From Donald Trump's Rules of Etiquette, Chapter 4:
"Whenever I've invited myself into someone's place, I like to talk some serious smack about them, just to make sure they know that I know how lousy they are. How poorly they're doing, compared to me. I'm usually doing great. Sometimes I'm doing even better than that."
It was only Wednesday night that we Minnesotans learned that Donald Trump would be paying us a visit on August 19. Trump's aiming his tip-of-the-blunt-instrument campaign right at the belly of the beast in Minneapolis, where he's holding a big-money fundraiser. It's $1,000 just to get in the door, and $100,000 for couples who can afford 1) that kind of donation, and 2) the risk of a Trump presidency.
On Thursday, Trump helped to welcome himself to this state by slamming it during a rousing speech in Portland, Maine. Trump said a number of beautiful, devastatingly smart things about a "secret video" showing the United States bringing "bushels" of cash into Iran. (By Friday morning, he'd almost admitted he lied, causing meteorologists in Hell to greatly increase the chance of a freeze-over today.)
Then Trump turned his wonderful attention to Minnesota, which he seems to know a lot about, despite the fact he hasn't campaigned here, and, as of March, was rejected by almost 80 percent of Minnesotans in his own party.
The man-didate read aloud from a 2015 story in the hard-right Washington Times newspaper, adding in a little editorializing of his own.
So the Washington Times reported, of a Somali refugee program in Minnesota, that, "the effort to resettle large groups of Somali refugees, is having the unintended consequence of creating an enclave of immigrants with high unemployment, that is both stressing the state's" -- I mean, the state is having tremendous problems, its safety net -- "and creating a rich pool of recruiting targets for Islamist terror groups."
It's hapenning. It's happening. You see it, and you read about it. You see it. And you can be smart, and you can be cunning, and tough, or you can be very, very dumb, and not want to see what's going on, folks."
You can watch Trump trash us here, starting at about the 15:50 mark.
Here, Trump is referring to the terrible scourge of unemployment in the Twin Cities, where, as of June, the unemployment rate was all of 3.7 percent, second-lowest among American metropolitan areas. Statewide, the jobless rate is 3.8 percent, tied for the eighth-best in the country.
As for the "tremendous problems" for our safety net, let's compare Minnesota to Maine, where Trump was speaking. Maine, with 1.3 million people, has about one-fourth of Minnesota's population (roughly 5.4 million, give or take a few hundred people in town claiming to be relatives of Prince.) Maine finished its budget year with a $93 million surplus. Minnesota entered the 2016 legislative session with a $900 million surplus. Four times the population, 10 times the leftover money. A tremendous problem.
That same Washington Times story Trump cited faults Minnesota for spending more than all but one other state (Alaska) on social welfare, according to the local conservative think tank, the Center for the American Experiment. That study found Minnesota spent $4,000 more per low-income person than the average American state.
And when the Washington Times writes — and someone like Donald Trump reads — about "welfare" for a "low-income person," draining the state budget, they want you to picture a certain kind of person. He isn't white.
He should be. From a January 2016 Minnesota State Demographer's report:
Nearly 350,000 White residents live in poverty—more than four and a half times the size as the next largest group in poverty (African Americans, as defined in this report). Although they are a small percentage of the broader White population, our analysis encourages reflection upon this sizable group of Minnesotans who are struggling economically.
To review: Minnesota's "safety net" is actually doing great, despite the good number of people — most of 'em white, a very small number of them refugees — who use it to catch themselves, bounce back before hitting rock bottom. We spend a lot on poor people here, and a weird thing happens: It works. We've got low unemployment and a fat budget surplus, one achieved, largely, by taxing people who join Donald Trump in the highest income tax bracket.
Minnesota doesn't need to be saved by Donald Trump. From him, maybe.
Compared to most other states, Minnesota's doing well. It's happening. You see it. And you read about it. And you can be smart, or you can be very, very dumb, and not want to see what's going on, folks.
What, Donald? Was it something we said?