Tone, defined, for the purpose of this blogpost: “Noun, 2. the general character or attitude of a place, piece of writing, situation, etc.

Tomorrow (Tues, March 3) is the Minnesota Primary Election.  There are 16 Democrats on the DFL ballot; there is one candidate on the Republican ballot.  Two other parties have chosen not to participate in the Primary.  There is only one issue on the ballot, the Presidential preference.

All details can be found here.

I will vote tomorrow.  My personal philosophy appears at the right hand side on this page, as it has appeared since the blog went on line in March, 2009.  I gave those words some thought, then, and have seen no reason to change it since.  I will choose one of the 16 candidates presented on the Democrat ballot tomorrow.  I think they – all of them – reflect a strength of the Democratic Party.  (For various reasons, nine candidates on the DFL ballot have already dropped off, and more will.)  In the end, one will be nominated by delegates selected at local precinct caucuses or their equivalents around the United States.  It isn’t perfect.  Neither is it perfect to present only a single candidate, as this state’s Republican Party has chosen to do.

I have mixed emotions about this (for Minnesota) new election.  Previously, the presidential preference was a function of the precinct caucus.  Mostly, I am concerned that this simply further amplifies the perception of many that the only election that matters is that for President of the United States.

There seems undue and excessive and dangerous emphasis on who will be President, period.  And that whoever  is elected to be President should have a corner on Power.  The notion of Three Branches and the power of the people has been eroded over the years, and in recent times been severely damaged and too many have stood idly by.  Civic commitment too often is to, perhaps, vote once, for President, and that is enough.

It is not enough.

This is where the business of “Tone” comes in.  Our national attitude seems less caring than what I remember in the not-so-good old days before “Tribalized” politics, and government by Twitter and Trolls and Bots and on and on.

Our national civic sloppiness is not, and will not, serve us well.  Our local, state and national “tone” is lacking.

Every elective office is important, indeed essential.  In one of my recent posts, I suggested writing down the names of the people who represent ourselves in each level.  Of course, I’m one of the people, and I did this for myself.  I did pretty well, though not for offices like our towns Mayor and Council, or our County Commissioners.

So, I took the test, and I passed, but no “A” – that’s for sure.

The calendar says its about 246 days to Election Day, November 3, 2020.  That’s plenty of time to get up to speed on who’s running for what, and who they really are, beyond just their names, their pitches against their opponents, or their self-congratulatory stories about themselves.

Whoever it is: President, Senator, Congressperson, Governor, State Senator or Legislator, on and on,  get to know them, and vote, and vote very well informed.  This is your country, and ours….


The U.S. Population now is more or less 330,000,000 people.  We don’t all think alike; nor do we all have identical abilities, or needs.

Each U.S. Congressional District has a population of about 760,000.

Minnesota, my state, has about 5.7 million people, more or less two percent of the national population.  Each of our legislative districts has about 43,000 population.

One philosophy will not dominate, even if one ‘side’ or the other thinks it can control the others.

Any person who has ever been elected to any office soon learns that to ignore an opposing point of view is dangerous.

Collectively, we need to learn to live together.

Some time back we participated in a meeting about a movement called Better Angels  Check it out.

Recent personal posts on the topic of Politics (access in Archive, at right): Feb 13, 16, 21, 24, 26, 29

POSTNOTE TUESDAY, MARCH 3, 2020, 3:30 A.M.:  I published this yesterday, before Amy Klobuchar announced she was pulling out of the presidential race.  Later in the afternoon, I happened to turn to MSNBC at 6 p.m., the beginning of the Chris Matthews hour, which I normally don’t watch – too strident.  Matthews came on, briefly, to retire.  An obviously stunned Steve Kornacki filled in.  I didn’t watch the rest of the show since, as I said, I normally don’t watch it.  Overnight, the New York Times had an article about what I had seen.  Also, overnight came Just Above Sunset, “Simplifying Matters”.   It’s worth your time.  Brace for the upcoming months.  Not long ago I did a post, “Nation of Manchurian Candidates?”  I think we’re about to find out.  Probably Wednesday Mar 4, I’ll add a postnote here, and I’m inviting comments, the first two of which are below.  “We, the people” are about to be tested, and it is the collective we that will decide our fate going forward.

POSTNOTES March 4, 2020, 8:45 a.m.

There are several comments in the comments section, and there may be more, later.  

I voted Tuesday morning.  I marked my ballot for Joe Biden.  I would have voted for Amy Klobuchar, but she had withdrawn the previous day.  I’m two years senior to Mr. Biden, so I know both the limitations and the assets of age and experience.  A few others told me who they voted for – a variety – but this is their business.  It seems obvious to me that people are paying serious attention to the importance of this election.

Biden has not yet been nominated, of course, and I “don’t count chickens till they’re hatched.”  Personally, I could have supported almost all of the Democratic candidates who were listed on the DFL ballot yesterday (16 in all).  Tulsi Gabbard’s candidacy puzzled me.  Though she seemed to be a fine person, too, she was my exception….

Here is where you can find more about the Minnesota vote yesterday.  [Added March 5: These were the top vote-getters: Democrat – total votes cast about 740,000 among 15 candidates on the ballot, one “uncommitted”. Biden 287,248; Sanders 222,276; Warren 114,606; Bloomberg 61,832; Klobuchar 41,478 – she had bowed out the day before the election, but her name and all the others were on the printed ballot.

Republican137,155 for incumbent President, 3298 for others.  Only one candidate was allowed on the Republican ballot per the Minnesota Republican Party, who controlled whose name(s) would appear, as was also true with the Democrats.]  I would suggest a visit to the home page as well where there is some information about election security.

I was an inadvertent witness to one piece of drama yesterday.  I wanted to verify our voting place, which sometimes changes, and when I went to the Secretary of State website it redirected me to another site, which was very helpful.  The Star Tribune writes here about this happening.  I visited, it appears, during the 17 minutes of the incident.  Were ‘bots’ involved?  Should the Secretary State resign?  All of these and more will be in some conversation.  I went to the site to find out where to vote, that is all.  I’m glad the alternative was available.

Check the other comments below.  In addition, here is a comment from my friend and DFL activist, Norm, on what he observed at his precinct in suburban St. Paul yesterday:

I voted earlier this morning and found no lines and just walked right in, signed  in, and voted.
I suspect that the voter turnout will be fairly light akin to a primary but hopefully greater than the presidential preference poll turnout at the precinct caucuses in 2016.
If the turnout is essentially the same as it was for the poll in 2016, the question will be begged, of course, whether the presidential nomination primary served any valid purpose other that perhaps assuring less crowding on caucus night.
You had noted the concern of the local AB [Archbishop Hebda] and his admonishment to the priests under his scepter to not vote today because presumably he did not want their parishioners to know which ballot they had requested although you surmised that it probably would not have been at all similar to the one that we requested.
In fact, the voting process at my voting site this morning was fairly private.
I had to give the election judge the last three letters of my last name and the first three letters of my first name.
He then plugged that into a little 6-8  electronic device on a swivel and turned it to show me so that I could confirm address and phone number.
He then set things up and turned the device towards me again allowing me to request either a DFL or GOP ballot…and then hit submit before he turned the device back so he could see the now blank screen.
Two small pieces of paper printed out two things on them:  One, to sign an oath to confirm that I was an eligible voter and, two, a little slip with my choice of ballot on it that he gave to me upside down so that he could not see what ballot I had requested.
I handed that off to another person who then saw which ballot that I had requested, gave the ballot to me, I voted, put my ballot into the machine, was handed an I voted deal and left.
Probably took no more than ten-minutes at the most.
So, while I do not know whether the process that I encountered with the small electronic device and all as what everyone else who voted encountered. 
On the other hand, if it was, the priests in the local AB at least would have left with only one person knowing which ballot that they had requested.  If the election judge who knew which ballot that the padre had requested was also a good Roman and perhaps a member of his parish, and if he/she was talkative, that could create  some interesting dynamics in the local parish round table, I would suppose.
Granted, presumably St. Francis might not have requested the same ballot as you suggested most of his peers would likely have but then…
Hell, even a Methodist like me can appreciate St. Francis!



5 replies
  1. norman hanson
    norman hanson says:

    I heard a speaker talking about the Better Angels concept at a recent session of my Kiwanis chapter…and I was very impressed with the concept of the program. If implemented let alone understood by all the concept may lead the lack of desire by the family to stick Uncle Harry’s head in the mashed potatoes and gravy at Thanksgiving when he gets off again on his wild political ideas. Amy has suspended her campaign since you wrote this blog as you noted at the top. She and mayor Pete have decided to back Biden as part of the effort to have a brokered convention in Milwaukee. If Old Bern does not win on the first ballot, he probably won’t be given the beer stein by the Democrats, a party that he is not now nor ever has been a member of. A Democrat could be given the stein and challenge Trump if everyone gets behind the party choice. Alas, the Old Bern or nuttin folks will probably stay home on election day, vote for a third party or vote for Trump “just to show them” just as they did in 2016 probably assuring Trump of a second term.

  2. Larry Wicks
    Larry Wicks says:

    Hi Dick.

    I generally am in agreement with your post and the importance of all elected offices. I do think a primary is a much better way to decide about candidates for President because it enables many more to actually select the candidate. The precinct caucus system is critically important but not nearly inclusive enough to decide which candidate should be the nominee for president in either political party.

    The current President is truly a threat to our democracy and the well being of our country. So I generally agree with your theses but today with our current situation and current President I believe it is fundamental to the survival of our republic that we elect a Democrat President of the United States.

    The most important decision in my lifetime. And the most important decision for my kids and grandkids.

  3. Jermitt Krage
    Jermitt Krage says:

    I feel the current culture in our country is deeply troubling. We look to our political leadership for truth. When truth is replaced with lies and the leadership of our institutions are attacked, removed and replaced by incompetency, we lose confidence in our democratic institutions as well. We depend on the leaderships of our government to protect the U.S. constitution and the values we hold as a people. We need courageous leaders who will replace those at the top who blame others for their own failures. Perhaps speaking out is the first step, but it must be followed up with actions by all of us.
    I’m going to work for candidates who will uphold the principles of the constitution, protect our civil liberties, and respect our governmental institutions.

  4. Judy Berglund
    Judy Berglund says:

    Well, I voted today. Not happy with my choice, but felt my choices were limited. My primary concern is beating Trump. Not sure anyone can. But I’m hoping.

  5. Lydia Howell
    Lydia Howell says:

    For once the claim that “This is the most important election of our lifetime!” is TRUE. I’m glad that MN now has Primaries instead of just a Caucus–primaries mean more participation–and PARTICIPATION is what our democracy desperately needs.
    Anyone who knows my views, knows I’m pretty disillusioned with the Democratic Party. I wish they’d spent a bit less time on “Russia0gate”–which while TRUE is also I think a far SMALLER aspect of the 2016 outcome (than Republicans’ many “voter suppression” tactics). Also: Democratic Party LEADERS should have been doing some soul-searching about what CONDITIONS made Donald Trump as President possible. Yes: there’s a “white backlash” in progress since President Obama was elected and that’s certainly significant. But, I don’t think it accounts entirely for how we got here: decades of “neoliberal”/CORPORATE policies that hurt everyday working people had an impact, too.

    I was a Bernie supporter in 2016 and went back & forth between him and Elizabeth Warren this time–and in the end voted for Warren. I think we REALLY missed out as a country by NOT choosing Warren who I believe was so much MORE of a great candidate who really LISTENED to people & LEARNED. She had the capacity SEE “differences” among different groups’ life experiences and yet ALSO see COMMON GROUND between them–something our country REALLY needs now.
    People were too AFRAID to imagine a woman could beat Trump, so, Warren probably never really had a real chance.
    I DISLIKE Joe Biden: GIVEN HIS ACTUAL POLICIES & VOTING RECORD why anyone can believe Biden represents the interests of everyday working people–NOT even the white working class he aligns himself with!!! What a FRAUD.

    But, I’ve no doubt we MUST get Trump OUT and begin the process of repairing our institutions and trying to heal the deep rifts (where possible) among ourselves. I just hope the neo-Nazi and hardcore white supremacists go back under the ir rocks after Trump is out. If not, the rest of us MUST remain vigilant.


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