I spent about 5 hours at the Minnesota Senate District 63 DFL endorsing convention on Saturday, March 24, 2018. I was a delegate from Ward 12; Precinct 11. It was a good way to spend a cloudy, chilly early Spring day. As I have said previously, I became a delegate primarily to promote issues. Beyond using my position to advocate an agenda of justice, this meant voting for resolutions with the ultimate goal of setting the DFL platform. I was very pleased to find resolutions pertaining to every one of the issues I have been promoting. There were resolutions for full legalization of cannabis, declaring Minnesota sanctuary state, endorsing the MN Equal Rights Amendment, and to work with the NAACP and other African American groups to eliminate racial disparities in the policies and practices of the MN Health and Human Services Department. These were not Yea/Nay votes; delegates checked off each resolution they supported. As I understand the process, the votes from each Senate District conventions will be tallied and the resolutions ranked by number of supporting votes. The most popular resolutions will be passed onto the MN State convention. How many resolutions each Senate District can forward to the State convention was based on the number of delegates that SD will send to the convention. That means the top 64 resolutions (out of 108 proposed) from SD 63 will be passed on. I think those are pretty good odds.
The other reason I went to the convention was to vote to endorse a candidate for the MN House District 63B race. The MN Senate seat is not on the ballot this year. Despite my efforts to learn about the candidates, Husniyah Dent-Bradley, Leili Fatehi, Emily Antin, Brenda Johnson, and incumbent Jean Wagenius before the convention, I walked in undecided. I spoke with Brenda Johnson for a few minutes and learned that she supports cannabis legalization under the umbrella of her major initiatives that revolve around school reform and breaking the school-to-prison pipeline. Emily Antin made sure to connect with me to explain that she had misunderstood my question when she claimed that she saw no way to make laws to address racial disparities in the video interview I made with her. Jean Wagenius recognized me and reassured me that she had not been avoiding my offers to meet, she simply had too little time. As the candidates lined up to give their last pitch to the convention, I was still not certain of my vote. Because Fatehi was the only challenger to directly address the question of why it was necessary to run against a 30 year incumbent known to take “progressive” votes on important issues, Leili got my endorsement vote. Wagenius won endorsement on the first ballot with Fatehi a distant second. Congratulations to Jean and a hearty thank you to the challengers.
The delegates also voted to choose new party leadership for the Senate District and elect the delegates for the State conventions for Federal Congressional District 5 and endorsing the DFL Gubernatorial candidate. The party leadership were chosen by voice vote. I kept quiet and heard no dissenting votes. I decided to leave before the delegates to the State convention were chosen. Primarily because I’m not certain that I will be in the State for the June 1, 2018 convention, but more importantly because I am not truly a part of the DFL party faithful. I know that makes me seem like a troll or a fraud, but I don’t see it that way. I am serious about the political positions I take on issues and I am straightforward about my belief that it is time to do away with the 2 party system. Under our current system, the most effective way for me to have an impact on who represents my interests in elected office is through one of the 2 mainstream parties. Because the Democrats, the DFL in MN, are more in tune with my views, they were where I chose to caucus. I’m playing the cards the 2 party tyranny has dealt to me. Simple as that. The reality of the situation is that MN House 63B is a very safe seat for the DFL. Last time I checked, the GOP hasn’t even put up a candidate for the November 2018 election. In such a situation, the only time I had a chance to choose between viable candidates was at the March 24 convention. So I took the opportunity. Such is the state of democracy in the USA in 2018. I hope that statement upsets you as much as it does me.