Sexual Harassment: We are stuck with a pretender president who has bragged about multiple incidents of sexual assault, and Alabama may soon afflict itself with a senator accused of multiple felony level sexual assaults. Our own U.S. Senator Franken has confessed to acts of sexual harassment, and one Minnesota legislator of each party has been accused of sexual harassment and resigned. Our state party chair Ken Martin called for the resignation of the DFL legislator and promised sexual harassment training for all candidates. As CD7 Outreach Officer and following the example of our state chair and the Outreach Committee in removing a local unit officer for comments insensitive to immigrants a few months back, I called for Senator Franken’s resignation.
That now appears to be a highly unpopular position, at least within our party. Yet I share that “zero tolerance” position with our party chair and many other DFL leaders, ‘cept Ken called for the resignation of a legislator. Clearly, we need a consistent response to sexual harassment. Mr. Trump’s and Roy Moore’s acts by Minnesota law appear to rise to the level of criminal sexual conduct, especially Mr. Moore’s as he abused a position of authority with minor victims. The legislators and Senator Franken’s harassing probably doesn’t rise to the level of a criminal offense, but as government employees and in some of Franken’s incidents a guest at military facilities and thus subject to military law, they probably violated the relevant sexual harassment policies to say the least. But under state, federal, and military policies the penalties (if any) assessed offenders are “all over the map”- Clearly our state DFL needs to adopt harassment policies that provide clear penalties commensurate to the offense rather than the current direction of the political winds.
Immigration policy: Pretender president Trump wants to kick every one of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants out of the country, about 8 million of whom are working. While Trump cites “jobs” to support his insane plan, unemployment nationally is down to around 4-5% and falling. That gives us maybe 5 million americans out of work, not enough to replace the 8 million undocumented workers. In most of our 7th CD, the worker shortage is even more critical- per the latest September ’17 stats, we have several counties with below 2% unemployment, and no county in CD7 has more than 5% unemployment. With more and more americans retired, we need immigrants to do the work, and Trump is chasing them out. Most troubling is Trump’s attempt to end the DACA program which allows students and young workers who came here as children to remain and contribute to our society. Many of these “dreamers” are college students in the medical, scientific, and engineering fields, and Mexico now has more engineering students than our country… And Trump wants to send them more? The insanity of Trump knows no bounds… Support our DACA youth and other undocumented workers!
Stats time: While as a whole CD7 is one of the most rural congressional districts, several legislative districts within it are classified as urban by the census… You might want to adapt your strategies to that factoid. On the other extreme of population density, former DFL legislator and candidate Ted Suss has suggested we campaign more in the townships. Ted’s proposal makes sense, in many legislative races we have won in the cities then lost when the township results come in. The townships with their 800,000+ residents are the GOP’s base, an even bigger base than ours with the 700,000 or so population of Minneapolis and St.Paul. And unlike the cities where hordes of DFL voters are concentrated in a few districts where they run up the score for local DFL candidates and seldom help us beyond statewide races, the townships are spread over dozens of legislative districts… Crack that republican base and we can win back the legislature. Ted and I are suggesting that each unit pick a representative township and target it with extra campaign efforts so we can compare it with other townships to assess the effectiveness of our strategy.
And while we’re on the subject of stats, here’s where I get mine. Top ‘o the list is our Secretary of States excellent site at http://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/election-results . Over the last few years the data has gotten richer with the option to download great gobs of it in spreadsheet friendly and GIS formats. The SOS gives us even more data in the last chapter of the legislative manual, broken down to the percent level for each candidate. You can download these at http://www.sos.state.mn.us/about-minnesota/get-a-blue-book/ . The blue books with the 2010 and earlier results probably aren’t available due to changes in Adobe that makes them unreadable with the current PDF readers, but I’ve got several older legislative manuals downloaded on an older computer if anybody wants them. And if you still lust for more data, try the demographic data geek’s playground over at http://proximityone.com/
Updates: No sooner than I write about pipelines but one springs a leak in South Dakota… As expected! I’ve been toying with the idea of making these reports weekly during next years election season, and I’m going to try out that concept with occasional updates as needed in December.
Respectfully submitted with best wishes for the holidays, Dyna Sluyter