Republicans in Minnesota took a shellacking on Tuesday, but Shane Mekeland, the state house candidate who was assaulted and left with a concussion that make it extremely hard to campaign, pulled out a win. Mekeland had blamed the increasing Democrat incivility for his assault, pointing specifically at Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), former attorney general Eric Holder, and Hillary Clinton. After campaigning with a near-constant headache and nausea, he asked for a break.
“I’m glad this is over, because the tensions will all come down. They’re going to have to reconcile for a while,” Mekeland told PJ Media. “Hopefully all this stuff settles down.”
Then he noted the constant refrain — “We’re ramping up for 2020.” The representative-elect’s response? “Please, no! Give me six months, at least.”
Last month, Mekeland accused Democrats of “constantly driving this narrative of ‘It’s okay to be violent.'” Indeed, Waters called for activists to harass members of the Trump administration in public places like gas stations and restaurants. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) encouraged activists to “get up in the face” of Republican candidates and office-holders. Hillary Clinton said Democrats “cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for.” Eric Holder declared, “When they go low, we kick them.”
“This stuff just fuels this,” the Minnesota representative-elect said at the time, referring to the assault against him.
Since then, Cesar Sayoc, the alleged “MAGA bomber,” sent bombs to each of these Democrats and more. Sayoc seems to have “found a father in Trump,” making politics the central good in his life, and deciding to silence critics of the president.
“He was saying you can’t speak against the president,” Sayoc’s cousin told The Washington Post. “The next guy who says we want to kick them when they’re down, he’s going to learn not to say that.”
Mekeland suggested Sayoc wasn’t right in the head. “It’s clearly a mental health issue going on with people who are less than stable,” he told PJ Media. “You have somebody who is impressionable, and they listen to this stuff and they react in violent manners. You feel that everybody’s out to get you and there you are.”
With Waters, Holder, and Clinton egging on harassment, these kind of impressionable people will act out, he argued. “You keep saying something like this and bad things are going to happen. It’s clear that it does have an effect. It’s not a partisan issue because it goes both ways.”
Mekeland noted that the man who sucker-punched him — and said, “You f*cking people don’t give a sh*t about the middle class” right as he did it — has been charged on three counts and will appear before a judge. “He took full ownership of it, so he’s kind of screwed,” the representative-elect said. The authorities “know this cannot be a hand-slap kind of thing,” because they are getting 5-20 media requests per day.
All the same, the representative-elect predicted that tensions might cool down for a little. “Now that Democrats have taken a few seats here there and everywhere, maybe this will calm down,” he said. “If the Republicans would have won a lot, it would have gotten worse.”
“With the pendulum swung the other way, maybe we can calm down and be friends again,” Mekeland said. What a sad state of affairs, if Democrats can only be brought to peace by bribing them with power.
That said, it seems unlikely liberals will stop. The day after the election, Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered his resignation, and liberals took to the streets to protest Trump as a result.
Democrats may not honor his request for a respite, but Shane Mekeland will be taking his seat in the state house. He won with just under 60 percent of the vote — despite a challenge from a well-known Democrat and the candidate who came in second in the Republican primary.
“I focused more on district-specific issues,” the representative-elect told PJ Media. He noted farming, power plants, and health care.
Many Republicans might think of health care as a Democrat issue in 2018, but candidates like Mekeland are still running — and winning — on opposition to Obamacare.
“Minnesota had the best health care of any state before the Affordable Care Act,” he explained. He recalled a “big time opposition to Obamacare,” noting that it “was the number one topic prior to [Brett] Kavanaugh,” and became the number one topic after the Supreme Court justice’s confirmation.
“I never liked ‘replace.’ Let’s go with ‘repeal.’ Let’s go back to free markets,” the representative-elect said.
Mekeland warned that the liberal socialized medicine — marketed as “Medicare-for-all” or “single-payer” — would do even more damage, especially in his district.
“The reimbursement rates on this ‘Medicare-for-all’ nonsense are going to drive out our rural and local hospitals,” he told PJ Media. “Are we going to have to drive into the inner cities to seek medical attention?”
“You look at all the problems the VA had in recent years, and that’s government-run health care,” Mekeland noted, referencing the many scandals surrounding health care at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. “But apparently, enough younger folks are convinced this is a good thing.”
When it comes to both civility and health care, America needs a return to normalcy, this representative-elect suggested. He agreed with the basic message of Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.)’s new book “Them: Why We Hate Each Other — and How to Heal,” noting America’s tragic community break-down and how that makes people more vulnerable to partisan anger.
“When was the last time you had a family reunion?” Mekeland asked. “We used to have one every single year, come hell or high water. My grandma saw to it.”
In recent years, however, “We become less and less involved with our family, let alone other people.”
While Mekeland’s campaign brought out one angry man who gave him a concussion, it also revealed the good in so many people. “Going through a campaign, there’s several people in my Bible study that are ‘blue dog’ Democrats. They came up to me saying, ‘I’m going to put a sign in my yard, I’m going to vote for you.'”
“There’s a heck of a lot more good than bad, it’s just the few bad ones on both sides making a lot of noise,” the representative-elect said. After he was assaulted, Mekeland recalled, “I’ve probably had, between social media comments, emails, letters, five, maybe eight not-so-friendly responses, and about 1,500 very kind well-wishes, maybe even 2,000.”
“I think it’s very very few people that create an awful lot of problems,” he remarked. Indeed, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) in his new book “Back in the Game: One Gunman, Countless Heroes, and the Fight for My Life,” recalls feeling the positive energy of America’s “thoughts and prayers” as he recovered from the Congressional Baseball Game shooting.
“The notion that a stranger would take the time to pray for me and cheer up someone they’d never met moved me, and it strengthened my faith in humanity after one deranged man had shaken it,” Scalise wrote. It seems Mekeland has had the same experience.
Mekeland encouraged a return to community and family life. “Putting down our phones or our screens for a weekend wouldn’t be the worst thing for us as a society, that’s for sure,” he said. “Every year, my family — my father and my nephew — we all go deer hunting. There is very little screen time. It’s bonfires and camping out in the winter.”
“It’s those type of things — it’s a practice from yesteryear that just doesn’t happen anymore,” he said.
Perhaps, if Republicans and Democrats could take a break from campaigning — for just six months before 2020 — America might calm down and return to the things that really matter: family, friends, community, and God.
Then again, what’s the good life worth when Democrats can get in another dig at Trump? Why spend time with family when you can “own the libs?” The 2020 campaign cycle began on Tuesday night — for many Democrats visiting Iowa it began even before then — and the Left and the Right are getting ready for the next news media skirmish.
Maybe Americans should hold a family reunion instead.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.