Democrats cannot address ‘most basic issues’ this election, analyst says

In the closing days of the race, Schultz said it will all come down to which party does the best job of getting “its base out to vote.” 

The Minnesota State Capitol building in St. Paul, Minn. (Department of Administration/Flickr)

David Schultz, a political science professor at Hamline University, joined Liz Collin on her podcast this week to discuss the upcoming midterm election.

Recent polling has Gov. Tim Walz and Dr. Scott Jensen locked in a close race, but a poll from earlier in the campaign had Walz up by 18 points, a result Schultz called “ridiculous.”

Four years ago, Walz beat Republican Jeff Johnson by 11 points. According to Schultz, this year is “not a good Democratic year,” so he would be surprised if Walz actually had a “lead greater than what he won by four years ago.”

A Trafalgar Group poll from a few weeks ago had Jensen half a point ahead of Walz in the race for governor.

Schultz said that while the economy and crime are the top two issues for voters, Walz hasn’t done a good job of addressing either. He’s also been trying to “coast” through the last few weeks of the election, in Schultz’s opinion.

“Versus Scott Jensen, who I think has been very aggressively moving, and I think it’s helping quite a bit,” Schultz said.

“The fact that in the closing weeks, the Republican Governor’s Association has decided to put in another $750,000 into the Minnesota governor’s race tells me an awful lot,” he explained. “They’re going to put money in where it makes the most difference, and I think right now they’re viewing this as, still, a race that can potentially be won by Scott Jensen.”

Statewide and nationally, Republicans are in a strong position on all of the issues except abortion.

“[Democrats] seem to be unable historically to really address the issues of what I call the most basic issues of politics — public safety issues and the economy. And that’s where they remain vulnerable,” Schultz said. “Also, there’s a sense in which the Democratic Party in Minnesota is oftentimes very much captured by Minneapolis and St. Paul, by very, very liberal individuals that don’t really speak to the rest of the state.”

“If we look at the map in Minnesota, we’ve got 87 counties in the state. The Democrats in a good year in recent years are winning maybe 15 counties. Geographically, they’re not the majority party and the numbers in terms of party affiliation have really narrowed,” he added.

Despite warning signs, state Democrats have been “complacent,” Schultz explained.

“The warning signal, I think, should have been … 2016 when Donald Trump almost beat Hillary Clinton in Minnesota,” he said.

As far as the Minnesota Legislature, Schultz thinks there is no question that Republicans will keep the Senate and take the House, which he said will be decided by about 10 key races that mostly lean Republican.

“There’s still a chance that the Republicans can pick up the governorship, and if they were to get that trifecta, [it has] significant implications for Minnesota,” Schultz said.

In the closing days of the race, Schultz said it will all come down to which party does the best job of getting “its base out to vote.”



Rose Williams

Rose Williams is an assistant editor for Alpha News.