Minnesota Democrats Heed Election Warning Signs As Mid-Terms Approach

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Minneapolis residents decisively defeated a Progressive-backed amendment to overhaul the police department on Tuesday, placing the city in the midst of a political calculation for Democrats as voters across the country rejected other candidates and left-wing causes.

In Seattle, a Republican led the race for city prosecutors against a Democrat who had been a strong advocate of abolishing the police service. In Buffalo, NY, the Democratic mayor appeared to win as a written candidate after losing in the primaries to a Democratic Socialist Party candidate who was in favor of ending the police department. New York City voters overwhelmingly chose a moderate Democrat and former police captain Eric Adams as their next mayor.

At the same time, Republicans surged in Virginia and had a strong performance in deep blue New Jersey, emboldening conservatives in Minnesota who presented Tuesday’s results as an indicator in a nation frustrated with rising inflation. , crime and the long tail of the pandemic.

“I hope my colleagues recognize, especially those who come from deep blue urban neighborhoods, that it’s great to represent people like you maybe do in your neighborhoods, but to ignore neighborhoods like the mine, and ignoring the rural neighborhoods in this country, is doing the nation itself a terrible disservice, ”said US DFL Representative Dean Phillips, who represents a suburban district of Minnesota last week. . “And a terrible recipe for electoral success.”

The police problem does not go away

Even though Republicans applauded Minneapolis residents for voting against the Policing Amendment, they foreshadowed the problem would not go away for Democrats in 2022 again.

“They are the ‘fund the police’ party and voters will not forget that,” said US Representative from Minnesota Tom Emmer, who heads the House’s Republican campaign arm.

Democrats are struggling to decipher the message sent by voters who also approved sweeping rent control measures and largely rejected Conservative attempts to take control of school boards in the Twin Cities suburb.

“Still a divided country”

“It’s a reminder that we’re still a fairly divided country, and I don’t think Democrats have helped each other by the endless bickering over major infrastructure bills in Washington,” said Jeff Blodgett, an agent for Washington. longtime DFL who was the former president. Director of State to Barack Obama in Minnesota for two election cycles.

This message was echoed by a wide range of Democrats in Minnesota last week as they sifted through the election results. Opposition to ex-President Donald Trump has maintained their disparate coalition in 2020 long enough to elect Joe Biden and put the party in power in Washington, but it has since frayed as factions wrangle over it. party agenda for the future.

The debate over the future of public safety in Minneapolis has divided Democrats in Minnesota, with prominent leaders such as Governor Tim Walz and U.S. Senators from Minnesota Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith opposing the measure, while the US Representative Ilhan Omar and Attorney General Keith Ellison actively campaigned for his passage.

Walz said state and local work around public safety and police reform has been going on for a long time and is not going to be resolved by the ballot issue in Minneapolis.

“People want to see results”

The former teacher, who is running for a second term next fall, expects public safety and education to be the main issues in the midterm elections.

“People want the job done, they want to see tradeoffs, they want to see real results,” Walz said.

Some prominent Minnesota Democrats have pushed back on what Tuesday’s results mean for 2022, including Ellison, who slammed Republicans for offering voters red herrings on police and other issues.

He said Democrats should stand up for what they believe and not be put on the defensive by the distractions offered by Republicans. The Minnesota attorney general’s office is on the ballot in 2022, but Ellison has not officially declared he is running again.

Time spent on distractions

“Republicans are blaming you for everything their pollster last came up with,” Ellison said. “And then you spend your time trying to explain it, when what you really should do is say it’s nonsense, but let me tell you what makes sense.”

Progressives and moderates have expressed frustration that the Democratic Party has not been able to address some key political priorities. The failure of the police ballot measure and opposition from the main Democrats could reduce turnout in populated and LDF-rich urban areas next fall, said Kenza Hadj-Moussa, head of public affairs for the organizing group progressive TakeAction Minnesota.

“Between… maintaining the status quo, spreading misinformation and doubling down on what Republicans are going to say anyway, they’ve done next to nothing to get young people out, especially young people of color,” he said. she said, noting that key political issues like student debt cancellation and paid family leave policies could shake things up for many voters.

But the battles for statewide office and control of the Minnesota Legislature are also fought in the suburbs, which has helped empower Democrats over the past two election cycles, but oscillated between parties.

Suburbs are not all the same

Republicans in Virginia have done better than expected in the suburbs in speaking out about “parenting choice” and concerns about racial teachings in schools. In Minnesota, several lists of conservative candidates have attempted to take control of school boards by opposing masking and questioning racial equity policies.

Only a handful of those school board candidates won and the majority of school referendums passed, signaling a different mood in suburban Minnesota, said DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin. But he warned the party has yet to learn from the frustrations Republicans have exploited in Virginia and New Jersey. “People vote for their wallets and they vote for their anxieties and we have to meet their needs,” Martin said.

“There are clear lessons to be learned about what voters are reacting to right now. It would be foolish of us not to learn them.”

“They may be projecting confidence now looking at some of last night’s election results in Virginia, but it was a very close race,” Luna said of the Republican nominees. “A lot can change in the next six months to a year.”

Editor Hunter Woodall contributed to this report.


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