The City DFL Rules Fight Headed for the Floor

When the St Paul City Council member Dai Thao’s (DFL-Ward 1) and the former City Council member Pat Harris’ (DFL-Ward 3) supporters on the St Paul City DFL Rules Committee colluded together to set the rules to prevent an endorsement, they may have over-played their hands. If the former Council Member Melvin Carter III (DFL-Ward 1) campaign’s response is also too great they may overplay their hand as well.

Without the Thao/Harris collusion, the convention was poised for no endorsement. Honestly, 10 % limit not imposed until the 3rd ballot, along with a four-ballot limit, and combined with a 5:00 PM time certain end, almost assuredly means, three candidates in the final ballot and no endorsement.  Logic would dictate, because of Ranked Choice Voting being the reality in November, there is no clear reason why any candidate will leave the race. The St Paul DFL City Party is effectively neutered and has little force of will. Since everyone who wants to be, is in the boat in November, there is no incentive for anyone to drop out.

In a traditional DFL endorsement, where there are two candidates in November after the Primary, a DFL endorsement likely produced the Primary winner and the eventual elected official. This year, this is not the case.

This reality sets the stage for the Carter campaign to over-reach. If they propose and have more than 50 +1 of the delegates, they can deploy any system they so choose, but it is not advisable. If they want a legitimate contest they should propose the fastest route—which ironically is Instant run-off voting—to a two-candidate competition and then fix the number of ballots, after that point to five. If Carter campaign tries to go old school and force the endorsement by attrition, they run the risk of seeming heavy-handed, alienating specific voters blocks in November.

The Carter forces need to appear to be a hybrid of sorts. They must appear to be fresh and new, communicating innovative ideas while at the same time having the depth of experiment their candidate brings to the table. We suggest Carter forgo listening to tradition DFL activists like Beth Commers, who if she proposes going to unlimited ballots, it is hypocritical since last city convention she supported limited ballots.

Again, the DFL should try to seem consistent in this election which is completely and totally inconsistent.    

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