Wellstone’s Revenge: How Minnesota Democrats Took Their State Back

This is diary rescue from several days ago, but I deliberately saved this for Sunday, because the article is long and detailed – 100% worth the time. I’m still dazzled by the two strategists and their Colorado donor network that backed a constellation of think tanks, candidate-training outfits and blogs, discussed in the piece. Nothing like that here in NJ. And as a 2-time Camp Wellstone grad, I have great respect for Jeff Blodgett and others in Paul Wellstone’s legacy discussed here. – Rosi

Great article. Let’s Discuss.

Wellstone’s Revenge: How Minnesota Democrats Took Their State Back

Fantastic article though it misses the Dean surge of 2004 and the hard slog of party building in red suburbs during the dark days by people like current MN DFL Vice Chair Marge Hoffa, but a great read if you are interested in understanding how to build a progressive policy network aligned with your states values.

Comments (6)

  1. 12mileseastofTrenton

    tradition than NJ.  No one like Humphrey, and nothing like the DFL, in this state.  Reactionary unionism is far less prevalent there than here.  Yet the state is less socially liberal than NJ.  A lot more anti-choice sentiment for example.

    But another big factor is the upper midwest good government tradition.  They don’t have the history of bossism and corruption that we have in the New Jersey Democatic party.  That continues to plague the party today.

  2. JackHarris (Post author)

    and Scandinavian ideas of a shared public good are vital ingredients of the Minnesota progressive resurgence.

    When Minnesota settlers banded together way back when in MN farm country, the first thing they did was build a silo together, the second thing they did was build a school.

    The current Governor, Mark Dayton, is also one of the few DFLers who appeals equally to rural, suburban and urban Minnesotans, so if he hadn’t won the primary in 2010 and ignored the endorsement process who knows what would have happened   over the last four years.  

  3. deciminyan

    The first Netroots Nation that I attended was in Minneapolis in 2011. Here’s Mayor R.T. Rybak’ introductory remarks explaining the Minnesota liberal surge.

  4. JackHarris (Post author)

    and by extension the first ring suburbs, including both working class and affluent burbs.

    The immigration patterns (for instance there’s an emerging Latino rural farm belt population that R.T. doesn’t talk about here for obvious reasons) combined with older traditions of corporate responsibility, good government and the idea of a shared public good is what makes Minnesota a progressive dynamo right now.

    The extreme rightward tilt has even brought many classic midwestern Republicans over to the DFL. So it’s a very interesting coalition in a very delicate balance that exists right now.

    Minnesota moderation might not be a bad operating principal for Minnesota progressives as they go into the the next election cycle.  

    The other thing that I think is important to understand is that the   business money in the coalition is not Wall Street money for the most part.

    What I’d like to ask is what if anything we here in NJ can learn from this?  

  5. JackHarris (Post author)

    Or is NJ’s position as a keg tapped at two ends by New York and Philly (H/T Ben Franklin) and lack of its own media markets preclude the development of powerful, sustainable issue and donor networks in NJ?

  6. Jeff Gardner

    Mark it down for post-election discussion.


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