I never endorse candidates.
Partly it’s because I can’t imagine anyone really cares what a schnook blogger from the Midway thinks.
Partly it’s because on the off chance I do have even the faintest shred of clout about these things, I’d rather use them to help people think for themselves.
Partly it’s because my vote really doesn’t matter; I’m sixth alternate in a district with ten delegates of whom nine have been pretty disciplined about showing up for conventions.
So I don’t believe I’ve ever endorsed anyone on this blog.
I’m not entirely going to go back on that today.
I could vote for any of the three significant (sorry, Harold Shudlick) GOP Senate candidates with a clear conscience. I haven’t always been able to say that during nomination battles.
Kurt Bills is a smart guy with stances I largely agree with. He’s one of the good legislators, a freshman, so while he doesn’t have the longest voting record, it’s a good one. He’s been polluted with some delegates, I think, by the tit-for-tat retributive onslaught of the Ron Paul supporters that have carried him to front-runner status, which obscures, I think, an excellent candidate. If he gets the nomination, I’ll work for him without hesitation.
Pete Hegseth is untried – at least in legislative bodies – but is a blazingly smart guy and an excellent organizer. His association with “Vets for Freedom” gives him some big advantages (big fundraising potential) – and Pete is a great candidate who is, I think, headed for a great future in politics at whatever level. If he gets the nomination, I’ll be there.
But this week, at the convention? I’m supporting Dan “Doc” Severson.
Part of it is the experience. Dan spent eight years as a legislator, he knows how that’s done.
And as Andy Aplikowski points out, that’s a two-edged sword. Any legislator who’s had to balance the waves of special interests, in Saint Paul as well as back in the home district, against principle is going to wind up with a few regrettable votes. Dan has a few. So will Bills if he stays in the legislature. So will Hegseth if he wins. Dan’s got a few. He’s also got a long record of fighting the same fight the conservatives fought in 2000, that the Tea Party fought two years ago, and that the Paul crowd at least in part fights today – the fight to try to limit government – from an actual seat in the legislature.
Dan’s not perfect, but he’s been plenty good enough in a place and time that’s counted – in a seat in the legislature, after getting worked over by all those interests.
But Dan’s done one other thing that may be the single most visionary effort undertaken by a Republican leader in recent history in this state.
This state is a toss-up state. Where does the GOP think its new voters are going to come from? We’ve already mined the good GOP districts for every vote they have. How many more votes are we going to get from Maple Grove and Benton County?
No. While there may be pockets of un-reached Republicans out there, the long-term future of the Republican party, in Minnesota and nationwide, as a vessel for the conservative movement lies in the tens of thousands of Minnesotans who have come here recently from places like Laos, Guatemala, Eritrea, Mexico, Vietnam, Russia, Somalia…
…from places with strong traditions of family, faith and honor – things the GOP is supposed to uphold, although which it seems to do imperfectly lately – and whose way forward in this country, like all previous immigrants, is hard work and entrepreneurship. Which are values where the GOP has a good track record, and are values the DFL holds in sneering contempt. These are people who are conservatives, and who vote DFL because the DFL has successfully painted the GOP as racists who want them all rounded up and sent back home.
I’ve railed at GOP candidates – from Mark Kennedy through Tom Emmer – for failing to poke their noses into the city, for not meeting with charter school parents (who in the city are mostly minorities, and who mostly vote DFL, and mostly don’t know that the DFL will kill charter schools before they kill cockroaches), or with H’mong leadership, or with Latino groups to discuss their view of immigration reform (to Emmer’s credit, he did this. And hint: it’s a lot harder-line than most Republicans are). My railing has been met politely, and ignored.
But Dan Severson has led the way on this. He’s forged links with immigrant and ethnic communities in Minneapolis and Saint Paul that are a first in Minnesota Republican politics, and may be nearly unique in the US outside of Florida and the heavily-Latino southwest.
And that is the first step on the way to the future of the GOP and conservatism in Minnesota.
Also because Cathy Jo Severson will kick my butt if I don’t write this.
So I’m supporting Severson for Senate.