I’m still in Alaska and have been watching election results unfold without having an opportunity to post. Having a few minutes this morning, I want to make a few observations on the results in Minnesota. First, the margins of several of the Republican victories were stunning. Tim Pawlenty won the gubernatorial election by eight points over Roger Moe, the majority leader of the Minnesota Senate and the most representative Democrat of his generation. Our friend John Kline won his race over incumbent Bill Luther by an astonishing eleven points, despite the $2 million Luther spent on his campaign. Mark Kennedy, also a good friend, won his re-election race by twenty-two points over an unknown Democrat who, however, also spent $2 million or more on her race. Coleman’s victory over Mondale was narrower than I had expected–only two points–but, given that his opponent was the state’s most iconic Democratic figure, the result is impressive. The bottom line is that Minnesota is no longer a Democratic state. A number of observers, including Hugh Hewitt, have puzzled over Minnesota’s seemingly odd politics. A part of the explanation, we think, is that Minnesota is neither liberal nor conservative as much as it is populist. For two generations beginning in the 1930’s, populist generally meant Democratic. That is no longer the case. As the country’s politics realign along different axes, Minnesota should begin to be considered a Republican state.
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