Daily Reformer: Klob gets help at home while others say it’s time to drop

Comeback Joe? Photo by Andrew Roth / Michigan Advance.

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Good morning! 

Didn’t watch the debate. Who won? [email protected] I hear Joe Biden did well. Josh Kraushaar of National Journal persuasively argues that Biden is the only Dem who does well with non-white voters, which means he’s the only one who can put together the coalition to beat Sen. Bernie Sanders. That means he must win Saturday in South Carolina and then ride some momentum into Super Tuesday, stay relatively close in the delegate count, and get a bunch of help from the other Dems running and the dread “establishment” who fear Sanders’ viability against President Donald Trump. 

Tuesday night was caucus night. Who won? [email protected] 

Reformer reporter Ricardo Lopez was out and about. Here’s a quick dispatch, and look for his full story later this a.m.: 

Around Minnesota, tens of thousands turned out for precinct caucuses, a week before Minnesota’s presidential primary and the same night as a Democratic debate. Questions loomed over whether the switch to a primary might depress turnout at precinct caucuses, but those fears appeared to be unfounded at Parker Center High School in Brooklyn Center. 

The effort by Faith in Minnesota — the ISAIAH-created social welfare group — to train first-time precinct caucus attendees, brought dozens of new faces to Senate District 40, which also includes Brooklyn Park.

Tuesday night was the first foray into grassroots organizing for many attendees around issues like affordable housing and climate change. They passed resolutions they hoped would become part of the state DFL Party’s platform. And they got to hear from elected officials like Attorney General Keith Ellison, who was stumping for Sen. Bernie Sanders and took questions on what his office is doing to prevent phone scams targeting senior citizens. 

State. Sen. Chris Eaton, who said she was heartened to see such a strong and diverse turnout at this precinct, took a tough question on how she was changing the narrative around opioid addiction to draw attention to how addiction had been criminalized against Black Americans in the 1990s.

If Ricardo’s precinct is indicative of the rest of the metro, that’s a good sign for Faith in Minnesota’s efforts to organize people of color this year. 

A Minneapolis DFL source checks in: 

“I think the only thing I can really surmise is that incumbents like Rep. Ray Dehn and Sen. Jeff Hayden may be in trouble. Maybe,” he said. 

(Remember how this all works: Precinct attendees attend caucuses and select delegates to go to Senate district conventions, where they’ll “endorse” legislative candidates. One imagines even if Dehn and Hayden were to lose the endorsement they would just go to a primary on the strength of $$ and name recognition.) 

Source adds that both Dehn and Hayden seem to have credible opponents who are organized. 

A suburban Republican tells me, “As many women as men. Very upbeat. Many new people.”

If that were to hold true around the metro, that’s a good sign for the GOP. 

Elsewhere on the Reformer: 

Ricardo bounced off an LA Times story to examine Sanders’ strength among diverse communities, which will be key on Super Tuesday, including here in Minnesota. Although Minnesota is whiter than most states, a divided DFL electorate and a crowded field of candidates will make winning communities of color more important. 

From Washington Robin Bravender on what counts as a weird occurrence in Washington these days — legislation hitting the Senate floor. The abortion bills failed on procedural votes and will not become law with a Democratic House but were nevertheless set up to test moderate D’s.

Bernie or busters?

This Vox piece from political scientists from Yale and Berkeley sparked a lot of discussion Tuesday. They conducted a 40,000 person survey to drill down into the electability of Democratic candidates.

“So, which candidate is most likely to beat Trump? Decades of evidence from academic studies suggests that more moderate nominees tend to perform better in general elections than more ideologically extreme nominees. For example, Democratic US House candidates who supported Medicare-for-all fared approximately 2.2 percentage points worse in the 2018 midterms than candidates in similar districts who did not. But early polling testing how Democratic nominees would fare against Trump suggests a different conclusion: Bernie Sanders, the most left-wing candidate in the Democratic primary, polls as well against Trump as his more moderate competitors in surveys.” 

Sounds good for Sanders, right? The problem is that the only way he’s as electable as his fellow Democrats, the piece goes on to explain, is if there’s a wave of left-leaning young people that turn out. And history teaches us that…they never do. 

Freeman helps Klob

How convenient for Sen. Amy Klobuchar that Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman is clearing up the facts of the Tyesha Edwards case. That’s the one an AP investigation found serious problems with, and about which Myron Burrell gave an interview from prison this week in which he says he’s locked up despite his innocence. Here’s the Hennepin County Q&A on the case, titled: The murder of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards by Myon Burrell and you can find the link to a Youtube video Freeman did on the case. The statement/Q&A says it’s “It is inappropriate and unfair” to make the Burrell case an issue in the presidential race. 

I’m sorry, come again? It’s inappropriate and unfair to raise the issue of a potential wrongful conviction in a presidential race? Actually it seems both appropriate and fair and long overdue. 

After all, Klobuchar once used the victim’s mother in a political ad. 

One could argue it’s inappropriate and unfair for Freeman to be inserting himself into the presidential race with the resources of his office. End rant. 

MSM polling

The Star Tribune/MPR continues its polling, this time finding broad support for refugee resettlement, and that immigrants are a net plus for the economy. We shouldn’t rely on polls to do the right thing, but this result is gratifying, at least to this Minnesota transplant. 

Other findings of the poll: A majority favor legalization of cannabis and the number has rocketed since 2014. There’s some partisan polarization on the issue but 42-47 among Republicans isn’t that bad either.  

And, finally, mining near the Boundary Waters is unpopular, and not just in the metro. It’s a political loser everywhere. Any Democrat who pushes for it is committing political malpractice. We knew from interest group polling — and former GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen’s decision to don a hat and get in a canoe for the first ad of his unsuccessful 2018 reelection campaign — that Minnesotans are against the idea of mining near the Boundary Waters. But this adds another data point from an independent pollster with a good track record and a slight GOP lean.  

Around the Capitol

Strib also finds another overbilling problem at Dept. of Human Services, this time a software glitch; Medicaid paid managed care and health care companies twice for enrollees with duplicate accounts. Nearly $29 million. 

So many of the problems at DHS seem to stem from IT issues; this is a focus of Gov. Tim Walz and it needs fixing — quick. 

Walz has a busy day talking to a counties legislative conference, then Board of Investment, Climate Generation Youth Summit and then African Heritage Day at the Capitol. 

The House takes up both insulin and a bill to shield the party ID of primary voters. Full leg schedule. 

Another labor loss

The losses for labor pile up over the years until private sector labor density is about 6%, down from 9% in 2000 and nearly double that in 1983. This time, the National Labor Relations Board, now stocked with anti-union Trump appointees, announced a new regulation that “makes it harder to challenge companies over their labor practices, potentially affecting the rights of millions of workers. The rule … scales back the responsibility of companies like McDonald’s for labor-law violations by their franchisees, such as firing workers in retaliation for attempts to unionize. The rule also applies to workers employed through contractors like staffing agencies or cleaning services,” the Times reports. 

I think we can all agree long suffering McDonald’s needs to be empowered. 

Correspond: [email protected] 

Have a great day all! JPC