Daily Reforrmer: What them Dorr brothers up to now?

Like climate change, mask wearing has become caught up in partisan polarization. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

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The name “Dorr brothers” is infamous among GOP politicos throughout the Midwest. They set up political groups that are nothing more than fundraising grifts, Republicans say. Conservatives in the gun rights and anti-abortion movements and Republicans more broadly tear their hair out at any mention of them. Here for instance, is what Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life said about them as recently as January.  

The Dorr brothers have decided that it is time to create confusion and chaos with attacks on Republicans and pro-lifers in an effort to raise money for their latest Facebook page called “Minnesota Right to Life.” Let me be clear: Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) is the only state affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee. We have been here for 51 years, and we will be here long after the Dorr brothers have moved their fundraising scam on to the next state.

Now the brothers seem to have expropriated the Reopen Minnesota name, creating their own group despite David Strom already having created a group of the same name and doing quite a bit of work to get it off the ground. 

The Washington Post reports on the Dorr brothers, reporting that the situation “offers the latest illustration that some seemingly organic demonstrations are being engineered by a network of conservative activists.”

Later in the piece the reporters hint at the grift, with a quote from a retired GOP Iowa legislator. 

“The brothers will do anything to fan the flames of a controversial issue, and maybe make a quick nickel,” said the former state legislator, Republican Clel Baudler.

(A side note: The “brothers” moniker makes me laugh, maybe because of the “Hanson brothers” from Slap Shot. I feel like anytime you see “brothers” in a news story, the brothers in question are always up to no good.)

It’s possible President Donald Trump’s call to “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” and other states (with Democratic governors, natch) and some of the free media of the demonstrators will bring Republicans around. 

But at this point rank-and-file Republicans say by a two-to-one margin that they are going to “wait to see what happens” before returning to normal activities, according to Gallup polling. In other words, they’ve seen images of New York City, Spain and Italy and they’ll be staying home and doing what the experts say, thank you very much. 

Also read this thread from political scientist John Sides, who reviews public opinion data and finds the vast majority of Americans agree with the steps taken so far.

Donald McNeil has been covering infectious disease for the Times for years and he has the most comprehensive read I’ve seen, talking to 20 experts to get their read on the next year: 

“We face a doleful future,” said Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg, a former president of the National Academy of Medicine. He and others foresaw an unhappy population trapped indoors for months, with the most vulnerable possibly quarantined for far longer. They worried that a vaccine would initially elude scientists, that weary citizens would abandon restrictions despite the risks, that the virus would be with us from now on.

Never bet against American ingenuity, but McNeil lays out some of the challenges, including even if and when we develop a vaccine. 

Southwest Minnesota quickly becoming a hot spot, Star Tribune reports this morning after the Reformer’s Ricardo Lopez reported on an outbreak at the JBS pork processing plant in Worthington. What was once an urban phenomenon will just as quickly touch the suburbs, exurbs and rural Minnesota, as long as people are gathering. 

More on COVID-19 in Worthington from the Reformer later this week. 

This morning in the Reformer, Max Nesterak reports on homeless people now living in hotels to keep them safe from COVID-19, while shelters and people without any shelter struggle to adjust to the new reality. As usual, Max brings thorough reporting and his empathy to a story about an important population. 

Ad man Sheldon Clay makes an interesting argument for how Democrats should talk these days, avoiding base politics and conveying that they’re “America’s Party” right now in the face of the foolishness coming out of the White House. 

A less joyful 4/20 than weed lovers may have expected this year; no major progress in either Minnesota or anywhere else, as legalization efforts have been stopped cold here and everywhere else due to the government’s intense focus on COVID-19 response. Although with everyone sitting at home watching TV and baking cookies something tells me it’s been a dream life for some. Regardless, if you celebrate, happy 4/20.  

Did you watch “One World Together at Home” concert? In my house, we slow-danced to Jennifer Hudson’s lovely version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” which was our wedding processional. 

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Have a great day all. JPC