The pregame distractions, those endless extensions of the campaign cycle into the off year with an infestation of candidacy announcements, mailings to caucus goers, etc… Are finally over. Iowa’s caucuses have of course gotten the jump on us, while the more sensible (at least as far as their political calendar goes) Dakotans will wait ’til the annual glaciers recede just before memorial day to hold their primaries.
On my Democratic Farmer-Labor side of the political fence, this was supposed to be a slow year, what with unchallenged DFL incumbents holding all the statewide offices up for election this year, and all but the Secretary of State running for re-election. So while we were prepared to be underwhelmed, our Lyon County DFL of course laid on an ample supply of coffee and cookies, muffins, etc.. Which was a good thing, because we had as big a turnout as 2012, when we had a presidential race and battles against multiple backward constitutional amendments on the agenda. And despite a couple school districts holding parent-teacher conferences at the same time, a diverse group of 40 odd DFLers braved below zero weather to trek from all over the county to renew friendships and debate resolutions for a couple hours.
Meanwhile, the (once) Grand OLD Party caucus across town promised to be more exciting than the weekly bingo game at the nursing home, what with multiple candidates hoping to win back the DFL held U.S. Senate seat of Al Franken as well as the Governorship, constitutional offices, and a majority in the statehouse. Given that the GOP field is essentially the “old guard” that is running against history, Social Security, women’s suffrage, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and probably the Magna Carta too, winning anywhere but the most backward exurban Tea Bagger enclave will be a tall order… And all the republicans have going for them is the historic low DFL voter turnout in non-presidential elections.
Now the Lyon County GOP caucuses should have been mobbed, given that their Lyon County favorite son and former legislator Marty Seifert is running for governor. The GOP were careful not to release attendance numbers, but sounds like they maybe had a hundred republicans turn out to support said favorite son in an election year when they almost have nothing to lose, ’cause they lost just ’bout everything in 2012. And those hundred odd republicans looked to be the old guard, not the young Ron Paul followers that will campaign ’til they drop. Perhaps the better strategy for the GOP would be to forget about elections, and concentrate on setting up a chain of nursing homes where they can spend their last years in Tea Party paradise? ‘Course, for what they want to pay, most of the help would be immigrants…
So it’s game on! in Minnesota politics, and the party of progress (DFL) will again battle the forces of evil past (GOP)… Let the games begin!