Schizo OptiPessimism

I have been going through the entire spectrum of emotions over the last week. I get optimistic over the House; I get pessimistic over the House. I get excited about the Senate; I get depressed about the Senate. It is an endless cycle of rollercoaster feelings. November 6 cannot come fast enough.

I try to take stock of what I know….what I can rely on. But the more I think of those things, the less confident I become in any kind of certainty. But let me spell out what I think.

I am relatively confident that Angie Craig will finally break the CD2 stranglehold by Republicans. She has done everything right and if she doesn’t win, then I don’t think we can. Erik Paulsen looks to be in a similar situation to Jason Lewis. His on again, off again moderation is not working this time and his district seems to be tiring of hearing what he says and being disappointed by what he does. I am hopeful for these two races – but I have been disappointed before.

The First District and Eighth District are different stories. Dan Feehan looks poised to break through in the First. It will be close, but he has been getting outside help and it seems to be working. In the Eighth, the Dems are in trouble. Joe Radinovich is an excellent candidate but he got a late start and Stauber was working the district alone for too long. I am not giving up just yet, because Joe is a tough campaigner and the District can surprise you in the end. However, if there is going to be a DFL disappointment on Tuesday, it looks like it might be here.

I get rattled a bit by this spin effort to make Karin Housley look like she is going to end up winning over Tina Smith. But I cannot find evidence of that. Tina has a solid lead in the polls and Housley has not made a compelling argument for herself ….other than she has a hockey family. I just feel that when the dust settles, the ground game that Tina has and the political environment will carry Tina over the top. It might end up a little closer than we would like, but a win is still a win.

Amy Klobuchar looks poised for another 60+% win in her race. She is giving money away to other candidates. I am not worried about this one.

Jeff Johnson tries to put up this confident personna about being governor, but once again the spin doesn’t match the facts. I don’t think Tim Walz has ever had less than a 7% lead in the polls and the Republican Governors Association pulled out on Johnson long ago. I think we are going to repeat a DFL win for Governor and keep Dayton policies in tact.

The Wardlow situation for attorney general is particularly irritating. Wardlow is a lousy candidate. He has no business being even close to winning this – but he is. Keith Ellison has become damaged goods. I’m not going to argue the merits of that, but I think Keith could have saved the party a lot of grief by bowing out of the race before the primary and instead work to heal his public image. Unfortunately what we have now is an inferior candidate getting the chance to take pot shots at a wounded DFLer on the ballot.

Ilhan Omar looks poised to make history once again and will bring a Somali-American voice to the Halls of Congress. That is a great thing and we all look forward to the next phase of her political career. Also, once again, the Republicans are trying to spin a close race against Collin Peterson – I think he is just too beloved in the 7th for that turn this year – especially this year.

Tom Emmer continues to thrive as a Republican in the 6th District. That is not going to change anytime soon. And Betty McCollum is still a lock in the 4th. If the Dems take control of the House, her long experience will be invaluable.

Now here is the critical thing that I worry about incessantly. We need to take back the MN House. It is not an easy task, but there is a path…a good, solid path. As usual, it is going to depend on turnout. Republicans depend on mid-term MIA’s for the DFL. I would hope that the national environment has convinced everyone that voting this year is more important than ever. If turnout is high, the Dems will win the House. The Senate is not up for election this cycle, except for one critical special election in District 13. The 33-33 tie in the Senate will be broken by the winner here. The Republicans have a huge district advantage – so any Democratic win here would be a huge upset. But it won’t be for lack of trying. I know Democratic Senators have been personally doorknocking up there continuously.  Crossing fingers.

Nationally, the prevailing narrative is the the Dems have a good chance to take the US House but have little chance in the Senate.

Here’s what keeps me thinking out loud. The Dems are going to turn out and turn out big. But the volume makes a difference. The more young people get out, the better the Democratic chances of winning close elections and even elections not so close right now. Volume. Numbers. Everyone participates.

That keeps me up at night. We have this chance…this huge chance to change the narrative. To put Trump in a vise. To highlight a progressive agenda.

But it all comes down to the vote. Encourage everyone to exercise their part of democracy.


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