The race for Governor in Minnesota has become more interesting with the injection of results of the SCOTUS Citizens United ruling of last winter. Tom Emmer, the GOP underdog candidate has been the recipient so far of this ruling. The Citizens United ruling basically gives corporations “citizen” status and therefore the ability to donate money to political campaigns based on the size of the company. Therefore, with a virtually unrestricted money cap, these corporate entities will be able to buy elections. Political candidates will become “toadies” for the company, with marching orders to carry out the company’s wishes. Don’t be surprised that in the near future you will hear candidate campaign commercials with the tag line; “I’m presented to you by Target Corporation” or “My sponsor is Best Buy Corporation”. That’s what this ruling will turn our national campaigns, elections, policy making, and governance into. Hello, does anybody see a problem with this? It will affect both parties, so if you righties in Minnesota are rejoicing the huge donations to Emmers campaign by Target and Best Buy, just wait, the next election cycle they may anoint a candidate you’re not going to like!

Today’s commentary is a result of a new ad push in Minnesota paid for by Target and Best Buy attacking DFL candidate Mark Dayton. Two things become crystal clear here; 1. Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel is a two-faced man trying to have his cake and eat it too. After profusely apologizing publically for being so short-sighted to contribute a huge amount of money to a PAC which supports Tom Emmer, an avowed homophobe supported by the Tea-Baggers and the Family Values organization. He made the contribution in spite of being the leader of a company which supposedly supports diversity. 2. The nationwide boycott of Target stores as a result of the contribution to MNForward, apparently didn’t affect Steinhafel’s intentions. Bottom line is, Steinhafel will support the “pro-business”, re: tax cuts for business, candidates instead of candidates who are more moderate on social issues, such as gay rights.

Target has a partner in crime on this latest attack ad, that would be Best Buy, another Minnesota based company that supposedly supports diversity. It’s amazing how important tax cuts become to these companies to the point they forget their own corporate philosophies of celebrating diversity and nurturing civil rights for the LGBT community.

Now Senator Dayton’s opponents will point out the Senator’s vast personal wealth and his own ability to fund campaigns. Firstly, there are no laws preventing a candidate from financing their own campaigns and secondly, a very very important point for everyone to understand, Senator Dayton is beholden to nobody! No special interests, no corporate entities, no government groups with agendas, and no trade unions. He is a free agent. A candidate that has to live or die on his own record.

Speaking of the Senator’s record, he was a fiscally very conservative as Auditor of the state of Minnesota. A record of uncovering financial malfeasance at every level of government in the state. He returned millions of dollars to tax payers that were over-charged or improperly charged. City and county treasurers across the state were forced to clean up their books in fear of catching the rath of then Auditor Dayton. Talk about a tax payers watchdog!, the Senator has the record. You see, there is something to financial responsibility and human decency. Senator Dayton saw to it that nobody would suffer in this state as a result of the government’s actions. As the United States Senator, Dayton fought tirelessly for the disadvantaged and poor. His record mirrors that of progressives like Senator Paul Wellstone and Senator Ted Kennedy. He fights for what’s right and fair, and grieves for the people who get left behind. It’s those people the Senator keeps pushing on for. Because of eight years of economic disaster under Bush, and the continued under-performing economy under President Obama, that pool of poor and disadvantaged people has grown exponentially. As Governor, Senator Dayton has pledged to help all of these people, starting with the return of a fair tax system to help reduce the crushing pressure of state debt.

Being a skilled executive who works by being pro-active, the Senator was the first candidate to announce, in detail, his proposed budgets for the state. You take his experience in the private sector with the family department store business, his highly successful years as State Auditor, and his six-year stint as a legislator in the U.S. Senate, gives him a unique and full perspective of how the head executive of the state should govern.

Democrats still negatively affected by the Senator’s victory in the primary last month need to move past this. Senator Dayton’s money is not endless, he will not be able to compete in the ad wars when the right-wing corporate interests start dumping huge amounts of money into the Emmer campaign. Senator Dayton needs all the Democrats in the state to rally behind him. This will become a race of Senator Dayton, with his record of progressivism and fairness, versus the corporate money and interests backing Emmer. I say this because Emmer has no personal substance as a politician. His record pales in comparison to Senator Dayton’s, he has formed dangerous and reckless ties to the tea-Baggers and corporate Minnesota, neither of which have the interests of Minnesotans in mind.

I have said this repeatedly since the day the SCOTUS ruled on Citizens United. This ruling, by the way, comes from the most “activist” court in U.S. history. The ruling is very dangerous and if not checked by Congress, it will have a very profound and negative effect on our democracy. Our Congresspersons of both parties need to be lobbied to change the law. I generally don’t care too much about local and statewide elections, my interest is much more slanted to federal office holders, Congress and President, but this race for Minnesota governor has become a laboratory rat for how destructive the Citizen United ruling by the SCOTUS can be. Turn up the heat on Target and Best Buy and fight the corporate takeover of America’s governmental entities. Thank you for today’s read.
Cam Obert



  1. Gretchen Halverson Says:

    Cam… this tipped me over the edge & I’m throwing my support where it belongs: with Mark Dayton. I’m still uncomfortable & frustrated with thwarting the system – but your arguments have worked their “magic” and I’m back in the fold.

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