Republicans point out that New York and California are the leading edge of progressive madness. These two blue states’ leaders often accept their opponents’ label, and advertise themselves proudly as examples for others to emulate. California effect is the term used to describe how left-wing laws, regulations and policies spread outwards into other states. Yet despite his own self-aggrandizing leadership, Gov. Gavin Newsome’s California is not up to par with the liberal hellscape of Minnesota.
Minnesota, a rural Midwestern state with a large population, has been firmly blue since 1976. Minnesota, the oldest state in the country, was the only one to vote for Walter Mondale during Ronald Reagan’s landslide win in 1984. This gave it the longest streak of blue of any state.
Minnesota’s long history of social activism and labor organizing has solidified the institutional foundation for the left in the state. The merger between the state’s Democratic Party and its left-wing Farmer-Labor Party in the 1950’s led to a unified Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party that now holds every statewide office and majorities in both legislative chambers. Minnesota’s densely populated urban areas are larger than the rest and have consistently high voter participation. Minnesota is effectively a single-party state, as no Republican has been elected to the statewide office since 2006.
It is not surprising that Minnesota has some of the most radical laws in American history. The DFL has passed legislation this year that establishes a “fundamental” right to abortion. It also repealed the protections for babies born alive after an abortion. And it defunded pregnancy centers which promote alternatives for women. The taxpayers are now paying for abortions.
The state has also been declared a “refuge”, for minors who wish to change their gender. Minnesota will not comply with requests from out-of state regarding so-called transgender children, allowing for the state to overrule parents. The new “Take Pride Act”, which was passed by the state, forces non-profits in Minnesota to cater to gender identities.
The DFL has increased taxes and spent more on a variety of progressive projects including healthcare for illegal migrants.
The party created an automatic voter register, allowed minors to register early and even allowed felons the right to vote. These measures almost guarantee that Democrats won’t lose an election again in the state.
Over the past few years, Columbus Day was replaced by Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Juneteenth has also been made an official holiday. The DFL has created an “hate speech” database to track, intimidate, and suppress anyone who challenges the progressive orthodoxy.
All of this happened with a mere one-seat Senate majority decided by only a few hundreds votes. Although the DFL had the power to push through their agenda, it’s hard to say that they were doing so with a democratic mandate. A proportionally large majority of people should be able to make sweeping changes to the spirit and letter of the law. Consider FDR’s landslide win that led to the New Deal. This was a radical change at the time.
But slamming their agenda through is exactly the point. The DFL is aware that its platform is not popular with the average voter. That is why they must forcefully and quickly impose it before voters realize what the real agenda is. The left is hoping to achieve the same thing at the national level with President Joe Biden as its non-threatening leader. Minnesota is now a “success” story that the national left can point to.
The American Founders understood that the best way for the United States to be strong and lasting was to let the states experiment with laws and customs which work best for the citizens of their state. According to the Tenth Amendment, the national government only has certain powers. All other powers that are not specifically delegated or prohibited by the Constitution belong to the state governments.
It was this that led to Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famous comment about the states being the laboratories of democracy. According to him, the Tenth Amendment allows a state, if it chooses, to serve as a lab and test new social and economic ideas without putting the rest of America at risk. This has been a great boon for American innovation and governance throughout much of our past. The national level should replicate successful experiments.
Minnesota, however, distorts the truth. States would not follow a successful strategy; the success of the strategy is irrelevant. The left has already decided to take this road.
The left doesn’t care about the damage radical transgender policies cause to children. They don’t care about the chaos caused by the border crisis, or the lack of trust in the electoral system. It is impossible to claim that their policies have been “successful” unless you define success as the consolidation of political power around a common ideology. Instead of replicating successful policies, they are copying effective strategies to achieve this goal.
Minnesota is not a democracy laboratory, but a despotism laboratory.