Time for Democrats to Go on the Offensive in Minnesota

If the Republicans want to keep depriving the Democrats of Al Franken’s vote, they should pay a price for it.

President Obama needs Al Franken’s vote in the Senate. With the Norm-Coleman-as-sore loser meme gaining traction, Democrats should go on the offensive. Ads reminding voters that Coleman is why the state has only a single senator during this time of national crisis would be a good investment.

Governor Tim Pawlenty has suggested that he may refuse to certify Franken’s election until Coleman has exhausted all possible appeals. Given Pawlenty’s presidential ambitions, even a well-executed ad campaign probably wouldn’t change his mind. But it would raise the price that Minnesota Republicans would pay for his decision. As Jonathan Zasloff noted yesterday, Coleman’s tactics have already darkened future Republican electoral prospects in the state.

Author: Robert Frank

Robert H. Frank is the Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor of Management and Professor of Economics at Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management and the co-director of the Paduano Seminar in business ethics at NYU’s Stern School of Business. His “Economic View” column appears monthly in The New York Times. He is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos. He received his B.S. in mathematics from Georgia Tech, then taught math and science for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Nepal. He holds an M.A. in statistics and a Ph.D. in economics, both from the University of California at Berkeley. His papers have appeared in the American Economic Review, Econometrica, Journal of Political Economy, and other leading professional journals. His books, which include Choosing the Right Pond, Passions Within Reason, Microeconomics and Behavior, Principles of Economics (with Ben Bernanke), Luxury Fever, What Price the Moral High Ground?, Falling Behind, The Economic Naturalist, and The Darwin Economy, have been translated into 22 languages. The Winner-Take-All Society, co-authored with Philip Cook, received a Critic's Choice Award, was named a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times, and was included in Business Week's list of the ten best books of 1995. He is a co-recipient of the 2004 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. He was awarded the Johnson School’s Stephen Russell Distinguished teaching award in 2004, 2010, and 2012, and its Apple Distinguished Teaching Award in 2005.