Post-election thoughts by Guest Poster

This Ellis rant has me going and I wanted to keep it handy for the future.  The lawyers do not like this decision by the public.  The governor does not like his pet projects failing. How dare the public tell the government what to do.  If we the public, to do not vote the way the vested interests or their protégés in positions of power want or get swatted down by the public, we are uninformed or worse, dumb.  If the people in power or money do not want us to vote down their pet projects, they better get out their voters and not just rely on the paid advertising to coerce us.

We had the chance on election day 2012 to let 7 ill-conceived issues become the law of the land.  The people of South Dakota even surprised me with the votes recorded.  The worst of the worst went down to defeat.  As Lewis responded, my faith has also been restored.  These were primarily ALEC model legislation items defeated, excellent!

Now consider the failure of most of the Democrats.  It was not a failure of the candidates by and large.  It was a failure of the process the Dems have been using for many years.  Believe or not, the deficit of registered Dems is not a big deal.  The problem is the losing process the Dems have been pursuing.  The lack of a long range cohesive vision to present the voters is showing.  At some point the Dems have to quit being GOP-Lite and actually stand for something.  The voters want and crave some vision to vote for and not just be against everything the MSM ‘reports’ out of Pierre and Washington.  The voters want to be guided to the polls and they want to vote for something.  How sad it is the Democrats did not even try to get out the vote with carpooling on the reservations.  What a waste of great issues and great candidates by not physically supporting them.

So now we political geeks look forward to 2014.  Do the Democrats look forward with trepidation or excitement?  The party does not want to look to the past for inspiration on how to win in the future.  The cool things like social media are not ever going to win elections.  Social media is only for keeping your troops going, it will never win new converts.  New converts only come by pressing the flesh in person.  It has been proven by results for the last 34+ years of Democratic defeats, cool modern media processes do not win in a small vote state like South Dakota.  When was the last time you saw a major grassroots, get out the vote effort in South Dakota run by the Democratic State Party office?  Maybe 1974, probably 1972.  We old-timers who know what it feels like to have a real Democratic Party in action are disgusted by the way the party was taken over by consultants and political hacks who pack up their ditty bags when they lose.  They pack up the voter lists, the organization and the money as they leave the state.  Look at the wasted effort spent on Obama for America.  When they left the state to more fertile pastures, we in South Dakota no longer had any organization to continue the effort to identify, then get out the vote.

Look at the undercurrent of dissatisfaction presented by the voters of South Dakota.  These voters could be educated and organized by the Democratic Party for a lot less than the ad buys recently made.  These voters will turn out to the polls because the party kept track and helped them feel vested in the process.  The SD Dems do not even try.  When will they try?  The cute saying Will Rogers was fond of “I don’t belong to an organized political party; I am a Democrat” doesn’t mean Democrats should not organize.  It means Democrats are a coalition of many groups who are striving to be better.  In my experience, Democrats by and large are not Kool-Aid drinkers, but people looking for the positive vision.  The state party needs to quit wasting candidates, money and voters playing games.


#1 Sy on 11.12.12 at 12:54 pm

“At some point the Dems have to quit being GOP-Lite and actually stand for something. ”

They do stand for something; a massive lurch towards Socialism & Statism. Now it would be nice if they would start to at least be honest about that.

#2 cr on 11.12.12 at 1:12 pm

When was the last time you saw a major grassroots, get out the vote effort in South Dakota run by the Democratic State Party office?


#3 caheidelberger on 11.12.12 at 1:19 pm

Horsehockey, Sy. You’re just spouting what you hear on the news, with no connection to the very real South Dakota policies sought by the SDGOP of dependence on federal aid (highways, farm subsidies), centralized control of education (Referred Law 16), state interference in the free market (Referred Law 14). Heck, maybe the winning message for Dems is to become Populists allied with the Stace Nelson wing fo the GOP and fight for real practical conservatism in the service of working-class South Dakotans rather than the crony-capitalism of Rounds-Daugaard-Dakota-Dunes Incorporated.

Good grief, I sound like Sibby. 😛

#4 caheidelberger on 11.12.12 at 1:21 pm

But CR, are you saying there’s nothing we can do? I always look to the future with excitement, not trepidation. No one is unbeatable. There are always possibilities. Could we argue that Daschle’s great ground game lost because he, too, was offering GOP-lite instead of a distinct vision? (I’m not sure: I’m really eager to hear the opinion of other observers.)

#5 Detroit Lewis on 11.12.12 at 1:40 pm

Actually the last Democrat I saw knock on doors was mayor Huether. Yes, he outspent Staggers 3-to-1 but he also knocked on just as many doors. If no one knows who you are, all the mail in the world won’t change that. It’s like Khoorsi. I got a PC from him every other day but never saw him once knock on my door. I think if I had a strange last name and sorta looked like a foreigner I would be out trying to introduce myself to as many people as possible. District 13 is not that large and I am an indy voter, you would think he would be knocking on my door.

#6 WOW! on 11.12.12 at 4:19 pm

I can’t believe there isn’t a bigger outcry amongst Dems to get rid of Ben as Chairman. He did a horrible job.

#7 Guest Poster on 11.12.12 at 4:45 pm

Sy, I don’t drink your Kool-Aid. If someone wants to discuss issues and principles, we have to start with correct terminologies for positions. The modern GOP in SD is a very state centered operation.

CR, I only wished the 2004 Dems were actually organized. What we saw was a Daschle organization not a party operation. The campaigns I have been active in since 74 built everything from scratch because nothing was left when the campaigns closed down.

You can’t run a successful Dem party hanging out in Sioux Falls.

#8 Concerned Liberal on 11.13.12 at 12:20 am

“Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time.”

Harry S. Truman

#9 Guest Poster on 11.13.12 at 7:56 am

CL, you are right to try to remind the Dems of Harry’s words. If the ‘leaders’ of the SD Democratic Party would understand Truman’s words they would realized the quest of electoral success will never happen on their current course.

Bill Clinton may be one of the few who can run as a GOP-lite and have some Arkansas and US success. The problem is, he left no coattails for the lower level ballot candidates to ride to victory on.

Obama had no SD coattails in the recent election. The Democratic victories around the country came from a scared and pissed off public searching for less crazy people to hold the offices up for voters to choose from. This election was fleeting moment in time. The electorate is changing, less white, less mainline religion, more broke and a lot younger, meaning the voter is ready to really shake things up.

The SD Dems need to understand this change and be ready to take advantage of it, much like McGovern did in the 1950’s. Looking backward to the Herseth and Johnson families to sell us down the road is not going to do it.

We South Dakotans actually had very good and qualified candidates to lead the state into the future this year. The problem was the usurping of the party energy and funds by the short term vision strategy they have been following since 1974.

Nationally this year we witnessed the Romney campaign being so shortsighted they changed their position by the hour to meet the latest crisis. The SD Dems have perfected this campaign method.

Many Dem old-timers have been dis-invited to meetings because we are trying to hard to help. The current batch of political operators are working too hard to prove we know nothing about ‘modern’ politics and people. As I stated above, in a small vote state like South Dakota, it takes a lot of retail politics to succeed.

#10 GOP Faithful on 11.13.12 at 9:41 am

I think there is only one option for the Democrats if they want a distinct vision and not be GOP-lite. The man, Mike Huether, needs to step forward and take the lead. He would be willing to offer a distinctly Democrat vision. I don’t think he can win the governor’s office but he would be true blue (tax and spend). The only thing the Democrats offer or speak about in SD is education. They have just not offered a clear enough vision of how they want to reform or improve education. They should be just upfront that they believe taxes need to be raised and see where the chips fall.

#11 WOW! on 11.13.12 at 12:04 pm

The current leaders in the SDDP are fools and should be thrown out on their bums.

This blog and Madville Times do a better job helping Dems than the SDDP. There winnable races in SD. I’d say the Dems should have 10 senators and they lost. It isn’t that races aren’t winnable it’s that their leaders didn’t help the candidates win.

#12 grudznick on 11.13.12 at 6:26 pm

You fellows should be blaming young Mr. Gant. He probably started planning the outcomes of these elections before he even remodeled his new office and slapped his grinning head on every election result page you have to stare at, just to mock at you.

#13 Detroit Lewis on 11.13.12 at 9:18 pm

Grud, that is the biggest line of BK I have heard in a long time.

#14 Alice15 on 11.14.12 at 12:28 pm

Mike Huether take the lead? Uh – you better start now and you better head west river. AND Ben Nesselwhatever is about as aspiring to listen to as the fast food wrappers he has sitting in his car. It starts at the top and I’d start there if you want to rally the troops.

Also – great point on mailers. Went straight from the mail box to the recycling. Just a heads up – I am not going to vote for you because you have a nice looking family or because you disagree with everything your opponent says. For cryin’ out loud, have an original idea and solution already.

Let’s talk Mayor. I am starting to hear some names. Anyone else?

#15 Detroit Lewis on 11.14.12 at 12:47 pm

I would love to see Debra Owen run. I know she probably wouldn’t have a lot of financial support. I also know that Jamison isn’t saying either way, so he is also a possibility. It will be tough to beat Mike though unless someone can actually pin something to him.

#16 Detroit Lewis on 11.14.12 at 12:47 pm

I meant to say she WOULD have a lot of financial support. She is Republican and her husband is president of the SD Chamber.

#17 Scott on 11.14.12 at 1:19 pm

Mailers can work if they’re done correctly. Certain candidates in my district, though, decided that not only did I need daily mailers but MULTIPLE daily mailers. There was no way I’d vote for this person.

#18 Alice15 on 11.14.12 at 1:52 pm

I, too, received multiple mailers on the same day. The other thing that irks me is when people put 6 signs for the same person in their yard. Seriously – what do people think? – I didn’t know if you supported them with first 3 signs, but now I REALLY think you support them. SO dumb.

Oh Scotty – you’re missing a good one as far as candidates for Mayor, but I am not going to let the cat out of the bag, but between this person and Debra Owen, the Mayor is shaking in his boots. If anyone has anything on the Mayor or the resources to find something – it would be one of these two people. As my kids say – what goes around, comes around, and if this person decides to run – the Mayor’s past behavior will be comin’ around.

#19 Concerned Liberal on 11.14.12 at 2:59 pm

If Huether wants to be Governor. He’ll need to run in 2014. Daugaard is the most vulnerable Republican incumbent since Frank Farrar (Miller doesn’t count, he was a historic aberration.)

If Huether waits until 2018, he will most likely have to face Mark Mickelson, which is a race Huether cannot win.

#20 anominous on 11.15.12 at 12:30 am

Go ask Gerald Lange what he thought of Daschle’s version of GOP-lite.

#21 Guest Poster on 11.15.12 at 8:42 am

GOP Faithful and the Kool-Aid does not even understand what tax and spend means when they spout it. The precepts of the Democratic Party since the day of FDR strive for balanced budgets with spending on infrastructure. It is a simple concept which is why they can not understand it.

You do not spend, then tax, like the GOP is so fond of doing. Richard Nixon started the destruction of our federal budget with his revenue sharing concepts and inflation controls to allow for deficit spending on Vietnam. The classic post-Ike GOP has been to do the work of the military industrial complex, spend way too much on defense, then provoke wars to eat more of the budget.

So you sloven ‘tax & spenders’ remember to look in your own party then say it right. You are ‘spend & tax’ so your Goldman Sachs moneychangers have to ‘sell’ bonds to keep the system ‘running’.

#22 Detroit Lewis on 11.15.12 at 10:10 am

Alice, you should email me this person’s name, I would be interested in doing some followup.

#23 GOP Faithful on 11.15.12 at 12:14 pm

Guest Poster, last time I checked the GOP had done a fine job with the finances in the state. There is no deficit!!! I believe it is Obama at the federal level that continues to propose budgets with 1 trillion in the hole each year. I believe the national debt has increased by 6 trillion over the past four years. Someone should talk to the current administration about the FDR balanced budgets.
We can continue to look and blame the past or begin to take responsibility for the current budgets being proposed/passed. There are republicans who spent freely and they should be held responsible as well.
How can anyone argue that the platform is not “tax & spend.” Obama is clearly stating that he wants to raise taxes. You raise taxes so you have more to spend.

#24 Concerned Liberal on 11.15.12 at 12:24 pm

Hey GOP Faithful, It was your “Dubya” who turned the Clinton surpluses into Federal deficits. South Dakota has a balanced budget because it accepts 1.50 in Federal aid for every 1.00 South Dakotans send to Washington.

Oh by the way, didn’t SD accept 71 million in Recovery Act funds in 2009 to balance our budget …. I think I am right about that?

#25 Detroit Lewis on 11.15.12 at 3:53 pm

If it weren’t for the Feds, SD would be up sheet creek.

#26 Detroit Lewis on 11.15.12 at 3:53 pm


#27 Concerned Liberal on 11.15.12 at 4:04 pm


#28 Guest Poster on 11.15.12 at 9:44 pm

GOP Faithful is just faithful to the Kool-Aid in the vat ready to drink. It puts them into la la land of dreams of things they will never understand. It will make so many just let their eye glaze over from the over working of their logic processes.

At what point will they understand what the lobbyist’s, Governor’s and legislature’s plans were for the penny sales tax fraud proposed for us to for for? To steal more from the people to give to the special interests. Think about it, if the penny sales tax increase would have happened, the big three would have been able to use the regular budget to finance their special funds and projects.

More balanced on the backs of the average taxpayer. To play more games with the budget the GOP will use the new Constitutional amendment to impose more taxes on us without our consent. The GOP in Pierre will sell us on the new tax because they have to ‘balance’ the books on our backs while stealing us blind from behind. And you know whose behind is going to get it… GOP Faithful, enjoy the feeling…

#29 GOP Faithful on 11.16.12 at 7:29 am

Just some misc. thoughts below and not meant to be argumentative but looking for clarity.
I may be wrong on this item and would like to see some data if possible. I believe the democrats were much more in favor of the penny sales tax increase than the republicans. Please correct me if I am wrong as I have not seen any hard data.
Guest Poster, I guess I am out of touch. Can you tell me how they are stealing from us? I truly would like to know if that is happening so please give me some specifics as I have not seen or heard about it.
Guest Poster, should the citizens vote on every tax or should the legislator make those decisions? I don’t understand why we elect a legislator if we are going to make those decisions. I personally am tired of having votes on all this stuff when we hire legislators to do work on our behalf. It is the same with the snow gate issue. We have councilors to make that decision. If we don’t like the decision they make we should elect new councilors. I believe the only thing we should vote on is constitutional or bylaw amendments and election of officials.

#30 Guest Poster on 11.16.12 at 8:15 am

I’m actually not an argumentative kinda person. I am concerned about the tenor of and the misuse of terms of the debate. I enjoy these discussions.

An amazing place to start the review of our recently past election and policy discussions is by reviewing the article by Jude Wanniski: Taxes and a Two-Santa Theory (

We the people are forced by our centrally driven media to only consider their terms for debates. The loudest mouth in the game has bee n the mouthpiece for the GOP, Fox. We are taught to always look the other way when the truth is right in front of us. There always is something else to look at instead of what we can see with our own lying eyes. Because we have become conditioned to only looking through the media filters we forget we have our own principles. There also is a reason we no longer are teaching civics and social studies in schools, we might educated critical thinkers.

The penny sales tax was presented as a ‘painless’ minor tax by the uber wealthy organizations and people of South Dakota. Principled, critical thinking people of South Dakota saw something they did not like or understand. The complete dumbing down of the voters of this state is not complete as of now because it lost. Our Governor and the ilk of his administration actually would have loved it to pass so their friends would be rewarded with new expenditures. In other a perverse tax and spend.

As for the stealing issue, for 34 years there has been an intrenched bureaucracy doing as they please with no oversight. There are secret contracts, good-old boy arrangements not open to the public inspection of a true democracy. We are following the money to expose these ‘deals’. How do we know? We have been working on it. We know deals are there and ethical people are trying to find ways to let us all know.

The frustrating thing about the last election was the blind re-election of the very same people who have been masterminding the theft of our democracy. These thinking people saw issues with the most blatant undemocratic efforts the Governor and his healthcare lobby and defeated them. But elect the theft machine operators back? Faithful, you made the comment above about voting out the decision makers. I agree. How are we going to do it? I support the snowgate drive because it sends a message to the power holders, we are not going to take indecision or abuse from our elected anymore.

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