What’s With This DFL Thing? A Brief Minnesota History Lesson

Created: January 12, 2009 13:49 | Last updated: July 31, 2020 00:00

If you’re among the 98.3 percent of the U.S. population that resides outside The North Star State, you’re probably confused by the “DFL” label you keep seeing alongside Al Franken’s name. (You also probably didn’t know that Minnesota was The North Star State — isn’t this educational?) So let me give you a quick history lesson to put your confusion to rest.

In 1944, Minnesota’s Democratic Party and Farmer-Labor Party merged to form the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL). Since then, Minnesota has not had a Democratic Party, although the DFL is 100 percent aligned with national Democrats.

And if you’re still not convinced that the DFL is more than some sort of fringe party, I should note that it’s run three major candidates for president: Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy and Walter Mondale. Humphrey and Mondale each won the Democratic nomination for the presidency, FL suffix notwithstanding.

Now it appears that both U.S. Senators from Minnesota will be DFLers, as Al Franken seems all but assured to join Sen. Amy Klobuchar in the upper chamber.