Like many Minnesotans, I was disappointed when the nominating process for state and national offices ended with no viable candidates who opposed sulfide mining, which, I believe, risks our environment and our water and threatens great economic harm by handicapping our ability to recruit and hold employees and businesses in the Northland.

But then I thought about President Donald Trump and politicians who support him. Punishing candidates and political parties for failures on mining regulation will, in fact, hurt low-income people, unions, minorities, and women; damage the environment; and risk the future of our children and grandchildren. I realized that, despite my disappointment, other important issues make it critical that I vote for viable candidates for office, not vote for unelectable third-party candidates or stay home.

I believe our country and state face an emergency. Programs the Congressional Budget Office projects could leave up to 20 million people without health insurance are only on hold. Families are being separated, and even toddlers are held in cages. A tax law that gives 80 percent of its benefits to high-income people and promises to cause massive deficits that would threaten Medicaid, Medicare, and even Social Security is in place. Supreme Court appointees threaten unions, women's rights, LGBTQ rights, and voting rights while also attacking our tradition of law that respects the rights of the all people, not just the wealthy and corporations. International and trade policies undermine the international consensus of peace and cooperation we worked toward since World War II.

The emergency includes the environment, with regulations protecting us from pollution from coal-fired plants and requiring improved gas mileage for cars canceled, national monuments cut up for exploitation by corporations, and threats of global warming ignored.

We need to compare candidates to their opponents, not our ideal, and vote accordingly.

Patrick Schoenfelder