Watchdog Email Update October 20, 2017

Quote of the Week: “Fun fact: Republicans in #mnleg repealed MN estate tax for wealthiest 1100 MN’s. Literally a $75M tax break for the top .02%.”
– State Rep. Erin Maye Quade (DFL – Apple Valley)

Quote of the Week: “I love that you posted this today. The reason I love it is because you voted for the bill! You can’t make this stuff up.”
– House Speaker Kurt Daudt, responding to Rep. Quade

For some time, the Watchdog has been observing and commenting upon the ongoing political re-alignment of rural working class people from Democrat to Republican.

The Trump candidacy accelerated that re-alignment, and is a major reason why he won Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and nearly Minnesota, where he won the Iron Range by 15 points.

The re-alignment has also been accelerated by the liberal elites who have been working hard to expel the working class from the DFL party.

Not only do these wealthy elites take a condescending attitude toward blue collar folks, they despise their jobs and their lifestyle.

The schism has also been laid bare by the full-on civil war within the DFL between pro-mining/pipeline and anti-mining/pipeline forces.

Need a few examples of that condescending, contemptuous attitude?

Here you go:
“Resentment is the primary driver of the pro-mining crowd here – they are resentful that other people have come here and been successful while they were sitting around waiting for a big mining company. They want somebody to just give them a job so they can all drink beer with their buddies and go four-wheeling and snowmobiling with their buddies, not have to think about anything except punching a clock.” – Reid Carron, Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

“Danny Forsman drives to the mine in his truck, comes home and watches TV, and he doesn’t know this world exists.” – Becky Rom, Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters, speaking of pro-mining Ely city councilman Dan Forsman

“I’m not saying we are writing off the Iron Range. But you don’t need the Iron Range to win statewide.” – DFL Chairman Ken Martin

“We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” – Hillary Clinton

“And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” – Barack Obama

“We had meatpacking plants in my district, and they voted DFL their whole life. But they passed away and there are new voters who weren’t there when the stockyards were there. I represent them, not the memory of someone else. “Nostalgia, is a powerful drug.” – State Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL – South Saint Paul)

Leave it to the Star Tribune to make a lame, not-so-subtle attempt to patronize construction trade workers by publishing a curiously timed article entitled, “For Clean Energy Jobs, Sky’s the Limit.”

That’s great. Yes, some members of the trades work in the field of heavily-subsidized wind and solar power, but that’s not a substitute for other non-subsidized jobs in important sectors like ferrous mining, non-ferrous mining, silica sand mining, and all manner of pipelines that carry liquids critical to a prosperous economy.

Moreover, it’s just typical of the liberal set to distort markets by using subsidies to “create” jobs (e.g. solar) in one area while using restrictive laws to distort those same markets by killing jobs that the marketplace otherwise would support (e.g. pipelines).

The arrogance of the urban liberal is a sight to behold.

It’s also been somewhat amusing to watch DFL leaders dance on the head of a pin trying to explain away the civil war as a mere squabble between two key constituencies of the DFL.

More importantly, it’s more than presumptuous to call the construction trades a “DFL constituency.”

Such a claim may have been valid thirty years ago, but not today.

Over the past several years, both the GOP and the construction trades have quietly and steadily built a strong relationship by reaching out to each other in an incremental fashion.
The trades have both endorsed GOP candidates and financially supported the GOP legislative caucuses.

Put another way, the mutual support between the trades and the GOP on pipelines and mining isn’t a coincidence.

Republicans of today understand that the construction trades are a union of a completely different breed than the public trough unions like Education Minnesota, AFSCME and SEIU.

Construction trade union contracts, for example, don’t have seniority or strict layoff rules.

The employer decides who gets hired in what ordered and who gets laid off in what order.
Why? In construction, the ability to scale up and scale down quickly, with a minimum of red tape, is essential to staying competitive.

In the trades, there is no such thing as paid time off. No sick leave. No vacation. No holidays.

You don’t work, you don’t get paid.

Why? In the construction industry, contractors need to accurately and finely estimate the cost of a bid.

Paying employees not to work and having vacation and sick time banked makes the job of estimating more difficult – and more expensive.

Every day, when a member of the trades goes to work, that employee is going to work on a job his employer had to win in a competitive bid process. A process that entails fierce competition between that employer and other union and non-union contractors.

Red tape, bureaucratic contracts designed to slow down the employer in this field would be fatal, leading to little more than the unemployment line.

When you work for the government, where the profit motive and competition are foreign concepts, the union can throw sand in the gears all day long.

The simple fact is that construction trade unions feature hard working men and women who go to work every day and build this country with skill, pride, and dedication.

In short, their ethos is very much compatible with Republican principles regarding accountability, profit-seeking, efficiency, and free enterprise.

It’s also a fact that many construction trades members vote Republican.

By some internal union estimates, 40-50% of rank and file members vote Republican.

This is why many exurban and rural districts are GOP. Trade union density in those areas is sky high.

The old stereotype of blue collar folks living in the urban core simply isn’t true. Counties like Chisago, Isanti, Mille Lacs, Sherburne, Saint Louis, Becker, Beltrami, and Itasca are chock full of men and women looking for acreage, a pole barn, and a place to hunt and fish far away from the liberalism that denigrates them and their chosen lifestyle.

DFL happy talk of “uniting” around common issues in 2018 is fantasy.

And just what are those “unifying” issues, pray tell?

Mining? Pipelines? Transgender bathrooms? Gun grabbing? Abortion on demand?

Banning menthol cigarettes? Banning plastic bags? Trigger words? Safe spaces? Sanctuary cities? Re-naming Asian Carp so as not to offend?

About the only thing the DFL can hope for is the GOP getting dumb and driving the trades back to the DFL, which legislative leadership won’t allow to happen.

The re-alignment is running full steam ahead.

In four to six years, the Iron Range will be Republican.

You heard it here first.