Even our perception of partisan power politics is warped by Republican shenanigans.
Minnesota’s second district, represented by Angie Craig (a DFLEC endorsed candidate) is identified by the media as a swing district.
In 2016, Jason Lewis got 47% of the vote and thus beat Angie Craig (first time candidate), but Paula Overby, running as a third party (Independent) candidate took 7.8% of the vote. I am certain that Overby took very few Republican votes. She acted as a spoiler.
The next cycle, with no spoiler in the race, Craig beat Jason Lews 53:47% That is not an overwhelming victory, but a 14% difference is not what we see in a “swing district,” or even a “leans Dem” district. It is what we see in a blue district.
The current cycle, Marijuana Now Party candidate Adam Weeks, a Trump supporting conservative, was recruited by Republican operatives to run explicitly as a liberal spoiler. “I can do Liberal” he confessed to a friend when he told him that he had been recruited to do this. He then died of a drug overdose and in so doing, “unofficially withdrew” from the race. I expect Craig to beat her Republican challenger by a greater margin than she won with last time, possibly closer to 15%.
The only reason Minnesota CD 2 is called a “swing district” or even “leans Dem” is because the Republicans were running a con game, and two cycles back, Paula Overby, for unknown reasons (I am not saying she was recruited by Republicans), acted materially to spoil the race and enough voters fell for it that the Republican, one of the most odious of the Republicans (now running against Tina Smith for Senate) won.
It is often said that when people show up, Democrats win. True. But it is also true that when Republicans don’t cheat, Democrats win. Ideally, people show up AND Republicans don’t cheat — really, are stopped from cheating because they always will — then Democrats win.