No retreat

American Experiment pushes ahead with gratitude and determination. 

The people of the upper Midwest — especially Minnesota and the Dakotas — are historically known for being stubbornly hearty, strong of character, and warm-hearted. It is partly how we earned the moniker “Minnesota Nice.” Now, some people quibble about politesse or have gripes about being overshadowed by other states or regions, but here, there is a quiet understanding of certain mores and traditions that, like many of our relatives, tirelessly stick around: prudence, resolve, perseverance, and optimism. How else could we survive in a state that oscillates between painfully frigid winters and scorching, sweltering summers — and still manage to consider it a badge of honor?  

Because we are a place of survivors. The harder things become, the more we dig in our heels and fight. We take the adage, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” to heart. So it is with American Experiment. In fact, we took on this name at the organization’s founding — Center of the American Experiment — because we aren’t just the geographic center of this experiment in a new type of government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but the center of mass — the heart and soul of American values, idealism, and optimism.  

Nothing illustrates this better than the response to the attacks on our offices and those of the Upper Midwest Law Center, which is located two floors above American Experiment, and TakeCharge, just down the hall. While we are thankful no one was hurt, it was shocking to witness firsthand the extent of destruction — a demonstration of how morally corrupt people will act in the name of their politics or “cause.” But for how much was taken away (in terms of physical property; thankfully no one was hurt), we received exponentially more support in response from people all over Minnesota, and even across the country. Our policy fellows and staff are grateful for the kind words and notes of encouragement, a few of which are published in this issue of Thinking Minnesota.  

That has brought about the second, equally strong response by American Experiment: we continue to hold the course, temporarily slowed by working remotely, but by no means out. In fact, we have had a productive start to 2024 by any measure.  

We continue to expose the enormous cost to taxpayers and businesses of the Walz administration’s “green” energy schemes. Policy fellows Isaac Orr and Mitch Rolling are working with other states to fend off these predatory government mandates and defend traditional, reliable sources of energy. In this issue, they feature the closing of the Hibbing Foundry — a dire warning of what could be a trend for Minnesota businesses.  

American Experiment is tipping the scales away from Big Education and the teachers’ unions toward more viable school options. Policy fellow Catrin Wigfall has written and spoken extensively on the power of parents over their kids’ education and empowered families to stand against harmful DEI indoctrination. Senior education policy fellow Katherine Kersten has an eye-opening essay on the new K-12 social studies standards; shocking is an understatement.  

We have held forums and webinars about the immigration and homeless crises as well as a sold-out event with local celebrities (and sports commentators) Michele Tafoya and Joe Soucheray about the intersection of sports, culture, and politics. American Experiment has a finger on the pulse of what is and is not making this a successful state. We believe there is no reason why Minnesota can’t be the North Star of the nation it once was — in education, innovation, happiness, and social cohesion.  

Unfortunately, nefarious political foes want us to be a divided state. They want opposing viewpoints silenced. They want unopposed power at all levels of government. We disagree. In a recent Thinking Minnesota Poll, taken shortly after last year’s legislative session, a majority — 59 percent — of Minnesotans think the Democrat-controlled state legislature is doing only a fair or poor job, with a meager 37 percent believing it’s doing a good or excellent job. Clearly, the Walz administration’s agenda isn’t listening to the discontented Minnesotans. Well, here is an organization that listens to and speaks for them. Here is an organization that isn’t afraid of fighting for conservative principles, limited government, better schools, accountability in public education, and safe streets, against government “green” mandates, and for families keeping more of their hard-earned money instead of handing it over to a bloated state government. American Experiment, more than any other organization in Minnesota, is committed to improving each and every life in the state. No amount of intimidation, protests, lies, or violence will make us stray from that mission.