, which explains why we need Outreach Officers in every county and senate district!

Respectfully submitted, Dyna Sluyter



CD7 Outreach Officers Report. 2/18

This Black History Month we honor Frederick McKinley Jones, African American inventor from western Minnesota who gave us mobile refrigeration, made silent movies talk, and invented a bunch of other neat stuff. Wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_McKinley_Jones

February in an even number year is… Caucus Time! So here’s some sorta serious tips for a hopefully painless caucus:
1.  Expect near 2008 or 2016 attendance. Look at the full houses the gubernatorial forums have played to- Interest is high despite having neither Barack or Bernie contending. We need to expect to be overwhelmed with caucus attendees, and hopefully we will be. The preparations we make will make the difference between a thrilling caucus and a “never again!” Caucus.
2.  Assume that the Secretary of State’s caucus finder website, the DFL’s, the DFL’s web based caucus attendee registration app, and maybe the whole internet will slow to a crawl or crash. Have precincts maps, sign up sheets, etc. ready.
3. Bring a printer so you’ll have plenty of those paper backups.
4. The internet being fully functional pre-caucus, expect someone to bring a whole packet of resolutions. Someone else will bring another packet of similar but differently worded resolutions. Appoint them the resolutions committee and hand them a copy of the DFL platform so they can verify that half their resolutions are already in the platform.
5. If it’s 9 pm and they’re still hotly debating resolutions… Announce a blizzard warning and remind them that the caucus site loses power and more importantly internet access at the mere drop of a snowflake…
Respectfully submitted, Dyna Sluyter

MN CD7 Outreach Officers Report Update, 1/17/18: Dems take back WI SD10!

Western Wisconsin’s 10th senate district was a classic swing district ’til over a decade ago when the GOP’s Senator Harsdorf took possession of the district. The district’s wrong turn to the right continued with Romney and Trump winning the district, and it appeared to be permanent property of the GOP.

Until yesterday… democrat Patty Schactner won a special election to fill the seat with 55% of the vote, despite being vastly outspent by the GOP and their “dark money friends”. More heartening, this is the kind of exurban and rural district that democrats have had difficulty winning- The census says this is a rural district!

So far I’ve only seen results broken down to the county level posted, and I’m looking forward to a deeper dive into the data when the precinct results come out. Our democratic candidate won the most exurban county, 53% rural St.Croix, with 55% of the vote. We won 54% rural Pierce county that includes dairy farms and University of Wisconsin- River Falls with a whopping 72% of the vote. 59% rural Dunn County, more rural and less exurban, gave 68% of it’s votes to our democratic candidate. Our democratic candidate lost only 85% rural Polk county with 47% of the vote and 100% rural Burnett county with 40% of the vote.

Their is good news here for fans of both urban and rural democratic strategies- Our democratic candidate Patty Schactner performed best in both exurbs and regional center/college small cities of 10,000+ population that are far beyond commuting range of the metro centers. This means exurban districts in the twin cities outer ring suburbs as well as “micropolitan” districts around cities like Willmar, Marshall, Detroit Lakes, and a bunch more I forgot are now winnable by democrats… Provided we campaign hard!

Respectfully submitted, Dyna Sluyter


MN CD7 Outreach Officers report, 1/1/17

CD7 Outreach Officers Report, January 1, 2018:

Actually comin’ out a day early, ‘cause wanted to remind folks that we still got a few hours to make a 2017 contribution to our candidates & party units! Get online or run over to your campaign or unit treasurer while there’s still time to get a 2017 political contribution refund. Or better yet, run up our candidate’s fundraising for the first report in February and make the GOP blow bricks when they see they have over a hundred well funded DFL opponents!

The year ahead- After our year of discontent we finally get to unelect some GOoPers! First up we get special elections in districts 23B and 54, 23B is a take back opportunity and we need to hold onto 54. 23B is close to CD7 so please help campaign for our candidate there if you can, and there will be virtual phone backs set up so we can help both candidates from home. Next up will probably be a special election in district 13 whenever GOP Senator Fischbach figures out that she can’t weasel out of her duty to succeed to the office of Lt. Governor. Given that it takes a bit over 2 months to fill a legislative seat by special election, Fischbach’s stupid theatrics may leave the senate tied 33/33 for most of the session. That will produce even more theatrics from the GOP, but they won’t be able to do much damage.

Candidate recruitment (Don’t make me run again!)- We’re doing well in places like SD16 with great candidates on both sides of the district, but in some districts we’re drawing a big zero. Filing for office ends early on June 5th so we need to have candidates out fundraising and campaigning NOW. By starting early our state house candidates have more time to raise the $1500 in donations needed to qualify for public campaign funding.

General strategy- As we now have 2 senate races as well as constitutional officers up for election, these statewide races will dominate our campaigns. That’s why we need state house candidates in even the “hopeless” districts to bring out DFL voters for our congressional and statewide candidates!

Outreach issues: Diversity- Great 2 have 2 women at the top of the ballot, and thanks Tim Walz for choosing native american woman Peggy Flanagan for your running mate. But we still need more diversity on the DFL side of the ballot, please encourage and support diverse DFL candidates!

Is you’re district really rural? Per the Census, 4A (Moorhead) is 97% urban, 16B (New Ulm and Redwood Falls) is 55%, 17B (Willmar) is 59%, and 18A (metro exurbs) is 51%… Campaigns may want to try more metro style strategies in these districts.

Township Project: At the other extreme of density former DFL legislator Ted Suss wisely suggests we look into how we can win more votes in the townships. There are more voters in the townships than in Minneapolis and St.Paul together, and while they favor GoOPers, many are “swing” voters. Readers in SD16 have already seen Ted’s proposal, for the rest of you I’ve attached a PDF.

And finally, see you at the caucus!

Respectfully submitted, Dyna Sluyter