Kurt Evans chose not to challenge John Thune for his Senate seat. But he could have challenged Jay Williams… in the Democratic primary!
I check the Vote605 app (which allows phone users to look up folks’ voter registration by name and ZIP, a feature missing from the browser-based Voter Information Portal, which requires the less convenient, more intrusive search by birthdate) and discover that the sometimes Independent, sometimes Libertarian Wessington Springs man has changed his voter registration back to Democratic for the 2016 primary.
Yes, back. Evans tells me he was an active Democrat back in his SDSU days. He was even a counselor at the South Dakota Teen Dem camp in 1989. Evans says he shifted to the right when he became uneasy with what he perceived as the left wing’s generosity with other people’s money and the right wing’s generosity with its own money. (Feel free to press generation-ago Kurt on the question of Ronald Reagan’s generosity with future generations’ money via deficit spending.) Evans says Democratic support for abortion, including the 1992 DNC platform’s support for public funding for all reproductive health services, capped his turn away from the party.
But in the increasingly bizarre 2016 political landscape, Evans has re-registered so he can vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton in our June primary. Evans describes Clinton as “the least dangerous major-party candidate left since Rubio suspended his campaign.”
Evans isn’t taking his eye off the Libertarian Party. In a discussion of possible Libertarian prospects among anti-Trump conservative voters, Evans tells the Washington Examiner that somewhat well-known Libertarian Gary Johnson may be hamstrung among evangelicals by his stances on abortion and “religious liberty”:
“Johnson went so far as to say he would force a Jewish baker to make a cake for a Nazi,” Evans said, referring to religious freedom protection laws. An evangelical himself, he believes that a Clinton-Trump race would put some of those voters in play and libertarians should try to reach them.
Evans noted that Austin Petersen, one of the other Libertarian presidential candidates, is pro-life and might therefore be more attractive to conservatives than the better known Johnson [W. James Antle III, “Could Anti-Trump Conservatives Go Libertarian?” Washington Examiner, 2016.05.09].
Alas, in South Dakota, Evans may not have the opportunity to vote for either Johnson or Petersen, since the South Dakota Libertarian Party failed to capitalize on surging voter interest in outsiders to recapture its official party status this year. Thus, we have the odd spectacle of a libertarian evangelical, the kind with whom Senator Ted Cruz thought his preachifying would resonate, signing up as a Democrat and saying Hillary Clinton is the least bad choice in the field.