Sunday, July 24, 2016

Minnesota Republicans In The Age Of Trump

Donald Trump delivered what was required of him last Thursday night: the speech of a lifetime in which he accepted the Republican Party's nomination for president. It was a remarkable climax to a year in which every bit of political wisdom was discarded outright or turned on it's head. The acclaim for his speech was near universal: even critics praised it before condemning it. Of course, the media were quick to see its effectiveness and branded it as dark, possibly dangerous.

In a 76 minute performance that never flagged, Trump leveled with the American people, telling them that the time for lies was over, that he'd talk about those things they never see on television or in their newspapers.

He then set out in systematic and devastating fashion to describe our current condition. Afterward, a CNN instant poll found 75% of those who saw it had a positive view of the speech. This was not what media wanted and they commenced to redouble their efforts to talk it down. Too late: the American people liked what they heard.

Earlier in the week Michael Moore told Bill Maher that Trump will win the election. The despair on the left was almost complete. It's worth seeing the video when Moore speaks the truth few democrats will utter: click here.

Ivanka Trump introduced her father and herself delivered a thoughtful and well received speech. Having his children speak each night of the campaign was Trump's idea and highly unusual for a political convention. It proved to be a masterstroke. Fashion mavens pointed out that the modest but beautiful dress Ivanka wore was from her own collection and cost $138. I'm told women noticed: millennial women in particular.

Remember: Trump has no idea what he's doing.

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For the most part, the Minnesota republican delegation to Cleveland acted consistently with how I've branded them: the dumbest republicans in the nation. Again, in case you're not a regular reader, I mean this collectively and on the political plane, not in any individual case or ad hominem manner. Political acumen, or its absence really, is what I'm speaking about. 

It would be easier to explain if most of the delegates weren't bright but that's just not the case (well, for the most part). Accordingly, the mystery as to why Minnesota republicans seem unable to grasp the times in which they live this political cycle and use it to their advantage only deepens. 

The delegation made a fool of itself Monday night when it joined, then withdrew, from a last gasp Never Trump effort to have a roll call vote on issues that had been addressed in the Rules Committee, which met the week before. Apart from that, Minnesota was largely invisible nationally, fit only to be the subject of stories by the hapless local democrat reporters who were sent to cover them. In typical grifter fashion, a couple MNGOPe types thanked them for their coverage. 

But Minnesota media's coverage of the convention was uniformly mediocre and unimaginative, although the cover of that Friday's Star Tribune made up for it somewhat, eliciting complaints from liberals that the coverage wasn't tilted toward them for a change. Click here to see the front page of the Star Tribune the morning after Trump's speech. 

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I don't know how republicans in Minnesota will do this fall but I'm fairly certain it will be less well than should be the case. The mentally retarded political reaction to Trump in this state by the republican establishment was simultaneously nauseating & infuriating. They forced me into calling them the dumbest republicans in the nation: I had nothing to do with it.

Initial reluctance to embrace Trump was completely understandable. People forget I started out as a Scott Walker supporter. His shrewd decision to leave the race early only helps his stature now. I moved to Trump by degrees, by fits and starts really. I hadn't seen anything like him before either.

There was no one moment I can recall being the tipping point. It's like how dreams have no beginning: we're just in them, that's all we recall, never the beginning.

At one point I understood. The Trump "red pill effect"some call it and there is something to that. Outside of up and coming apparatchiks, can anyone take the "rising stars" in the party seriously? Can anyone avoid the obvious influence of donors who make indentured servants out of those laughable "stalwart conservatives" who preen but never deliver?

The majority of Minnesota republicans didn't get it, preferring virtue signaling instead of substantive engagement. These types get taken down by their provincialism every time. The problem is that they have so much company at the bottom.

They're so Minnesota-centric it's no wonder we miss out on national wave elections.

Now we have crouched down Minnesota republicans, unknowingly used by local media to play into their anti-republican narratives, republicans who are spooked by not knowing what they stand for.

How could such a hollow group not be threatened by Trump?

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When I look at Minnesota republican politics I never see a plan, a strategy, some sort of political IQ over 85. Instead, I see a disparate set of often conflicting policy positions, reflecting its ad hoc nature which is one neither of principle nor certainly of competence, engaged in by people who know each other but who just aren't very good at politics.

Trump opened enormous opportunities for a variety of republican interests in Minnesota to message against the dominant culture here. The themes were endless and could be tailored to any particular locale  in the state. 

Virtually no republicans have picked up on this amazing chance. Democrats in this state wouldn't win at the rates they do if we had a competent opposition party. We do not.