When Governor Tim Walz (DFL-MN) began his campaign for governor he advanced the theme of One Minnesota. Now, as a concept this is a worthy effort, it presupposes a similar theme of the University of Minnesota football team’s Row the Boat idea of the need for everyone to pull in the same direction. Tying the state together is an arduous task because it runs counter to the philosophy advanced by Republicans for decades.
We think Governor Tim Walz should consider one of his missions as he travels around the state is to restore the public trust in government and get people to buy-in.
Now, granted Walz is not originally from here, but the regionalism seen throughout the state is something evident for generations. The GOP has worked just as hard to maintain regional identity and separation. It is an easy sell to someone in Greater Minnesota to look askance at the Twin Cities, because of the different life it denotes, congestion, lack of hunting and fishing, and yes will say it diverse ethnic and racial communities. The “cities” are often said will pure disdain in other parts of the state.
With this reality coupled with an active distrust for things that emanate from there both in Minneapolis with the most left-leaning city council and in St Paul, where state laws are made it’s easy to see how people from somewhere else can view the Cities as a place they chose not to reside. If you feel regulations are foisted upon you from there then you harbor no goodwill toward these governmental centers.
Of course, the distrust of government didn’t start recently, in fact in the modern era it actually began with Democrats. Not the DFL but with national Democrats, because they were in charge during the Vietnam War, but it was enhanced after Watergate because Republicans we drummed out of office in the 1974 and 1976 elections and when out of power, they found a concurrent refrain focused on the evils of government. While out of power they honed their skills in the business world market and selling goods in a simple fashion. The sloganeering we find in today’s simple messaging is a direct embodiment of this idea.
After his election in 1980, Ronald Reagan’s presidency brought us the slogan “Government is not the solution to your problem, the government is the problem.” In 1994, Rep Newt Gingrich (R-GA) then-House Minority Leader brought us the Contract with America, if you haven’t read it recently you should, which Democrats renamed as the Contract on America. The Republican mantra has become Business is more efficient than government, or the look to the current officeholder government is the enemy of the people.
People in St Paul should remember it was under Mayor Norm Coleman (R) watch when they privatized the trash collection system.
As Governor Walz embarks on his statewide tour discussing major issues of concern from the costs of insulin, vaping, and infrastructure revitalization he is meeting people where they are at. The problem is the state of Minnesota is growing ever increasingly concentrated.
Minnesota Republicans are dragging out there well-used playbook and planning on a simple strategy. A focus on the districts that Donald J Trump (R) carried in 2016, coincidentally, that was the strategy they had in 2018. It also was the same strategy they had in 2010 when the took the legislative majorities in both the House and Senate. The DFL did win the Senate back in 2012, but it took another four years for the House to return into DFL hands.
The task before Walz is to help soften the adverse thoughts found in Greater Minnesota calling on people’s better natures and a collective mindset, or we could be no better than Wisconsin, oh, wait they made a shift to the left as well.
As Walz pointed out there are significant needs for infrastructure improvements for roads and bridges, but there are also is plenty of needs for asset preservation categorized as differed maintenance. When people discuss the quality of life here in Minnesota it is often assessed due to the quality of our schools, our roads, and the state park system. The unmet needs are great and the ability to protect what we have is paramount.
The problem is the funding for roads and bridges has shifted significantly into the capital investment area instead of being funded through statewide gas tax collections. The deteriorating infrastructure is not diminishing, but the willingness to pass a gas tax is a hostile position to the Senate GOP.
One clear point to be expected for the forthcoming year is every issue will be seen in a partisan light. While communities across the state greet Walz and his various Commissioners they will be in a position of holding their proverbial hands out, asking for something from St Paul and he will be in the position of asking them to call on their Republican Senators to do something different and compromise with the DFL.
So far, the Republican Senators have held their own, but there is a fundamental problem because Republicans are the anti-government party and to expect the government to do something for you is a pro-government political position.
Even years, though election years are also Bonding sessions and because it takes a 60% majority to pass a bill out of both houses there is room for compromise, but again government spending even borrowed, cheap money is a pro-government idea and one largely hostile to the GOP’s agenda.
The concept of “bringing home the bacon” is one often lost on a fiscal conservative but it is a fundamental purpose of government. The problem is no one has ever lost an election because they didn’t vote for a Bonding Bill, but in past elections, DFLers have lost their seats because they did.