The Iron Range and Donald Trump

People reach for signs at a Donald Trump rally in January 2016. (PHOTO: Evan Guest, Flickr CC)

Supporters reach for campaign signs at a Donald Trump rally in January 2016. (PHOTO: Evan Guest, Flickr CC)

The Star Tribune led its Sunday political coverage with this Patrick Condon story about the perceived popularity of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the vaunted DFL stronghold of the Mesabi Iron Range.

Northern Minnesota’s Iron Range has voted for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party since WWII, typically by massive margins. (The DFL is Minnesota’s unique version of the Democratic Party). Yet, since the early 1980s, economic and population decline changed the demographics and culture of the region. Longstanding loyalty to the local DFL power structure once translated to statewide Democrats, though that has become gradually less true over time.

I’d compare this to the way that Democrats held a huge registration edge on Republicans in states like West Virginia even as voting habits dramatically swung toward the GOP.

The premise of Condon’s story is that this could be the year this blue collar mining region flips Republican on the presidential race. In my rough reading of precinct returns from old election results, that hasn’t happened since Herbert Hoover in 1928. Still, economic anxiety, coupled with cultural resentments and gun politics, fuels the same dynamic here that allowed a radical quasi-conservative populist like Trump to win the Republican nomination.

Condon spent two days traveling the region talking to voters and political leaders, and a little bit with yours truly.

So, folks want to know? Is it true? Will Donald Trump win the Iron Range?

First problem: What is the Iron Range?

Do you mean the Taconite Tax Relief Area, the state’s legal definition of the Iron Range? If so, it could be close. That area already includes many rural areas and lakes regions where more conservative people have settled.

Do you mean the cities along the active Mesabi iron formation? The ones where people culturally identify as “Iron Rangers?” If so, I don’t think Trump will carry those towns. I do think he’ll beat the 35 percent Republican presidential candidates typically get. Certainly by a little. Maybe by a lot. (Republicans have been shaving a point or two per year off those numbers for the last four cycles).

Unless, of course, you mean Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District. The Iron Range has become a smaller part of the vote totals in that district, but is still seen as something of a mascot for Fightin’ Eighth. I think Trump is leading Clinton in MN-8 right now, with Libertarian Gary Johnson pulling a significant total. Trump could win here, and if he does, that could mean trouble for U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN8).

But Nolan’s fate in 2016 is probably most tied to turnout in Duluth, the regional center and city that seems to trend more liberal every election. A big turnout in Duluth and Nolan need only carry half the remaining precincts even if he gets blown out in conservative strongholds like Chisago County.

Further, a point I’ve made for years, even if the Iron Range becomes an all-out swing region, it won’t significantly change the state political index due to our declining population relative to state growth.

Condon raised this point in his story:

But the hard reality for Trump’s chances in Minnesota is that Clinton almost certainly doesn’t need to win the Iron Range to nail down Minnesota’s 10 electoral votes. Like much of rural Minnesota, its population has shrunk in recent years as many younger residents move to Duluth, the Twin Cities or elsewhere.

“I’m not saying we are writing off the Iron Range,” DFL Chairman Ken Martin said. “But you don’t need the Iron Range to win statewide.”

Big margins of victory in Minneapolis, St. Paul and its suburbs, along with other regional centers, are key for Clinton if she is to keep Minnesota in the Democratic column for the 11th straight presidential election.

“You don’t need the Iron Range to win statewide” is one of those statements that has the dual status of being true, but also decidedly unhelpful to DFLers on the Range. My economically battered homeland is basically held together by the Bondo of regional identity.

UPDATE: I did hear from Martin this morning, clarifying that he was responding to a direct question about whether Clinton could win without the Range. He reiterated that the DFL is not writing off the Range.

Here’s what I said in Condon’s piece:

“There’s this deep guttural cry over what is really the loss of our relevance as a political force, this tradition as DFL kingmakers that we’re kind of watching fade away,” said Aaron Brown, a writer and college instructor from Hibbing.

A lifelong DFLer, Brown said he’s been surprised this cycle to hear some of his older relatives openly toy with voting for Trump.

As I alluded in my Sunday column about the 9/11 anniversary, I’ve heard a lot of racism, a lot of anger, and a lot of frustration in my travels around the Iron Range this year. Sometimes separately. Sometimes all at once. In fact, some of it has happened in the comments section of this blog. The economic frustration is obvious and well warranted. The racism is an ugly side effect of the region’s cultural isolationism.

Knowing what I know about how “discussing racism in public” goes these days, let me add that I am speaking from my own observations, not from some political narrative. I teach the definition of racism in class. I hear this racism because, as a white man, if I conceal my views to listen to political conversations, other white men speak freely. And how.

Referring to people not by their name, but by some negative word associated with their gender is sexism. Doing the same based on a person’s race is racism. Both are everywhere. Every aspect of this election has become a cultural war, not even remotely connected to sober assessment of policy differences. People are voting to feel better, not to do better.

As I wrote last spring, I don’t think Hillary Clinton deserves the scorn she’s received, certainly not relative to her status in the party. Al Gore and John Kerry won the Range in their respective losses. I don’t see why Hillary Clinton would deserve less support in a race she is still favored to win. Even President Obama, who drew racial resentment in some corners of the Range, held typical DFL margins. (This, with the aforementioned slight bleed toward the GOP that I attribute to the steady departure rate of New Dealers).

I also don’t know why you’d vote on guns as your first issue when there is no serious political chance of confiscating or even preventing the sale of most guns. I don’t know why you’d risk a World War or geopolitical meltdown because you recently learned there are transgendered children and they make you feel uncomfortable.

But that’s me. And watching grown men, and they are mostly men, have conniptions on social media and at the gas station checkouts over Clinton, I can’t tell you what might happen come Nov. 8.

Most likely, I predict a slight but measurable shift toward the GOP on the Range and a very close race for Congress that hinges on turnout in Duluth. But if I’m wrong, I’m wrong in the direction of a MN-8 GOP wave in a state that likely stays blue overall. In that scenario, DFL-leaning legislative districts will bob on rough seas.

But I care a lot less about the election than I do about the world in which my children will live. On that front, I am deeply disturbed. I don’t talk politics with my boys. They’re young. But we watch the news every morning and, unprompted, they recognize Trump’s words as bullying.

What if the bully wins?

So while I strive to call a fair game in my political analysis, I am losing my ability to be objective about this race. Who wins this election is far less important than whether we lose our decency and moral authority in the process. Not just nationally. But right here, in the place I live and the among the people I love.

I say these words, however, knowing they convince you of nothing. We now converge toward this nation’s true fate. May it reflect that of a nation built to last, with freedom and justice for all.


  1. I don’t intend to vote for Trump.

    Having said that there is no way that I can vote for Clinton, who evaded prosecution for crimes which are generally prosecuted (and I have years dealing with some of the highest levels of classified material so spare me, speaking to humanity at large, the pathetic excuses offered for her criminal behavior.

    Nor is her aggressive desire to push a belief in biological alchemy a game winner. Nor her aggressive desire to protect the willful killing of children in the womb. Etc. There are vast numbers of honorable and legitimate reasons to not vote for Hillary Clinton.

    None of those translate into a vote for Trump.

    • Biological alchemy? What the heck is that?

      • The bizarre and intellectually untenable idea that a man can become a woman.

        • Ahhh. That.

          Well, I can tell you from first hand observation that sometimes, young children are just born that way.

          Some neighbors of mine had a bit who, at 2-3 years old said he was girl, and couldn’t be talked out of it. And, whoa, was that kid was the girlier that many of the young girls I’ve known. And stayed that way as they grew up.

          And it wasn’t just that kid. This is a fairly widespread and well documented thing that happens. The question is, how are we to treat these kids? Is it right to make these kids conform by force? Is that consistent with respecting their god-given dignity, as scripture commands us to do?

          • Correction: my neighbors had a *boy*

          • Gender dysphoria is a real problem, although the numbers of genuine cases involved are tiny. They should receive help, just as someone who thinks he is Napoleon Bonaparte should receive help.

          • Yes, it is. And what have professional psychologists found to be the best treatment for gender dysphoria?

          • Also, are you sure that the number of genuine cases of gender dysphoria is very small? What does actual research say about its prevalence?

          • Mr. Gray,
            Sure, I will read your publication on the condition that you read this:
            As well as this:

            Your publication is correct to the extent that it is correct in acknowledging that there is a very large amount that we truly don’t understand about gender and sexuality.
            At the same time, there is also significant, yet still weak, evidence accumulating that gender transition of some kind (social and/or medical) is an effective treatment for those who have persistent long term gender identity disorder. Just as there is now much stronger significant evidence that “reparative therapy” does not work for gay people.

          • Finally, Mr. Gray, your comments on gender perfectly illustrate another factor contributing to the population decline on the range. That family I mentioned, the one with the transgender kid? Despite having a good job and being active contributing members of the community, they decided to move elsewhere, because they realized their kid was going to face tremendous bigotry in their community. Bigotry that your comments encourage.

            Older folks on the range talk alot about wanting to retain young people up here, but then they act like bigots and bullies, and belittle the tolerant views most young people hold these days. If you want to find out why young people are leaving, look in the mirror. It’s not just the lack of jobs; you’re part of the problem.

          • On a final, final note – anyone caught harassing any of my gay or gender non-conforming friends will catch the beating of their life. Period.

          • Yes, Mr. T, violence is a staple of left wing political discourse.

            It isn’t bigotry to point out that you are, in this regard, a fantasist. If you want to punch me out for pointing out the biological reality of the matter you’d best be prepared to suffer the consequences, such as they may be.

            Your irrational approach is demonstrated by your comments which mix apples and oranges.

          • Ahhh, Mr. Gray, have you even been listening to candidate Trump? The left has no monopoly on violence in discourse, nor in real life, as Trump and his far right supporters have so amply demonstrated. But in any case, self defense (including on behalf of others) is a well recognized legal principle, so beware the next time you choose to recreationally gay bash someone.

            But perhaps my point hit a little too close to home, (pun intended). You are indeed part of the problem that ails this range of ours, and your defensiveness shows it. A person born with female genitalia may never be able to 100% become a man, but they have the inalienable right endowed them by their creator to dress and live as a man if they so choose (or vice versa), and to sleep with which ever consenting adult they please. You and those like you who wish to police the clothing, mannerisms, and bedroom habits of their fellow citizens are the true enemies of freedom and liberty, and the reason there are probably few people under 35 that can stand you. Good night sir.

          • Once more you indicate that you will resort to physical violence if someone’s speech (directed towards a third party) displeases you.

            And, I don’t recreationally “bash” anyone.

            Your second paragraph simply indicates that you can’t handle the world that you live in. People like you are eager to put boys into girls’ locker rooms and then whine when people of better judgment object. Tough.

          • You have the right to make whatever incoherent and bigoted argument you like, as you are doing, and I have the right to argue that your argument is morally wrong, as I am doing. Fair enough. It is wrong to be violent against speech alone. I promise only self defense against physical harassment.

            But don’t pretend that your ideas, just like George Wallace’s in the 1960s, don’t give aid and comfort to violent bigots, just as Osama Bin Laden’s and Mike Huckabee words did to Omar Mateen, and just as Trump’s words do now to those criminals burning down mosques. As George F Will and other conservatives have long said, ideas have consequences.

          • Physical harassment is called assault.

            The only person with a longing for physical violence here seems to be you.

        • What’s bizarre is that this would be important to you. Why’s it your business anyway? And even then, given the serious issues at stake, would this issue have any precedence? You’re willing to put nuclear codes in the hands of a megalomaniacal toddler because every now and then someone wants to change genders and that hurts your brain? That’s the definition of bizarre.

          • Jeff K, you don’t seem very aware of the world around you. Let’s see, what was the first thing I wrote. Oh yes:

            “I don’t intend to vote for Trump.”

            So why you think I’ve voting for Trump is beyond me unless you simply can’t be bothered to read, a common failing these days I’m afraid.

            Fantasists who think that men can become women don’t just harm themselves they harm others as the story from the Virginia school district demonstrates, just the tiny tip of the iceberg of biological fantasy.

          • I don’t think you’re voting for Trump. You’re intentionally missing an opportunity to vote against him because you’re fixated on something unimportant.

          • I don’t find you a compelling judge of what is important.

  2. Well said. I’ve been seeing racism raise its ugly head from time to time this year, too. It’s not pleasant, but frankly, it’s been here for a while. On the other hand, as is often true on the range, those that yell the loudest don’t necessarily represent the majority, nor do they always vote.

  3. “Who wins this election is far less important than whether we lose our decency and moral authority in the process. Not just nationally. But right here, in the place I live and the among the people I love.”
    Says it all, Aaron , and I share your concerns…greatly.
    As for voting for a 3rd party for president , this may only throw the election to the candidate you most dislike. Save your “purity” for local races.

  4. “As for voting for a 3rd party for president , this may only throw the election to the candidate you most dislike. Save your “purity” for local races.”

    That is really the only argument for voting for Trump.

  5. I work in industry and mining and I can see the statewide DLF (not necessarily the iron range delegation but if they are ostracized by the statewide party they have no power) no longer wants uneducated simpletons like myself working at a mining facility or a power plant because those things are evil. They no longer support folks like my great-grandfather, grandfather, father and myself who were taught that the DFL looks out for the hardworking union folks out there. At one time the DFL was the defender of the iron range miner, now they are absolutely our enemy. If you have any doubt look into the new anti mining language the Minnesota DFL are going to add to the party platform… but not until December after the elections! Our union miner forefathers are turning in their graves and that is why Trump will be getting my vote this year.

    • I can understand your concern about the DFL viewpoint and mining. But how that translates to a vote for Trump is beyond me, since I’ve not heard him ever speak about the Iron Range. He doesn’t seem to move much beyond the limits of the large cities, except when he spoke in West Bend, Wisconsin, which is hardly a suburb of Milwaukee, as some in the news stated. Even if he were well spoken and had values consistent with mine, I’d wonder about his “experience” in the country we live in. He doesn’t seem to get out much.

      • Quite simple. Like the statewide Minnesota DFL Hillary Clinton is very anti-mining not to mention what her proposed policies would do to the United States steel industry. On the flip side you have Donald Trump who simply states that he will promote our domestic mining and manufacturing industries and in turn, their workers. I know he speaks simply and sometimes ineloquently but polished career politicians haven’t done squat for us hard working fly-over folks for a long time.

    • Independant you are correct in saying that the DFL is moving more pro environmental than pro mining. That said consider this. It is precisely because the range has pro mining democrats that the governor will support mining projects like Polynet. I.e. It is strongly in the ranges best interest to stay democratic and duke it out from within the party rather than flip to republican and have always a minority position. Minnesota will remain politically split for at least the near future as the medium and large cities remain strongly liberal/progressive.

  6. If Donald says it, it must be true . Ineloquent ? Surely you jest… Vulgarity and hate define him.
    Can any of you Trumpians seriously envision this buffoon as representing the US as president? He is certifiable, and in no way qualified to be leader of the “free” world…no way at all.

  7. If Bernie Sanders were the DNC nominee, I can guarantee you Trump would not have a chance. 4 years of authoritarian populism is better than 8 more years of neoliberalism.

    • Only to the extent that nuclear war and/or Putin style dictatorship does not put a final end to our democracy.

      But yeah, Hillary’s pro-corporate-trade-agreement stance blows chunks. I just can’t risk nuclear holocaust.

      • You have to remember, the left (we’re looking at you T) has no credibility when talking about candidates bringing about nuclear war. They said the same thing about Reagan and Goldwater. You’ve cried wolf too many times. Maybe you should have been more circumspect in your speech when dealing with candidates like Reagan and Romney so you’d have a bit of credibility when you go after Trump.

        • Right. Because I’m somehow the figurehead for the entire left and responsible for speech writing that happened before I was even born. I guess I’m also responsible for WWII because I have German ancestry. Sure.

          But I’ll give ya that the Nuclear hysteria on Reagan was over blown. But Trump, my friend, is no Ronald Reagan. I believe the old gipper once said, “Tear down this wall”. Ironic, isn’t it?

          However, you do know that Goldwater was never President, right? So we’ll never really know what would have happened there.

          • Yes, maybe Senator Goldwater really was a crazed warmonger.

            If I were on the left I’d seriously want to take away your keyboard.

          • Oh, so now you don’t believe in the first ammendment? I can’t keep up.
            But seriously, what makes you say that?

          • Because you are trying to make left wing points but doing it so badly that you are undermining their positions. The whole left wing enterprise would be better served by your silence than by your arguments.

          • What a lovely compliment. 🙂
            I’m glad you find my arguments so ineffective that you feel compelled to respond time after time.
            But hey, you should be glad that at least I’m a young person who can write full sentences and spell words without numbers. Damn kids these days.

          • God bless the first ammendment. It gives me the freedom to drive you nuts. 🙂

          • No, I enjoy you. You discredit your own arguments. Please keep up the good work.

            I’ve got a second grader who can write in full sentences and spell words without numbers. It isn’t the crowning achievement of western civilization.

  8. So Aaron, who are you referring to when you say – “What if the bully wins”?

    The primary reason the DEM’s / DFLers have labeled Trump a “bully” is an attempt to defuse the argument that Clinton (pick either one), has a decades long track record of deadly bullying. So then we get down to what style bully would best serve us…an honest bully, or a deceitful, dishonest, lying, bully with Parkinson’s.

    Mom’s always taught us honesty is the best policy. Well, most Moms’.

    • I’m referring to Donald Trump. The man has lied on so many occasions that the media literally can’t keep up with it. It’s a remarkable strategy, actually. He lies about things he saw, things he did, conversations with others. Not just big lies, like how he gave millions to charities but didn’t, but little ones — like letters he received, what people told him in briefings. He can’t help himself. And he’s uses racist language and imagery while welcoming the support of white supremacists. So that makes it pretty easy for me. Apparently for you too, just the other way.

      Now you just imply the Clintons killed someone. That’s a widely debunked right wing lie. And then you offered your opinion, along with another lie. I didn’t expect you to like the piece, Bob, but you have no authority on the topic of honesty — intellectual honesty or otherwise.

      • Bullying was the main question Aaron. What style or subset of bully would best serve us…honest or dishonest. The majority of humanity picks an honest bully. But now that you switched the topic to one of honesty…my oh my, where to begin.

        By the way, you & I grew up with bullies. We were and still are one. The Range, the country, the world, is full of ‘em. We wouldn’t have accomplished what we did without ‘em. Tell me, are our schools safer today being “gun-free” & “bully-free” than they were before those ridiculous laws got passed? Next thing you’ll be pushing for “free-speech” zones. Any and all things “free” seems to be key with DFLers.

        • Aaron…I suggest you simply see or get a copy of Hillary’s America vs. debating her honesty on-line.

          Hillary’s America was re-released in theaters over Labor Day weekend due to popular demand from moviegoers. The film — already the top-grossing documentary of 2016 — crossed the $13 million mark at the box office on Monday.

          Hillary’s America traces the history of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s current position atop it.

          It traces the early days of Clinton’s political career, from her meetings with radical community organizer Saul Alinsky to her early relationship with Bill Clinton and on to more recent scandals including her role in the attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, her private email server and allegations of corruption at the Clinton Foundation.

          • So instead of arguing with you about something I didn’t bring up in this post, I should read a slanted right-wing book of the the month that has many opinions about a wide variety of things I didn’t bring up in this post. Got it. Have a good day, Bob.

          • Bob,
            And yet, the fact remains that Trump is in league with Putin. Trump says he wants to work with Putin, praises Putin every chance he gets, and has employed former Putin operatives in his campaign. Thus if Putin is evil, then Trump is in league with Evil.

            Clinton as many flaws, but she is not in league with evil Putin.

        • Bob, since you like bullies so much, I suggest you (and Trump?) move to Russia where bullies are revered and venerated, where the ultimate bully Vladimir Putin has nearly-absolute power, and where they’ve done away with pesky pussy ideas like freedom and democracy. Enjoy!

          • Mr. “T”

            It is odd to hear you decry bullying when you threaten physical violence to those who differ with you just a few inches up the screen.

          • No, I promised self defense when being harassed and attacked by those your ideology inspires in the street. That is a far cry from being a bully.

          • No, you didn’t talk about defending yourself at all. You talked about physical violence in response to speech.

          • Apparently, you can’t read, David. Key word is harassing, not speaking.

          • Again, physical harassment is assault.

          • Yes, and like I said, if I see you – or one of the intolerant bullies you inspire with your rhetoric – physically harassing (as you say, assaulting) any of my GLBT buddies, I promise to defend my GLBT friends with force if necessary.

          • You’re not reading thoroughly T.

            Putin has many of Hillarys bullying characteristics, most all evil. I, along with Trump, will remain in the U.S. and fight the good, honest moral fight (bully when necessary) to Make America Great…again.

          • So, you admit Putin is evil, yet you are going to vote for a candidate that openly talks about how great Putin is? And whose former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, worked for Putin associates in Ukraine? Have you lost your mind, Bob?

          • In one sense, the Putin “greatness” Trump speaks of is relative, relative to Obama he’s awesome. And that can’t be overstated. In the other sense its leadership. In that case, the facts show he’s a great (albeit evil) leader. That’s where as stated earlier, he and Hillary are quite similar.

          • “T”

            If I see someone assaulting a homosexual I’ll intervene and stop them as well.

  9. “So Aaron, who are you referring to when you say – “What if the bully wins”? ”

    They’re both bullies.

  10. Hillary’s America = Dinesh D’Souza= another propaganda “movie” , appealing to all those who thrive on half-truths, lies and and hatred. And no, I haven’t seen it. Wouldn’t spend a dime lining the pockets of Dinesh and his ilk . Wasn’t he convicted shortly ago of making fraudulent campaign contributions..a felony? But he’s a Republican, so that’s OK .

  11. Trump switches positions constantly day to day or hour to hour, surrounds himself with white supremacists and self-described white “alt-right” bigots, admires thugs like Putin, has had several bankruptcies, bank repossessions leaving banks, contractors, small business owners and their employees unpaid and as well as several other failed Trump business ventures, Trump “University”, Trump Airlines, Vodka, Steaks.
    Trump bragged earlier in 2016 that he raised $6 million to donate to vets groups with $1 million coming from himself. Under intense media scrutiny, he finally had to pony up. From reporting this week, his family foundation donates very little of Trump money to charities, instead using donations from other people to his foundation.
    Trump modeling agency knowingly hired immigrant models who did not have work visas.
    It’s pretty obvious that Trump wrote or rewrote his doctor’s medical evaluation of Trump’s health. It sounds exactly like Trump egotism and nothing like what a professional doctor would say.
    He refuses to release his tax records which would show how much he actually donates to charities, his true wealth, how much or how little he pays in taxes and the extent of his business dealings with Russia.
    I would not patronize or trust any local business owner that ran his/her business the way Trump does. I am totally mystified what middle class, working class Trump supporters think he would do for them, how he would help them in any way and why he even would bother thinking about them if he ever got to the WH. His entire track record is stiffing people to benefit himself, using anyone until he gets what he wants and moving on to the next marks.
    Ranger, after decades and tens of millions of dollars spent by groups investigating the Clintons to charge them with some crime, any crime, or even murder, logically something criminal should have turned up by now. I’d say they have done a pretty bad job of that but wildly successful at harassment and propaganda.

    • The reason 70 million deplorables support Trump is because Hillary is a lying, deceitful, hypocritical, dishonest, racist, scheming crook. Plus, she claimed she’s broke and was long-ago anointed for this job.

  12. If Trump was running against Humphrey?Muskie this would be a 1972 style blow out. But the Democrats aren’t going to nominate people like that any time soon.

  13. I still like Hubert Humphrey. As I review his career I find he was wrong about an unfortunately large number of things but he actually cared about the working man and I appreciate that.

    And for that matter I like Ed Muskie.

    • You nailed it, that’s back when the Democrats truly supported the blue collar worker in this country. Now we are in their “basket of deplorables” and the country in their opinion would be better off without us.

      • You are correct that the Democratic Party elites have failed and in some abandoned blue-collar workers on many occasions. Yet, what real alternative does Trump represent other than being somewhat correct on trade? Worship of dictators? Mass deportations without due process? Shredding the Constitution? White supremacy? Ballooning the national debt by hugely increasing military spending while drastically cutting taxes? It’s an infomercial for a pyramid scene designed to scam angry blue collar workers of their liberty and freedom.

        • One word my friend, jobs. Jobs in the mining, industrial and manufacturing sector are very typically well paying and have solid benefits.

          • Yes. And what evidence do we have that Mr. Trump will or is even capable of actually making those jobs happen? Blowhard pronouncements? It sounds an awful lot like the same pie in the sky rhetoric used by Essar Steel to promise you the world while simultaneously stiffing local contractors for tens of millions of dollars. (Which, coincidentally, Trump also did in several of his hotel development deals.) The man is a con-artist, pure and simple.

            For that matter, while I don’t always agree with Rep. Nolan, he’s sure demonstrated what a determined fair-trade DFLer can do to level the playing field against foreign dumping and to restart the mines. Imagine what one could do in the white House. (But let’s be honest, Mrs. Clinton is not that Democrat).

  14. As Trump said earlier this year, he could stand on NY 5th Ave, shoot somebody and still not lose his voters. He’s spent most of his life recognizing his marks.

  15. Oh, honestly, like Trump gives a rat’s a$$ about the blue collar workers.

    • Jackie…have you spoken with any of the 34,000+ people who work for your next president, Trump? They might have a bone to pick with you…

      As you contemplate talking with them, consider also how many people Hillary has employed, if any. If you find a live one, ask them how much they enjoyed working for her.

      • You mean like one of the 253 subcontractors that Trump stiffed when he built the Taj-Mahal?

        • Yup, those as well as the other 33,747 (99.3%) that work for him. And don’t forget to try and find at least one that Hillary ever employed. Talk to that one also..

          • And where, my dear friend, did you get the 34,000 number? Most of Trump’s various enterprises have gone bankrupt and been bought by new owners, so he no longer owns and operates them. He just charges license fees for the Trump name. Why do you think he’s in no hurry to release his tax returns?

            Did you get the 34,000 never from Trump himself? That’s like trusting an alcoholic to tell you how long he’s been sober. If so, you’ve been had again.

            As for Clinton, she’s created thousands of jobs for right wing hacks who’ve built entire careers fixating on her real and imagined misdeeds. It’s the Hillary-Delusional complex. I think Fox and Limbaugh should send her a thank you note.

  16. Jackie is right on. The pathological liar has never given a hoot about blue collar workers who have worked for him in the past and he doesn’t care about blue collar workers or most of his other supporters now. How people can convince themselves Trump will somehow make their lives better if he is president is delusional and pathetic.

    • I didn’t have to convince myself of anything. I know that Hillary Clinton wants the industries I work in eliminated. She literally said as much word for word. Donald Trump wants the industries I work in to be successful. He literally said as much word for word.

      • Now, Indy, I’ve got to call a little bit of bullshit on that. Hillary Clinton, in talking about moving away from coal to other forms of energy, said she we should “shut down” coal mines in the context of industrial transition. Now, maybe you think that’s unfriendly to you and your industry and if you want to be pissed off and vote Trump, obviously nothing’s stopping you. But will she “shut down” mines, including your business and the mines you serve? No way. That is patently ridiculous.

        Did Eisenhower or Kennedy or Johnson “shut down” the old red ore mines? No, market pressures moved the industry toward taconite. Just as coal will decline with or without Trump. All serious people know this. But we can make a lot of theater out of it, can’t we!

        • At this point it is very black and white Aaron. I have one party, national and state telling me they are against mining. That is a fact. I have another party, national and state telling me the are pro mining. That is a fact. I am personally left leaning on social issues and right leaning on fiscal issues so I by no means agree with either of the two partys across the board. However if a certain party is going to attack what I do to put food on my families table you lost me.

          • So, your saying that Rick Nolan is against Mining? And that Obama’s trade commission, which is now leveling massive tariffs on illegally dumped steel, and restarting the mines up here, is against Mining? (Although admittedly, they should have done it over a year ago) I find that hard to believe.

            Furthermore, the proposed DFL platform plank is specificly only opposed to copper-nickel-sulfide mining, NOT taconite mining. Do you really trust Glencore, a multinational corporation that has screwed over Steel Workers locals all across the US – and other unions across the world – with our drinking water supplies? After everything that happened in Flint, let’s get real.

          • You are correct, Rick Nolan has helped force the Obama administration to finally take action that was at least a year too late. Rep Nolan has been a supporter of taconite mining and now has supported the polymet project. Rep Nolan is the last of a dying breed among democrats.

  17. “The pathological liar has never given a hoot about blue collar workers”

    This is a good critique of Mrs Clinton as well.

  18. It doesn’t bother you Trump supporters that he is obviously deranged? His massive ego drives him, and there would be nothing to stop that fool on whatever course he might choose down the pike. He scares the hell out of me.

  19. While Trump is conning his supporters, Putin is playing Trump like a fiddle. Trump actually believes Putin admires him. Trump lives on applause and adulation, an ego that must be fed constantly. That is all there is to Trump. He is totally unfit to be president or in any government office.

    • Well said. Putin even had former operatives in Trump’s campaign staff.

    • What are we going to do about this anti-Russian xenophobia?

      • Nice try. You are a quick whit, I’ll give you that.

        It’s not xenophobic to acknowledge that Putin is a tyrant, nor is it islamophobic to acknowledge that ISIS are genocidal monsters, or that the Zetas are a psychopathic criminal gang. It’s when you start saying all Russians and all Muslims or all Mexicans are criminals that you’ve got a problem. Some candidates seem to have a tendency to do that. When even Paul Ryan calls you a racist, you’ve got a problem.

        • Even Trump hasn’t said all Russians, Muslims or Mexicans are criminals.

          • Trump has said, to paraphrase, most Mexican immigrants are rapists and most muslims are terrorists. And that Mexican-American Judges aren’t capable of impartiality. All of which are both bigotry and a lie.

  20. I do not believe everyone who supports Hillary Clinton hates The United States or is some horrible stupid person. They have different priorities than I do in life. Please don’t be so lazy as to just puke up racist comments or insinuate that those who may support Trump must be a backward uneducated idiot. It actually weakens your point and looks desperate. I really do think Trump is connecting with a bigger portion of the electorate than what the polls are showing. This is just based on what I am observing with coworkers and family that I know voted for Pres. Obama that are now talking about voting for Trump. The blue collar vote might be a big surprise this year, or I could be off, we’ll see.

    • You are quite correct that Trump is in fact connecting with white blue collar workers who have been forgotten by the neoliberal wing of Democratic party. And it’s very interesting, I might even say heartening, to see a Republican break from Free Trade orthodoxy.

      But, just like Trump, I’ve got to call it like I see it. And it’s clear that Trump is a racist megalomaniac wanna-be dictator. That doesn’t mean that most people who are considering voting for him are racists or bad people. (Hillary is an idiot on that point). Heck, I’ve considered voting for him because I’m so fed up with trade policy. But one has to have principles, and enabling racists and dictators violates fundamental american values.

      • The racist thing really? Out of curiosity does he hate a certain race or all non-whites? I know the professional career politicians both republican and democrat on all the television stations edited his statement about immigrants from the Middle East to help craft that narrative. If it’s controlling our southern border that would be enforcing our existing immigration laws. It is amazing finding the video of full speeches he makes online and then comparing it to the edited version I get on the news shows each evening. Another reason I don’t trust second hand hysterical statements to help develop my opinions.

        • Trump said, and I quote:
          “When Mexico sends its people they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you; they’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting.”

          Which quite simply implies that most (but not all) Mexican immigrants are criminals and drug dealers and rapists. Which is simply a racist lie.

        • Not to mention that Trump’s campaign CEO is Steve Bannon, who runs the Breitbart website, which has published articles by straight up white supremists including articles praising the Confederate flag (e.g. “Hoist it High and Proud: the Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage”) and by our dear Anne Coulter, who routinely calls for keeping America white these days (and who is inspired by Peter Brimelow, an unreconstructed English white supremist.) If that’s not evidence of direct ties between Trump and white supremists, I don’t know what is.

  21. One can only assume T reads very little about his enemies, a crippling weakness. Many sources (including the Clinton News Network) have estimated Trump employs well over 30,000 people.

    The guy is running for president. You think he’d read up on him.

    You can bet I’ll find out before showing up to witness the “beating of their life” he’s going to inflict on some poor soul if it’s a fist, knife or gun fight. As his buddy B.O. said – “we leftists don’t bring a knife to a gun fight”.

  22. I’d be willing to bet Putin” employs ‘ at least 30,000 people, too…and probably stiffs them, too
    Trump is completely unsuitable for the presidency. His so-called business acumen (highly questionable) does not translate into leader of the “free world” . His flaws are to the bone.

  23. You know , ranger , this really isn’t about employing people . This is about having someone represent this country who hasn’t made it a practice to insult practically every segment of the population, with the exception of white men. Trump’s appeals to racism and hatred are simply beyond the pale.He is a crude, dangerous loose cannon. I can’t help but think about the “good” Germans, who stayed silent…

    • Right Jackie, he is definitely the second coming of Hitler. That comparison always works.

    • Given that the Trump campaign CEO’s website publishes white supremist articles, the analogy to Hitler is actually somewhat accurate, although it’s really more similar to George “Segregation forever” Wallace becoming President.

  24. You nailed it Jackie, if the 70 million Deplorables (including millions of silent DEM’s) don’t cry out in the voting booth, the rocks will..

  25. An article from this mornings MSM pretty much sums up Aaron’s “Iron Range and Donald Trump” post and the passionate 90+ comments, including progressive bullying –

    “This is not the Democratic Party of Bill Clinton. The progressive Democrats, a wholly public-sector party, have disconnected from the realities of the private economy, which exists as a mysterious revenue-producing abstraction. Hillary’s comments suggest they now see much of the population has a cultural and social abstraction.

    To repeat: “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic.”

    Those are all potent words. Or once were. The racism of the Jim Crow era was ugly, physically cruel and murderous. Today, progressives output these words as reflexively as a burp. What’s more, the left enjoys calling people Islamophobic or homophobic. It’s bullying without personal risk.”

  26. How about sourcing your article, ranger?

  27. Kurt Eichenwald of Newsweek reported on Trump’s unprecedented business ties of any presidential candidate in history, “How the Trump Organization’s Foreign Business Ties Could Upend US National Security.” Deeply disturbing.
    Donald Jr said one reason his dad doesn’t want to release his tax records is the 12,000 page tax return would create financial auditors out of every person in this country asking questions. You think?!
    Trump is never going to release his tax records or his health history contrary to every preceding Republican and Democratic presidential candidate. Trump’s appearance on Oz was ridiculous.
    Any Democratic presidential candidate would be excoriated for not releasing tax or health records and the public would be extremely suspicious what the candidate was hiding. Yet Trump supporters are not curious at all why Trump won’t do it or concerned. Why?

    • The surge for Trump in the polls has some people losing their minds! I watched MSNBC this morning before work and it was incredible. People with their hair on fire for an hour throwing anything they can against the wall. Very entertaining.

  28. John Thompson says

    Mr. Brown,
    I am curious; what would your boys say about someone calling a large group of people a “Basket of Deplorables”? While I agree that much of what is heard from most politicians is slanderous, since you’re a journalist, let’s try to be unbiased and call a spade a spade, agreed?

    • I’m not here to run flak for the Clinton campaign. I do think many of the things Trump says are deplorable. And as I indicate here, I’ve heard Trump supporters say things that are deplorable. I’m a journalist by training but I am a human with a point of view. You guys can run with the “basket of deplorables” mini-scandlet if you want, but I believe divisive rhetoric that incites authoritarianism is deplorable.

      • Your words are preposterous Aaron. Trumps level of “divisive rhetoric” over the past year doesn’t hold a candle to what Obama & Hillary have uttered over the past 20 years. Your prejudice is overwhelming..

        • Perhaps “divisive rhetoric” was the wrong word choice. What I meant to say was “cruel self-centered Xenophobic isolationist narcissistic rage-inducing inhuman appeal to authoritarianism.” Or as you would call it, Bob, “a good start.” We’ve gone past 100 comments here, boys. I’m blinking the lights. Go home.

          • Boys! There is certainly no room for misogynistic language like that. I will need to retreat to my safe space with scented oils to meditate… Just kidding, trying to get you to 110 comments. Like Trump or hate him there is definitely a layer of frustration within typical blue collar folks on the Iron Range this year pushing them to a side of the isle they have never considered before. Sometimes the comments get a little carried away here but it is nice to have a place for discussing local issues and how local, national and international policies now more that ever affect our everyday life on the Iron Range and our ability to grow and prosper as a community.

      • Divisive rhetoric is not limited to one side. When someone simply wants to keep the longstanding ethic on personal privacy they are called transphobic. That is divisive. When somebody adheres to to a centuries old understanding of marriage, which was adhered to by Obama and Clinton just a few years ago, they are called homobphobic. That is divisive. When somebody doesn’t want government to discriminate against their children based on their race they are called racist (or if they are willing to defend police officers). That is divisive. If someone believes there are meaningful differences between men and women besides bearing and nursing children they are called misogynists. That is divisive. If somebody thinks that immigration should be limited to people who come here in accordance with the laws of the United States they are called xenophobes. That is divisive. Lots of dividing to go around.

        • Oh, poor Mr. Gray. So so very oppressed.
          My suggestion? If you don’t want to be called a jerk, don’t act like a jerk.

  29. The past several months,every time Trump opened his mouth he said something outrageous and inflammatory, slamming minority groups( which include women) on a continuum. Viewers of all stripes were stunned by his almost daily appeals to the basest instincts of certain groups.
    And now the outcry because Hillary has had the audacity to put a name on the supporters who share his ugly views. It is sickening, and the number who think his abhorrent behavior is acceptable is truly disturbing.

    • The surge for Trump in the polls has some people losing their minds! I watched MSNBC this morning before work and it was incredible. People with their hair on fire for an hour throwing anything they can against the wall. Very entertaining.

  30. What a disappointment. When Trump called for getting rid of food safety regulations today, I thought it would be an opportunity to be masters of our own food safety with vegetable gardens in every yard along with chickens, cows and pigs if enough space. We could have learned farming and bartering skills at the same time. Alas, this idea soon vanished from Trump’s economic plans. I believe a few more of his economic ideas are also dropped but probably best to wait to see what stays and what goes with a high probability his economic plan will be continually in flux for the next 50 plus days.

  31. Mike from Minnesota says

    Pro mining, pro forest products, pro guns, lower taxes, pro jobs, pro police, pro life. That is Trump. Hillary is against mining, against multiple use forestry, anti gun, higher taxes, against our police, anti business, pro abortion and pro gay marriage and pro letting men go into our little girls locker and restrooms. I don’t see her as a match for people on the range byt then I moved away in 1979. Maybe my old friends from Taconite, Pengilly, Calumet and Marble have changed .

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