Last night, I went to an event, apparently organized by an indivisible group, in Plymouth Mass.
Plymouth is in Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District, and is represented by Congressman Erik Paulsen. Paulsen took over, years ago, from a “reasonable Republican” that even Democrats in CD03 remember fondly. But Paulsen has quietly and without fanfare served as a Tea Party Republican since being elected. During the time that he and Michele Bachmann served in the same Congress, in physically adjoining districts, Paulsen and Bachmann voted the same way on almost every bill, and the few differences were trivial, such as, one was absent, or a division on a water district resource bill, or something really minor.
Other than being a lock-step Republican, Paulsen is famous for something else: Doing or saying absolutely nothing to anyone at any time, and keeping entirely to himself. Back when he was first elected, he had a town hall meeting or two, the last of which was done electronically, as far as anyone remembers, so no one would be in the room with him. That was close to seven years ago. It is like Paulsen is pathologically unable to be in a room with constituents.
Meanwhile, the voters of the third district are a mixture of Democratic union supporters and recent immigrants who are politically active and vote, wealthy Republicans who quietly write checks and vote, and workers in the technology, medical device, or Big Ag industries whose livelihoods depend on good science policy in Congress but who are not politically active and don’t vote. This is the education district. Some of the top school districts in the state are in this congressional district. But the voters prefer to send education-killing Republicans to the State House and an anti-Education member to Congress, then compensate for their bad policies by voting yes, sometimes, on school district bonding bills. It makes very little sense that Erik Paulsen gets elected every two years.
Part of this has to do with the inability of Democrats to get their acts together. One year, two medium-strong candidates slogged it out in the primary and caucus process, but caused so much hate that a lot of Democratic voters stayed home. Several year later, in 2016, that vitriol probably kept some of the Democrats that might have elected one of those candidates, back for another try, from being elected. One year we had a good candidate who was very honest, and thus, another candidate who was less than honest in his positions was selected to run against Paulsen, and he stopped running several weeks before the election for personal reasons. One year a really good candidate emerged, but a different candidate, very well connected in the Democratic Party on the national level, shoved him aside, ran, and lost. That sort of thing.
So, the other day, I was communicating with some environmental activists about an event we’ve got coming up. Somebody said, “hey, let’s bring some flyers for our event to that thing going on Thursday down at the church.” So I looked into the thing.
It turns out that an Indivisible group had organized a Town Hall for Congressman Erik Paulsen. He never has his own, so they kindly organized one for him. He was invited, but just in case, they got a big cardboard cutout to put up in front of the room.
The event was not that well publicized. I know a lot of activists in the area who did not know about it. I learned about it at the last minute from a random mention, as noted. And, I did go.
So, I got in the car to drive the five minutes down to the church. Partway there, traffic stopped. About 25 minutes later, I got to the church, crawling along in this huge traffic jam, that was going out in all directions from the church. Five minutes after that I got a parking spot a few blocks away, and walked down to the church. So, maybe a thousand cars were in this giant traffic jam, and hundreds of people were standing around outside the church. Inside, were the 600 or so maximum occupancy, and and the cardboard cutout.
One or two thousand, maybe a little more, citizens showed up to let Erik Paulsen know that they did not appreciate his having ignored the voters for so long, and demanding to know what he will do, as a member of the House, and as a Republican, about his fellow Republican, Donald Trump.
I hear the news reporters were there, but there were no TV trucks identified as being affiliated with a station. I saw one guy from MinnPost. I see zero coverage of this event on most of the news this morning, and where there is coverage, it is minor (the Strib did something small).
If people are wondering what they can do about Trump, one thing you can do right now is to contact WCCO, KARE, FOX-9, Eyewitness 5, and the Star Tribune and ask them why they did not cover the protest with a couple thousand people at it held in Plymouth.