Conservative opposition to two ballot measures is gearing up. The South Dakota Republican Party passed a resolution at its convention opposing Amendment V, the open non-partisan primary proposal. (The South Dakota Democratic Party has taken no formal position on Amendment V.) The SDGOP now issues formal statements from Senator John Thune and Governor Dennis Daugaard urging No on V:
Thune: Amendment V is an attempt by South Dakota Democrats to hide candidate party affiliation on the ballot from voters. Rather than run on their party’s principles and policies it seems they are desperately looking for a way to run from them. I’m opposing Amendment V because I believe voters deserve more transparency on their ballot, not less.
Daugaard: I believe political parties – all parties – serve an important role in our democracy. They crystalize issues. They bring like-minded people together. They help the electorate make sense of the electoral system.
Of course, if Thune really believed in transparency and if Daugaard really believed in supporting all parties, they would support allowing candidates to designate more than just state-sanctioned party labels to appear next to their names on the ballot. They would support my right to identify myself to voters on the ballot as “teacher, writer, corruption fighter, and Sanders/Kucinich/Wellstone/McGovern Democrat” rather than just the far less illuminating “Democrat.” Thune and Daugaard would let more Earthy candidates call themselves “Green” to promote formation of a new party.
Former Daugaard aide Will Mortenson appears to have created a ballot question committee to support the Republican push against Amendment V. On June 28, the Secretary of State received from Mortenson a Statement of Organization for “No on Amendment V”.
Much of the Republican opposition to Amendment V is purely partisan: Amendment V comes from Democrat Rick Weiland, so Amendment V must be bad. I assume the Republicans will grant me the same latitude to say that Amendment S is bad because is comes from Republican Jason Glodt.
Conservatives are also mobilizing against Rick Weiland’s other big ballot measure, Initiated Measure 22, the Anti-Corruption Act. Joining lobbyist Justin Smith in his lonely hashtag war against IM 22 is the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, whose South Dakota lead minion Ben Lee filed a Statement of Organization for Defeat22.com on July 1. According to GoDaddy’s WHOIS records, Derek Yale at the national AFP office in Arlington, Virginia, registered the domain name defeat22.com back on June 2. Yesterday, the domain was still parked; this morning I find someone has at least installed WordPress and locked the site under password protection. Stay tuned for some yummy Koch-flavored corporate propaganda!
So to review: the Republicans don’t want more people to be able to participate in primary elections, and they don’t want us to fight corruption. Those two positions should make clear the Republican desire to protect its pocket-lining hegemony… and our popular obligation to rise above such partisan scheming and pass both open non-partisan primaries and the Anti-Corruption Act.