I’m afraid I made a coding error that cut off the concluding points in this post — starting with “On the up side….” I am not sure what happened or if I fixed it, but I am taking the liberty of of reposting the whole thing as I intended it below
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John and I are based in Minnesota and can’t help drawing on the politics of the local scene in our commentary. It is of interest in itself and of interest for illustrative purposes.
Minnesota Democrats — the DFL — took control of the political branches following the elections this past November. Governor Walz was reelected by a wide margin over a weak Republican gubernatorial candidate. However, the margin of victory in the legislative houses was much closer. The DFL majority in the state House of Representatives is 70-64. In the state Senate Democrats hold a 34-33 edge and a few hundred votes would have flipped the result. The state is not California crazy, at least not yet.
Despite the lack of any consensus to go crazy, the Democrats have gone crazy. They can’t help themselves. In the current legislative session that is scheduled to close today, Democrats have let their political id run free. There is no adult superego in the room. We have gone beyond the pleasure principle to what seems to be the death wish.
It’s not a pretty scene. Indeed, it reveals the heart of darkness. The Star Tribune of course celebrates the Democrats’ accomplishments in a page-one story. The Star Tribune focuses on the last-minute doings, but let’s step back and take in the sights along the Democrats’ trip up the river without further comment at the moment:
• The Democrats have enacted an abortion bill that sweeps away all limits in the name of the individual’s “fundamental right to make autonomous decisions.”
• The Democrats have enacted the Trans Refuge Act that eliminates a parent’s authority to protect his child from what it denominates “gender-affirming health care.”
• The Democrats have enacted a law banning “conversion therapy” for minors. Compare and contrast the Trans Refuge Act with the law banning conversion therapy.
• Minnesota is a heavily taxed state. It ended the last biennium with a $17 billion surplus. Democrats have chosen to return approximately none of the surplus, certainly none of it to those of us who paid into it. They are spending it in the biennial budget that they are adopting.
• Speaking of which, Democrats are fashioning a $72 billion biennial budget that runs 40 percent over the current, wildly excessive budget of $52 billion.
• Holding a $17 billion surplus, Democrats have chosen to raise taxes. They are raising the tax on gasoline by indexing it to inflation and adding a new 50-cent fee on deliveries of more than $100, with an exemption for food. Party on, Wayne!
• Democrats have already raised the sales tax in the metropolitan Twin Cities by 0.25 percent. Democrats in the House and the Senate are working on another increase in the metropolitan Twin Cities between 0.50 and 0.75 percent.
• Democrats have proposed a so-called global intangible low-taxed income tax to match a federal tax provision on businesses with global earnings.
• On the up side, Democrats are also moving a cannabis legalization bill through the legislature to ease the pain.
Carleton College Congdon Professor of Political Science emeritus Steven Schier adds these bullet points in a Star Tribune op-ed column today on the DFL’s election-related bills:
• One election law raises the legal requirement for major party status to get ballot access. To remain major parties, each of the two existing marijuana parties, along with any other third parties that come along, must now receive 8 percent of the total vote in a statewide election — a substantial increase from the previous 5 percent threshold.
• Schier comments: “Given the passage of recreational marijuana legalization, the marijuana parties are likely to fall far short of the new threshold.” And Schier adds: “All this will move many voters from the state’s two marijuana parties into the DFL electorate. Those two parties garnered 51,945 votes statewide in the 2022 gubernatorial election, 2.07% of all votes cast.”
• “Another new law allow[s] paroled felons to vote creates a constituency of more than 55,000 new voters likely to support the DFL.”
• “In sum, the major party and felon legislation could produce more than 100,000 votes now trending toward the DFL.”
• “The elections bill also makes voter registration automatic when driver’s licenses are renewed, offering the party 400,000 inactive citizens who might be persuaded to vote for the DFL, which has proved superior to the state GOP in voter outreach and registration.”
The DFL forever!