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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Angie Craig Has The Path To Winning In 2018 For CD2

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 09/20/17 13:45

by Dave Mindeman

I spent some time with Angie Craig on Tuesday morning. We had a great discussion - we talked policy for over an hour and a half.

With all the concerns over health care, I can't imagine that Angie Craig would not be the best person imaginable to evaluate that policy as the next Congress tackles how to fix it.

Although I, personally, favor a single payer plan - we both had to agree that it isn't quite as simple as one would hope. If single payer gets sidetracked or cannot be made to work (it failed badly in Vermont), then Angie has a clear path to fix the ACA.

The three musts are:

1 - Public Option
2- Restore re-insurance that Republicans eliminated
3- Lowering Medicare eligibility or allow buy in

Whatever the next health care phase (if we get by this Republican obsession with ruining it), we need people in Congress who really understand how it works. Craig brings her experience in the health care industry with Medtronic; she brings her personal experience of growing up without or virtually without health care coverage; and she brings the experience of running a race where Republican distortions on health care were front and center.

2016 was a very strange year. Angie Craig should be in Congress right now. Tim Walz talked to her after the election and he was shocked as well. He felt he was in a comfortable position and actually helped Rick Nolan in the 8th because they thought that would be close and he thought Angie was going to win. In the end, Rick Nolan won comfortably, Angie lost, and Tim Walz barely squeaked out a win. Everything was turned upside down.

But voters who voted for the radical change may be having second thoughts. I can't believe that this is the result they intended.

The DCCC has done some preliminary polling. Generic Democratic congressional support is up 6 points since the election.

This race can be won - but 2016 will always be the caveat against over confidence. We need to back Angie Craig for another try. We need her experience, here expertise, and her passion to find what works for us.

I am convinced that this is the path to 2018. Let's get it done.
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Nothing Personal Against Erdmann -But It Needs To Be Angie Craig

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 09/14/17 13:42, Edited: 09/14/17 13:50

by Dave Mindeman

This cycle I am going to be a lot more blunt about what I think. Some people are going to push back on that, and frankly, that is fine. Do it. The discussion is necessary.

In the 2nd Congressional District I have been a little tough on Jeff Erdmann. And it is not because I think he is wrong on the main issues. It is because I think it is too important that we win this seat and that will take the right candidate.

Let me explain.

Jeff Erdmann has no experience in politics. He understands the mechanics of government, but when it comes to politics, he is a neophyte. I asked him once about why he hadn't participated in the district party before and he told me it was because he was a teacher and a football coach, and he had to stay neutral. Which is his perogative, but I have seen so many teachers do the hard work of volunteering for the Democrats on so many levels, that it is hard to accept that explanation. He shouldn't be partisan in how he teaches, but when he is on his own time, he can do what he wants. So many teachers do just that.

Jeff has made campaign finance one of the issues he focuses on. Yes, we need to change Citizens United, but in order to be able to do something about it, you have to get elected. Democrats agree on the need to fix this but they need the clout to do something about it. Whether it is intentional or not, Erdmann seems to be trying to make running a financial shoestring of a campaign as a point to be made.

Erdmann announced early that he was running on May 24th. Since then he as raised just $29,000 and has about $10,000 on hand. Angie Craig, who has been through this before will announce her official run on October 1st. She put together a long listening tour prior to this and has been lining up donors and support....before the announcement - which is how it is done.

I admire Erdmann's point. Money in politics is rampant and a cancer on democracy. But another prominent Democrat tried to make the same point and he had enough advantages that he could have pulled it off. I am talking about Russ Feingold in Wisconsin....a person I admire greatly and whose name is on the gutted McCain/Feingold bill. Russ tried to run for re-election on that very principle - he lost. He tried to run again with a modified version of the same thing....and he lost again.

It is not that Erdmann is wrong. It is that this is a system that cannot be fought against without participating in it - at least initially.

Bernie Sanders found the way to run without big money. But his campaign has not been duplicated since. And there is no evidence that Erdmann is able to put that kind of machinery in place.

I do not say these things to take anything away from Erdmann's campaign. I would support him if he was the nominee - without question. But he is NOT our best candidate going into a must win 2018.

Angie Craig invested a lot in herself in 2016 and the DFL Party invested a lot in her in 2016. She is battle tested and ready to run a better campaign this time around.

I cannot ignore the differences. Angie Craig will be our best standard bearer for a crucial election year.
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There Is A Naivete Flaw Regarding Jeff Erdmann

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 08/10/17 07:53

by Dave Mindeman

Let's get back to the Jeff Erdmann interview at the Uptake.

I am a bit concerned about the naivete of Erdmann's government view. He has not been active in politics - says he had to be neutral while he was coaching football. Although other teachers have been some of the most vocal activists I know, each person has to decide that.

But when explaining why he became a Democrat, Erdmann mentions the following...

Other aspects of why I would be a democrat, age 22, 23, I learned a very valuable lesson. It was one of my first checks or second checks as a teacher, and at that time I was pretty physically ... I was in the best shape of my life and I look on there and there's medicare and medicaid coming out, and I'm like, "Ugh. I don't like seeing that money come out of my check." Because at that time, I was trying to buy a truck ... I bought a little used Ford Ranger and I was trying to get my payment under 100 bucks. And so I was frustrated that that was coming out of my check.

Medicaid is not funded by payroll taxes. Medicaid is a joint program between the Federal government and the various states. It is the main contentious argument in changing healthcare because expanded Medicaid under the ACA has been a big factor in increasing enrollment.

Erdmann also talks about "Medicare for All" as the fix - and I think Democrats, by and large, will support that for the most part. But he seems to be saying that payroll taxes are going to fund the bulk of this.

Well if people look at how it would work, it's gonna go from the 1.45 up to 5, 5.5% in a payroll tax, and then that is gonna pay for all the aspects that are needed with it. But when you do this, you're bringing in everybody. You've got all the healthy people, you've got everybody under that.

Payroll taxes going up 300%? I know that the contributions would have to increase some, but the burden on working people seems a little steep. A large number of people do not pay payroll taxes. Retired people, people with dividend and bond income, people on pensions. In fact, the older population, which will consume the bulk of health care services would once again be subsidized by payroll taxes, if that is the main approach.

Medicare for All is a solid idea. Even the idea of just allowing people 55 or more buying into the program would greatly ease the pressure on insurance premiums in the private sector. But Erdmann is going to have to flesh out his ideas - because that kind of increase in payroll taxes is just unacceptable.

And then he lumps the "wealthy" into some broad monetary concept. He insinuates that Angie Craig is "buying" her Congressional seat. I think most of us in the 2nd District are very familiar, from the last cycle, with the Craig story of growing up in a trailer park in Tennessee. In fact, from Erdmann's account of his own story, Angie Craig came from much humbler beginnings than he did. Yet, Erdmann lumps her current status into some kind of "wealthy elite" group. Simply because she began her campaign by self funding to garner name recognition in the district.

Yes, Angie Craig put in a considerable amount of her own money. But unlike the Sheldon Adelson's and Stanley Hubbard's of the world, her contribution "hurt". She took money that could keep her family comfortable for a long time. It wasn't throw away money. She made a heavy commitment to the district.

Yeah, very few people can afford to do that. And she states that she cannot afford to do it that way again. She is not self funding her 2018 campaign. But Erdmann's insinuations of elitism, in regards to Craig, are unfounded and if he truly understood the dynamics of how campaigns operate today, he would save his fire for the actual wealthy donors who are the true corruptors of this system. It seems a little strange to me to lump Angie Craig into the class of Stewart Mills and Betsy Devos. It just does not fit.

And Erdmann talks further:

Angie's running again and we don't know what her platform is, so it's hard to make a comparison as far as that. I think there's definitely comparisons between us. I think there's a lot of differences between us. And as the campaign rolls out, I think people are gonna see that and they'll have an opportunity to choose, to see how that plays into their voting decisions and what they value.

I don't think there is much secret about her platform. She has many of the same issues that Erdmann talks about. Erdmann makes "money in politics" a front and center issue - but Craig has spoken of the same concerns. She wants to get to Universal Coverage in healthcare, but is open to what will work the best - Medicare for All is included in the possibilities. As part of a proud gay family, she has a unique understanding of LGBTQ rights and concerns. There is nothing secret about her platform and I question the "differences" that Erdmann seems to believe exist between them.

Erdmann is a good progressive. I do not question his motives but his approach to a competitive primary shows naivete and inexperience. And we are all too aware of how inexperience can get us into trouble.

If I am being too critical I apologize, but I am concerned that Democrats will once again turn a victory into a defeat because of internal divisions. The 2016 split in our party is still there and exploiting that only plays into the hands of the tribal Republicans.

Jeff Erdmann has not been a Democrat very long. He has not been in the trenches. And, judging by his statements, is still learning about how all of this works.

2018 is extremely important. It is crucial for the 2nd District. We cannot afford more on the job training.
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