It’s friday after the 2020 elections, finally got some sleep and still can’t believe we lost. But the numbers don’t lie, especially here in Minnesota where we have paper ballots and a bunch of senior citizens running the elections that you don’t argue with. But for the first time in decades a republican won Minnesota, and it was Trump, the least popular republican ever. Was the closest race in the nation, with Trump taking Minnesota by almost a percent.
What the… ?
We should have seen it coming- Unlike Iowa and other surrounding states, one big ol’ metro area has 60% of the population and the state capitol too, so our Democratic Farmer-Labor (official term, not many farmers left in the party and the republicans are wooing labor) Party figures they can pretty much ignore rural Minnesota. Thus we’ve seen party support for rural down ballot candidates drop and disappear. Hillary barely won Minnesota in 2016, garnering 178 thousand less votes than Obama got in 2012. Trump in 2016 got only 3 thousand more votes than Romney did in 2016. Almost every one of those lost democratic presidential votes, 169 thousand, came out of the most rural 4 of Minnesota’s 8 congressional districts.
In 2012 our downballot candidates won several rural congressional and legislative seats in Minnesota, and in 2014 and 2016 we lost a bunch of them back to republicans. The Minnesota Democratic Party was not ignorant of this drop in rural votes and took action. Problem was, they took the wrong action- Pulling most all support for rural legislative candidates in 2018 and favoring suburban congressional candidates. No surprise that while the blue wave pushed democratic candidates to victory in surrounding states, the Minnesota Democratic Party held on to the statewide offices, swapped congressional seats, and made slight gains in the legislature. By 2020 many rural democratic local units had gone dark, and rural democratic voters took the hint and stayed home on election day.
The above 2020 prognostication is fiction, and hopefully will remain so. But truth is, their are several swing states where a low turnout of rural democratic voters could give even Trump barely enough electoral votes to eek out a win. That’s why even in rural red districts, every democratic voter counts!