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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 02:24 AM
Original message
Not endorsed by their party
Was the story on Minnesota public radio several days ago and I was going to ask about this - being new to MN and to the caucus system.

Some of the primaries races are the most interesting in CA. YOu will have two or more running to be on the November ballot as a Democrat or a Republican (or Green, Libertarian and others). But here, during caucuses we debated some issues, and we wrote our preferences for the president, but nothing about representatives to the assembly or the State Senate, not to mention Congress. And I kinda remember in 2002 that the party conventions decided on Moe and on Pawlenty.

In a primary system, say, Judy Deutch and Roger Moe would be voted by all the Democratic voters, not just by the party, the good ol's smoky back room.

Even that idiot from Corcoran - don't remember his name, Linder? The party (pugs) decided that he was not going to be the candidate. Well, I think that this should be up to the pugs in his district.

What do you think?
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MnFats Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 02:46 AM
Response to Original message
1. you are referring, I believe to rep. arlon lindner?
i could have the spelling wrong but....
he is the guy who:

a.) told a Jewish state Rep. who argued against prayer in the House, or at least for a nondenominational prayer, to 'stop forcing his antichrist views' on him?
b.) refused to be present in the House when the Dalai Lama appeared to give a speech because the Dalai Lama is "head of an anti-christian cult; and
c. delivered to the house the suprising information that gays/lesbians had not been subjected to violence during the Third Reich/Holocaust? and claimed further that gays & lesbians had concocted such an idea in order to hitch their wagon to the sympathy accorded those who actually been victims?

yeah, that guy. the Mn GOP dumped him. too bad, he would have added so much to their slate...
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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 09:54 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yup, that the guy
Still, it should be up to his constituents, not to the party to decide who should represent them.
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no name no slogan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Endorsements at caucuses/conventions, final decision is made at primary
Lindner was not endorsed at his County Unit/Senate District convention. Although Minnesota uses the caucus system, each party also has a primary election in September, and that is where the final candidate determination is made.

For the Democrats this year, there's not much primary action, as most candidates have agreed to abide by the party endorsement process, which starts with the caucuses in March, goes through the County/SD conventions, and finally ends at the Congressional District conventions and state convention.

However, the Democrats have had primary fights in Minnesota before, most recently for US Senate in 2000. There were four or five candidates running, and the endorsement went to a guy who was from the Iron Range. However, Mark Dayton did NOT seek the party endorsement at the convention and said he would run in the primary regardless of the outcome. IIRC the other candidates agreed to abide by the endorsement, and dropped out after the convention, so we had a two-person race in September.

Dayton won the primary (mainly because he had the $$ to outspend his opponent quite heavily), and was the Democrat on the ballot in 2000.

We've had similar primary fights like this before with the Republicans. Former Governor Arne Carlson most notably faced an interesting primary fight in 1994. Carlson, who was the incumbent governor, was not endorsed by his party for a second term. Instead, the ultra-conservative party endorsed Alan Quist, a very religious conservative who appealed to the evangelicals (I got good Quist stories-- ask sometime!).

Unfortunately for Quist, Carlson was quite popular with not only most rank-and-file Republicans, but with a good number of independents and Democrats, too. He throttled Quist in the primary, and won re-election in November, too.

The caucuses and conventions are where most of the party work gets done in MN (including the selection of delegates for the national convention), and the primary is used to select the final candidate for the office up for election in November.

Hopefully that makes a little more sense!

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no name no slogan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 03:08 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Ooops, there's more
I almost forgot to mention this: at the precinct caucuses (held in March), people also selected delegates to go on to the next level: in this case, the County Unit/Senate District convention. At these conventions, endorsements are made for the state-level and/or county-level offices, like the state legislature, state senate, county commissioners, etc. Delegates are also elected to go on to the Congressional District conventions and the state convention too, where endorsements are made for congress and state-wide offices, like governor, state auditor, Sec. of State, etc.

Most of the time, if an endorsement is made, the losing candidates drop out. However, they may choose to run in the primary in September, if they wish. But as an "unendorsed" candidate, they don't have the same access to the party apparatus as does the endorsed candidate.

The caucus system is very easy to participate in, if you have a spare hour on a tuesday night in March. It may seem "elitist" to some, but half of politics (at least in MN) is just showing up. Anybody can run to be a delegate to the CU/SD, CD, state or even national convention. I know of several people this year who are going to Boston as national delegates who have not been involved in party politics before. You don't have to apply to be on a slate, or pass some party selection process, as that's all decided by the people who participate-- even those who have never done so before.

For the most part, MN's system is the best of both worlds in most respects. The parties are very "amateur", and easy to get involved with on any level with which you feel comfortable. There's some meritocracy, but for the most part ANYBODY can be a delegate to state or even to national.

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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 08:32 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Thanks, yes, I did participate in the caucus last March
and my - god how did we call this? I am having a senior moment, will call it - proposal to replace caucuses with primaries was unanimously approved. And, yes, we selected delegates to the county and perhaps other conventions, seems that for one of them we needed so many that practically anyone who wanted to - I did not - got selected.

But still, this system disenfranchise too many voters, in my mind. First, you really have to go and spend a whole evening in caucus. There are many - especially these days with so many holding more than one job - who just cannot do this. What about the ones who are out of town or are sick? The ones who do not like to go out at night, especially in March where the weather can be very unpredictable? (I am sure that many have stories about walking miles in foot high snow to vote... )

Basically, you have to really really want to participate in the political system to be heard and I don't think that this is fair. And, again, I don't think that the party endorsement should be the guiding line. BTW, at that MPR report a DFLer was mentioned, too, as failing to win the party endorsement, do not remember the name.

Yes, the caucus was interesting as we sat and debated several issues but you can do this with a regular party meeting, say, once a quarter, on a Saturday morning in April or May. I was a Democrat in super conservative Orange County in California and our district met several times, on a Saturday - often to wonder how to find a brave soul who would be willing at least to run at a losing race...

Perhaps, if the Republicans in CA had a similar system of party endorsement, they would win more seats. But in the primaries, the pugs royals would go to the most reactionary candidate who will go on to a glorious defeat when a state wide office is considered, like a senator or a governor. Arnold certainly is an exception and most party loyalists did not want him.
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dflprincess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I would hate to see the caucuses replaced with primaries.
Even though, as I was organizing the caucuses on my side of the senate district, I sometimes found this idea tempting - it would have made my life easier as it seemed that anything that could go wrong did go wrong.

State law does require employers to give employees (unpaid) time off to attend their caucus. If you're out of town and want to be a delegate to the senate district/county unit convention you can send a letter to your district chair (who will give it to the caucus chair ) expressing your interest in going to the next level. Yes, going out on Tuesday night in March can be painful, but we tried Saturday caucuses a few years ago and they were a disaster - the worse turnout ever. As for illness, what happens if you're sick on election day?

I prefer caucuses because they are more issue oriented and the results are less apt to be influenced by the candidate with the slickest TV ads. No one is disenfranchised by the caucuses unless they choose to be. The turnout this year showed that people will come out for them if there's something that's making them care enough to show up. I don't have a lot of patience with the "it takes too much time" argument. No one said democracy was easy.
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Zookeeper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 02:33 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. I agree with you...
there is no reason that Saturday mornings would necessarily be better than a weekday evening.

We had ten times as many dems show up at our caucus this Spring than at previous caucuses, simply because so many people were motivated by the disaster that we call "BushCo."

I must confess, though, to being surprised by how many people don't understand how painless it is to show up and have a say in the process.

As I walked into the high school where the caucuses were held, it was obvious that the Rethugs were used to having the place to themselves. We have two Fundie Baptist colleges near us, so there were lots of Young Republicans to greet me at the door. The two Fundie colleges tell their students what to do and how to vote (and they follow instructions). Why can't we Dems seem to get the word out about how important (and easy) it is to participate?
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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-29-04 12:12 AM
Response to Reply #7
11. Not convinced
First, so what if state laws requires employers to give employees time off to attend caucuses? Can you see empty police, fire and nurses stations? Of course not everyone would like to and the boss can decide that only a few can attend - and thus you disenfranchise voters.

In states with primaries you can send an absentee ballot. As a matter of fact, proponents of a candidate or of a ballot measure would often want voters to turn in their absentee ballots, to be sure of the votes. I was active in local issues while in California and knocked on people's doors to deliver their absentee ballots and would often run into someone who would not miss voting on election day in person. Of course, things could happen in the last minute like... a tragic death of a senator after one sent the absentee ballot.

I know that democracy is not easy. I have attended many meetings of city councils and of county board of supervisors for hours; those politicians, especially the lawyers, really love to talk while limiting the public for 3 to 5 minutes. With a green light turning to yellow and to red! But the reality is that most people do not or cannot take time off to attend caucus night - for whatever reason. And limiting the voting privilege to only those who do is a form of disenfranchising, not that much different from the way blacks in the south could not vote.

I don't understand why Minnesota even needs a primary. If, as you explained, the party determines who is going to run, then for whom are we voting in the primaries? After all, in normal primaries, you would have several pugs and several DFLers vying for the spot in the general elections to run against the winner of the other party.

Last, earlier today Minnesota cast 85 votes for Kerry and 1 for Kucinich. I don't remember, but I thought that Edwards and Dean got more votes in the caucuses than Kucinich, so how was that one vote generated?
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-29-04 01:07 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. I just moved back to MN after 19 years in a non-caucus state
and having attended my first MN caucus this past March, I prefer the caucus system.

First of all, it's true grassroots, as opposed to primaries, which are terribly susceptible to slick TV ads. In Oregon, the candidates seemed to appear out of nowhere, and the only citizen initiatives were in the form of often crackpot ideas pushed by paid signature gatherers.

At my neighborhood caucus, we got to vote on proposals presented by local people, and many of these proposals traveled up the hierarchy to be adopted at the state convention. Anybody who cared to show up could become a delegate to the next level or volunteer for a job.

It makes me sorry that I was apathetic the last time I lived in Minnesota.

I don't even know how people are chosen delegates in Oregon.

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dflprincess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. True, Mark had the $$ in the primary race
I usually support the endorsed candidate, but I will confess to having "jumped shipped" and voted for Mark in the primary. The endorsed candidate was a nice guy and a class act - especially when it came to endorsing Mark after the primary (Mark did come to the Central Committee and ask for endoresement after that - and got it) but, had Mark not stepped in there is no doubt in my mind we'd still have Rod Grams in that Senate seat.

On the other hand, in 2002, the DFL endorsed a wonderful candidate for State Auditor, Greg Grey. But, Carol Johnson, who had been state treasurer (an office that was being eliminated) ran against him in the primary and won... Unfortunately, having a name like Johnson in this states attracts some voters. We lost that office to Patricia Anderson Awada (who started using her maiden name when she ran - since then she's dropped the Awada completely supposedly because it sounds "too middle eastern"). Though, that same year I think the party made a mistake endorsing Moe. Judy Dutcher or Becky Laurey (sp) would have been better choices, but neither of them ran against Moe in the primary.
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Zookeeper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 02:39 AM
Response to Reply #3
9. Yes, Quist was very bizarre...
the only time in my entire (long-ish) life I have ever voted for a Repub, was to vote against Alan Quist.

Boy, Arne sure looks like a moderate by today's standards!
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no name no slogan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 03:22 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I heard Arne considers himself an independent these days...
Rumor has it he's "renounced" the MN GOP after the mess Pawlenty has made of the state. He doesn't talk about it openly, but he's quite unhappy with the MN GOP these days.

One of my very first campaigns I worked on was one that got Alan Quist out of the state legislature in 1988. He was in a relatively "safe" seat, but he'd been acting really wacky during the past session. Then-majority leader Ann Wynia (DFL-Mpls) had called Quist out on the floor of the leg. for spending over 24 hours on the floor talking about sex issues. Quist had even gone to a St. Paul public highschool to stop the distribution of condoms by the health service, even though the school was nowhere near his home district.

That year, Quist was opposed by a college prof at Gustavus Adolphus named Don Ostrom. Don ran a great campaign, which even featured several appearances and the help of one of his professor pals, Paul Wellstone from Carlton. Paul was truly an inspiration that year, and helped us bring Quist back to St. Peter. Ostrom won by 200 votes that year, in a heavily Republican district.

Of course, lots of college kids helped out Don (myself included), and many of the Quistians liked to blame the college turnout for Quist's defeat. However, Quist was not even that popular in the rest of the district-- he lost HIS OWN PRECINCT by one vote! Crikey, if your own neighbors don't like you, who does?

Even better was the rematch in 1990. Quist, a Gustavus graduate, tried to campaign as the "better Gustie", as Ostrom was a St. Olaf grad. Somehow, Quist thought Don only won because of the Gustavus affiliation-- which is completely untrue. Don won by a much bigger margin in 1990, and Quist finally "retired" from running for the legislature.

The Ostrom/Quist 1988 race is still one of my all-time favorites. It was the ONLY race in my area that we won that year. I had been a Dukakis delegate all the way to state that year, so it was a big disappointment to lose by so much in November. C'est La Vie...
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