After Mark Dayton was declared the victor in the DFL primary Wednesday, the dead-tree media immediately started pushing the theme that the two major parties had picked candidates from their ideological poles, begging their readers to whine for a better option.
This kind of valueless, factless statement does a disservice to readers, citizens, and voters everywhere.
Tom Emmer has repeatedly made clear that he is from the conservative wing of what is now an extremely conservative, small-tent party. He advocates tax cuts for the rich, tip penalties for working class servers, and deregulating business to turn Minnesota into a prairieland banana republic. Emmer is an extremist, and proud of it.
But what exactly about Dayton’s platform is extreme, I ask the media? He advocates raising taxes on the rich, including himself, so that everyone up and down the economic scale pays the same effective tax rate. That’s extreme? I call that fair, common-sense populism. Like the candidates he defeated in Tuesday’s primary, Dayton advocates for expanding renewable energy solutions — that’s extreme? I call that smart, especially given that we have more and more proof every day that big investments in green energy can yield concrete benefits.
Dayton’s platform is largely common-sense progressive solutions to pull the state out of the mess caused by too many years of the same Pawlentyism a Governor Emmer would continue and expand.
In short, there’s nothing about Dayton’s platform or background that makes him anywhere near the polar opposite of Tom Emmer’s self-aggrandizing extremism; quite the contrary. The Twin Cities media does itself, its readers, and the entire state of Minnesota a disservice by sexing up the story of this election by trying to pitch it as such a matchup.
And putting recently-kind-of-not-really-a-Republican-consultant-anymore-but-now-third-party candidate Tom Horner in the amorphous, squishy middle of that analysis just makes it all the more useless.
We can, we must demand better from our news media.