I am beginning to wonder if progressive ideas are contagious. There are a couple of small inklings that it may be true. At least the Tea Party craziness has been way muted here. (More)

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I am in Minnesota which is west (left on your maps) of Wisconsin. Our governor, Mark Dayton first ran in 2010 and won narrowly. He campaigned on raising taxes on the richest Minnesotans. He won reelection handily. We have an almost $2 billion surplus for the biennium. Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s governor ran on one promise in 2010, creating 250,000 new jobs. He didn’t deliver those jobs. With his tax cuts sapping state revenue Wisconsin faces a little over $2 billion deficit for the same period. Mother Jones has a nice comparison of the differences between Democratic policies in Minnesota and Republican policies in Wisconsin and the results.

I was talking with a friend after yoga the other day. She described her sister as a “rabid Republican.”

I asked her what she said to her sister and she said, “I told her if she wanted higher unemployment, lower wages, a big deficit and funds for schools and universities slashed she ought to just move to Wisconsin. Google it if you don’t believe me.”

“And,” I asked.

My friend just smiled. She said, “I do hope I dented her fascination with Scott Walker but we’ll see.”

Minnesota’s success has produced some surprises. A Minnesota Republican Representative is recruiting businesses from Wisconsin who are unhappy with the new ‘right to work’ laws there:

In a letter to two Wisconsin construction businesses that hire union members, Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, sent a letter to the firms offering assistance in relocating their businesses to Minnesota.

He said the government shouldn’t get involved in how private companies do their work.
“Many Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature understand that ‘Right to Work’ significantly interferes with your right to set the terms and conditions of employment in your workplace,” Garofalo’s letter reads.

“The Minnesota history proves it – we didn’t do Right-to-Work because there’s lots of Republicans in Minnesota against it,” he said.

The second surprise from the Republicans comes from Rep. Tom Emmer who replaced Michele Bachmann. Representative Emmer lost the governor’s race to Dayton in 2010. He ran as a Tea Party candidate and his first campaign move was to declare that food servers were overpaid. He had the idea that “some of them” made over $100,000.

In the midst of the possible shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security, Rep. Emmer broke ranks:

Emmer says his Republican colleagues are jeopardizing public safety for political gain.

“I am very disappointed with the so called strategy,” he said. “You don’t leverage the safety of American citizens, especially when you come from a state that has the Mall of America.”

I know I have only given three examples, anecdotes and not data. I have to say I am so hoping that some of the Republicans in Minnesota are seeing success for average Minnesotans and at a minimum have muted the crazy button. Maybe even some more of the will decide that the progressive values work.