Let us be clear, the stakes couldn’t be much higher than they are with the looming Nov. 6 midterm elections.
The ramifications of the coming elections will be felt at every level of government – federal, state and local. At stake are things such as voting rights, healthcare, a woman’s right to choose, protections for people of color and those of the LGBT community and protections for legal immigrants and those seeking a path to legal immigration, just to name a few. And while some in Minnesota – in particular, in the Twin Cities metro – may feel insulated from influences of the far right, we need to look no further than the November 2016 when Minnesota escaped going for Donald Trump by a margin so narrow it wasn’t until days after the polls closed that Minnesota was called for Hillary Clinton. In fact, of Minnesota’s 87 counties, only nine were carried by the Democratic presidential nominee.
And since President Trump has taken office the climate of fear, intolerance and intimidation have reigned … nationally, statewide and locally. The correlation is evident.
Nationally, white supremacists rioted and killed in Charlottesville, Va. Locally, a Muslim mosque was bombed in Bloomington. Nationally, the site marking the killing of Emmitt Till was vandalized – riddled with bullet holes … twice – and locally the campuses of Maple Grove Senior High School (just after the election) and St. Thomas University (this past Oct. 19) were vandalized with racists warnings using the N-word to tell students their presence was not wanted. Nationally, bombs are being mailed to Democrats and to media outlets. Locally, a media outlet (this media outlet to be specific) has been targeted with racists and xenophobic tweets on Twitter. Nationally, voters are being subjected to ridiculous “true match” standards and their statuses being placed in question … in some cases being tossed off the rolls altogether. Locally, the Republican candidate for attorney general makes false claims of “widespread voter fraud,” claiming some 7,000 people in Ramsey County were illegally registered – a claim denounced by officials with Ramsey County and the secretary of state’s office.
Again, the stakes are near an all-time high.
And one thing is abundantly clear in Minnesota – Republicans are running on fear. Television airways are being inundated with commercial after commercial trying to scare voters to the polls. Rep. Eric Paulsen is making false claims against his opponent, Dean Phillips, being tied to a sexual abuse cover-up, yet, multiple media outlets have unequivocally disproven his lies. Doug Wardlow, the Republican candidate running for attorney general is sending out mailers filled with xenophobic rhetoric attacking his opponent, Keith Ellison, who is Muslim. It is not unnoticed that Wardlow was an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBT hate group, as described by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
In fact, peruse through the campaign websites of virtually all the Republicans running in the state and it becomes abundantly clear, there is no platform. There are few examples of legislations passed or bills proposed. What there is – almost uniformly – is a love for guns, a disdain for a woman’s right to choose and a fearmongering aimed against immigrants.
Let’s be clear. In our endorsements we are not asking our readers to vote against someone or something. We want our readers to vote for something. We want them to vote for an immigration policy that is welcoming, recognizing the wonderful contributions of our immigrant brothers and sisters. We want our readers to vote for strengthening a person’s right to participate in fair and open elections. We want our readers to vote for a healthcare system that protects us all and does not discriminate based on ethnicity, economic situation or a person’s pre-existing condition. We are asking our readers to vote for an educational system that elevates us all and leaves no one behind. We are asking that our readers vote for an end to the hyper-criminalization of Black, Brown and Native bodies.
It is with these asks that we make our endorsements during this critical time in our state and nation’s history.
Early voting is ongoing in the state and voting will continue through Nov. 6. Almost every race – statewide, district, county or municipality – is contested. Minnesotans can alter the course of this nation for the better. Let us again be on the right side of history.
Our endorsements are:
Rep. Tim Walz/Rep. Peggy Flanagan – Governor/Lt. Governor
Rep. Keith Ellison – Attorney General
Secretary of State Steve Simon – Secretary of State
Sen. Amy Klobuchar – U.S. Senate
Sen. Tina Smith – U.S. Senate
Justice Margaret Chutich – Minnesota Supreme Court
Rep. Ilhan Omar – U.S. Representative, Dist. 5
Rep. Betty McCollum – U.S. Representative, Dist.
Dean Phillips – U.S. Representative, Dist. 3
Mark Haase – Hennepin County Attorney
Dave Hutchison – Hennepin County Sheriff
Irene Fernando – Hennepin County Commissioner, Dist. 2
Angela Conley – Hennepin County Commissioner, Dist. 4
Rep. Rena Moran – Minnesota House, Dist. 65A
Mohamud Noor – Minnesota House, Dist. 60B
Hodan Hassan – Minnesota House, Dist. 62A
Hollies Winston – Brooklyn Park Mayor
Kimberly Caprini – Minneapolis School Board
Sharon El-Amin – Minneapolis School Board