Civil War on the Left, Part 59: Minnesota Not-So-Nice

It’s true. Everyone in Minnesota is nice. Not just Scott and John and Mitch Pearlstein. Everyone, that is, except progressive Democrats. Turns out a Democratic group in the state founded to promote the legacy of the late Paul Wellstone is feuding:

In the Democratic Party’s reckoning following the election of Donald Trump, an unlikely feud has erupted inside an organization at the heart of the progressive movement.

Earlier this year, the board of directors of Wellstone Action — an influential training group formed after Sen. Paul Wellstone’s death — dumbfounded Minnesota Democrats when it voted the late senator’s sons off the governing board.

Supposedly the feud is about money, but Politico notes that the feud started over some ideological divisions:

Still simmering three months after the brothers’ departure, the rift at Wellstone Action offers an unusually raw glimpse of a larger debate playing out among Democrats nationally as the party ramps up for the 2018 midterm elections and beyond. How to win back white, rural voters who went for Trump in 2016, while also courting an increasingly diverse electorate.

The issue stands center stage in Minnesota, where Trump’s steamroller performance in rural America led to a near-disaster for the Democratic Party in 2016. Republicans took control of the state Legislature, while Trump came within 1.5 percentage points of carrying the state — a feat no Republican has managed since Richard Nixon in 1972. . .

David Wellstone and other Democrats close to his father began objecting last year to what he described as Wellstone Action’s abandonment of disaffected Democrats in the rural Midwest — the rural poor were an early focus of the late senator — with an increasingly narrow focus on gender politics and people of color. . .

In an early sign of tension at Wellstone Action, then-board member Rick Kahn, Paul Wellstone’s longtime friend and campaign treasurer, raised concerns in an email to a staffer last year about a draft tax filing in which staff proposed changing the group’s stated mission from a “advancing progressive social change and economic justice” to “advancing progressive social change and economic, racial, and gender justice.”

“I am not remotely questioning the work we do in the realm of racial and gender justice,” Kahn said in the email, one of several documents he provided to POLITICO. “I support it, and applaud it, all of it. That has always been true, and will always remain true. What I am calling into question, and vigorously objecting to, is the strategic thinking in expressly choosing to highlight our work for just those two groups, and no others, in a document posted online, that we share with the entire world.”

The subtext is clear. Minnesota’s urban liberals have decided their principal message to rural Minnesotans is: “Drop dead.”

Looks to me like one more small step to Minnesota turning red.

Responses

Books to read from Power Line