I’ll be honest. Indivisible is Imperfect. Owing to some bad press for Congressman Keith Ellison (which in my view largely evaporated) a lot of members of the Indivisible Community forgot the number one rule of elections: Fight in the primary, fall in line for the general. They turned in ballots without a vote for Ellison.
After realizing 1) the alternative to Keith Ellison will cause people to die, and set us back to the middle ages, and b) it turns out that Congressman Ellison will make an excellent Attorney General despite efforts to Al Franken him, sudden rush to un-judgement flooded the community and compelled the construction of the following letter.
It is signed by Indivisible leaders, because we are all in touch with each other, more or less. It would certainly be endorsed by many local indivisible groups, but there is simply no time to turn such a project around so fast, and, frankly, a lot of groups simply don’t endorse. I am absolutely certain that given another 48 hours, the number of signatories on this letter cold be increased from just over 50 to something closer to 1000. For now, you’ll just have to trust that leaders of various groups signed knowing that a good number of members of the various groups we work with also support Ellison.
So, here it is, ignore the typos. We did this fast.
November 1, 2018
Dear Minnesota Voters,
As leaders of local, grassroots, progressive organizations, we care deeply about gender equality, reproductive rights, civil liberties, racial equity, and freedoms and protections for the LGBTQIA communities. We are all strong and vocal advocates of the #MeToo movement and believe that all women must be heard. And we all agree that voting for Keith Ellison is vital to protecting many of the issues that we hold dear.
Please do not leave this race blank on your ballot.
The Attorney General may be the most important office that you will be voting for this election.The Attorney General is the state’s attorney, tasked with protecting the civil rights of all Minnesotans. Here are some things that State Attorneys General have done in the past two years:
Filed suits opposing the initial Muslim Ban.
Filed suits about families being separated at the border.
Fought for environmental protections.
Fought against possible financial corruption in the current administration.
In some states, they’ve supported lawsuits that would allow for pre-existing conditions to NO LONGER BE COVERED as they say that when the individual mandate was removed, the rest of the law should be invalidated.
There couldn’t be anyone better suited to serve as the attorney for the people of Minnesota than Keith Ellison, whose congressional campaign slogan has been “Everybody Counts, Everybody Matters.” Keith will make sure we have patient protections for preexisting conditions. He will work to lower drug prices for Minnesotans. He will protect the LGBTQIA communities, uphold a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body, protect everyone’s right to vote, and fight corporate corruption – all of which underscores the high quality of life we enjoy in this state.
Keith’s opponent, Doug Wardlow, will not just neglect Minnesotans’ civil rights, he will actively work to undermine them. The issues that matter so much to us have been the number one target of Doug Wardlow his entire career – and now he is on the precipice of succeeding. He has tried to weaponize the constitution against same sex marriage, against transgender kids’ safety, against voter rights, and against a woman’s right to chose. His first priority once elected? Politicizing the AG’s office by firing attorneys whom he suspects are democrats and filling the attorney general staff with extremists from the Alliance to Defend Freedom. He describes himself as “100% pro-life” and has spread false claims of fetal body part sales at the U of MN Medical Center. (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6raHdz8unOg&feature=youtu.be&t=30m23s)
His extreme views are no secret. After failing to be re-elected to the MN House in 2014, Wardlow took a position as a legal activist at the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a group that has been working to recriminalize homosexuality, opposes hate crime laws, and has proposed the sterilization of transgender individuals. The ADF is considered by the Southern Poverty Law Center to be a hate group.
Doug Wardlow’s views are alarming and far from any mainstream position.
We’ve thought a lot about the allegations made against Keith Ellison and have read many summations. Our overall take, as non-experts, is that there was a full investigation and her claims are unsubstantiated. She has hired the former boss of Keith’s opponent, Doug Wardlow, as her attorney and has recently been prominently featured on many right wing conspiracy minded shows and has herself retweeted right-wing propaganda, such as the #walkaway hashtag known to be started by Russian bots. Furthermore, Keith’s now-public divorce proceedings revealed no history of abuse in his marriage of 25 years and Keith has the full support of his ex-wife.
Our groups comprise thousands of Minnesotans, all of whom are working very hard in the struggle for a more just, equitable and caring society. We will continue to work hard in that space and hold whoever wins the AG race accountable to our values. But right now, the choice is clear to us. If we want to protect the values of equality and justice for ALL people under the law, than we must elect Keith Ellison as the MN Attorney General. This is why each of us are voting for Keith Ellison and we urge you to do the same.
Jena Martin & Laurie Wolfe
Chair, Minnesota Indivisible Alliance and Co-Chair Indivisible Minnesota Local
Co-Chair, Indivisible Minnesota Local
Alicia Donahue, Su Reaney
Women’s March Minnesota Executive Board
Jordan Orzoff, Laura Eash, Curtis Johnson, Timmie Harriday
Stand Up Minnesota Steering Committee
Chair, Menahga/Park Rapids Indivisible
Sara Chapman, Mark Frascone, Connie Sierras
Co-Chairs, Indivisible Resistance of Eagan Burnsville (IREB)
Executive Director, Indivisible North Metro
Co-Chair, Indivisible St. Paul
Co-Chair, Itasca County Indivisible of Minnesota
Chair, MN Indivisible Chaska
Caren Fine Gallagher
Administrator, CD2 Action
Board Member, Minnesota Indivisible Alliance
Kris Miner, Kati Simons
Co-Chairs, Indivisible Eden Prairie
Greg Laden, Clara McIver, Barbara Boldenow
Co-Chairs, Indivisible Plymouth
Co-Chair, Indivisible NW Metro
Jennifer O’Brien, Lynn Speckhals Duane, Joseph Rapacki Jr.
Co-Chairs, Edina Indivisible
CD2 Action-Faith In MN Liaison
Founder, Progressive We Stand – Golden Valley
Krista Peterson, Deirdre Mulcahy, Ryan Hankins
Co-Chairs, The Power of Many – MN
Administrator, Postcards for America – MN
Chair, Swing Blue MN
Executive Director, Watch Your Reps MN
Board Member, St. Paul Regional Labor Federation Political Action Committee
Team Lead, Action Together Twin Cities
Lead Coordinator, Indivisible St. Peter/Greater Mankato
Administrator, Indivisibile Allies of Minnesota
Cindy Mundahl, Rachel Mundahl
Co-Chairs, Indivisible Minnetonka
Suzanne Laing, Becky Lauderdale Nelson, Carol Zazubek
Co-Chairs, Indivisible Bloomington
Vicky Johnson, Elise Radtke-Rosen, Heather Tidd
Co-Chairs, Stand Up Dakota Country
Chair, Indivisible MN02 and Co-founder, CD2 Action
On Tuesday, Minnesota has its primary. This is the second of a two stage process of putting up candidates for the general election.
There is an endorsement process here in Minnesota, where delegates gather at various meetings and typically endorse a candidate for each of the partisan races. Then, the candidates go through the primary process if they are continuing to challenge each other, or if others jump into the race.
This process works fairly well most of the time for most races. People complain about it, but the complaints can be sorted into those that are pretty legit and we can’t do much about, those that are pretty legit and we can fix, and those that are largely imagined. Compared to having only a primary, in which bigger money wins the larger share of votes for state wide races, the endorsement is in some ways more democratic, if by democratic you mean anyone can be involved. If by democratic you mean anyone can show up without any knowledge and vote for the pretty name, then the primary is more like that.
There is evidence that the endorsement-followed-by-primary process does not work well for the governor’s race (but see this important discussion on that), it does work very well for the vast majority of races in Minnesota. For local races, such as the state House of Representatives, it is impossible to see how a primary-only system would serve better than the endorsement process.
But I digress. The point is, when there is an endorsement, there is considerable thoughtful vetting by numerous people and organizations. People who know a lot about the individual candidates, and public interest groups such as environmental groups, unions, etc., engage in a multi month long conversation. There are candidates that get past this without real vetting, the anointed ones, and I’ll talk about them in a moment. But most candidates get a pretty good look-at.
But then there is the primary, and in the primary, anybody can run. This year, there was a big mixup in who was running, described here. This mixup resulted, among other things, in these two novelties: AG Lori Swanson, previously fake-running for governor, then (apparently) fake-running for attorney general, then real-running for governor, kinda snuck into the race; and Congressman Keith Ellison was suddenly running for attorney general instead of Congressperson for Minnesota’s Fifth District, where he was endorsed for re-election in a district he normally wins by a huge margin.
The thing is, both of these individuals are what I call “Anointed ones.” What does that mean? It means this. If you go and ask a random selection of 20 democrats, and back up that process by selectively asking 5 or 6 trusted individuals that you know know everything about the process, about a particular candidate, they unequivocally assert that candidate is great. But if you dig deeper, you will not really find out why. If you get an answer it will have to do with the fact that the person represents their identity very well. “She’s the first woman to be in that position” or “it is great to have an African American in that position.” There may be other reasons a person is anointed, but it seems often to be an outcome of identity politics. And, I agree that those are GOOD reasons to like a candidate. But if these reasons are held up as sufficient, it is possible for serious problems to be ignored. That may be the case with both Swanson and Ellison.
Congressman Keith Ellison is the rare African Americans in Congress, and the only Muslim. He also is a great member of Congress and does a better job than most of the rest of them, and he represents his district very well. But, he is anointed, so things could get past the vetting owing to his status, as long as he is running for re-election in that race. We really don’t want anything to be wrong with him. He is golden.
Attorney General Lori Swanson, I think, was one of the few higher ranked women when she was first elected, and perhaps for that reason her SDS, even though, when you dig a bit deeper, you find all sorts of problems. She is also anointed and golden.
This is a system that seemed to be working as long as each of those politicians stayed in their lanes, in their offices running for re-election. But now that they are running in competitive races, against real alternatives, they are getting suddenly vetted and things are going badly. Had either of them gone through the endorsement process mentioned above, we likely would have found out what we are finding out now much earlier (assuming it is all real). As it is, we are finding out just a few days before the primary (and weeks after early voting started!) that each candidate may have a serious deficit.
The problems with Swanson, as described here, were revealed just a few days ago. If these revelations turn out to be true, Swanson has inappropriately and extensively used her Attorney General office staff as campaign workers on several campaigns. If that turns out to be true, it is actually in line with other allegations that have to do with the AG’s office, Swanson, and her prior mentor and the previous AG, Mike Hatch.
Then, suddenly, overnight, and this is just being learned about now, allegations have also come out regarding Keith Ellison. I’ll post the whole of it below. You can make your own judgement.
I don’t know for real about these allegations about Ellison. No, I do not agree with the #IBelieveHer philosopphy at all. I strongly prefer the #ITakeHerSeriously and #DueProcessForAll and the #IfThisIsRealWellThenLetsSeriouslyAddressIt philosophies. So I’m not saying these allegations are real or not. But that there is this big ass allegation on the Sunday before the Tuesday primary is a big ass deal.
Let me say a word about early voting. The other day I was at a thing with a bunch of Democrats. One of them asked me, “did you vote yet?” I said no. She said, “you can vote early, you know!” I said “I know, I’m not doing that. I’ll vote on voting day.” She got mad at me. Dirty looks and all. Somehow I was doing something wrong by not voting early. She tried to convince me that early voting is a good thing, not a bad thing, and I should do it.
Jeesh. Of course early voting is a good thing to have as an option. But a given individual need not vote early. If there is any chance you will not be able to vote on election day, go vote early. If early voting is the only way you get to vote, absolutely vote early! But early voting has a cost as well. Two costs.
The first cost is that it literally costs money. If 20% of the voters in a given state switched either to early voting from regular voting, or the other way around, then the shift in the cost of elections would be something like tens of millions of dollars. It costs minutes of time to process an early vote. Scaled up, machine voting is almost free to add more.
The second cost is what we are seeing right now. Many people are going to arrive on Tuesday, election day, having voted for a candidate that they then realize they can’t support. Worse, they will have voted for a candidate that would be destroyed by the Republicans in the general election. Personally, I wasn’t going to vote for Ellison for AG or Swanson for Governor anyway, but still. And it is now Sunday AM. Tuesday is a LOOOOONG way away, politically. Apparently.
So yes, early voting is good. But don’t do it if you don’t need to!
Another piece of my mind: If you are a politician or hope to be one, follow this rule if you can. Don’t say nuthin’ about nuthin’ when it comes to attacks on your rivals. Refer people to the system. Like this attack on Keith Ellison. At least one person, and I shall not name the person, came out with the Ellison information publicly, and was instantly attacked for doing so. That candidate probably lost votes.
This is especially true in Minnesota. Let me explain how this Minnesotan cultural trait works.
Joe rapes and murders several children in a day care center.
John, at Thanksgiving with all the family around, gets mad at Joe and says, “That mother fucker … I want to kill that guy.”
The fact that John swore at Thanksgiving makes him as bad as whatever he swore about. Since Joe is a multiple raper-murderer, John is now regarded as a multiple raper-murderer. It is a Minnesota rule. Believe me, I know. I’ve been there many times.
Anyway, if you are running against a candidate and someone makes an accusation, say nuthin’ about nuthin’.
Here is the story, provided for your information but with the caveat that this is totally unverified and does not come from a vetted source.
Austin “A-Slim” Monahan is a dude on Facebook. I can’t say much about him. He claims to be one of the hoottest upcoming rappers. The claim is that his mother had a relationshipo with Keith Ellison that went bad then got worse. A-SLims statement on his facebook page reads:
My name is Austin Monahan and I am writing this letter on behalf of me and my brother.
My brother and I watched our mom come out of pure hell after getting out of her relationship with Keith Ellison. For several months we knew something wasn’t right and couldn’t figure it out. When we asked our mom if everything was ok, she told us she was dealing with some stress and would be ok.
In the middle of 2017, I was using my moms computer trying to download something and I clicked on a file, I found over 100 text and twitters messages and video almost 2 min long that showed Keith Ellison dragging my mama off the bed by her feet, screaming and calling her a “fucking bitch” and telling her to get the fuck out of his house. The messages I found, were mixed with him consistently telling my mom he wanted her back, he missed her, he knew he fucked up and we wished he could do things different, he would victim shaming, bully her, and threaten her if she went public. I text him and told him I know what you did to my mama and a few other things.
I met up with my mom that night and asked her what happened. She said nothing happened until I told her I saw a video and hell of a lot of messages saying something different. She finally talked. My brother and I were so angry and hurt for our mom. We were ready to go public but our mom begged us not to and she along with others convinced us it wasn’t in our moms best interest.
I saw message after message through out all that time, where my mom was telling him she wasn’t going back to him but still saw his humanity and offered restorative justice. I honestly don’t see how she would offer him that, but thats her choice.
Sitting all this time, watching what our mom went through and not being able to say or do anything was hard as hell. None of you know the hell our family has gone through. I don’t think half of you would even care. We watched her so called political friends stand by say or do nothing. People had an idea what happened and never reached out to my mom. The same people who are posting about social justice are ready to smear my mom, protect a person who abused her and broke the law. You think we give a shit about a politics when we saw what our mom went through? She may not matter to none of you, but she is our mom, our kids grandmother and she is actually someone. There is a lot more he has done to my mom and others that we saw in the text but our mom can decide if and when she wants to tell the world that part.
Whether we saw the video or read all those messages, we still would have believed her if she had told us. #Ibelieveher
My mom has always tried to protect me and my brother. She doesn’t have to protect us anymore and we aren’t letting her stand alone. When we found out our mom was planning on sharing her story, that is all we needed to hear for us to share ours and stand with our mom. You want to smear someone, try to lie about a person who didn’t do shit to deserve the ongoing emotional, physical abuse, smear me and my brother.
I use to believe the Democrats were the ones who would stand by a person who went through this kind of abuse, now I know both Democrats and Republicans could care less when it comes to violence toward women and girls.
I have learned a lot about how patriarchy has shaped me as a 25 year old through all this. I just became a father and I am working on how patriarchy influenced thoughts ad decisions I have made as a young man so I can teach my son better. I am starting today by standing with my mom, my sons grandma. It is not just on women and girls to speak out, it is on men to do some of the emotional work. I’m not here to prove shit to anyone, I’m just stating facts. You can take it or leave it.
Mom, I am sure you are getting contacted about this post. Just know we love you and we are standing by you.
#Ibelieveher #wearemanenough #Timesup
First a word about our lovely press. If I hear one more reporter grovel and squirm about how we don’t really want to hurt the NRA or take away any gun rights or do anything unreasonable, no, no, we just want to assume there is a solution to the carnage that does not inconvenience any of the gun loving yahoos that watch our networks …. then I’m going to I just don’t know what. Reporters: Please leave open the possibility that a double digit percentage of Americans don’t care one whit how much restrictions there ends up being on guns. We just want the insanity to end, and if that means taking away all the guns, then, whatever. It was not our decision to make guns so available that they can be amassed in sufficient quantities to shoot over five hundred people in one sitting. We want results, we do not care, not one bit, who’s feelings are hurt.
But I digress.
You need to do this before any upcoming elections. Find out who on the ballot has a record of opposing guns vs. who has a record of supporting guns, and vote against the gun supporters and for the gun opposers.
In a recent rating of recent and current members of the Minnesota House delegation, the NRA gave Rick Nolan, Keith Ellison, and Betty McCollum the grade of “F” and none of these three lawmakers have taken money from them.
Collin Peterson took $2,500 bucks from the NRA, Michele Bachmann took $3,500, Erik Paulson took 2,250, John Kline $2,500, and Tim Walz took $2,000. They all got a rating of “A” from the NRA.
Notice that party lines are being crossed here.
During the recent congressional session, Congresspersons Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison supported zero bills that support guns, but have supported 14 gun control bills.
Richard Nolan has supported one gun control bill.
Al Franken has supported two gun control bills.
Amy Klobuchar has supported two gun control bills.
Those are the clear good guys in Congress from Minnesota. But you might ask why the great variation in number of bills?
Congressman Erik Paulsen has supported one gun rights bill and has not supported any gun control bills. Collin Peterson has supported three gun rights bills and zero gun control bills. Tom Emmer has supported zero gun control bills and five gun rights bills. John Kline has supported a whopping nine gun rights bills and zero gun control bills.