Dear Angie Craig,
I cannot say I was surprised to hear you will take another run at MN-2's congressional seat. In a perfect world, you would be an ideal candidate: you're sharp, erudite, and, dare I say it? funny. You've been a corporate executive, a leader in your field, and active in social justice. These are the attributes we want in the person who represents us in Washington. But this is not a perfect world.
In the letter you sent, you wrote the following:
As Democrats, we must understand better why we have lost these past elections. As I talk with voters, already it has become clearer that we must talk more about how we are going to bring back jobs to the United States and create economic opportunity for more hard-working Americans. We have to be clearer about how we will fix healthcare and acknowledge the problems with out of control costs for many families. I grew up without healthcare. There is no one who knows better if you can’t afford insurance, healthcare doesn’t exist.
If this is how you are planning to run, then we will have 2 more years of that buffoon, Jason Lewis. Your statement is a recipe for defeat. Let me explain why.
You lost by a narrow margin because you could not convince enough moderate Republican voters that you were the better choice. Not DFL'ers....but IR voters. This seat was a bronze statue to John Kline's butt. You did nothing to reach out to the fence-sitting voters that would bring them over to the side that would actually address their looming problems. Instead, the DFL ran you like you were the Anti-Republican and that was a total turn-off to those on-the-fence voters.
If you are serious about winning the election, you need to form a non-partisan cadre to create non-political town-hall meetings to talk to the voters before you go on a listening tour. They need to talk about the different approaches to health care explaining BOTH the good and the bad on each side...and you know each side has both. To talk about the commercialization of the National Park System and how it impacts their lands. To talk about the EPA, FDA, and associated departments all of which have direct impacts on agriculture. Say what can work, and say what is less likely to work. Again, stress being fair, not black-or-white, liberal-or-conservative, right-or wrong. This is not a lecture; you need to learn as much from those voters as much as they need to learn what is at stake. Educate...don't indoctrinate....voters.
And then, come into the room already knowing what they want.
You know exactly what I mean. The truth will set us all free.
The DFL has a golden opportunity to get real information out to the voters explaining what will happen next. Don't squander it with partisan poison.
Be fact based. No hyperbole. No dirt slinging, casting aspersions, denigrating, or anything that even hints of dirty tricks. Speakers can compare and contrast; present differences without politicizing. Tell the truth. I know that's a new concept for some.
Questions must be answered in a blunt factual manner. Even if two people show up and get their questions answered, that's a victory because they will tell their families, "Hey, I went to this town meeting and this is what I found out."
Whatever it takes to get the information out the door and into the houses.
Then you can go campaign all over the district to talk about differences in practical, fact-based terms. That's when you tell 'em what you think.
If you go after those IR people sitting on the fence in a way that does not mock, threaten, or otherwise belittle their political leanings, you will win. This is a Republican district and has been for many years, but the voters are not stupid. You need to change the mind of one voter at a time. Sling one single piece of mud, and it's over.
Basics, Angie, the basics. Go back to the basic, bottom-line, unexciting truth. Don't whip 'em into a frenzy...that's transitory and useless. Educate the rural voters on stuff that impacts them directly: water, land, productivity, and food chain.
Go back and rethink that web page; it's everything your potential new base will find condescending and a turn off. The cartoons/icons on the crowdpac issues page are insulting to the very people you need.
You already have the Democratic votes in this district; it's time to go after the Republicans in a way that comforts and assures them their voices and concerns are not simply being heard, but they are being acted upon on their behalf.
I really want you to win, Angie. Truly, I do. But you have to want to win the minds...and hearts....of those Republican voters who are beginning to understand what Jason Lewis means to the health and well-being of the district.
Run, Angie, run....but run with truth and honor. We, the People of MN-2 really need that right now.
Thanks for listening,
The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
If your House of Representatives seat needs changing,
focus on the moderate Republicans.
Give them an honest chance to not be embarrassed.