Daily Reformer: Klobuchar campaign sputtering into the finish

Good morning Reformers! 

Pete Buttigieg is out of the presidential race, just four weeks after winning the most delegates in the Iowa Caucus, another death blow to the “first-in-the-nation” hooha of our neighbor to the south. 

Buttigieg proved himself a very smart political talent who also aroused an unusual degree of loathing from some of his fellow Democrats, especially of the left Twitter variety. (And maybe certain Reformer staff, but I won’t tell.)

You have to admire his decision to get out because he’s putting his ego aside in service of what he clearly feels is the bigger purpose to help a non-Bernie Sanders candidate. 

Sen. Amy Klobuchar could argue that by staying in the race she is potentially denying Minnesota delegates to Sanders, who we can be pretty sure she does not want to win the nomination. 

But that’s the only rationale for staying in the race through Tuesday. 

She finished in sixth place in the South Carolina primary, which means in the two states with diverse Democratic electorates that are actually representative of the national party and the nation, she received single digit support. If you cannot win over Black and Latino voters, you cannot win the nomination. Nor should you. 

And her homecoming was a disaster, as Black Lives Matter protesters disrupted her event at St. Louis Park High School, angry at the prosecution of Myron Burrell, the Star Tribune reports. Photog Glen Stubbe has a good thread on how the whole thing unfolded. 

That’s some vinegar icing on a spoiled cake for Klobuchar. No doubt we’ll have more on the senior senator in the coming days. 

In case you needed any more evidence of what kind of person Mike Bloomberg is, read this lengthy ProPublica piece about how he got all bothered when his media empire was being mean to rich people, and was a PR confidant of the Sackler family, makers of Oxycontin. 

This anecdote is just incredible: 

“Bloomberg threatened to shutter Bloomberg View, part of the news organization’s opinion section, after getting a call from a friend, the billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson. Paulson was upset about a snarky column that suggested his record-breaking donation to Harvard should have gone to “literally any other charity.” Bloomberg cooled down over the weekend and decided that Bloomberg View could stay open, but the columnist was given a talking to, according to people familiar with the incident.”

(More on Paulson, here.) 

Gov. Tim Walz and legislative leaders will hold a joint newser at 10:30 to discuss coronavirus preparations. (Our family is, uh, very prepared.)

Conflicting signals on the coronavirus front: It’s spreading and we should expect a lot of bad news about infections in the U.S. in the coming weeks, but markets in Asia were a little calmer as of this writing as investors expect central banks and governments to step up as needed.

Read this thread from guy who helped managed the Ebola crisis about how coronavirus is turning out to be more like Iraq WMD failure than Katrina failure, though maybe it’s both. 

“In the run-up to the Iraq war, the White House signaled preferred policy outcome so heavily that it skewed the analysis and advice it received. Can see similar alignment b/w preferences Trump and his team were signaling, and strategic posture of his crisis managers.”

More chatter about a potential appointment of Alana Petersen to the  Senate DFL campaign. Would be a top-notch hire. She was state director and deputy chief of staff to both Sens. Al Franken and Tina Smith and is currently head of federal issues at law and lobby firm Lockridge Grindal Nauen.  

Of note on the Senate side this week: Republican State Sen. Roger Chamberlain, in addition to crafting a tax cut package as chair of the Taxes Committee, is also doing quite a bit of other interesting legislation: sports gambling; pay for student-athletes; and Trichloroethylene regulation with a DFL co-sponsor. 

Elsewhere in the Senate: Ending underage marriages today at 1; Tuesday at 10:30 Senate GOP continues to go to war against Walz’s proposed California vehicle emissions rules; lots of housing Tuesday at 3; voter ID is in transportation Wednesday morning; Friday at 9 a.m. in Senate Education they’ll discuss the proposed constitutional amendment.  

On the House side, Commissioner Myron Frans will talk about the budget forecast in Ways and Means today. 

Some interesting GOP infighting in suburban 55a, according to this Facebook post from former Rep. Bob Loonan, who lost in 2018. And then Scott County GOP responded in kind. 

Much of the design of Russia’s Disney-ish $1.5 billion theme park called “Dream Island” was done by a Minneapois firm called the Cuningham Group: NY Times.

Today’s Reformer: 

Rilyn Eischens examines the issue that Saint Paul teachers say is the crux of their demands in the impending strike Friday: An epidemic of untreated mental illness in the schools. They want a full health team in every school, which would cost a lot. 

If you read our recent excerpt of Steven Greenhouse’s book that included a mini profile of Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker, you may remember that she adopted an emerging strategy of labor leaders during her time with the Saint Paul teachers union: Make societal problems the center of your demands. Yes, teachers want to solve the mental health crisis in their schools, but raising the issue as a contract demand also wins the support of the most important constituency of all — parents. (Note that the SEIU Local 26 janitors are also fighting for better environmental practices; not saying it’s not genuine, but it’s also strategic.) 

And, our man on the Iron Range Aaron Brown writes on something that’s also been the subject of conversation at Reformer HQ: Why are Democratic voters trying to act like pundits? Another cogent column from Aaron. 

Gen X alert: I’m currently enthralled by Love and Death, a book examining the fishy circumstances and bungled police investigation around the death of Kurt Cobain. Great reporting and a riveting read. I just want to put Nirvana Unplugged in my Walkman, go to my favorite coffee shop and smoke cigarettes while I read it. 

Coolican/Reformer self-promotion alert: I’ll be on KFAI 90.3 at 1 today and BBC Newshour at 8 a.m. Tuesday. Our senior political reporter Ricardo Lopez has a regular Monday night gig on KFAI at 6 p.m. for “Beats, Rhymes and Democracy.” (Pretty sure he’s doing more democracy than beats or rhymes but maybe he’s got a secret talent.)  

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