Feeling Minnesota

May 13, 2003

Here’s the latest piece from the liberal Minneapolis Star Tribune describing Minnesota’s ongoing transition from a Blue State to a Red State:

“I am struck by how many people in recent weeks are saying, ‘What is happening to Minnesota, or even is this Minnesota?’ ” said Chris Gilbert, chairman of the Political Science Department at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. “The answer is, it is Minnesota, and it’s been changing all along.”

The scale and significance of the situation is not disputed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the largest group of Republicans in the Legislature since party designations began in 1974.

“We are seeing a transformation from a blue state to a red state,” a reference to the common color code for Democrats and Republicans in election counts, said David Strom, legislative director of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota. His group has helped lead the charge, largely through aggressive ideological advertising and getting legislators and Pawlenty to sign pledges not to raise taxes.

“It’s a political realignment led by the entrepreneurial explosion of the ’80s and ’90s,” said Strom, referring to rapid growth in a largely suburban class of citizens who were either in business for themselves or in small, innovative companies. Strom uses such terms as “suburban libertarianism” and the “leave-me-alone coalition” to describe the philosophy and attitude of the ascendant power.

Minnesota is part of a larger trend that I’ve noted before:

As the numbers of ethnic minorities increase, the Democrats will become shriller. They will begin espousing loony-left positions, such as slavery reparations, that will turn off white voters in large numbers. These voters will turn to the GOP. Some of them may even have to hold their nose on issues such as abortion when voting for GOP candidates; but they’ll vote for the GOP nonetheless. This phenomenon is particularly evident in my home state of Washington, which used to be satirized as the People’s Republic of Washington. Today, Washington state voters have voted repeatedly for anti-tax and anti-affirmative-action initiatives. Bush lost the state by only 6 points in 2000 and will likely win it in 2004. Washington’s liberal image is belied by its voting record, much like Minnesota and Oregon.

I predict that, unless the Democratic nominee wins the national vote convincingly, President Bush will carry Minnesota in 2004 (he almost managed to win it in 2000.) That would make him the first Republican presidential nominee to win the state since 1972, when Richard Nixon won it in a historic coast-to-coast 49-state landslide.

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