12%

That’s what got Betsy Hodges the victory in Minneapolis’ mayoral election last night.  About a third (36.55%) of a 34% turnout in the first round.

Cam Winton came in just under 10% with 7,500 votes.  Which is about ten percent better than a Republican did in the last Minneapolis mayor race.  Or the one before.  Or the one before that.  Ad infinitum (or at least back to the nineties, which was the last credible GOP candidate I can recall in Minneapolis).

Now, we know there are more than 7,500 Republicans in Minneapolis.  240,000 people in Hennepin County voted for Mitt Romney, for crying out loud – and the “Republican districts” in Henco would fit into a phone booth and leave you enough room for someone to come in and ask you what a phone booth was.  If even 20% of those 240,000 were in Minneapolis, and they’d come out to the polls last night, Winton would have crushed Hodges.

But Republicans never come out for local races.  My theory:  they’re so used to getting beaten down in local, county and Congressional elections, they only come out for statewide and federal races, where their votes actually end up mattering; a GOP vote from Longfellow is worth exactly the same as a GOP vote from Dassel.

The upsides last night?  The fake Republicans, Bob “Let’s Build a Bike Skyway” Carney and Ole “Will Run For Office For Food” Savior, got less than a percent of the vote.  In a cycle in which the 5th CD GOP started out being run by people whose main goal was to destroy the GOP, that’s not a bad job of protecting the brand – although most of the credit goes to Winton, who ran a great race.

Nationwide?  I can’t be too disappointed.  Christie isn’t my favorite Republican, but he had my favorite result – crushing his opponents in a blue state.

Ken Cuccinelli outperformed expectations immensely last night, coming within two points in a race everyone counted him out of – and (this is important) losing to a Democrat vote surge in the only part of the country that’s doing well financially right now, the DC suburbs.

Takeaway?   A good candidate is better than a bad candidate.  A well-organized party in an area is better than a party that’s a Bulgarian goat rodeo.  A two-party city is a better prospect for a challenger than a one-party cesspool.   And all three factors matter, every election,every time.

And it’s going to take either a Detroit-style calamity, or several cycles of rebuilding the GOP as credible contenders, to change either Minneapolis or Saint Paul.  Which would mean spending less time in a circular firing squad shooting other Republicans and more time actually making a case to actual voters.

And I think I started saying that seven years ago, and it’s only gotten worse in the metro.

One thought on “12%

  1. Detroit-style or worse. So far, I doubt if many long-term Detroiters are even aware of any problem. As long as expectations are low, be willing to live on a free but small monthly government stipend, public housing that hasn’t seen an interior wall painted in decades, food stamps, year round “school lunches” and lots of non-profits to validate their lifestyle and fill-in the gaps, who cares?

    If the constant assurance from the media that they’re OK, just victimized, marginalized, and disenfranchised (after being told that the term isn’t about fast food) isn’t enough, they can take the initiative to become artists and get some better (for now) housing.

    That’s why I’m afraid that it will take something more severe to snap (not SNAP) them out of such entrenched complacency. Perhaps that’s why the Administration wants complete disarmament. This, when coupled with a standard 30-hour work week, spotty but regulated health care, and an unlimited supply of no-longer-illegal aliens who look at our worst living conditions and incomes as a huge step up, will eventually make us all “equal”. Except perhaps for our leader, but only because his wife needs the extra space for her garden. That’s assuming that he chooses to stay in the US afterwards. Sorry for the rant. It’s the only rationalization I can come up with to explain why I’m not on the wrong side and how someone dressed as a pirate could garner enough votes to keep him out of last place in a big city mayoral race. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work. Wait and see, I guess …

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