No, I’m not talking about local Duluth Boy, Bob, now of Nobel Prize fame. I’m talking about Dylan Raddant the Republican candidate challenging DFL Representative Jen Schultz.
I met Dylan for a cup of coffee and a talk in June after I read about her. (I just corrected that from “him” to “her.”) I read about Dylan’s candidacy in May. The DNT story made clear that Dylan was “transitioning from male to female.” That story had some predictable sentences that went along with the surprising candidacy. Dylan explained that “she would bring a new and valuable point of view the the Legislature.” Furthermore, “Raddant aims to dispel the notion that the Republican party is somewhow exclusionary” and that “I want to bring this party into the 21st century in terms of social progress.”
Of course, when we spoke, I brought my very much excluded self to the table as a RINO kicked out because I wouldn’t shuck off my social liberalism. I don’t think I pledged my vote to Dylan at that first meeting but I gave him a contribution. I pointed out that he is very much at odds with his new party on an issue of particular interest to her – transgender bathrooms. I noted that it was Democrats supporting this and Dylan was painfully aware of just how much needs to be done to drag the GOP into the social mainstream of the 21st Century.
PLEASE NOTE, my use of the pronoun “him” in the last sentence with “her” following it. I’m in transition too. Dylan is taller than me and her name is sufficiently masculine and her transition sufficiently neutral enough that I too am caught between pronouns.
Dylan is only about 21 and comes from a less political background than I did at the same age. She’s also about five years younger than I was when I first ran for the state legislature in 1976. Her district has had Republican representatives in the past. I once challenged Jen’s predecessor Thomas Huntly for the position back in 2002 in my last campaign as a Republican. It was after that that I hung up my Republican spurs and began attending DFL conventions through four elections. Now I’m a man without a party.
If Trump sufficiently pummels the Party I might go back to it and wander around it like my Dad wandered around Hiroshima a month or two after the atom bomb was dropped on it. Its the “Party of Lincoln” damn it and its a sorry day that its leaders for the past couple decades have paid their founder so little heed. Hell, they crapped all over Reagan too and his “big tent.” With old RINO’s like me and a couple gender fluid representatives maybe we could turn it back to the center and take it away from Teddy Roosevelt’s buggaboo, the “lunitic fringe.” TR put that much better than Hillary did with her “basket of deplorables.” Although lumping Rush, Limbaugh and David Duke together in that category is OK by me.
The DNT, not surprisingly, endorsed Jen Schultz for reelection. She’s not a bad egg but I’m not impressed with the parade of benign and interchangeable letters to the editor sent in to the Editorial pages in her behalf. She will win and win handily. I bear her no ill will although she didn’t bend over as far backwards as Rep. Simonson did when Art Johnston and I brought her a proposal to kill the dumbass state law that gives a school board (and only a school board) the right to kick off a duly elected Board member they don’t want to put up with.
I’m afraid that Jen is the conformist candidate. Dylan, on the other hand, is about as much of a nonconformist as any of us tired with the status quo could hope to see elected to the legislature……..no matter how green behind the ears he may be. Oh, and his religiously conservative family is not keen on his particular brand of nonconformism. Oh, and some of Duluth’s conservative Republican poobahs have been supportive of Dylan’s political exertions. Maybe the GOP will let ole Honest Abe back in the party after a good thrashing. Abe had a funny eye that is attributed to his having a mule kick him in the head. It didn’t stop him and the party could only benefit from one now. I hope its good and hard.