Opinion

LEWIS: Minnesota Is Less Liberal Than It Once Was — And Democrats Are Struggling To Adapt

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

If you want to know why the Trump campaign is so bullish on Minnesota, look no further than the state’s Democratic-Farm-Labor Party. The DFL was created in the 1940s when Democrats represented middle class workers — on the farm and off.

No more. The DFL train has dropped the Farm-Labor passenger cars, and what’s left is quickly flying off the rails.

The Minnesota “resistance” movement started with the antics of “indivisible” groups crashing town halls, but it’s finishing with the greatest geographical divide in the state’s history. Indeed, while liberals pitch “smart growth,” congestion, expensive light rail and green new deals for the urban elites, they’re handing out pink slips for the trade unions on the Iron Range.

Unified Democrat opposition to the popular replacement pipeline project of Enbridge Line 3 — which supports thousands of jobs and promises to generate $20 million in state revenue — is just one reason why areas of the state that were once considered solidly Democrat are strongly trending red.

Long before Joe Biden promised to take away middle class tax cuts from “day one,” Democratic Minnesota Rep. Angie Craig said the hugely successful Tax Cut & Jobs Act was “one of the worst pieces of legislation in the history of this nation.” The freshman Democrat also co-sponsored the Equality Act, threatening opportunities for young girls, including the loss of college scholarships and Title IX funding, by allowing biological boys to compete with female athletes.

Tennis star Martina Navratilova, subjected to the predictable round of name-calling, still came out strongly against the bill, calling it “insane and it’s cheating” and declaring “you can’t just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women.”

And, of course, there’s Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who trivialized the 9-11 attacks as an event “where some people did something.” She has been equally consistent in going after law enforcement and border patrol agents. She recently chimed in again, saying,”how dare you” to Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves for congratulating ICE agents on enforcing our immigration laws, even bizarrely connecting the raids to the horrible mass shootings.

And Omar, like so many Minnesota Democrats, is still refusing to condemn the firebombing of an ICE facility in Tacoma Washington last month and years later Minnesotans are still being lectured by activists who shouted the now infamous ‘pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon.’

Yet for all the attention directed at freshman Democrats, Minnesota’s junior Sen. Tina Smith is every bit as radical, if not well-known. Appointed by uber-liberal Gov. Mark Dayton after Al Franken’s resignation over sexual harassment accusations, Smith has proven to be one of the most liberal senators in the nation. She’s worked hard to earn 100 percent ratings from nearly every left-wing activist group in the nation, including government unions, so-called social justice advocacy organizations and anti-energy environmental lobbies. All the while, earning the lowest marks from taxpayer and fiscal discipline advocates.

She’s all in on the endless virtue-signaling of the hard left, declaring border walls “immoral,” abolishing private health insurance, welfare work requirements, the Electoral College, air travel, fossil fuels, the internal combustion engine — capitalism itself.

But where the former Planned Parenthood executive has really made her mark is, to be expected, on abortion. When Democrats blocked the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, Smith proudly took to the Senate floor suggesting that providing medical care to babies who survived an attempted abortion would be tantamount to “inappropriate medical treatment.” Moreover, she supports her former organization’s lawsuit to overturn federal rules upholding the rights of workers who may oppose these sorts of medical procedures.

The right of conscience was once thought to be taken for granted, along with religious liberty, private property, due process, the national anthem and Betsy Ross’s flag. But they are now seen as dispensable relics by a new breed of extremists who have taken over the Minnesota DFL.

But the “times they are a-changin.” Just this summer, hundreds of average Minnesotans rose up in protest to force a local city council to reverse its position on banning the Pledge of Allegiance at meetings.

That may be a harbinger of things to come next fall.

Jason Lewis (@LewisForMN) represented Minnesota as a Republican in the 115th Congress.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.