Dark horse Republican candidate for Governor Terry LaFleur isn’t afraid to ride the Trump horse. He’s gotten his biggest press to date by forming a non-profit to take donations to build the great Trump wall on our southern border:
“It’s every American’s responsibility to make sure our sovereignty is unviolated,” LaFleur said. “He needs our help. He absolutely has to have our help to get it done.”
…He filed paperwork with the secretary of state’s office earlier this month to incorporate a nonprofit charity and said he is prepared to accept donations.
And for Pete’s sake, Terry, you’re running for South Dakota Governor! The wall won’t run through South Dakota; how about focusing on South Dakota issues to demonstrate you’re not the distracted crackpot that your upper-rung Republicans will make you out to be?
LaFleur’s plan is all wrong, but I can at least appreciate his enthusiasm. In the non-profit papers filed on May 5 to create Build the Wall Foundation, Inc., LaFleur makes liberal (hee hee!) use of exclamation points:
Listed without exclamation points, LaFleur’s board of trustees include himself, Joshua L. and Stephanie G. Ihnen of Sioux Falls, Franklin Kurtis Brown of Sioux Falls, and Mark Rance Perleberg of Tea.
In a Facebook response to the Ferguson article and criticism from the local ACLU, LaFleur says he is not against immigrants, just “illegal immigrants coming here to become a drain on our economic and social system…,” which, of course, is a false concern, since illegal immigrants boost our economy and Social Security. LaFleur also defends his wall proposal by invoking Islamophobia:
Islam and radical Muslims’ in particular want to overthrow our government, abolish our Constitution and impose the religious beliefs, including, but no limited to Sharia Law upon all non-Muslim peoples’! [Terry LaFleur, Facebook post, 2017.05.17]
I’ll smile on surplus exclamation points, but not superfluous apostrophes. And Novstrupian Sharia hysteria loses you my vote right away.
Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, Perez’s opponent for chair and now his top deputy, said the intent is to help local Democrats manage everything from rallies, town halls and neighborhood meetings to registration drives and voter database improvements.
“We’re asking them to engage neighbors not just in this whole mess about Trump but on what kind of vision we have for our country,” Ellison said, adding that he and Perez are talking regularly to many of the independent groups on the left.
Party leaders hope to use the anti-Trump groundswell to improve voter turnout, and swing elections back in their favor.
Initial recipients of the funds include Arizona, Massachusetts, Michigan, Kansas and South Dakota. Those states span the spectrum of Democratic fortunes: Massachusetts is a liberal bastion; Michigan is a presidential battleground; Arizona is nearing swing-state status; Kansas and South Dakota are Republican strongholds [“DNC Funds ‘Resistance Summer’ in Hopes of Harnessing Trump Opposition,” AP via Fox News, 2017.05.17].
A source familiar with the South Dakota Democratic Party tells Dakota Free Press that South Dakota Democrats will raise matching funds and use the DNC dollars to register voters, mobilize volunteers, organize local teams, and boost voter turnout among our American Indian neighbors. The effort will include hiring seven organizers part-time over the summer based in five reservation communities and in Rapid City and Sioux Falls.
Related: In other organizing, the South Dakota Democratic Party is hosting a Summer Issues Caucus at Augustana on June 9 and 10. That Friday afternoon and evening, Democrats will discuss seniors, women, youth, and LGBT issues. Saturday morning and afternoon, Dems will discuss rural and small business, veterans and military, Native Americans, and diversity. The caucuses are free; Saturday lunch is a measly $7!
Predictably, Rep. Kristi Noem is finding a way to turn this week’s “National Police Week” into a political ploy. In her latest e-mail to constituents, Noem says her ride-along with Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Department justifies spending more federal money (with no indication of how she would avoid increasing the deficit) and building that boondoggle Trump wall:
Needless to say, local law enforcement does a tremendous job. We, in turn, have a responsibility to give them the support and resources necessary to be safe and successful.
It was clear during my visit that drug trafficking and use has contributed greatly to the spike in violent crimes. While South Dakota sits more than a thousand miles from Mexico, Sheriff Mike Milstead estimated that around 90 percent of the state’s meth and heroin comes from south of the border. Simply put, we need to build robust physical and technological barriers at the U.S.-Mexico border. In addition to a border wall, I’ve cosponsored legislation that would deploy up to 10,000 more National Guard personnel to the border and allow law enforcement to go after the so-called “spotters” that drug traffickers use to avert officers at the border.
But a stronger border isn’t the only thing that must be done. This week, as we mark National Police Week, the House will be voting on a series of bills that support our men and women in blue – from helping departments staff up to supporting them in acquiring new technologies [Rep. Kristi Noem, e-mail, 2017.05.16].
Noem also takes the requisite shot at Marty Jackley, repeating the FBI stat showing our violent crime rate doubling over the past decade. At the moment, Jackley doesn’t sound too worried: he is promoting the fall Aging Gracefully Expo. Then again, neither does Noem, as she closes her email by stating, “The truth is there’s no other place I’d dream of raising my family than here….”
It’s kind of tough to fly the fear flag and the rose-colored glasses in the same campaign message, but no tougher for Kristi Noem than playing a conservative Republican while proposing bigger, more expensive government.
Student: With Gov. Daugaard’s time coming to a close, who do you think is most likely to be the next governor of South Dakota?
Thune: The next governor of South Dakota? Well, I don’t want to jinx anyone by saying who I predict will win. There are a lot of good candidates out there. There are already a few good Republicans who have put their name out there. I don’t know if there is a Democrat out there yet. I am sure there will be. It is kind of a year where with the open seat it will be a very competitive race. I don’t think that anyone at this point has the inside track. I think you have to assume in our state, that unless something goes terribly wrong, the Republican nominee has a built in advantage. That said, good Democrats in South Dakota can get elected. That has been proven in the past, particularly in the federal races. If a good Democrat is nominated it will be a competitive race. In terms of the Republican primary, we have a couple of top tier candidates, and I assume there will be a few more who put their name in the ring [Senator John Thune, transcript, Q&A with Yankton High School students, 2017.05.12].
I’m sure there’s some trick there in Thune’s use of the words good and Democrat in the same sentence. But for now, let’s take our senior Senator at his word and keep an eye out for that competitive nominee.
Let’s also be patient. The primary is more than a year away. Let Thune and everyone else wonder….
Kroger’s group has generated conversation and excitement among a segment of South Dakota women. Convincing them to put their name on a ballot is still proving challenging. Family and professional commitments, the polarizing political climate and low pay for legislators have all deterred women from running for public office.
Kroger says that she’s optimistic that the group’s efforts will have a positive impact.
“I’m hopeful based on what I’ve seen in terms of women jumping up to be a part of this,” Kroger said. “Even just the sheer number of people who are getting involved in politics can only bode well for the state” [Dana Ferguson, “Encouraging Moms to Help Close the Political Gender Gap,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2017.05.12].
We husbands and dads can help with those family commitments. For professional commitments, see SDCL 2-4-1.1, which requires employers to give legislators who work for them a leave of absence to carry out their Legislative duties. For polarizing political climate… well, the poor will always be with us, too. For legislator pay, consider that doubling our Session pay from $6,000 to $12,000 for 105 legislators would require an appropriation of $630,000, less than 1% of the $77 million that the Governor’s Office gets for about 130 FTEs. Tapping some of that Executive Branch money to help the Legislature attract top talent with better pay would be a reasonable step toward balancing Legislative and Executive power, wouldn’t it?
In the undercard to Donald Trump’s idiotic “prime the pump” interview, that man in the White House invents another expression to explain his health care policy… or lack thereof:
But ultimately, you know I use the expression, “If you have a bad knee, I would rather have the federal government focus on North Korea than fixing your knee” [Donald Trump, interview, The Economist, 2017.05.11].
While he prefers to focus on North Korea, Trump still insists everyone will have “absolute guaranteed coverage,” and he thinks insurance should cost $15 a month:
Insurance is, you’re 20 years old, you just graduated from college, and you start paying $15 a month for the rest of your life and by the time you’re 70, and you really need it, you’re still paying the same amount and that’s really insurance [Trump, 2017.05.11].
If Donald Trump can get me health insurance for $15 a month, fine, he can ignore everybody’s busted knee and focus on North Korea.
So for the five of you readers who care about this tiff, let us turn to Powers’s Wednesday post (the only thing he wrote that day) responding to my analysis of the McGovern Day muddle and my recommendation that South Dakota Democrats focus on grassroots activism rather than further internal power struggles. What you’ll find, if you bother (and I really don’t recommend bothering, even though I’m about to), is that, much like what happens when Trump opens his mouth, Powers’s critiques of me are really exercises in Republican projection of their own insecurity and shame.
First, pictures. Powers keeps running a picture of me borrowed from KELO-TV in 2001. Powers seems to find this photo unflattering. He could more accurately portray my fall from youthful beauty by updating his photo box with any number of recent, publicly available photos:
Heck, even the fall 2016 photo he ran of me on my campaign bike to great chortlage and mockery more accurately depicts me in my current state than his old TV file photo:
But old photos are par for the course for Pat and his GOP pals. How old is Senator Mike Rounds’s Twitter profile photo?
Now to the headline: “Democrat Mouthpiece Finally Breaks News Blackout on Failed Democrat Party Revolt.”
The adjective is Democratic. Responsible writers do not write Democrat Party any more than they would Republic Party.
“News Blackout”? This from a Republican political blogger who, according to his own search engine, hasn’t mentioned the Republican President since March 20. When information about the snap election push became public, I discussed it a fair amount on these pages, because I wanted to offer analysis that people on all sides of the tussle could use to make their decisions. When that push failed, I took eleven days to talk to Democrats who attended McGovern Day, to read other responses, and to think about the next best course of action for the party. That’s not a news blackout; that’s thoughtful deliberation.
For someone who pretends to understand me, Pat Powers really doesn’t know me at all. Ann Tornberg has known me for 30 years. If she has an “inner circle”, she has yet to place me in it. But Ann can tell you, as can anyone else who knows me, that I have never really given a hoot about getting into anyone’s “inner circle”. Unlike Pat Powers, whose entire blogging career reads like one long fawning to atone for his past political gaffes and get back into the good graces of the Republican rich and powerful, I am my own man. I appreciate my friends, I respect their trust, but I do not chase favor. I report facts, I analyze and opine, and I let others throw whichever chips, poker or buffalo, they see fit.
The AHCA’s passage in the House serves as a news peg for us to move a number of Republican-held House districts into more competitive rating categories. That doesn’t mean the AHCA will be an anchor on GOP incumbents next year. It’s just too early to know, for reasons we’ll get into. But broader historical patterns suggest that the Democrats have a chance to win the House next year, and health care could be part of a potential winning message. This weeks’ changes align our ratings with our overall belief that the House is in play, even while noting that the true level of danger Republicans face is as yet unclear [Kyle Kondik, “House 2018: Health Care Vote Gives Democrats Another Midterm Argument,” Sabato’s Crystal Ball, 2017.05.11].
South Dakota’s at-large seat is not one of the shifters; it’s one of the 276 districts—141 Republican, 135 Democratic—that Sabato’s team considers ungettable.
It is within the remaining 159 districts, which make up about 37% of the House’s total, where majorities are won and lost. Of these districts — which includes Peterson’s even though his district is technically outside of the range specified above — Republicans control 100, and Democrats control 59. Putting as many of those 100 “on the table” is [DCCC chair Rep. Ben Ray] Luján’s goal. Democrats need to win about a quarter of those seats, 24, to win the House, while not losing any of their own seats in the process [Kondik, 2017.05.11].
But hey, Chris Martian, or other enterprising South Dakota Democrat, if you want to put South Dakota’s House seat into Sabato’s gettable column, Kristi Noem and Donald Trump are writing your campaign script for you.