Politically, my home state is a model for the rest of the country. As the Associated Press notes, every statewide officeholder is a Republican, and both houses of the state’s legislature have Republican supermajorities. When Senator John Thune ran for re-election in 2010, the Democrats chose not to oppose him. This year–did you realize there was a Senate race going on in South Dakota?–the Democrats have come up with an opponent for Thune, sort of. Their nominee, Jay Williams, was last seen in 2014 finishing fourth in a race for the South Dakota House. Campaign disclosures apparently do not indicate that Williams has raised any money.
Now, the AP reports that South Dakota’s Democrats are promoting three ballot propositions in hopes of improving their position:
The measures would remove the party designations by candidates’ names on ballots, infuse campaigns with taxpayer dollars and pry control over political district boundaries from the Legislature.
I find that hilarious. The Democrats want to run with bags over their heads; they think they will have a better chance if voters don’t know which candidate is the Democrat, and which is the Republican. No doubt that is true. This ploy reminds me of when Massachusetts Republicans, having lost to Tip O’Neill by a landslide in too many elections to count, ran a candidate whose name was also Thomas P. O’Neill. Sadly, it didn’t work.
Likewise with public financing of elections. South Dakota Democrats, unlike their counterparts in most other states, have a hard time raising money. If you can’t get voluntary contributions from your supporters, the next best alternative is to extract money from taxpayers.
South Dakota is booming, mostly because of its solidly conservative, pro-growth policies. Pretty much everyone in the state has figured that out, and not many are interested in regressing into liberalism. Other states should learn from South Dakota’s experience.
UPDATE: The AP says that the ballot campaigns “tout bipartisan support,” but of course that is nonsense. A friend from South Dakota sends a link to this entertaining video produced by the South Dakota GOP:
In today’s depressing political climate, it is nice to know that there is a place where tying a campaign to Barack Obama is the kiss of death.