We've heard a lot lately about Republican voter suppression. Here's the generic charge: Suppression is directed against people of color and marginalized groups; Republicans benefit because these groups tend to support Democrats.
But de facto voter suppression is arguably going on in many big cities dominated by Democrats — including Minneapolis.
How? Simple — they just don't hold many elections.
Minneapolis holds no election in three out of every four years. And unlike the alleged Republican voter suppression, the Minneapolis system works perfectly — 100% of eligible voters are suppressed in every non-election year.
Of course, every fourth year — like this year, incidentally — we still have one. But judging from the shortage of lawn signs, you'd never guess.
A big part of the problem is that the Republican Party in Minneapolis is dead. To illustrate, at my 2020 Republican precinct caucus I was able to push through to passage a resolution calling for then-President Donald Trump's second impeachment. Yea! The system works!
Here's the bad news: The vote was 1-0. I was the only Republican who showed up.
What's more, even when Minneapolis does (yawn) have an election, it's during an off-off year — the year before the midterm "off-year" election. Here's the history of turnout among registered voters in the last three city elections: 2009, 20%; 2013, 34%; 2017, 44%.
By contrast, in 2020, a presidential election year, Minneapolis voter turnout was 87%.
The city's de facto one-party monopoly, combined with one off-off year election every four years constitutes an across-the-board voter suppression system that really works. Republicans, who are dazed, canceled, wandering, astray and untethered from the very meaning of their party's name need to challenge this structural voter suppression Minneapolis has achieved.
In recent decades, no Republican has been anything but a curiosity in a Minneapolis mayoral election.
Two things are needed. First, we must have annual municipal elections in Minneapolis for at least the next 10 years.
The tradition of two-year terms for both the U.S. House and the lower chambers of all state legislatures is foundational to our system of government. But during the Revolutionary War period, even that hadn't been thought good enough. Many colonial assemblies faced voters annually. It's far too easy in the Minneapolis political environment for media, money and special interests to dominate the City Council and the mayor's office.
But if Minneapolis voters and officeholders came to understand that any elected official could be thrown out in less than a year, our situation could improve dramatically. People might also be more willing to try new ideas and new kinds of candidates if they knew election bestowed only a one-year warranty.
Second, the Republican Party must again become competitive in Minneapolis and St. Paul. We Republicans must welcome a range of people and ideas. The alternative is increasing trauma and instability in our political system.
And yes, things can get worse.
I'll be filing as a candidate for mayor, as a Republican — and hoping others do the same. With health issues and realizing my own limitations, I don't want to be mayor. My intent is to expose and challenge the status quo, and to offer a menu of possible solutions.
My promise is this: if elected, I'll resign before Aug. 9, 2022. According to law, that's the last date for the City Council to call a special election for a mayoral vacancy on the same day as the 2022 Minnesota general election.
I'll also lobby at the Legislature for annual Minneapolis municipal elections.
This is political trust busting. We need to break up the structural political monopoly in Minneapolis.
A lot of Minneapolitans are looking for new ideas this year.
Bob "Again" Carney Jr., of Minneapolis, is a writer and inventor.