13 thoughts on “Ratin’ Dayton

  1. PM says:

    you forgot that he was running against someone who was even less popular than he was!

    Basically, Dayton won because his opponent was fatally flawed. Given that Dayton isn’t a very good candidate himself, and it was a Republican year, he still almost lost the race. Pretty much any Democrat should have been able to beat Emmer, who was perhaps the worst choice that republicans could have made. But they opted for philosophical purity over electability (something that happened a lot all across the country), and it cost them complete control of the state, just as it cost them the Senate nationally.

    What dayton had going for him was that people had seen him a lot and were familiar with him–uninspiring though that experience might have been, at least he wasn’t the whacko in the race. And he didn’t collapse or fall apart under the pressure of the race. I talked to a large number of my republican friends, and they told me (in the last few weeks of the race) that their only hope was to provoke Dayton to the point that he would lose it–in public. They were trying to make him the whacko in the race. And, to his credit, he didn’t. So he was the safe choice, while Emmer was the wild card.

  2. Steve Conway says:

    I agree that the key to Dayton’s strong performance (not yet a win) was the perception of Emmer as a wacko, fortified by his unfortunate remarks about restaurtant servers averaging $100K/year. But what’s most surprising is not Dayton’s performance but Emmer’s. As with Michelle Bachmann, Christy O’Donnell and some others, it puzzling/disturbing that so many votes were willing to ignore the evidence of hypocrisy/selfishness for the sake of a professed shared agenda.

  3. Joe Loveland says:

    Emmer was a terrible candidate in early summer, and some of that stuck. No doubt about that.

    After the waitress tip fiasco, however, I thought Emmer avoided looking like a wacko the last several months. His unfavorable was 51% compared to Dayton’s 45% — fairly close — but I sense that had more to do with the ABM’s heavy barrage of ads than concerns about his most extreme policy positions and gaffes. His wackiest positions — nullification, total reliance on charity-based health care, etc. — didn’t get much attention, and I thought he performed very well during the portion of the campaign when most started paying attention.

    But I do agree, if they had chosen a more steady candidate such as Marty Siefert, Horner probably couldn’t have eaten into the GOP as much.

  4. Mike Kennedy says:

    I think you’re right, PM. Any half decent Republican candidate beats Dayton without much contest. Likewise, any decent DFL candidate doesn’t come close to a horse race with Emmer.

    Nothing about the governor’s race suprised me, given the quality of the candidates. The two big MN surprises for me were control of the legislature and the loss of Oberstar.

  5. Joe Loveland says:

    In every election, people are always quick to say that the losing candidate was a complete incompetent, and disregard environmental factors. We judge politics the way we judge sports. Victory has a hundred fathers, but defeat is an orphan. Emmer could definitely been better, but I don’t see that as the whole explanation.

  6. Mike Kennedy says:

    I don’t think Emmer was a complete incompetent — I just don’t think he was a good candidate. Most of my Republican friends either voted for Horner or had to force themselves to vote for Emmer.

    That says a lot to me and that’s how I base my conclusions. I myself, who lean Republican, couldn’t bring myself to support Emmer.

  7. Joe Loveland says:

    I don’t think we’re far apart. Emmer definitely could have been better. and that was a factor. I just wouldn’t say it is THE factor.

    If Palin-backed Emmer ran a complete wack-job campaign, why didn’t he get any national attention for being a wack-job? The national media was all over other Palin-backed candidates – Angle, O’Donnell, Tancredo, Miller, Bachmann, Paladino, etc. I think Emmer was privately as extreme as many of them, but he didn’t run anywhere near as wacky and gaffe-prone a campaign as them.

    Emmer didn’t get the national attention, because he was running a tight, straightforward, mainstream Republican campaign. The last three months, Emmer ran a very mainstream Republican campaign on jobs and tax avoidance, to the exclusion of everything else. He wouldn’t even answer questions about abortion. In early summer, I thought he would be so extreme and gaffe-prone that he’d get stuck at around 30%. That’s what Horner was saying too. But Emmer significantly pulled it together, and very, very nearly pulled it off.

  8. Mike Kennedy says:

    That shows you how closely I paid attention to Emmer. I was barely aware of the Palin support — all the more reason for me not to support him — as I don’t think much of Palin.

    Her support, it turns out, is a lot less potent than many poltical talking heads suspected.

    She better enjoy her time in the sun because I’ve got two words for her and her political ambitions:

    Marco Rubio.

  9. Ellen Mrja says:

    I also think Emmer’s extreme position denying gays their rights put him at odds with young voters. Gay-bashing is very much an old meme; the people who are afraid of same-sex marriages aren’t in their 20s. Thank God those who can’t wrap their pea-brains around this as a basic civil rights issue are in the minority.

    1. Right wing authoritarians (RWAs) are by definition very conventional. When enough of the population swings to a new consensus, i.e. gays deserve civil rights, eventually even the RWAs change their tune – they can’t tolerate being too far out of the mainstream, even if it means a 180 degree turnaround. That moment may be upon us.

  10. Newt says:

    Not to have slaughtered a glassy-eyed nattering liberal freak like Dayton in this economic depression is an embarrassment to the GOP. A real opponent would have won by >15 points. MN GOP better take a good hard look at itself and the kinds of candidates it puts forth.

    The DFL is serving up slow pitches to be knocked out of the park. MN GOP is bunting.

    Sorry for another tired sports analogy.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      I agree Newt. And with politics getting nastier and more costly, the barriers to entry will continue to limit the number and type of people who run for office.

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