When is the SD Democratic Party going to wakeup? (H/T – GP)

The South Dakota Democratic Party, what’s going on? Or not? As we prepare for the 2014 election cycle, there are movements glory on the Republican side of the spectrum, but almost nothing from the Dems. What’s going on?

If a real political looked at the political situation in South Dakota, this expert wouldn’t be dreaming of running for office. A real political expert would actually be putting those ‘skills’ to bring long term positive results for the party of his or her choice. I guess Facebook games are more fun and rewarding. Too bad George Cunningham didn’t have Facebook likes when he ran for office long ago, maybe he would have won (yea, right). South Dakotans seem to respond well to Facebook games or why waste time playing there (oh yea, it’s the latest gimmick).

Imagine if a real political would use connections and outside resources to help reform the party he / she is supposed to support. What could a well-connected political do? For starters let’s consider these items (you will probably be able to add to the list):

1) Throw gimmicks out the window. The Web and Facebook are not strategies they can be tools.

2) Take lessons from history. Preach Good Government.

3) Consider why the issues based petition movements worked, take lessons from them.

4) Assist party leaders with long-term strategy, why build a whole new party every election?

5) Develop a long-term realistic financing system for party, how can a movement survive if there is no money.

6) A mantra of 1970’s the Democratic party was get $5 or $10 contribution from anyone willing to give. If a voter contributes $10 today, they will have made an investment in the organization and want it to succeed.

7) Take a page from George McGovern’s 1953 playbook, be in every town in South Dakota, all the time, collecting names and address. Find out who the quiet supporters are and build a new party supporters.  There are thousands of South Dakotans waiting for someone to lead the way out of the GOP mess.

8) Cultivate positive candidates for local elections, this includes school boards, city councils, county commissions, the perfect training ground for future leaders.

9) Teach the electorate and more importantly candidates to be winners by winning the small elections. Prove to the voters, Democrats can lead.

10) Why support Republicans instead of Democrats in any election? What are you thinking? If you do not like the Democrat running, work to educate the potential candidates who want to run, not GOP hopefuls who are friends of your friends.

11) Run candidate and supporter training programs every month somewhere in South Dakota. Make it look like you know something other than Facebook.

12) Build winners by building a winning system. Why do you think the GOP always wins in South Dakota (other than Jason Gant’s way)

There are a lot of frustrated people in South Dakota who are ready for major change. 2013 has so many correlations to 1969 when a long forgotten toothpick was drawn in Pierre to see who would run as a Democrat for Governor in 1970. The Democrats had seen a spark of possibility in the disastrous Frank Farrar administration and decided to throw all caution to the wind and run hard. It was a coordinated plan to win everything in 1970. The swamped the Republicans went home, not knowing what happened.

We have a situation in 2014 where the party in power is planning to be the winner based on overwhelming advantages. What does the Democratic Party have? Frustration. The party could play on the frustration of the voters but they would rather play Facebook games.

Look at what advantages the Democrats have by not being in power the last 33 years:

– No political power scandals

– No Jason Gant, Secretary of State scandals

– No unclaimed property scandals

– No Mette child adoption scandal

– No insider contracts

– No Governor’s fund insider deals

– No state pension fund games

– No ALEC connections

– No regressive Koch Brothers model legislation to defend

– Don’t be afraid, the voters wants fearless, forward thinking governance

– Add to the list, it might help the Democrats see the light…

Where are the Democratic Party’s candidates for the down ticket positions? There are some amazing possibilities for SOS*, Treasurer, PUC and more who have not been tainted by ALEC. We are 14 months out from the 2014 election and there is no open discussion of a Governor candidate yet? What? The only name to come up so far is the lackluster mayor of the big town with so many links to scandal it makes our collective heads spin?? We have a chance once again to vote for someone good to help South Dakota in the US House of Representative but we hear nothing positive from anywhere. We have a group of GOP fighting over Tim Johnson’s senate seat and the Dem’s are so powerless they have to fight with the Washington powers to let them in the door to even talk. If I were Weiland I’d be P*ssed at all of them. Some support, at least he is sticking his neck out.

I guess If I interim leader of the party and wanted to make it permanent I’d be drawing up some long-term plans with short-term goals. If you do not know how to win an election in South Dakota, go talk to those who were in the room doing strategy the last time South Dakota Democrats actually won.

*DL’s note: The Dems should be all over the SOS seat like stink on shit. With all the turmoil in the GOP party with the incumbent flop, Gant, you would think they would use this as fodder to expose the backbiting going on in the party. Also include the witch hunt against Willard and the Dems have plenty of fire to unseat a GOP SOS. But first I guess they have to get a candidate. What are the waiting for?


#1 Winston on 09.09.13 at 2:26 pm

The South Dakota Democratic Party is a Congressional Party, it is not a State Party. It does not have the ground game or the tools to compete in a comprehensive way at the State level.

The last time the SDDP showed any resemblance as a State Party was in 1992 when they took control of the State Senate during a Republican Governor’s tenure (Mickelson). In fact, that was the first time, and only time, in South Dakota history that the Democrats had controlled of a chamber of the Statehouse without having the Gubernatorial seat.

But, I am going to allege that, in 1994, with the re-emergence of Janklow as Governor and Daschle becoming the Democratic leader of the US Senate that same year, a political triumvirate was created in South Dakota politics between Janklow/Daschle/and Johnson, destroying any strengthening potentiality or continuance of the SDDP relevance, in terms of State political offices, for the sake of the political expediency of the alleged triumvirate.

This reality, in the aftermath of the formation of this triumvirate, a triumvirate far more interested in further consolidating and re-establishing Janklow’s power in State
government and helping Daschle to hopefully establish a Democratic majority in the US Senate, trumped any interest or possible traction among SD Democratic leaders to further, to maintain, or to enhance the SDDP capabilities in SD state politics.

As a result, we now have the obvious impotence of the South Dakota Democratic Party, when it comes to State politics, and unless Weiland wins in 2014, this inability will spread to the Party’s Congressional capabilities as well.

That is why I think Huether should run for Governor in 2014. He may be quite controversial for many liberals (as well as for the libertarian Staggers crowd or the “Born Again, I hate Walmart crowd who reside in the SE part of Sioux Falls”,) but I think he is worth the risk. He is the potential “jump-start” the Democrats need in South Dakota to be relevant again in State politics.

And you are right, DL, I have blogged about this many times myself. Dennis Daugaard is a Frank Farrar and Democrats need to seize the opportunity!

#2 grudznick on 09.09.13 at 7:19 pm

Do not let the Dems throw in the towel, Mr. E, and if you have to you need to run for SoS yourself. I for one would vote for you.

#3 Poly43 on 09.09.13 at 10:27 pm

Why the hell would a dem want a D.I.N.O.? I’d rather deal with dueregard than a Dino any day. At least I know he is what he is and not a phony like this spend spend wannabe we have as mayor now.

#4 rufusx on 09.09.13 at 11:32 pm

I can tell you one thing – preaching “good government” #2 (*actually following/enforcing the law)- even worse, implementing “good government” will NOT win anyone any local elections #8. I will attempt as an example next year. We’ll see what the results are.

#5 Muqhtar on 09.10.13 at 6:35 am

I guess I say this with an outside perspective but is the average South Dakotan really touched by or “offended” by the list of scandals presented above? They don’t seem to be. The big obsession in Sioux Falls seems to be this new Walmart store on the south side of town. A WALMART! This is probably not representative but look at the AL comments sections and here you have people literally fighting for a Walmart, a trashy Walmart. They perceive a parasite or leech like Walmart expanding as some kind of progress. That kind of person wouldn’t know a scandal if it hit them in the face and was robbing them blind.

#6 Guest Poster on 09.10.13 at 7:51 am

Muqhtar exactly the point. The Dems need to tap into the underlying issues / scandals. Get off of Twitter and Facebook by actually working to win by educating the voter as to why this is wrong.

#7 rufusx on 09.10.13 at 8:14 am

GP – MOST SD’ns are too busy working at their two or three jobs in order to be able to afford to drive to and shop at Walmart to be “educable”. Please – get in touch with the realities on the ground at the grass-roots level of the political landscape of the state.

#8 Guest Poster on 09.10.13 at 8:31 am

ruf, on the one hand you say you are going to be a candidate for office (#8) and then in #7 you say they voter cannot be “educable”. Way to be a leader, consider your public to be too stupid to be respected.

This is the condescending attitude I have seen for years from many politicians / leaders. Treat the public like they are ‘beneath me’, I am superior. Give us a break and go home to think about your attitude. You might be the smartest person around but it is a bad attitude for someone running for office.

#9 Guest Poster on 09.10.13 at 9:12 am

Very good insights Winston. I remember the 1992 campaigns well. I was personally insulted by almost all of them.

Thomas Daschle and William Janklow did great many things to destroy their respective parties. Daschle’s work for Abourezk (actually himself) back in the 1970’s did the state party a tremendous disservice creating factions for personal gain.

Today’s Democratic Party must learn how to be a party again. It is not a short-term project. It is going to take a lot of work but it can be done.

A first start would be right now recruiting and cultivating the Constitutional offices like SOS. There must be someone out in SD for each of these offices. As scandal ridden as Pierre is there should be clean candidates to run for them.

BTW, why does the Democratic Party not encourage past candidates of stature to rerun this time to win? Why does the party tell the losing candidate to roll up the campaign and go home to hide? Frank Denholm ran in 1968, losing to Ben Rifle. Ben Rifle seeing the handwriting on the wall of defeat, decided not to run in 1970 against Denholm. Denholm won and held the seat for 4 years until the inter-party fights of 1974 led by George Cunningham, McGovern’s top aide. Sen. McGovern was appalled by the underhanded tactics of Cunningham but moved on.

Cunningham considered himself quite the prankster and did all he could to subvert his or McGovern’s perceived opponents.

#10 rufusx on 09.10.13 at 6:51 pm

GP – on the one hand #8 you criticize me for appearing to diss the voter. On the other hand #9 you celebrate the success of what you call pranksters, tricksters and underhanded tactics. Who respected the voters’ inteeligence there?

#11 Guest Poster on 09.10.13 at 7:24 pm

I don’t believe there is any part of #9 pointing to using gimmicks or pranks to win elections with any admiration. Treat voters with respect. Treat all as you would wish to betreated.

Please reread the history notes presented with the openness they were offered.

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