Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is working relentlessly to take Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) out of the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president by beating her in her home state of Minnesota in its primary Tuesday.
Though only 75 of the 1,344 delegates to the Democratic National Convention up for grabs in the 14 states holding primaries on Super Tuesday will be won in Minnesota, Sanders is clearly looking to push Klobuchar out of contention.
The two most recent polls of the Democratic primary in Minnesota showed Klobuchar with a six point lead over Sanders, according to Real Clear Politics.
But both of those polls were conducted before the results were in from either the February 22 Democratic caucuses in Nevada, where Klobuchar finished in a disappointing sixth place, or the February 29 Democratic primary in South Carolina, where Klobuchar won a dismal 3.2 percent of the votes cast, finishing again in sixth place.
Sanders will have help from the state’s attorney general, Keith Ellison, who backed him in 2016 when he was a House member, and his firebrand replacement in Congress Ilhan Omar, who represents the Minneapolis-based 5th District. He also recently won the support of Emgage PAC, a progressive Muslim advocacy group with deep ties to Minnesota’s immigrant communities.
Efforts by the Sanders campaign and progressive activists who support his agenda to beat Klobuchar in her home state have intensified over the past week.
Progressive activists have been pushing against Klobuchar’s record as a prosecutor in Minnesota, and on Sunday a group called for her to withdraw, as Fox 9 reported:
Protesters took over Amy Klobuchar’s campaign rally in St. Louis Park [Minnesota] Sunday night.
The event, held at St. Louis Park High School, was interrupted before it began as supporters watched the protest move onto the front stage. The Klobuchar campaign ultimately cancelled the event after the campaign and the protesters could not come to an agreement.
Protesters chanted “Free Myon” for Myon Burrell, who they say was wrongfully prosecuted for the 2002 murder of a child. “Black Lives Matter” chants also filled the room before the rally began.
The Sanders’s campaign decision to hold a rally in Monday in St. Paul coincides with a #RedforEd action by the 3,600 member St. Paul Federation of Educators (SPFE), who voted last week to authorize a March 10 strike date, one week after the state’s Super Tuesday primary.
The timing of the vote to authorize that action is curious, especially in light of recent reports that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) could possibly defeat Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) in her home state on Tuesday, an outcome that could likely end her bid for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination.
Adding to the curiosity surrounding the timing of the vote to authorize a strike is this: Nick Faber, president of the SPFE, is also a board member of a progressive group called Minnesota Take Action, which endorsed Bernie Sanders for president on January 15.
According to the Minnesota Take Action website:
TakeAction Minnesota is comprised of individual and institutional members who organize knowing that our destinies are tied together. We are young people, parents, teachers, nurses, retired Minnesotans, caregivers, workers, farmers, immigrants, queer folks, multiracial, Black, Indigenous, people of color, elders, people with disabilities, and survivors. . .
At this critical time in our nation’s history, we the people can fundamentally change the direction of our country. With Bernie Sanders, we have the power to contest for a government that’s by and for us: the multiracial working class. . .
Medicare for All. A Green New Deal. Ending the prison-industrial-complex. Leveling the playing field for farmers. Free college and canceling student debt. Unions for all. Homes for all. Peace and diplomacy.
With early voting in Minnesota starting on January 17th, the entire country will be watching us. This is our time to lead with clarity, hope, and energy.
As Breitbart News has reported, the #RedforEd movement is a “well-funded and subversive leftist movement of teachers in the United States threatens to tilt the political balance nationwide in the direction of Democrats across the country as Republicans barely hang on in key states that they need to hold for President Donald Trump to win re-election and for Republicans to have a shot at retaking the House and holding onto their Senate majority.”
Many leaders of the #RedforEd movement are Bernie Sanders supporters.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the SPFE said:
The SPFE Executive Board has announced that St. Paul educators will go on strike beginning on Tuesday, March 10th to fight for the schools St. Paul students deserve, and the profession that St. Paul educators deserve.
St. Paul educators do not take this decision lightly, but believe it is the only way to get the District to take our student-centered proposals seriously. We are fighting for a fully staffed mental health team in every building, more multilingual staff to help students and families, additional educators working with students with special needs and appropriate assignments so educators can give students more one-on-one attention. . .
We are absolutely committed to getting our students and educators the resources they need to succeed, and we hope that you’ll join us in our fight.
The SPFE Bargaining Team
SPFE Local 28 tweeted the informational picket that day:
— SPFE Local 28 (@SPFE28) February 26, 2020
Late Friday, the SPFE tweeted this YouTube report from the SPFE bargaining team:
— SPFE Local 28 (@SPFE28) February 29, 2020
You can watch the YouTube video here:
Hi, this is Leah VanDossor from your bargaining team.
Today your bargaining team met with the district in mediation.
There were three additional tentative agreements, and each party agreed to drop one of its proposals.
However, our two sides remain very far apart on our student-centered proposals.
As educators, SPFE members are the ones who work directly with our students every day, and therefore, we know better what their needs are.
When the district fails to recognize this truth, and refuses to honor our voice and our expertise, they demonstrate just how out of touch they are with the realities, the challenges, and the needs of our students.
SPFE members have framed the possible strike as a battle between the school district on the one hand, and teachers and students on the other, as KARE reported:
Camila Davilla, a Highland Park teacher walking the informational picket lines Wednesday morning said she feels obligated to advocated for her union and students.
“I feel like I have to be out there and I have to be supporting my students you know our students are watching us, and their education matters,” Davilla told KARE.
“It’s their job figure out how they’re going to pay for it, and it’s their job to have our students be the focus of where the money is going.”
The Union Advocate, which calls itself the voice of St. Paul’s working families since 1897, echoed that theme, in this report:
Teachers strikes have swept across the country over the last two years, as the #RedForEd movement pushes officials to address decades of disinvestment in public schools and the working people who staff them.
Last year alone, 237,400 teachers in North Carolina, West Virginia, Los Angeles, Chicago, Kentucky and Oregon went on strike, fueling a historic surge in major work stoppages. Federal labor statistics released last week show the average annual number of workers participating in major strikes over the last two years – 455,500 – reached a 35-year high.
Long before the #RedForEd wave swept the country, though, St. Paul was the site of the first organized teachers strike in U.S. history, a 30-day work stoppage between Thanksgiving and Christmas of 1946.
One teacher on the information picket line explained that “intersectional solidarity is beautiful.”
Intersectional solidarity is beautiful. It’s how we build a better tomorrow. Proud to stand this week with @CTUL_TC, @SPFE28, @SEIU26, @seiumn, @mnnurses, @SEIUHCMN,@MN350Action, and our powerful community. pic.twitter.com/u6hx06x2e5
— Erin Murphy ✨ (@epmurphymn) February 28, 2020
Sen. Sanders, Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have all tweeted their support for the SPFE strike authorization vote, while former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been silent.