Hillary is in the race

It is official now, the first Democratic Party candidate for presidency is in the race, and the race is on.  Hillary Clinton announced her run with a great two minute video that is worth a watch.

With Hillary in the race officially, and Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb, just a slick social media video announcement away from being in the race, the 2016 presidential season has started. Yes, I am discounting Ted Cruz and Rand Paul from beginning the season, because neither of them has a chance, and let’s be serious, they are both assholes. The real, most analyzed, covered, and whined about race will be whether Hillary wins a quick victory for the Democratic nomination in a landslide, or if she has to fight for the nomination.

There is little doubt that the American public will be clobbered by anti-Hillary memes, but is there a tougher more resilient politician out there? I’m not sure there is. Am I excited about a potential Hillary and Jeb race? No, but that doesn’t mean Hillary wouldn’t make a great president. Part of me is rooting against her, just so I don’t have to watch the assault on her, but part of me wants her to make history, and be the first positively impactful president I have been alive for. I was hoping for that from Obama, now I expect that if Hillary becomes the first woman to sit in the Oval Office. That might be entirely fair to expect of Hillary, but if she wins it will be a big deal.

Note: I recently stated Hillary is currently “my third choice, behind the dull Martin O’Malley and the slightly less dull Jim Webb,” but if Hillary comes out kicking butt, I will jump on the band wagon quicker than the Twins getting eliminated from the playoffs.

My 3 Political Desires 2020

I am convinced there are three political objectives we must correct by 2020.  Do I believe we can do any of this? No.  But I still want to, who is interested in supporting my PAC?

1) Nationally, end gerrymandering of political districts and require bipartisan or multipartisan state judicial redistricting boards nominated by all stakeholders.  Force those members to base the district on population and convenience of meeting.  By convenience I mean if possible, make it convenient for people to attend meetings more easily.  It isn’t convenient for a person in the 1st district living in Luverne to drive 250 miles one way for a monthly meeting in Rochester.  And it isn’t convenient for either a person in in the 7th district living in Montevideo or a person living in Thief River Falls to drive to Detroit Lakes for a meeting.  Districts should be more square!

2) Eliminate the Electoral College and elect the President by popular vote, the same way we elect every other politician.  The person who gets the most votes is the winner.  In California, a Republican’s presidential vote does not count toward the presidential election, and in Kansas, a Democrat’s vote does not count.  Every vote should count!

3) Stop PACs from running political ads on public airwaves and make politicians appear in every ad via picture or video for their campaign.  If a campaign wants to attack another candidate, make the opposing candidate do it him or herself.  Also, make it illegal for a candidate to use the image of another candidate in their ads.  Let’s make people earn a vote!

In summary, square districts, every vote counts, and earn votes. Now I just need a catchy PAC name.

A Tale of Two Cities: The Plight of Local Politics

A tale of two cities…

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was…”          -Charles Dickens

With just days until the 2014 election, Minnesota candidates were just required to submit their campaign financial data to the state to make it public record.  In my district, 58, Lakeville/Farmington and most of the rest of Southern Dakota County, the campaigns on the A and B sides are vastly different.

On the 58A side, which is most of Lakeville, Amy Willingham and Jon Koznick are competing against each other to win the open seat vacated by Rep. Mary Liz Holberg.  The two candidates are very evenly matched in donations, with Koznick edging out Willingham $41,964.77 to $41,558.29.  Together they have collected over $83,000!  That is a huge number in our area.  To put that in perspective, in 2012, Mary Liz Holberg and Colin Lee raised $26,433 collectively, and if you add in the 58th district senate race between Dave Thompson and Andrew Brobston, the total for all four candidates was $68,291.  Willingham and Koznick, have spent more than those four candidates raised in 2012.

On the other side of the district in 58B, the numbers are nowhere similar.  Incumbent Rep. Pat Garofalo has raised $13,038 this year, of course he started the year with over $52,000 in the bank, so he didn’t have to raise much, and Marla Vagts raised $7,065.  Together they raised just over $20,000, and one quarter of that was from the state public subsidy.

In summary, A side = $83,000. B side = $20,000.

It is understandable, that the A side would be higher, it is an open and contested seat, but there is another side to look at on the A side.  Both Willingham and Koznick have received over $5,000 each in individual identified donations from outside the district, and combined, have received over $10,000 from PACs and lobbyists.  In addition, together they have over $35,000 in unidentified donations, which probably increases those outside the district contributions.

Of course that is not surprising.  There are so many groups trying to influence elections, I expect it.  But that does not make it right.  Koznick and Willingham have raised more money from outside the district, than Garofalo and Vagts have raised total.  There is a fundamental problem with our election system when other people outside the district have as big of an impact on the election as the local voters – if not a bigger impact on the election.

When I hear people say government doesn’t work, well get a clue!  Where do you think it starts?  Right here, right now, on November 4th, and the 6-10 months leading up to that day.  If we want government to work, our election system needs to change to be about local voters, and local voters only!

Why it is important for you to vote in next Tuesday’s primary

Many DFLers have not been paying much attention to the primary this year, thinking this primary is more about Republicans vs. Tea Partiers, with all the fights on the right.  And while a lot of DFLers are aware of Matt Entenza’s crazy conceited challenge of our current and great State Auditor Rebecca Otto, we need to be vigilant because every one of our big ticket candidates in CD2, except Gen. Lori Swanson, has a challenger this year.

Next Tuesday, on August 12, 2014, make sure you make it a priority to get to the polls, tell candidates like Matt Entenza and others, that the DFL is an important organization.  An organization that is responsible for helping to turn Minnesota’s economic woes around.  We are an organization that has made it a priority to invest in education, care for the young, the elderly, and those who are not able to take care of themselves.  And, the DFL is not a place to make a power grab, or a place to feed your ego looking for perceived weaknesses for personal gain.

On Tuesday August 12, I will vote for every endorsed candidate, not simply because they are endorsed, but because they are far and away the best candidates, and they deserve my vote.  I hope you will vote on Tuesday too, and I hope you will encourage somebody else to vote.

Annette Meeks partying like it’s 1799 – Her absurd logic on keeping the electoral college.

Do you remember in 2010, when Republicans like Annette Meeks, Tom Emmer and Dave Thompson kept using the phrase, “it’s just common sense” when referring to changing the constitution to restrict a person’s ability to vote? Today, Annette Meeks, proves it is not at all about common sense. It is really an “it’s all about me” attitude and about protecting her own interests.

In an opinion piece in the StarTribune today titled “Lobbyists target Electoral College,” Ms. Meeks argues that the antiquated Electoral College should stay in place to elect presidents, rather than a majority of voters who vote in the election like we determine every other election. She states: “The current system works very well and ensures that states like Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin matter.” Here is where I am going with the selfish “it’s all about me” argument too many Republicans get caught up in. Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin matter in this scenario, but what about Kansas, Wyoming, California, Hawaii, or Nebraska? Are their votes less important Ms. Meeks? Because if the reason we matter is that our states are in play, and we live here, do the California voters who voted for Mitt Romney (5 million plus voters), or John McCain, George W. Bush, or Bob Dole, not matter? Because their votes have not counted in over 20 years. This system is an absurd out-of-date system that was established in the first place to keep the average person from choosing the president.

It is time for the Electoral College to go, and it is time for the President to be elected by Popular Vote. Just like every other election in America is decided.

It’s funny because when the fight was on to give women the right to vote, the system “worked very well” then too. Does that mean we shouldn’t have changed? The real reason Ms. Meeks and so many other Republicans don’t want this change is that the trends are showing more and more Democratic voters are voting. They are afraid that their extremist views and agenda driven gerrymandering will become a thing of the past, as more centrist candidates will be needed to win an election. Ms. Meeks is scared of losing her place in politics.

One thing I have learned about living in a very conservative district is that constant losing breeds voter apathy. When the main voting draw is the election of a president, how many more Republicans in California, or Democrats in Mississippi might go out to vote if they knew their vote actually meant something? Ms. Meeks is dead-wrong. This system doesn’t work. This system was designed to make voters irrelevant. The Electoral College is an archaic remnant of a time when white men owned slaves, women couldn’t vote, and cocaine was used to treat a child with a tooth ache.

Ms. Meeks, I won’t bother to say step into the 21st century. It is apparent you need to first try stepping into the 19th century.

MNDem is a personal political opinion website. It is not affiliated with any candidate, organization, or the Minnesota DFL Party, regardless of the author's position, job or status.