Proposed change to DFL endorsement process won’t serve Minneapolis well

David Tilsen


Of what use is the DFL endorsement? Shouldn’t we just have a primary, or ranked choice voting to elect our government? That would be more inclusive – it’s a lot easier and seems fairer. You don’t even need to show up, you can just vote by mail.
The problem is, in our society primaries are skewed by money and access to media. The wealthy, and those supported by the wealthy, have a huge advantage. Make no mistake, the rich do endorse, while the rest of us are just shut out of their process.
So we have this large, cumbersome, beautiful process. 0ver 140 precinct caucuses in Minneapolis alone, one in every neighborhood. Sure, it’s hard to show up, but some things are worth it. For me, our City Council and our legislative leaders are a garden, one that I tend. Yeah, there are good years and bad years, but if I want to eat I keep at it.
The DFL endorsement has power in our city. For some that is a good thing, for others, not so much. It seems that the state DFL is wondering too.
A DFL state constitutional amendment will be voted on this spring which will dilute the significance of the endorsement. Not for the whole state, but just for the cities – Minneapolis, Duluth, and a few others.
It will allow only one ballot at conventions, and then anyone with 15% of the vote can get DFL resources and call themself DFL-recommended. To me this is  a punch in the gut. It is an attack on our city because, frankly, they do not like whom we elect.
Minneapolis used to have DFL ward organizations, but the party did away with them. Now a small central committee has to put on over 140 precinct caucuses, 13 ward conventions and a city convention. Way too much work for a small group, and yes, some things did not go smoothly.
The party also did away with the DFL Hennepin County organization, thinking that the largest county in the state didn’t need what every other county has.
The state party chair, Ken Martin, argues that this will fix whatever you don’t like about caucuses – too much division, too long, too boring, too interesting, too complicated? All fixed.
This will be the death knell for the DFL organization in Minneapolis, and probably the state, too, since the metro turnout is what is electing statewide officials. Who’s going to attend a convention that’s meaningless? Or pay attention to an endorsement that only means 15% of the convention supported them? People aren’t stupid. No, the primary will be huge with big money swaying the way. People will volunteer for candidates, not for the party.
How will our community, those without access to extreme wealth, choose and elect our brilliant servants?
If you are Green Party organizer or want to start a third party you have permission to rejoice.
But I’m a DFLer and I’m opposed to this, although the steamroller is moving.
If you know a state delegate or alternate, give them a call. It’s the least you can do.

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