Anecdotes over data: How Minnesota’s left creates its own reality

Those on the political left in Minnesota always struggle to answer this question: Why, if life in our high-tax and high-spending state is so good, are record numbers of people fleeing for other parts of the United States, with Florida the top destination?

Very often, this question is simply ignored. Instead of considering the data, you are pointed, instead, to bizarre rankings that are constructed with the explicit purpose of giving states like Minnesota high rankings, even while showing that the more “liberal” a state becomes the more people leave.

Another coping mechanism used by Minnesota’s left is to ignore the data in favor of anecdotes. The Star Tribune offered an example recently when it carried a lengthy story about how popular the state was based on some posts on Reddit padded out with a couple of interviews. “In some circles, at least, Minnesota is having a moment,” the article said. Yes, some people are posting about the state on Reddit. Meanwhile, we lost 19,400 residents, net, to other parts of the United States last year, the largest exodus in at least three decades.

The problem with basing a case on anecdotes is that there is almost always one that makes the opposite case. Recently, KSTP carried a story titled: “Family not done unpacking intends to move after weekend crimes in Uptown:”

“We both could have been hit by a situation we had nothing to do with. Literally nothing to do with, innocent bystanders,” said Lucretia, who asked we not use her last name.

Lucretia said a bullet shattered the glass door on their apartment’s porch as her son was in the bathtub getting ready for school the next day.

This mother had shards of glass on her, and her son wasn’t physically harmed, she added.

“There’s no way I can go back. There’s no way I’d ever feel safe in that area to even go back,” Lucretia said. “It’s not as safe as I was expecting, especially as a single mother of a young son.”

The family had just moved to Minnesota from California — and now two crimes in a matter of hours.

“The movers came maybe three or four days ago. Plenty of stuff in boxes on the floor, never got a chance to unpack and this happened,” Lucretia added. “I grabbed our suitcases that we had packed from our flights here. I’m like, ‘Let’s go.’”

Which anecdote tells us the truth? Data adjudicates. Stories are fine for the pub, but policy must be based on data.