Wednesday, September 10, 2008

November Predictions

Yesterday was an interesting primary election! It says a lot more than polls do about how those invested in democracy choose to vote! Based on the election info, I would like to make some estimated guesses at the general election. These are using current statistics, as debates and other political unknowns will come into play.

With regards to my support in November, I believe that candidates should seek to solve our intertwined energy and economic crisis. More "rebates" from Democrats or "drilling" from Republicans are both insufficient. I'd love to hear someone try to prove, without blatant misinformation, that they will be. My solution is an annually increasing carbon tax in support of green jobs.

President - I do not see Minnesota as up for grabs. It will go to Obama. Assuming there is no voter disenfranchisement issues this time, only one hour waits in Cleveland this year, Obama should win nationwide.

U.S. Senate

Coleman - 45%
Franken - 35%
Barkley - 20%

There are about 10% of Republicans who voted for Jack Shepard. These Republicans would most likely not vote for Franken, but would consider Barkley. The biggest loser is clearly Al Franken, because he lost nearly a third of his support to Priscilla Lord Faris. I really don't think he can recover such a hit. He's been trailing Obama for a while in Minnesotan support, and this is a bad hit. And there are parts of Minnesota where she almost surpasses him in support ( in 25A, Franken got 49% of the vote, Faris 46% )!

If Dean Barkley is allowed in the debates, his support could improve. Franken is no longer seen as viable against Coleman, which reduces any form of political momentum. Barkley will need to attract Republican votes that Franken obviously can't if he is to beat Coleman. Being a former U.S. Senator helps Dean Barkley considerably, assuming the media refers to him as one.

US House - 1CD

This race will be close. Still, I think that Brian Davis will beat Tim Walz, who is in his first re-election bid.

US House 3CD

The Democrats shouldn't cry too much about possibly losing 1CD, as Ashwin Madia should win here.

US House - 5CD

Ellison - 84%
Davis - 10%
McGaughey - 6%

I could be overstating Barb Davis White's support. Ellison's opponent Gregg A. Iverson received more votes in the primary than she did. I could also be overstating McGaughey's support, though he may get the anti-Ellison vote. Keith will win easily by double digits.

US House - 6CD

This is another close race. I would really like to see the last of Michelle Bachmann. Perhaps Tinklenberg will be able to gain enough support from moderate Republicans who do not feel Bachmann truly represents them.

US House - 7CD

Blue dog Democrat Collin Peterson should easily win.

In Federal races, it is difficult to really change current trends months before an election. These races tend to be media dependent and less "activist" oriented. Though get out the vote efforts are still very important.

As far as local races go, we will see. It will be up to local candidates to ensure that they stay ( or become ) engaged with the residents of their district. Candidates who accurately reflect their community's needs stand the best chance to be chosen to serve.

Minneapolis School Board

The voters of Minneapolis always support DFL endorsed. My fave non-DFL candidate, Mary Buss, did not make it past the primary. However, Doug Mann did and is seeking Green Party endorsement. I still like Lydia Lee and Jill Davis. Anyone else will have to prove themselves, assuming I vote for a third candidate.


Doug Mann said...

English-Language Learners, Parents, The Plan,
and money for a new HQ.

At the August 22, 2008 Minneapolis school board
candidates forum, Republican endorsed candidate
Kari Reed address the issue of the district's
English as a Second Language program. According
to an article in the Daily Planet,

...Reed said ELL funding isn't necessary, nor is
ELL in general. She said she learned language by
being immersed in it, and that's the best way to do it.

"We're here, we're in America, we speak English,"
she said, adding that ELL can too easily become
an "excuse for not learning."

[Full text at]\

Reality check: English as a Second Language is an
English language immersion program. ELL classes are
conducted in English by teachers who don't necessarily
speak any other language. The district also has
translators in classrooms for children who do not
know enough English to function in an environment
where only English is spoken.

As I stated at the same forum, the district should
try to provide some direct instruction in languages
that students can speak. [I don't remember how much
I was able to elaborate on this point.] It is much
easier, for example, for someone to learn to read
in their own language than in a language they are
just beginning to learn. Well designed bilingual
programs have worked very well in helping students
learn English without falling behind academically.
And bilingual programs involving some of the
languages more widely spoken in Minneapolis Public
Schools might not be any more expensive to do than
what we are doing now. Also the presence of students
fluent in languages other than English is an asset
for those students, and possibly for English-speaking
students who want to learn a second language.


Quoting from the Daily Planet's article 'Get to know
the school board candidate: Allison Johnson,'

Johnson said Minneapolis schools are the victims
of federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) regulations.
As a member of the School Board, she would lobby
federal and state officials to repeal the regulations.
She also blamed "poor or low-income" students' poor
academic performance on their parents.

"Unless you change the mindset of poor or low-income
families to make the education of their children
their top priority," she said, poor and low-income
students' academic performance will never improve.

In her essay in the Strib, Johnson argued,

"...The gap will not close unless parents of poor
and low-income families own the fact that it is
their responsibility to continue the education
that occurs in the classroom in the home, and
make educating their children their highest priority..."

[Doug Mann responds] The district's strategy to
close the racial learning gap is based on very
same approach advocated by Allison Johnson.
And it hasn't worked. Moreover, as a matter
of law and natural consequences, parents are
responsible for their children's education.

In my opinion, the racial learning gap is a
reflection of the quality of education to which
student have access. The district itself provided
evidence that school quality makes a difference
when it upgraded the general Ed programs at North
Star and Hall elementary schools. The teachers in
those schools were persuaded to stick with their
jobs for at least a few years, and within a few
years the teaching teams in those schools discovered
that their students had a huge capacity to learn,
despite the fact around 90% of the kids were on
free and reduced price lunch, and few of the students
in those schools were white. North Star boasted
better than average results on test scores.
At Hall, the percentage of kid reading at grade
level rose from about 4% to 40% between 1999 and 2003.

I have never gotten a satisfactory response from
current school board members to the question, why
did they shut down North Star elementary school
last year? If makes no sense to shut down the
district's best black school, if you are really
serious about closing the so-called racial learning
gap. Perhaps the board candidates who are up for
reelection can explain it.

And there's The Strategic Plan. I have looked at
the strategic plan, and I just don't see a serious
plan to upgrade the quality of the district's worst
performing schools. The issue of teacher turnover
is not addressed!?! We know from our experience
with North Star and Hall that high teacher turnover
rates are a big obstacle to high quality instruction.

And why is the district talking about spending money
on a new headquarters building? I don't see anything
in the Strong Schools Strong City referendum
propaganda about how the district will need to spend
a big part of the revenue from the SSSC referendum to
pay for a new HQ. The administrative people don't even
want to talk about roughly how much it is going to
cost to build the new HQ at an open meeting. Nor do
the current board members.

-Doug Mann, Minneapolis School Board candidate

mike said...

Keith Ellison has no chance of getting even 3 out of 4 votes let alone, more then 5 out of 6. Barb Davis White is a gay bashing bigot, but that doesn't change the fact that Ellison is about as irresponsible as it gets. I'm ashamed no credible person filed for the office, but I will not give Ellison the free pass. I'll vote Independence and hope that two years from now someone challanges the lawbreaking Ellison.

Anonymous said...

“In fact, Al Franken actually lost to fellow Democrat Priscilla Lord Faris, who has been in the race for less than two months, in the following counties: Lac Qui Parle, Meeker, Todd and Sibley, where Franken was beaten handily by Lord Faris 55% to 38%.” Source: Coleman for U.S. Senate memo, September 10, 2008

Anonymous said...

Almost 10% of Republican voters chose an arsonist living in Italy, Jack Shepard, over Norm Coleman.

Norm Coleman’s most famous quote, “'these conservative kids
don't f$#@ or get high like we do...”

Kevin Chavis said...

Doug Mann did NOT receive Green Party endorsement today. He is now seeking endorsement from "other" entities that he has chosen not to state. If these endorsements go public, I intend to post them here.

Doug Mann said...

At the time of the Green Party meeting where my nomination was considered (the vote was 7 in favor 5 against), I said that I was not interested in seeking the endorsement of another party and had no plans to seek any organizational endorsements. However, I recently asked the teachers union to consider endorsing me. They haven't gotten back to me on that.