Minnesota – Red State?

Geitner Simmons says that Minnesota is swinging conservative. Indeed the results of the last election would seem to bear that out. The GOP controls the Governor’s office, the House, and several of the constitutional officer positions. (Not to mention Representatives Gutknecht, Ramstad, Kennedy and Kline along with Senator Coleman.)

Despite the backlash from the liberals in Minnesota who are arguing that this conservative revolution is "destroying Minnesota’s way of life" most Minnesotans don’t see it that way. Gov. Pawlenty is admired, at least outside of the MSP metro area, even by people who are normally Democratic leaning.

Now, the RPM has had a good political operation since 2000, and they’ve been much more active in the past. If they can keep up that moment, Minnesota could swing more towards the GOP. If they can’t find more good candidates, the political future of Minnesota could be up in the air. At the same time, the Democrats are foundering in Minnesota with a message that isn’t resonating. Anything could change between now and then, but the possibility of a Minnesota that leans GOP is becoming more and more likely.

(For the record, Chris Gilbert is my undergrad advisor at Gustavus – and a veritable fountain of knowledge on religion in politics and American third parties.)

2 thoughts on “Minnesota – Red State?

  1. One statement I can be completely confident in making is that nobody knows more about Minnesota politics, county by county, city by city, township by township, than myself. Minnesota’s rightward trend showed its first signs of life in 1994, with the Rod Grams defeat over Ann Wynia and the Arne Carlson landslide over John Marty, but that was a Republican year nationwide, so most dismissed it as an anomaly. 1996 was a strongly Democratic year in Minnesota, but 1998 showed the beginnings of a longer-lasting trend as former suburban swing counties voted straight-ticket Republican.

    The 2000 election drifted slightly leftward, but Al Gore and Mark Dayton’s victories were anything but overwhelming, particularly in the metro area where both candidates won Hennepin and Ramsey counties, but lost the other nine metro counties. This year, all the frightening trends of a conservative Minnesota came together in one ugly face-slap, particularly in the metro area, where the groundswell of “new money”, much of which came from elsewhere in the country, profitted from Minnesota’s liberal tradition and are now seeking to destroy it.

    Minnesota is likely to be a much less liberal state now mainly because of demographics. In 1975, it was a working-class state composed of loggers, miners, manufacturing workers and populist farmers in all places except the German-heavy Southern Minnesota counties which was the GOP’s only foothold of the time. Now it’s a suburban yuppie state…and with yuppies comes Republicanism and either apathy or utter disdain for the world beyond “my backyard patio”. I’m actually surprised more people didn’t see the “redding of Minnesota” trend begin earlier.

    Even now, however, don’t expect to see Minnesota become a majority Republican state any time soon. In this most Republican year, none of the four Republicans elected to a statewide office was able to get 50 percent of the vote, and that was with the disingenuously “offended suburban electorate” that raced to the polls to exact revenge on the DFL without having a clue as to the consequences of such a move.

    The cluelessness of the new Minnesota is beginning to subside as they realize that the Pawlenty/Taxpayers League agenda for the state IS going to sabotage our quality of life in many ways. It’s doubtful that too many of the “me, me, me” crowd in places like Woodbury, Chanhassen and Eden Prairie will care about the problems their gratuitous gluttony places on less fortunate regions of Minnesota, but working-class inner-core suburbs and the urban and rural areas being nail to the crucifix for their benefit certainly will.

    For this reason, I can assure you that you’re completely wrong about Pawlenty’s support outside of the metro area. Pawlenty won because of the metro area. In fact, the 76 counties that make up Greater Minnesota went for four DFLers that lost statewide…Roger Moe, Walter Mondale, Buck Humphrey and Carol Johnson. Furthermore, Pawlenty’s agenda is looting the already struggling piggy banks of Greater Minnesota more than other regions of the state and as a result I have talked to several lifelong Republicans who say they have no intention of voting Republican in 2004. Thus, I believe your contention of Greater Minnesota being the Pawlenty/Taxpayer’s League backbone should be analyzed again.

    When I get some time to post again, I’ll analyze all eight Minnesota US House districts and give my theories on where they currently stand and likely to stand in the future. Suffice it to summarize that the Minneapolis and St. Paul now have more in common with rural areas of Minnesota than they do with their own suburbs, and I expect you’ll see rural Minnesota voting trends to continue in that direction.

  2. Bravo Mark! Mr. Reding should stick to his crazy rants on foreign policy and leave the real work- the work of state government that affects people so intensely- to the people who know what the hell they’re talking about. Examination of revolts beginning to occur within the Republican House is a great example of how the Governor is raping outstate Minnesota. The suburban ring is his constituency and, obviously, the only piece of Minnesota that he really cares about at all. I will be interested to see what happens if Pawlenty ever has to confront the fact the 44% is not a mandate.

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