So Eva Ng lost the Mayor’s race on Tuesday. And she lost it by a big margin.
I wrote my initial takeaways the other night; I think it’s huge that we actually got a Republican on the ballot at all; Eva is the first we’ve had in the 22 years I’ve lived in this city.
But I’ve had people asking me – what do you think Eva Ng should do next?
Well, the obvious response is “Ask Eva!” I mean, it’s totally her call – and she did a job well above and beyond the call of duty. She charged into the maw of the St. Paul DFL machine (motto: “Like Chicago, only more passive-aggressive”), and did a great job of articulating an opposition case. She didn’t win, but not for lack of merit.
Still, I’m going to offer this as a set of suggestions to Ms. Ng:
- Stay in public life. For the next two years, set yourself up as a critic, as a part-time pundit.
- Do in Saint Paul what Sarah Palin is doing nationally; use your position as Saint Paul’s leading dissenting voice to keep the heat on the Mayor – to keep the issues on which you ran (and the new ones that’ll no doubt emerge in the next 1-4 years) on the front burner.
- Start a blog. And when you do, remember who your friends are; you have name-recognition, and a built-in place of honor among the Twin Cities’ conservative blogosphere, the most active political blog scene in the country.
- Use your soapbox – your position, your blog if you start one, and any appearance you make in a political sense, and the attention it will get you – to help keep the pressure on Chris Coleman and his administration.
- Coleman wants to be mayor so bad? He got his wish! Now – when he raises taxes, be there showing the people a coherent alternative! When the percent of vacant downtown space climbs above the Saint Paul Schools’ graduation rate, be there with another plan! When hope values in the North End and Dayton’s Bluff drop down so low that Dominos offers a “Three Mediums For Your Deed” deal on Fridays, be there saying “I Told You So, And Here’s What We’d Be Doing About It If You’d Elected Some Grownups”. When the budget jumps from crazy to lala-whoopdiedoo-out-of-our-freaking-mind deranged, be there with a better plan! You had to cram a whole campaign against the entire DFL machine, and build name recognition, and build a platform, inside three months. Now, you have four years.
- Keep shaking hands, meeting people, and listening. Learn what it is that people in Saint Paul really want and need. A friendly hint; it’s not knowing that their mayor isn’t going to run for governor. It’s their home prices; it’s their jobs leaving Saint Paul; it’s the booming taxes and failing schools. Circulate, circulate, circulate.
- Because in 2013, the DFL will likely not field an incumbent. It’ll be a level(er) playing field. And the gray, lumpen masses who voted for incumbent Chris Coleman with no more thought than they expend on ordering a Number Three at McDonald’s might pull back the mental drapes and let some light in.
- And if you’re out there, meeting people and keeping people excited about the idea of changing Saint Paul for the better, people will know who you are; you could very well have better, more positive name recognition than whatever vapid hamster the DFL nominates next time around.
- And having you out there building on what you started will put you in the best possible place to be a threat to win in four years; it’ll also give the Saint Paul GOP (and the Fourth District GOP, for that matter) something it’s needed for a long time; hope, a mission, a goal.
Take the rest of the year off. You earned it. But please think about it.
Think hard – but not too long. This next year is going to be a great year to hit the ground running as a conservative, even in a place like Saint Paul.
This next four years is going to leave this city a cold Flint; I think the 2013 election is going to be a whole ‘nother party than this last one.