Thune Admits Trump Undermines Democracy; Still No GOP Repudiation of Nominee

While Al Novstrup campaigns from inside a tin can, his party leaders are responding to Donald Trump’s winking threat to throw our democratic process into chaos. KELO Radio gathers comment from five top South Dakota Republicans on the integrity of our elections. None mentions their doomed (and party-dooming?) Presidential nominee by name, and only Thune has the courage to tiptoe up to the bull in their China shop and obliquely criticize his baseless accusations of election-rigging:

U.S. Sen. John Thune: “Voters have every right to be vigilant in looking out for fraud, but I have confidence in the state and county officials here in South Dakota to do everything they can to ensure our elections are fair. The American electoral process is the cornerstone of our democracy. Suggesting otherwise undermines an electoral system that is a model for nations around the world” [Todd Epp, “S.D. GOP Leaders on Trump’s Electoral Assault,” KELO Radio, 2016.10.21].

Senator Rounds and, less faintly, Rep. Kristi Noem, still warn that there could be some substance to Trump’s alarmist allegations, but not in South Dakota:

U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds: “Sen. Rounds has faith in the voters and South Dakota’s election process. Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy that must be fiercely protected.  The sun will rise after this and every other election, and we need to stay focused on the important issues, no matter what the results of the election.”

U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem: “Free and fair elections are at the heart of the American democracy.  Without question, we must remain vigilant to guard against voter fraud in order to maintain voters’ confidence in our electoral system, but election officials in South Dakota have worked hard to protect the integrity of our state’s elections and I believe South Dakota voters can trust their votes will be properly counted on November 8” [Epp, 2016.10.21].

Governor Dennis Daugaard says something at best trite and at worst incoherent about media and relativism that avoids the point that its not the media but the Presidential candidate he plans to vote for who is spouting tyrannical nonsense:

Gov. Dennis Daugaard: “South Dakota can be very proud of the reliability and integrity of our state’s election system.  Certainly different media outlets present different perspectives on the candidates and issues, but South Dakotans can be confident that the votes they cast are counted fairly and accurately” [Epp, 2016.10.21].

That Sioux Falls paper gives a different response from the Governor, which also misses the mark:

“Assuming there is a clear result, I think Trump should accept it,” Gov. Dennis Daugaard said in a statement. “But I’m confident the American people will accept it, and that is what really matters” [Dana Ferguson, “Republican Leaders: Trump Comments Undermine ‘Cornerstone of Our Democracy’,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.10.20].

Governor Daugaard deflects on three levels:

  1. “I think”—there’s no “think” to this. The need to accept the results of the Presidential election is not a matter of personal opinion or to which different thinkers can come to different conclusions. It is a clear, objective, moral imperative: Trump should accept the results.
  2. “Assuming there is a clear result”—there’s no “assuming” here. There will be a clear result, as surely as there was in 2000. We will count the votes. We will recount votes if totals fall within legally specified ranges. The process will play itself out, and we will have final, legal, and clear results. Every candidate must agree to accept those results.
  3. “the American people will accept it, and that is what really matters”—that wasn’t the question, Governor Daugaard. What really matters here is that your Presidential nominee is stoking rage in his crowds by saying he’ll only accept the results if he wins. Trump is encouraging a big chunk of the American people to think that they don’t have to accept the results of the election. That is irresponsible, and it is irresponsible not to call Trump out directly for undermining faith in democracy.

Attorney General Marty Jackley keeps it simple:

S.D. Attorney General Marty Jackley: “I am confident that our state and county election officials and volunteers will conduct a fair election” [Epp, 2016.10.21].

Note the regular evasion by all of the above “leaders” that says South Dakota can conduct the election with integrity but leaves open the question of whether elections are rigged in PhiladelphiaChicago, and elsewhere. Trump’s assault on democracy requires more than parochialism. It requires an affirmation that all Americans can count on a free and fair election.

Senator Thune and Governor Daugaard had the admirable courage, for a couple days, to almost repudiate Donald Trump’s candidacy over the nominee’s bragging about sexual assault. But now, faced with political statements that even more clearly disqualify Trump from participation in the election, Thune, Daugaard, and their fellow GOP leaders find the courage to say, “Presidents don’t act like this.”

In a way, Governor Daugaard is right that what we voters say is what really matters. Absent true moral leadership from the SDGOP, it falls to us voters to ensure a clear election result that repudiates Trump by such a stunning margin that the law will allow no recounts and the public and courts will laugh at any claims of election-rigging.

And Senator Thune, Governor Daugaard, and Republican friends: Vote Johnson!

21 Responses to Thune Admits Trump Undermines Democracy; Still No GOP Repudiation of Nominee

  1. With only a couple of weeks left, Thune only has enuf time to change his mind on the Republican ticket 2 or 3 more times! Quite the leader, that guy! As far as Rounds and Noem, we know what they will be saying by reading the release of the national Republican talking points memo. Never changes.

  2. mike from iowa

    Thune Admits Trump Undermines Democracy;

    Marlboro Barbie isn’t such a quick study. Wingnuts have undermined democracy for decades. Tricky Dick did it. Ronnie Raygun and crew mastered the art. Both dumbass dubya’s were well versed and the whole damn wingnut party have been guilty since Obama was elected-twice.

  3. Tyler Schumacher

    I dislike Trump as much as the next guy, but he did not say he’ll ‘only’ accept the results if he wins.

  4. Tyler, that’s debatable. Trump has not said he will accept the results regardless of outcome, which is the only moral position a candidate can take. The only results he has said he will accept are results in his favor, indicating a lack of concern for actual legitimacy of the ballot.

  5. Tyler Schumacher

    “Of course, I would accept a clear election result, but I would also reserve my right to contest or file a legal challenge in the case of a questionable result.”

    Not trying to defend the guy. Still being cavalier and not really ‘playing for peace’. But I still disagree with the ‘only’ qualifier (which I see everywhere, not just here).

  6. Roger Cornelius

    Does vote rigging include disenfranchising Native American voters?
    As recently as the 2014 South Dakota was making it difficult if not impossible for Indians to vote in such isolated places like Wambli and other places around the state.
    South Dakota has a decades long history of keeping Indians away from the ballot box.
    Maybe Trump is right, voting has been rigged in South Dakota for years.

  7. mike from iowa

    “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election — if I win,” Mr. Trump said to cheers at a rally in Delaware, Ohio.

  8. The only fraud we have is Thune trying to be a senator.This guy is a wingnut.

  9. mike from iowa

    Tyler- do you see any outcome that Drumpf will accept? Forget if he wins. It ain’t happening.

    I can pretty much guarantee he will never accept losing.

  10. mike from iowa

    Drumpf will claim a landslide victory that was stolen by Democrats and the media.

    He isn’t sane enough to know when to pack it in.

  11. Porter Lansing

    Should South Dakotans be proud or embarrassed if Don Trump gets their three electoral votes?

  12. bearcreekbat

    Porter – embarrassed, very embarrassed!

  13. Porter Lansing

    No kidding, BCB. Unfortunately Trump’s only voting block is working class white males and despite the fine higher ed options, SoDak has a lot of that block.

  14. Cory- “The only results he has said he will accept are results in his favor, indicating a lack of concern for actual legitimacy of the ballot.”

    no kidding, yet that’s all we heard on the news yesterday, trump is merely a “media -whore” (forgive me, prolly not appropriate, not a sexual reference in this usage). Why does trump get millins of dollars of press coverage for merely being a mediocre outrage? such a strange digital country we live in, … world, really.

    these three amigos are as substanceless as trump. thune likely winked when he said: ” I have confidence in the state and county officials here in South Dakota to do everything they can (wink wink) to ensure our elections are fair.” You’d think running healthy mile after mile on the nation’s dime every day would give this guy a chance to think beyond these obvious party talking points. snark. when I ran miles for my work out back in the day when red necks pour iced drinks on me and other runners who weren’t wearing Carhart, as many creative ideas came up as in the shower where my best thinking often occurs. billing hundreds while in the shower has been some of the most sublime episodes in a combative life. ahh. victory over republicans is sweet.

  15. I recognize and appreciate, Tyler, that you are focusing on accuracy of language. I contend the the sum of Trump’s words to his supporters indicate that “questionable” means “not naming me winner”.

    Porter, South Dakota has at least as many women as working class white males. We have Indians, Hispanics, Somalis, and other minorities who have no good reason to vote for Trump. Beating Trump here is hard, but we have the numbers to do it. Now if we can just find the sense.

  16. Porter Lansing

    Find the sense. (In CO working class white males are also a minority, much to their frustration)

  17. The South Dakota GOP has touted “their South Dakota VALUES” for years now and this year we surely see their version of ‘values’! Never will they have the guts to buck party–always it’s tout the party line–puppets all.

  18. They’re admittedly voting for a guy who they know is undermining our democracy, unfit for the Presidency, and who they’ve publically stated “should back out of the Presidential race.”

    It’s not as confusing as it sounds. Rounds, Noem, Thune and Daugaard are bought and sold by the broken and bleeding national Republican Party. So, intellectual/moral dishonesty makes perfect sense to them right now.

  19. Our three stooges plus Daugaard say everything is right with SD voting, if the state was to flip blue because the people here actually seen Trump for what he is, how much do you all think they would start screaming voting fraud?

  20. mike from iowa

    Why do wingnuts hate America and Americans and prospective Americans? Drumpf does and he has bigly amounts of supporters who do, too. Many politicians from red, embarrassed states like South Dakaota and several from embarrassed iowa.

  21. Tim, I’d love to be able to test the SDGOP leadership’s faith in the voters with a strong Democratic turnout… which would lead to turning out Thune, Noem, and a few other lingering Republican do-nothings.