The Franken Fallout

 

asl franken victory

Despite all evidence to the contrary, including historically suspect local media polling that indicated Al Franken would win by about 10 percentage points in his US Senate re-election bid … Al Franken won his re-election to the US Senate by 10 percentage points.

At 53%, for the first time a majority of breathing, sentient Minnesota adults said Al Franken is the one man who best represents our hopes, dreams, and interests in the upper chamber of the legislature of the most powerful country in the world. Behind Spam, the Vikings’ four Super Bowl losses, and Walter Mondale giving the tagline “Where’ the Beef?” new life as a national catchphrase, this may be the most embarrassing thing to ever come out of Minnesota.

In the past few months, some of our finest Ricochet pundits opined that although Franken may win, he’d never get a mandate from the voters:  Minnesotans elected him to office, but they don’t love him … A l Franken will never be a landslide election victor.

53% isn’t exactly love or a landslide, but it’s definitely significant erosion. And this is in a Republican wave year that resulted in unexpected Republican gains across the country, including deep blue bastions like Maryland and Illinois. Over these past few election cycles, Republicans in Minnesota have developed a lonely, morbid feeling. Bumping into old friends at Minnesota GOP election night parties now has the same vibe as encountering the relatives you only see at funerals.

What’s the matter with Minnesota? Simply stated, it has a lot of Democrats and is getting more every day (by creating them and importing them). Even a candidate as inherently bad as Al Franken can take that natural advantage to a majority if he plays his cards right (that would be playing the cards close to the vest). As I wrote in the Franken Forecast back in September:

Franken …  has generally kept a low profile while in office, in six years not leading any significant legislative initiatives and being uncharacteristically low key on all the hot button issues of the day.  Even when campaigning for office, he’s very reserved. His strategy seems to be abandoning the personality he’s exhibited his entire adult life in favor or not actively giving people a reason to vote against him.

His adult life prior to politics was dedicated to pugnacious insult humor and provocations. But now he’s quiet, he smiles a lot, he does virtually no press interviews, and, when he has to, he films phony ads of himself walking around farms wearing flannel shirts and jeans and gesticulating knowingly while talking to guys wearing seed caps.

Oh, and he also votes in lockstep with a President whose policies are in wide disrepute even in Minnesota. But that’s not important, he seems so nice! Minnesota’s other Senator, Amy Klobuchar, rides a similarly extreme partisan voting record and a pleasant, mundane demeanor (not to mention a celebrity name) to a two-thirds majority in the state. The template works, so expect more of the same in years to come.

The other critical advantage Franken enjoyed was in campaign finance. The Democrats drowned this race with a firehose blast of money. Franken outraised and outspent his Republican opponent by a staggering ratio of nearly five-to-one, $29.5 million to $6.5 million. Where are those Koch Brothers and other rich Republicans when you need them?

People gave Al Franken nearly $30 million to run for the US Senate. To put that in perspective, that’s 30 times as much money as people paid Al Franken to see his movie, Stuart Saves His Family (gross=$912K). In other words, people are far more likely to pay Al Franken to not appear in any more movies than to buy a ticket to his performances. It’s a subtle and devastatingly effective campaign strategy: donate and vote for me, or I start production on Stuart Saves His Family II immediately!

Future Senator Pauly Shore, are you paying attention?

Pauly Shore

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There are 12 comments.

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  1. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Evidently maintaining a residence (note I didn’t say “living in”) Minnesota, and not making waves, meets Minnesotan’s requirements and expectations. Lutefisk anyone?

    • #1
  2. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Brian Ward: …for the first time a majority of breathing, sentient Minnesota adults said Al Franken is the one man who best represents our hopes, dreams, and interests in the upper chamber of the legislature of the most powerful country in the world.

    They really didn’t.

    Firstly, if you account for voter turnout, only about 33.5% of sentient (and registered) Minnesota adults voted for him.

    Now, while I generally agree that silence is the equivalent of consent when it comes to elections, you specifically wrote that a majority of Minnesota adults “said” he is the one man for the job, which is not accurate.  ;-)

    Secondly, they didn’t say he was the only man for the job. They merely said he was better than the three other candidates. Having no knowledge of his opponents, I cannot argue whether or not that opinion is reasonable.

    • #2
  3. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Nick Stuart:Evidently maintaining a residence (note I didn’t say “living in”) Minnesota, and not making waves,meets Minnesotan’s requirements and expectations. Lutefisk anyone?

    I find that “not making waves” meets most voters’ expectations and requirements in most jurisdictions, largely because it’s such a rare quality.

    I once heard a woman on the radio actually say that she supported my city’s mayor because, and this is not a paraphrase, “he attends all the community events and he’s never had a scandal.”

    What he had actually done for the city while in office was not, apparently, a consideration.

    • #3
  4. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    Brian Ward:

    Franken … has generally kept a low profile while in office, in six years not leading any significant legislative initiatives and being uncharacteristically low key on all the hot button issues of the day. Even when campaigning for office, he’s very reserved.

    I hate to say it, but this is exactly what I would want in a first-term senator: keep your head down and your mouth shut. Especially from one whose previous career was being a loudmouth blowhard.

    Indeed, leaving his views aside, I see little to admonish about Franken’s actual behavior since being in office. He is doing his best to act like a mature adult, which is more than can be said about most Democrats. And of course he falls in lockstep with Obama – but it’s not like his flaming liberalism was any kind of hidden secret beforehand.

    It sounds to me like he has done exactly what the voters of Minnesota sent him to do 6 years ago (at least the few who actually voted for him). At this point, any blame for his reelection rests squarely on their shoulders, not on Franken’s.

    • #4
  5. Rachel Lu Contributor
    Rachel Lu
    @RachelLu

    It’s so depressing. Minnesota is the one state that didn’t get the memo about a GOP wave year.

    • #5
  6. user_1032405 Coolidge
    user_1032405
    @PostmodernHoplite

    Rachel Lu:It’s so depressing. Minnesota is the one state that didn’t get the memo about a GOP wave year.

    Neither did California. Pity. (California libre!)

    • #6
  7. Look Away Inactive
    Look Away
    @LookAway

    Rachel Lu:It’s so depressing. Minnesota is the one state that didn’t get the memo about a GOP wave year.

    I thought that the Republicans had captured one of the Minnesota Legislative bodies. If so that tells me that the countryside is red, but the cities are blue. I would also rather see politics move our way locally. I like Franken there to remind the country who the real clowns are.

    • #7
  8. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    So much for “Minnesota Nice” . . .

    • #8
  9. user_1026136 Inactive
    user_1026136
    @BeHappy

    At least Al has kept a “low profile” unlike the Minnesota’s  favorite ex-Governor Jesse “The Body” Ventura.

    • #9
  10. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Be Happy:At least Al has kept a “low profile” unlike the Minnesota’s favorite ex-Governor Jesse “The Body” Ventura.

    Hey, ex-politicians gotta eat!

    • #10
  11. Ichabod Inactive
    Ichabod
    @Ichabod

    The are not enough blankets in the world to cover the shame that Franken is my senator.

    • #11
  12. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Brian Ward: Behind Spam, the Vikings’ four Super Bowl losses, and Walter Mondale giving the tagline “Where’ the Beef?” new life as a national catchphrase, this may be the most embarrassing thing to ever come out of Minnesota.

    You left out Governor Ventura.

    You guys really like inside jokes when you vote in Minnesota.

    • #12
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