Toxic Government by Democrats: Minneapolis

Editor’s note: The following is the first in a series of articles that will expose the misery of life in America’s poorest cities, all of which have one thing in common: they are controlled exclusively by Democrats. Each article presented by FrontPage will reveal how the production of mass urban poverty is much more than just a failure of leadership, but a means of political survival for the Left. To read the background pamphlet by David Horowitz and John Perazzo, “Government Versus The People,” click here.

The city of Minneapolis, Minnesota—whose population is composed of 63.8% whites, 10.5% Hispanics, and 18.6% African Americans—has been governed exclusively by mayors from the Democratic Farmer Labor Party, the state affiliate of the Democratic Party, since 1978.

As of 2011, the poverty rate in Minneapolis was 23.5%, more than one-and-a-half times the national figure of 15%. This differential is consistent with a longstanding, well-documented trend: Virtually all of America’s poorest cities have been led politically by Democrats for many years, even decades. In 2010, for example, not even one of the ten poorest large cities in the U.S. had elected a Republican mayor since the 1980s. In fact, 8 of the 10 cities had been led exclusively by Democrats for more than half a century.

The common thread running through each of these economically decrepit cities is a phenomenon that Harvard scholars Edward Glaeser and Andrei Shleifer famously dubbed “The Curley Effect,” after its prototype, James Michael Curley, who served four non-consecutive terms as mayor of Boston between 1914 and 1950. This phenomenon, Glaeser and Shleifer explain, is the strategy of “increasing the relative size of one’s political base through distortionary, wealth-reducing policies.” Forbes magazine puts it this way: “A politician or a political party can achieve long-term dominance by tipping the balance of votes in their direction through the implementation of policies that strangle and stifle economic growth. Counterintuitively, making a city poorer leads to political success for the engineers of that impoverishment.”

This typically occurs when Democratic administrations adopt policies that redistribute wealth from the prosperous to the poor, causing the latter to become economically dependent upon their political patrons, and thus to become a permanently pro-Democrat voting bloc. At the same time, these redistributive policies cause the people harmed by them (i.e., those from whom wealth is extracted) to emigrate to other cities and states, thereby further solidifying the political power of Curleyist practitioners.

The beneficiaries of Curleyist redistributionism invariably become unable to perceive the connection between left-wing policies and their negative consequences. Instead, they view Democrats as the noble, last line of defense that stands between them and total destitution. As a result, their loyalty to Democrats persists, undiminished, regardless of how bad conditions may get—chiefly because they interpret the failures of leftist policies as evidence that those policies simply did not go far enough, probably as a result of conservative obstructionism. Thus do residents of Democrat-controlled cesspools of poverty and crime continue, in perpetuity, to elect Democrats to political office.

Prior to the permanent Democratic takeover of Minneapolis in 1978, the city’s poverty rate had been consistently lower than the national average. Then, through most of the 1980s, the ripples of the Reagan economic boom delivered a positive effect to cities nationwide, including Minneapolis. Indeed, Minneapolis added some 3,000 new jobs to its downtown area each year from 1981-87. In 1983, only 8% of the city’s metropolitan-area population lived below the poverty level, as compared to approximately 15% nationally.
But by 1988, Minneapolis’s left-wing Democratic mayor, Donald Fraser, had grown troubled by the stark contrast between those sections of his city that were thriving economically, and a number of African-American neighborhoods where crime, teenage pregnancy, and welfare dependency were widespread. Fraser believed that the proper remedy for these pathologies would be to implement a host of taxpayer-funded, government-administered social-welfare programs. “What is needed,” said the mayor, “is a more thoughtful discussion, a rethinking of the city, of welfare support, and it should begin right here.” Specifically, Fraser held that federal and local agencies needed to focus more of their attention and financial resources on the economic and social problems confronting unwed mothers and their children. His successors as mayor, Sharon Sayles Belton and R.T.Rybak, have shared this same perspective—a mindset that has fueled the decades-long trend of ever-increasing wealth redistribution and government subsidies for the poor, not only in Minneapolis but across the United States.

By no means is financial hardship in Minneapolis limited solely to low-income residents. Indeed, the city’s homeowners pay higher property taxes than their counterparts in most other metropolitan municipalities. One study of 142 metro areas found that only 15 of them bore a heavier property-tax burden than Minneapolis as of 2010, and that was before Minneapolis raised its property taxes by 4.7% in 2011.

Just as Minneapolis residents face significant economic challenges, so must they deal with the city’s sizable crime problem. In the early 1990s, crime began trending downward in much of the U.S. for various reasons, including the decline of the crack cocaine epidemic, more aggressive policing strategies, and harsher punishments for criminal behavior. New York City, under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and police commissioner William Bratton, led the way in this regard with their CompStat crime-tracking system and their use of the so-called “broken-windows” approach to crime-prevention. In comparison to other cities, Minneapolis was slow to adopt the new law-enforcement and criminal-justice strategies and thus lagged behind the national trend for several years. But once the city changed its ways (e.g., by incorporating CompStat) in the late 1990s, it likewise experienced a noteworthy reduction in crime.

Notwithstanding this positive downward trend, however, crime rates in Minneapolis remain far higher than statewide and national figures alike. For example, in 2010 the violent crime rate for Minneapolis exceeded the corresponding Minnesota rate by 346.55%, and the overall U.S. rate by 161.03%. Similarly, the property crime rate in Minneapolis surpassed the Minnesota rate by 84.44%, and the national rate by 61.27%.

In a particularly ugly develoment, Minneapolis in recent times has been the scene of numerous incidents involving “flash mob” violence, usually by large groups of black assailants targeting white victims. For example, on March 17, 2012, a gang of some 20 young men inflicted serious brain injuries on one young man, just an hour after a large group of assailants had beaten an out-of-town couple in that same location. Six days later, without provocation, 15 to 20 suspects attacked and beat three cyclists, leaving one of the victims with a broken jaw. As Sergeant Steve McCarty of the Minneapolis Police Department observed: “It’s just mainly to create mayhem, assault people and just whatever they can do. It’s a weird mentality I don’t think a lot of people can fathom or understand. Just to victimize people.” And a few days after that, four Minneapolis juveniles assaulted two men in quick succession, rendering one of the victims unconscious and inflicting serious injuries (including a broken arm) on the other.

It has long been commonplace for Democrat-led cities to have much-higher-than-average crime rates. As of 2011, for instance, America’s ten most dangerous cities were all strongholds of Democratic political leadership. Minneapolis’s experience, therefore, is par for the course.

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  • Mary Sue

    I suppose it is telling that both criminals and bleeding heart liberal criminal coddlers are both the Democrats' most faithful voting base.

  • κατεργάζομαι

    Democrat Creed: Spread Misery Equally.

    • Silver Gonzalez

      Very true.

      Democrat Success Stories: Detroit, Gary Indiana, Cleveland, Albany, NY – all ruined because of greedy Democrats.

      • Aggie95

        Newark …..Camden ….Chicago ….. Baltimore ….. Philly ….. Flint ….. Gary ….Stockton ….. Atlanta …..Wilkes Barre ….. Harrisburg …..St Louis ….. East St Louis ……Birmingham …..New Orleans ….

        • trickyblain

          New York…San Francisco…San Jose…Washington DC..Boston….Boulder…Napa …Stamford… Trenton.

          Richest cities in the U.S.! All run by Democrats!

          • Rob

            Don't forget Oakland, Ca and Los Angeles.

          • Drakken

            Highest taxes as well, hmmm dainbrameged, spread the misery.

          • Mary Sue

            They also have high crime rates, and Leftist Billionaires in gated communities so they don't get exposed to the shootings and robberies.

          • Adam

            Gated communities in New York city? Huh? In Washington DC? I lived there for 11 years and saw none.

      • Mike

        You can safely add LA to this list. It's been a very long time since conservatives of any stripe were competitive in city-wide races. Many, many problems, primarily related to city political graft, have reached the critical point. At the heart of the fiscal problems lies the same series of labor union contracts for nearly all city employees, including fire and police.

  • arishsahani

    Human being are supposed to be trained to work and take responsibilities unlike animals who live on instincts and programed life.. When a Govt Like democrats politicians says we will take care of you. Then they are creating a lazy Human being , who become irresponsible and and lier and criminal and starts depending on hand outs. Its time we should come out with these facts as above and discredit Democrats and save this human race.

    • thatsitivehadenough

      Excellent post.

  • Mach1Duck

    The war on poverty is over…Poverty won!

  • cxt

    Excellent read!

    Sadly enough.

  • BS77

    Friends don't let friends vote Democrat.

  • hikerdude

    The "D" stands for distruction ,depression and dishonesty.

  • hikerdude

    Minnesota should pack up and move across the Atlantic. Make sure they take Kieth Ellison with them.

  • Drakken

    One of those flash mobs is sooner or later run into a CCW permit holder and then watch what happens, the black activists will be screaming bloody murder because the victim just didn't lie down and take it. MN is a concealed permit state and the DFL has knashed their collective teeth ever since.

    • heartlesswhite

      Oh, if only the won had a son he'd look like your typical black flash mob.

    • TCGOCF

      Minnesota is NOT a "concealed permit" state. Minnesota is an "open carry" state if you have valid permit recognized by the state of MN. No requirement to conceal.

      • Drakken

        Ah I hate to tell you otherwise, but being from MN I can tell you that you have to have a CCW permit to carry. Sorry.

        • a911scanner

          Do you have a permit? It is a state "Permit To Carry a Pistol". You can carry concealed or openly in Minnesota. If you are going to correct someone, make sure you are disseminating the proper & correct answer.
          Check Mn Statute 624.714 if you so wish.

    • Questions

      Finally, someone here understands that it's ultimately about race. Blacks, not "Democrats," are the problem. Blacks vote Democrat because they see it as in their interests, not because the Democrats somehow created bad black behavior. As for an even worse problem, check out what the population explosion of Hmong and Somali ethnics (many brought to the U.S. by dumb, well-meaning Scandinavian/German ethnic Lutheran refugee resettlement activists) are doing to the Twin Cities area.

      Ah, Diversity! Doncha just love it?

      • Drakken

        You understand it completely, nobody asked the populace if importing these skinnies into MN was a good idea or not, they just did it with the DFL embracing it. There is no unity in diversity, only chaos, panic and disorder.

  • Michael Copeland

    ."….the person who receives welfare, right, the person who receives the entitlement cheque, IS the victim.
    They are being institutionalized into passivity: they are being institutionalised into poverty. They will never strive. They will never get a job. They will never be ambitious. They will never pursue real values, which means they will never be …happy. They will never gain self-esteem: they will never be happy. And you see this in communities that have been institutionalized into poverty. "
    Yaron Brook, of Ayn Rand Institute, 2 Feb 2013

  • marios

    It is exactly Marx-Lenin ideology. Their theory base on clash between classes poor against reach mainly but not only. Clash between nationalities, between minorities and majority. Socialists use In our country black against white, … I this administration achieve their goal to disarm those who works and pays taxes, we are done. Big problem that MSM is on their side as they don't understand that Dem's in Power use them as useful idiots. All what Obama and his accomplices are doing is not just happened because he and his comrades are incompetent but intentionally. Hungry mob is their great reserve against law abiding citizens.

  • davarino

    Its funny that there are no defenders of the wellfare state. Maybe Joe Trippy will chime in on how great the economy is doing. hehehehehehehehehehehe

    Ya, and Reaganomics didnt work. Thats because the libs took the surpluses and spent them on the do gooder programs

  • trickyblain

    In 2013, America's 10 richest cities include New York, San Francisco, San Jose, Washington DC, Boston, Boulder, Napa, Stamford Ct, and Trenton. All of them have long been Democratic strongholds.

    If Dems are at fault for making poor cities poor, by the same asinine logic, they get credit for making rich cities rich.

    Perazzo seems to miss a very simple fact of life: most population centers vote Democratic, regardless of city wealth.

    • mercury

      Just give it time…mold grows faster on some food than on others.

      By the way, Washington DC is nothing to brag about. Neither is NY or SF. OK, Boulder is pretty cool.

      • Adam

        Yes, NY, DC and SF, among the richest places on the planet, are nothing to brag about. O.K.

    • truebearing

      Speaking of asinine logic…apparently you aren't aware that logic means rational. Just because some cities are relatively richer than others doesn't mean they are rich, or doing well — chalk up another non sequitur in your column. If a person is so poor that he's eating dirt, do you feel rich because you eat dogfood?
      Maybe if you weren't always trying to BS people with pseudo-equivalencies — the closest to logic the Left gets — you would have a firmer grasp of true logic, but then, as a leftist, you don't care about truth anyway.The only use you have for "logic" is when it conceals a false premise and fools the masses into submission.

      • trickyblain

        The author suggests that there is a link between the economic condition of a city and the political party in power of that city. Inexplicably, he uses a wealthy city as an example of a poor one. He also tells us that the crime rate is higher in this large city than "the rest of Minnesota." Imagine that, crime rate in a city is higher in a large city is higher than surrounding rural areas!

        My point is rational. If the poorest cities are governed by Democrats, who governs the richest cities? Democrats. Therefore, how is the author's point that there is a causal relationship between Democratic gov't and a city's relative prosperity at all valid? It's impossible.

        I'd be interested in a rational counter to this point. But save additional, illogical emotive screeds that label me as a "leftist" when you have no idea who I am (besides the fact that I poke fun at the hysterical authors here)

        • Drakken

          Hey lets look at your wonderful example of Detroit, that is a rich city right? dumbazz!

        • Questions

          Arlington, Virginia, population more than 150,000, right across the Potomac from Washington, D.C., is one of the richest local jurisdictions in the U.S. And it's been in the hands of Democrats for decades. So why is it so clean and livable, with so much recent construction? Gee, here's a hint: Blacks are a small share of the population, whereas in Detroit they are more than 80 percent.

          It's about race, sports fans. Race.

    • Mary Sue

      It's simple. the very richest people live near their work. The very richest people tend to live in places like DC, Napa, Boston, etc. because there's important things in the area that they own or run.

      They also tend to be a bunch of wealthy commies. But it's the policies that affect the poor negatively as well as the middle class is what is bad and makes the cities bad (not to mention the sky high crime rates in many of these cities). This is why gated communities exist.

      • trickyblain

        Gated communities in SF? Boston? Not that I've ever seen. Maybe in the Napa outskirts, up in the hills..

        Also, your assertion that the richest "tend to be a bunch of wealthy commies" is confusing. These are the folks employing vast numbers in their areas. They are innovating new technologies and products. They are capitalists to the core. Yes, many are involved in environmental and social causes. Many oppose Republican policies. But a "commie" doesn't equal "one who laughs at FPMers."

  • Adam

    Funny how there are so few stats in this article. Let's look at some.

    Let's start with the easiest to find source, Wikipedia, pulling from the census. Minneapolis is the heart of the metropolitan statistical area with the fourth highest median household income, of $55,546 (looks like 2000 data). Minneapolis's MSA had the seventh highest per capita income of $26,219 in 2000.

    Turning to data from the BEA, Mineapolis-St.Paul-Bloomington was 24th in per capita personal income in 2011 at $48,657.

    Looking at Census Bureau data, in 2005, Minneapolis had median household income of $52,024, median family income of $63,998 and per capita income of $27,248. Compare that to the 2005 national median of household income of $46,326 and per capita income of $23,535.

    I'm sure someone who is better with data can get more, but the point remains that this article is talking about one of the wealthier and higher income parts of the nation as though it is poor. It is not.

    • trickyblain

      Folks don't read this website for facts, they read it to reinforce stupid concepts — like the idea that liberals are the main consumers of public assistance and the like. Facts tell us that food stamp distribution, by percentage of the population, is overwhelming higher in the red states:

      10. South Carolina: 18.2 percent receive food stamps
      9. Maine: 18.6%
      8. West Virginia: 18.7%
      7. Kentucky: 18.8%
      6. Louisiana: 19.2 %
      5. Michigan 19.7%%
      4. New Mexico: 19.8%
      3. Tennessee 19.8%
      2. Oregon 20.1%
      1. Mississippi 20.7%

      By my count, that's 3 solid blue states, 1 swing state and six solid red states. If I wanted to write a silly article like Perazzo, I'd claim Republican leaders are the reason why.

      • Drakken

        You forgot one little niggly fact about those states, the welfare recipients are from major cities with high democrat populations. Nice try at effing with the facts.

        • Adam

          The major cities of Mississippi would be? Those of West Virginia? South Carolina?

          No, the welfare recipients of those state are likely to be largely rural. Probably also true of Tennessee too.

        • trickyblain

          Pray tell, which major cities are in Mississippi, Kentucky, or West Virginia?

      • Questions

        Hey, Einstein: Food stamps (i.e., SNAP) is a federal program. Whether a state is run by Democrats or Republicans is at best a marginal issue. Eligibility and size of subsidy are determined by federal criteria.

    • Mary Sue

      this data isn't about the rich in those cities. It's about the poor and how the local policies are failing them.

      • Adam

        The premise of the article is that Minneapolis is one of "America's poorest cities" and an "economically decrepit cit[y]." Those statements are patently false.

        • Questions

          I've been to the Twin Cities area a few times as a college youth — ah, the Seventies. It was pretty great, save for the blacks.

        • Drakken

          You haven't been to north Mpls or Brookln Dark lately have you?

          • Questions

            I stayed with a friend in the general area around 30th and Lake. And of course, I ventured into downtown Mpls. and St. Paul, plus the UM campus. It was a very livable city. But then, this was long ago. Even local hero Prince hadn't quite come out yet with his first album.

            Times do change.

  • Ghostwriter

    My aunt used to live in Minneapolis. It was a nice place when we visited her. We haven't been there in a long time.

  • AjaxOfTheRockies

    Can anyone tell me what is up with the redefinition of the word "Suspect"? It used to mean someone who is suspected of perpetrating a crime. It seems that now everyone in media has dropped the "suspected of" part of this definition
    EXA: " Six days later, without provocation, 15 to 20 suspects attacked and beat three cyclists, leaving one of the victims with a broken jaw"

    So, some suspects attacked…


    – a –

  • Paul Last

    Help! Occupy Homes MN has taken over a house in my neighborhood at 3325 2nd Ave S in Minneapolis and are squatting in it. They placed one of their members in the house and did photo ops with her and her children and spread a story to the neighbors that they are trying to help “Jessica save her home for her and her kid”. This home was never owned by Jessica or anyone else trying to prevent foreclosure. She did not live there and her kids lived with their father. The previous ownere are not involved in this and chose to walk away from a large mortgage on their rental property. Occupy Homes MN has spun the truth and hidden the fact that they broke into this house and are trespassing NOT helping someone prevent foreclosure. They have mobilized enough people that the mayor and the chief of police seem scared to enforce the law and remove these criminals. Please contact them and tell them you want to help support them to make the right decision by making your voice heard.

    Mayor R.T. Rybak 612-673-2100
    Police Chief Janee Harteau 612-673-3559

  • garyg1919

    They’re just additional voters for the demoncrats so why would a demoncrat administration go after them?
    The problem lies with the voters continuing to elect these leftwing loons and truth be known they get what they asked for.
    Too late to change it from within and too early to just shoot the bastards, so live with it.