USA Today has dueling features on supporters of the two major-party Presidential nominees in every state. Who speaks up from South Dakota?
Lincoln County Democratic chairman Brett Hoffman straightforwardly endorses Hillary Clinton’s experience and vision:
Hillary is a candidate who has a tremendous wealth of experience, as First Lady, as senator from New York, as Secretary of State. She has an ambitious and positive policy agenda for the U.S. and, as a new father, you try to think about what you want your child to inherit from you in their country and I see her vision as the one that I want my child to grow up in [Brett Hoffman, in “Clinton Nation,” USA Today, August 2016].
Joining Hoffman in endorsing Clinton is the man with the best Scrabble® name in South Dakota, Sioux Falls attorney Bob Trzynka:
I think the thing that I find most attractive about Hillary Clinton for this election is the fact that she has the experience, the knowledge, and the aptitude to take on a job as challenging as the President of the United States. We’re at a critical crossroads, to a certain extent, in where we move forward and where we sit in the world and we need a leader who has demonstrated the ability and the experience to handle the various minefields associated with the modern world. Hillary has done that [Bob Trzynka, in “Clinton Nation,” USA Today, August 2016].
Trzynka’s mom Judy was a delegate to this year’s Republican National Convention. USA Today missed a chance for a nice mother-son discussion of the relative merits of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Instead, they found Sioux Falls conservative Lora Hubbel to speak up from South Dakota on Trump. Her endorsement of Trump seems far less direct than what Trzynka and Hoffman say about Clinton:
I am intrigued by him, I represent the religious right, I am a born-again Christian and a conservative, and that is kind of how I vote, usually. He doesn’t necessarily fit that bill, but the last one who did was Jimmy Carter, so him being the second-worst president, you know, behind our current one, maybe you don’t always want, you know, what you think you want. So that is why I was kinda open to Donald Trump. I have taken his courses, I love the messages behind his courses. They are very difficult and he actually expects people to do what he says [Lora Hubbel, in “Trump Nation,” USA Today, August 2016].
If I’m reading that right, Hubbel is rejecting the notion that godly candidates are automatically good candidates… although she’s also propounding the glorious contradiction that evangelical Christians need to vote for Donald Trump specifically because he is not an evangelical Christian. And while Hoffman and Trzynka point to real policy experience, the best Hubbel can offer is an endorsement of “his” dubious courses and an affirmation of his autocratic tendencies.
Three voices from the Minne-Linc metroplex are far from a rigorous sample of South Dakota opinion on the Presidential race. But the endorsements presented suggest the weakness of the case for Trump and the cause Clinton may have to launch the fifty-state strategy and wage at least a diversionary skirmish in South Dakota.