During each recent cycle, the battle for the DFL nod in CD3 has featured a mainstream candidate of each gender. It appears possible that upper echelon activists coalesce early on, recruiting candidates that appeal to their favored identity politics.
The candidates do not appear to gain much from the experience, nor to enjoy it; none of the last four 'serious' candidates (Ashwin Madia, Terri Bonoff, Maureen Hackett and Jim Meffert) has expressed interest in trying again.
'Last cycle's endorsed candidate' tends to sink back into obscurity quite quickly--while the key subordinate players remain powerful, from one cycle to the next.
Candidates typically compete for the blessing of key DFL interest groups--teachers, peaceniks, feminists, gays, retirees, unionists and veterans. The special interest groups want to be flattered--and candidates such as Barnes and Sund are, if nothing else, flatterers.
The result saddles us, cycle after cycle, with a hyper-conventional, covers-all-bases candidate viscerally opposed to independent thinking.
Barnes nameless spokesperson asserts He believes in standing up for what’s right—even when there are easier options to pursue--though the candidate has provided no evidence he has ever opposed party orthodoxy or taken an unpopular public stand.
Today Barnes boasts of his 'bravery' standing up for marriage equality. Almost no one in the 2012 DFL opposes marriage equality. Barnes' stand does not constitute leadership; it requires not so much bravery as a mundane instinct for political self-preservation.