National and Minnesota Report

When the 14 states hold their presidential primaries, only Minnesota and Massachusetts will have a favorite daughter in the mix. US Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) will be under dual scrutiny both nationally and locally because of their in state primaries. The pending question will be whether or not they achieve or surpass expectations at home and away.

The difference between the North Star State and the Bay State is MN is an open primary, with ballot registration versus MA is a semi-closed primary, meaning unaffiliated voters can participate.

In Minnesota

We again contend, because the Minnesota Republican Party did not allow any other candidate’s name on the ballot other than Donald J Trump (R) the likelihood of party crossover is far greater. Mainly, due to the simplicity of a ballot request a Republican can shape the result and attempt to influence the candidate they want as Trump’s opponent, but it will be for the DFL Party to determine if any untoward affect occurs.

The DFL as does the DNC (Democratic National Committee), have access to the VAN (Voter Action Network). This is a comprehensive voter file shared with local political party organizations, political candidates and Democratically favorable groups like labor unions and information is shared about the political preferences registered voters in the state.

If we set the following backdrop, we can better ascertain whether any crossover occurs after the fact. In 2016, both the DFL and Republican Parties held Presidential Preference Polls and then reported the results to the Secretary of State who in turn published them.

The DFL had 205,438 people cast their vote and 61.15% supported US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D-NY) with 38.12%. While on the Republican side 114,245 voted, with US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) carrying the state with 36.24% and Donald J Trump (R-NY) coming in 3rd with 21.42%, collectively only 319,683 people attended the caucuses. Now, there was not a 2016 statewide primary, but when looking at 2018, in the Governor’s primary 583735 or 17.92% of the 3,258,293 registered voters chose a DFL candidate and 320914 or 9.85% registered voters selected a Republican candidate.

This means an overall participation rate of registered voters exceeding 30% will be a good thing for democracy but a questionable event in general. If the percentages are heavily weighed on the DFL side this will not be a surprise, since recent history shows nearly a 2-to-1 participation rate, but a deeper dive into heavily-controlled Republican districts will show this nature of occurrence.

Again, when the names of the voters are compared to the names in the VAN the DFL can make a determination if any political gamesmanship transpired.

If any is proven then the allocation of DNC delegates could be a bone of contention. With favorite daughter Klobuchar in the race we expected the support for Sanders to differ significantly from 2016, mainly because he isn’t running against Clinton. As we have heard repeatedly from Amy on the stump and on the debate stage she has won statewide in red counties and with high percentages. In 2012, she carried the state with 65.23% over businessman Kurt Bills (R-MN) and in 2018, with 60.13% over State Rep. Jim Newberger (R-MN).

The primary process belongs to the political parties and not the general public and internal party fights are largely closer and defined by more dramatic political gradients. The strength of Sanders in Minnesota on Mar 3rd will be worth a great deal of scrutiny if he shows any sizable strength.