In order to maintain continuity I am keeping at this series despite my own low level of interest in the immediate aftermath of the election. The political impact of the epidemic is visible in our election results. To take one prominent example, Republicans picked up a congressional seat in the Seventh District, where Michelle Fischbach knocked off incumbent Democrat Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson after his 15 terms in Congress.
The Seventh District includes western Minnesota in the huge area that borders the Dakotas excepting only the southwestern corner of the state. It’s a big rural district. Peterson’s defeat mostly reflects the the ongoing partisan realignment — he has survived a few previous close calls — but resentment of one-man rule runs high in rural Minnesota. This time around, Peterson attracted only 40 percent of the vote. Fischbach crushed him.
Republican First District Rep. Jim Hagedorn has been a subject of controversy in the Minnesota media, yet he appears to have held on seat in his second go-round with Democrat Dan Feehan. The First District is the one formerly held by Tim Walz before he left it to run for governor. Hagedorn won by 1,500 votes the first time around in 2018. This time around he has widened the margin to 11,000 votes. (The New York Times shows 92 percent of the vote counted. Other outlets show 100 percent. The AP has not yet called the race.)
Republicans also appear to have held their narrow majority in the state senate and picked up as many as six seats in the state house, although still short of the majority necessary to end the era of one-man rule. Ongoing partisan realignment and resentment of one-man rule can be seen in these results as well, just not quite enough to end it.
Walz has to be comforted by the DFL’s utter domination of Minnesota in the statewide results. The Twin Cities metropolitan area is now his reliable base of support. It’s going to take more than riot, ruin, and and misrule to turn us away from the Democrats.
The authorities attributed 30 new deaths to the COVID-19 epidemic yesterday. Twenty-six of the 30 decedents were in their 80’s and 90’s. Nineteen of the thirty decedents were residents of long-term care facilities and one of a congregate care setting. Yet not a single question at yesterday’s press briefing (poor quality audio below) addressed the long-term care setting.
Hospitalizations are up. Although the reporters are working overtime to sow panic on this score, Commissioner Malcolm projected calm. She’s saving the panic for the growth in new cases (i.e., positive tests). It appears that the disease is spreading as a result of transmission by the asymptomatic.