“We didn’t choose to leave the Democratic Party, the party left us.”

    Sep 3, 2020


Virginia Mayor Larry Cuffe Jr. and Two Harbors Mayor Chris Swanson take the stage to present a letter from six Iron Range mayors supporting the Trump-Pence campaign during Vice President Mike Pence’s campaign visit to Lake Superior Warehousing on Friday in Duluth. Clint Austin / Forum News Service

Six Democrat Mayors and one former-independent Mayor from Minnesota have publicly endorsed President Trump for re-election after claiming that Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden, “has done nothing to help the working class.”

The six mayors wrote in a letter dated Friday, August 28, that they “formally endorse the re-election of President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence,” after having voting “for Democrats over many decades.”

The letter was signed by Harbors Mayor Chris Swanson, Virginia Mayor Larry Cuffe, Chisholm Mayor John Champa, Ely Mayor Chuck Novak, Eveleth Mayor Robert Vlaisavljevich and Babbitt Mayor Andrea Zupancich.

“We have watched as our constituents’ jobs left not only the Iron Range, but our country. By putting tariffs on our products and supporting bad trade deals, politicians like Joe Biden did nothing to help the working class,” the letter read.

“Today, we don’t recognize the Democratic Party. It has been moved so far to the left it can no longer claim to be advocates of the working class. The hard-working Minnesotans that built their lives and supported their families here on the Range have been abandoned by radical Democrats. We didn’t choose to leave the Democratic Party, the party left us.”

The Mayors called Trump’s 2016 election a “wonderful event that marked a turning point for the region.”

“Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States, and he stood up to China, implemented tax cuts and fought for the working class. Now, four years later, the Iron Range is roaring back to life and for the first time in a very long time, locals are hopeful because of this President’s policies and willingness to fight for us.”

“Lifelong politicians like Joe Biden are out of touch with the working class, out of touch with what the country needs, and out of touch with those of us here on the Iron Range and in small towns like ours across our nation. In this election, there is a lot at stake, but the biggest risk is our jobs, our economy, and our way of life. President Trump delivered the best economy in our nation’s history ,and President Trump will deliver for us again. He will continue to fight for every American, regardless of party affiliation and continue to stand up for the working class.”

Vice President Mike Pence was in Duluth, Minnesota on Friday when Swanson and Cuffe took the stage to endorse President Trump.

“There’s many people in northern Minnesota who truly are Republicans,” Two Harbors Mayor Chris Swanson said, describing a blurring of what had once been solid Democrat country. “They truly understand what’s going on.”

Former Duluth Mayor Gary Doty, an independent, was also recognized by Vice President Pence for his endorsement of the President.

Gary Doty was mayor of Duluth from 1992 to 2004, and was an office holder in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor in the state Legislature in the 1970s, but was an independent afterwards, something he has “always prided himself on being,” according to Doty.

“I come from a DFL family and many of them still are,” Doty said. “My dad was the head of the Teamsters and the things he fought for — jobs, benefits and working men and women — the Democratic party has lost that. They’ve gone so far left I can’t support the Democratic ticket this year.”

That the Democratic Party has abandoned the working class is something elected Democrats may hotly deny. That charge isn’t coming only from the right, however.

Courting popular opinion on Twitter and other popular social media platforms has become part of the political playing field in the past few years, perhaps more-so on the left than on the right. Pop-culture progressive firebrands like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-D) have huge followings. How influential these followings are outside of social media, is debatable.

In heartland communities, in swing states and districts, the working class isn’t as impressed by what is trending on social media platforms. Moreover, there is empirical evidence that the Democratic Party may have indeed ended its long tenure as the party of the working class.

In 2020, the Democratic Party holds 27 of the 30 richest districts in the nation. Ten years ago, Republicans did. In 2020, Democrats share equally with Republicans the 30 poorest districts in the nation. This wasn't true 10-years ago either.

Working class moderates who aren’t particularly active politically still care most about the things working class people have always cared about; jobs, healthcare, taxes, the economy, and jobs.

These aren’t topics likely to trend on Twitter. They don’t reduce well to 280 characters or less. They aren’t hot, new, novel, or likely to go viral on Youtube. Talking about them will not cause a sensation. When compared with the latest conspiracy theory du jour, or envelope-pushing progressive opinion, or social justice movement, jobs and healthcare are very boring topics.

The economy is a very boring topic. But if Democrats running for office in 2020 expect to win, they might want to start mentioning it. Working class voters want to hear more than full-throated condemnations of Donald Trump and lamentations that Covid-19 shut-downs have devastated the economy.

Working class voters want to know how Democrats are going to fix the economy- and not just the damage caused in the last six months. Unless they get an answer soon, more and more working class voters are going to become ex-Democrats voting for Donald Trump.

(Contributing journalist, Allegra Nokaj) (Contributing writer, Brooke Bell)