MOORHEAD, Minn. — The postmortems on Collin Peterson's defeat in Minnesota's 7th Congressional District have begun and they mostly follow this narrative: Upper Midwest farmers are going to suffer without Peterson's power in Washington, D.C.
To which we local yokels say: Tell us something we don't know.
Some, present company included, have screamed for months that it would be foolish for 7th District voters to toss out Peterson and the clout he carries for agriculture. He was possibly the most powerful elected official in the nation when it came to shaping farm policy. Peterson was chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. He literally wrote more than one Farm Bill.
So to lament the Democrat's loss to Republican Michelle Fischbach now seems a little, well, futile.
It also seems more than a little pathetic.
Elections have consequences, and the consequences of choosing Fischbach over Peterson could not have been more clear. Upper Midwest agriculture was going to be the loser; southern and West Coast agriculture were going to be the winners. This was not a mystery.
Here's why, part two:
Peterson's loss to Fischbach was not close. It was a rout, a resounding rejection of Peterson in every way, shape and form. Fischbach outpaced Peterson by more than 14 points, 54.4% to 39.9%. Peterson, who once garnered 72% of the vote in the 7th, couldn't crack 40%.
This is not to rub salt in Peterson's wound. But the the fact is the race was not a 2% nailbiter that could've turned for the longtime congressman. It was not a fluke, it did not change on a surprise scandal and the outcome was not affected by a third-party candidate.
It wasn't even based on Peterson's opponent being particularly charismatic or inspiring. Fischbach is, frankly, a pedestrian Republican.
Yet she crushed Peterson like he used to crush Lee Byberg. Trumpism, combined with voter fatigue of Peterson, was too much to overcome.
So to lament is a waste of time, to fret over what might come a hopeless endeavor.
The voters yelled at the top of their lungs. What comes now is what they unquestionably chose.
If it means the sugar program suffers, this is what the voters chose. If it means corn and soybeans take a backseat to rice and cotton, this is what the voters chose. If it means nutrition programs take precedence over ag programs, this is what voters chose.
Twenty-nine of 34 counties in the 7th District, populated by thousands of farmers and hundreds of towns dependent on agriculture, chose Fischbach.
Wilkin County, heavy into sugar beets and in Peterson's backyard, chose Fischbach. Polk County, one of the largest producers of sugar beets in the state, chose Fischbach. Peterson's home county of Becker chose Fischbach.
To whine now isn't worth the breath it takes. Nothing would've changed the outcome.
So what happens now isn't lamentable. It's what those who live in the district overwhelmingly picked, and they'll have to live with their choice.
Readers can reach Forum News Service columnist Mike McFeely at firstname.lastname@example.org or (701) 451-5655