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Dems: Beat #10 John Thune with #1 Bernie Sanders!

In his zeal to find another excuse to razz Democrats for not following his arbitrary timeline for announcing a Senate candidacy, Pat Powers notes that John Thune is the tenth most popular Senator in the United States. Powers can’t bear to even mention the headline of the more intelligent and readworthy Morning Consult: Bernie Sanders Is the Most Popular Senator in America.”

Morning Consult reports that approve/disapproves for Thune are 65/23; Sanders is at 83/13. Sanders’s superiority is greater than both his and Thune’s poll margins of error.

In what could have been a refreshing respite from his continual regurgitation of undigested press releases, Powers merely limps forth with his tired assertion that, man oh man, those poor South Dakota Democrats are going to have a hard time beating a Senator this popular. Thank you, Captain Obsequious.

For the Democrat out there who is wisely waiting to announce her or his challenge to Senator Popularity, I offer a broader view of the poll numbers. Sure, South Dakotans like Thune. For eleven years, they haven’t been presented an alternative. They haven’t seen a Democrat out on the stump pointing out that John Thune really hasn’t done anything for South Dakota in his long tenure at the right hand of the right hand of Mitch McConnell. South Dakotans just need a Democrat with some fire and fight and a dash of revolution to point out the Emperor’s clotheslessness, and we can reel Thune back toward 50 and a stiff Senate race.

Fire, fight, and revolution… does that sound like a certain Vermont Senator who calls himself a socialist and still makes a rural state love him and knocks the word “inevitability” out of the 2016 Democratic coverage?

South Dakota Democrats, find your Bernie Sanders. your Paul Wellstone, your Fighting Bob LaFollette (or a Bernadette, Pauline, or Roberta!). That’s the candidate who will give John Thune a run for his 65% and $11 million war chest.

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Here are the ratings for all 100 Senators:

State Senator Party Approve Disapprove Sample Size Margin of Error
Vermont Bernie Sanders I 83 13 230 +/- 6.5
Maine Susan Collins R 78 16 654 +/- 3.8
Wyoming John Barrasso R 73 15 198 +/- 7
Vermont Patrick Leahy D 71 22 230 +/- 6.5
North Dakota John Hoeven R 69 15 326 +/- 5.4
Minnesota Amy Klobuchar D 67 20 1172 +/- 2.9
Wyoming Mike Enzi R 67 19 198 +/- 7
West Virginia Joe Manchin D 66 24 619 +/- 3.9
Maine Angus King I 65 25 654 +/- 3.8
South Dakota John Thune R 65 23 299 +/- 5.7
Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren D 64 25 1513 +/- 2.5
Minnesota Al Franken D 63 28 1172 +/- 2.9
Delaware Tom Carper D 61 22 568 +/- 4.1
New York Chuck Schumer D 61 24 4544 +/- 1.5
Maryland Barbara Mikulski D 60 24 1305 +/- 2.7
Oregon Ron Wyden D 60 21 1213 +/- 2.8
Washington Patty Murray D 59 26 1644 +/- 2.4
South Dakota Mike Rounds R 59 27 299 +/- 5.7
West Virginia Shelley Moore Capito R 59 24 619 +/- 3.9
Connecticut Richard Blumenthal D 58 29 854 +/- 3.4
Delaware Chris Coons D 58 23 568 +/- 4.1
Hawaii Mazie Hirono D 58 26 367 +/- 5.1
North Dakota Heidi Heitkamp D 58 27 326 +/- 5.4
Rhode Island Jack Reed D 58 21 411 +/- 4.8
Virginia Mark Warner D 58 24 1995 +/- 2.2
Washington Maria Cantwell D 58 23 1644 +/- 2.4
Mississippi Thad Cochran R 58 28 548 +/- 4.2
New Hampshire Kelly Ayotte R 58 32 515 +/- 4.3
Hawaii Brian Schatz D 57 25 367 +/- 5.1
Oregon Jeff Merkley D 57 24 1213 +/- 2.8
New York Kirsten Gillibrand D 56 21 4544 +/- 1.5
Alabama Jeff Sessions R 56 23 1116 +/- 2.9
Iowa Chuck Grassley R 56 27 901 +/- 3.3
Mississippi Roger Wicker R 56 20 548 +/- 4.2
Montana Steve Daines R 56 26 431 +/- 4.7
Alaska Lisa Murkowski R 55 33 303 +/- 5.6
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen D 54 37 515 +/- 4.3
Nebraska Deb Fischer R 54 25 465 +/- 4.5
Nebraska Ben Sasse R 54 19 465 +/- 4.5
Massachusetts Ed Markey D 53 22 1513 +/- 2.5
Virginia Tim Kaine D 53 25 1995 +/- 2.2
Tennessee Bob Corker R 53 26 1442 +/- 2.6
California Dianne Feinstein D 52 33 6696 +/- 1.2
Connecticut Chris Murphy D 52 27 854 +/- 3.4
Florida Bill Nelson D 52 23 5886 +/- 1.3
Ohio Sherrod Brown D 52 26 3259 +/- 1.7
Alabama Richard Shelby R 52 27 1116 +/- 2.9
South Carolina Tim Scott R 52 18 1174 +/- 2.9
Tennessee Lamar Alexander R 52 31 1442 +/- 2.6
Texas Ted Cruz R 52 32 4695 +/- 1.4
Maryland Ben Cardin D 51 22 1305 +/- 2.7
Montana Jon Tester D 51 38 431 +/- 4.7
New Mexico Tom Udall D 51 31 469 +/- 4.5
Rhode Island Sheldon Whitehouse D 51 33 411 +/- 4.8
Alaska Dan Sullivan R 51 32 303 +/- 5.6
Arkansas Tom Cotton R 51 35 690 +/- 3.7
Georgia David Perdue R 51 26 2392 +/- 2
Georgia Johnny Isakson R 51 24 2392 +/- 2
Oklahoma Jim Inhofe R 51 29 778 +/- 3.5
Oklahoma James Lankford R 51 20 778 +/- 3.5
South Carolina Lindsey Graham R 51 35 1174 +/- 2.9
Utah Orrin Hatch R 51 38 590 +/- 4
California Barbara Boxer D 50 35 6696 +/- 1.2
New Jersey Cory Booker D 50 25 2071 +/- 2.2
Arizona John McCain R 50 41 1688 +/- 2.4
Arkansas John Boozman R 50 22 690 +/- 3.7
Florida Marco Rubio R 50 33 5886 +/- 1.3
Idaho Mike Crapo R 50 28 407 +/- 4.9
Nevada Dean Heller R 50 26 740 +/- 3.6
Michigan Debbie Stabenow D 49 33 2774 +/- 1.9
Pennsylvania Bob Casey D 49 26 3832 +/- 1.3
Indiana Dan Coats R 49 23 1711 +/- 2.4
Missouri Claire McCaskill D 48 36 1684 +/- 2.4
Kentucky Rand Paul R 48 37 1435 +/- 2.6
Nevada Harry Reid D 47 38 740 +/- 3.6
Colorado Cory Gardner R 47 26 1272 +/- 2.7
Louisiana David Vitter R 47 36 931 +/- 3.2
Pennsylvania Pat Toomey R 47 26 3832 +/- 1.6
Indiana Joe Donnelly D 46 23 1711 +/- 2.4
New Mexico Martin Heinrich D 46 32 469 +/- 4.5
Utah Mike Lee R 46 29 590 +/- 4
Wisconsin Tammy Baldwin D 45 35 1385 +/- 2.6
Idaho Jim Risch R 45 27 407 +/- 4.9
Missouri Roy Blunt R 45 31 1684 +/- 2.4
Texas John Cornyn R 45 23 4695 +/- 1.4
Illinois Dick Durbin D 44 33 3181 +/- 1.7
Louisiana Bill Cassidy R 44 32 931 +/- 3.2
Iowa Joni Ernst R 43 36 901 +/- 3.3
North Carolina Richard Burr R 43 29 2512 +/- 2
Colorado Michael Bennet D 42 27 1272 +/- 2.7
Illinois Mark Kirk R 41 31 3181 +/- 1.7
Kansas Pat Roberts R 41 41 684 +/- 3.7
North Carolina Thom Tillis R 41 35 2512 +/- 2
Ohio Rob Portman R 41 24 3259 +/- 1.7
Kansas Jerry Moran R 40 31 684 +/- 3.7
Arizona Jeff Flake R 39 39 1688 +/- 2.4
Kentucky Mitch McConnell R 38 52 1435 +/- 2.6
Wisconsin Ron Johnson R 38 35 1385 +/- 2.6
Michigan Gary Peters D 37 27 2774 +/- 1.9
New Jersey Bob Menendez D 37 36 2071 +/- 2.2


  1. larry kurtz 2015-11-24 18:39

    au contraire, cah: don juan thune has funded the faux bombing of four states and the real time bombing of women, men and children of at least ten countries for years to come.

    vive la guerre, mon ami.

  2. Rorschach 2015-11-24 18:41

    This survey must have been taken some time ago. David Vitter got well under 47% Saturday in his governor race.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-24 18:55

    À la Vitter, finding Thune’s number on a madam’s smartphone would help knock that 65% down… but I won’t hold my breath for or base a campaign strategy around that event. Sanders, Wellstone, Fighting Bob….

  4. mike from iowa 2015-11-24 19:06

    iowa’s Ivana Kuturnutzov isn’t real popular. Must be her scalpel and her gawd awful braying laugh.

  5. Porter Lansing 2015-11-24 20:09

    It’s understandable that Thune is popular in SoDak. “46” That’s the percentage of Americans who classify themselves as white Christians in a new Pew Research Center Religious Landscape survey published Monday by National Journal’s Next America project. That’s down from 55 percent in 2007. A sign of a rapidly changing electorate but that’s hardly the case in the Southern Dakota. I’d wager it’s over 70% white, born-agains, hmmmm?

  6. Rorschach 2015-11-24 21:06

    Thune will probably represent SD for two more years than he remains conscious.

  7. Bree S. 2015-11-24 21:45

    Thune is clearly a dedicated family man.

    I like Bernie Sanders. It’s so refreshing to have an honest Socialist running for President.

  8. Winston 2015-11-24 22:40

    I think these numbers for John Randolph Thune are actually good news for the Democratic Party in South Dakota. No seriously, 65% is a healthy majority, but when our Democratic candidate next year asks why JRT needs 11 million dollars in the bank and where it came from, what will be his answers? Do the people of South Dakota really want to re-elect a Senator who has the capability and audacity to raise $ 11 million after a twelve year term or should we say a 12 year Senatorial peerage of assumed invincibility? Why does he need it??

    Hey, fellow South Dakotans do you have $ 11 million in the bank? John Randolph Thune does. Do you know if you placed one dollar bills next to each other starting at the Minnesota/South Dakota border you could create a path all the way to the South Dakota/Wyoming border and back again and then you would still have over $ 2.5 million dollars left over to head towards Iowa or into Minnesota (this could be a great commercial)… That is a lot of money South Dakota! Rounds had 9 million in 2014, but he also had two other credible opponents. JRT has not had an opponent for twelve years. What’s the money for, Senator Thune? Your blogging buddies tell us that no one is credible as an opponent against the you, Senator. If that is true, why the need for the money, Senator?

    I also think an aggressive and issue oriented campaign can work well against JRT without hurting Hawks’s chances, rather it will compliment her candidacy. In the past, our greatest weakness as a political party has been our unwillingness to show-up. Well, let’s show-up in 2016 and give JRT a run for his money…. Maybe unintentionally I have given the Senator a reason for why he needs some of the money. We could all use some money, but $ 11 million… Seriously?

    I might also add, that in a recent debate Jeb Bush in criticizing Marco Rubio’s Senate attendance record made reference to the Senate’s “…three-day ‘French work week.'” No wonder, JRT has plenty of time to attend South Dakota high school basketball games and raise money, but isn’t it time our Senator spent more time in Washington addressing issues like Isis, the emergence of China as a super power, and climate change instead of basketball games and fundraisers? Do the people who gave John Randolph Thune that $ 11 million realize he is only working three days a week? Do the people of South Dakota even know it, I ask?

  9. moses 2015-11-24 22:55

    Thune nothing more than a photo op.

  10. Roger Cornelius 2015-11-24 23:02

    Oh Oh! Lulu is back in town.

    Welcome home Bree.

    If the camera ever breaks, Thune is in deep Sh*t!

  11. Bree S. 2015-11-25 05:39

    Maybe we should redistribute John Thune’s campaign donations to the Democratic candidate just to be fair. After all the people who made those contributions can’t be expected to make such decisions on their own.

  12. mike from iowa 2015-11-25 06:19

    Honest socialist as opposed to flat out lying right wing nut jobs? Obama has been categorized as a Kenyan Muslim.

  13. Loren 2015-11-25 08:09

    OK, let’s review. What do SD representatives have going for them? Well, John Thune is tall and takes a good pic. Mr Rounds smiles a lot and has white teeth. And Kristi? Well, without the tight jeans and a horse, she might not get the west river vote. All in all, pretty good credentials! BTW, where do SD delegates stack up on legislative accomplishments? Yeah, thought so…

  14. jerry 2015-11-25 08:29

    And then there is this.

    Jihadi John is right up there at the podium with the rest of the climate change deniers threatening to withhold critical funding for our efforts in order to beat the hell out of women. They ignore what smart, educated scientists are telling us as they are getting their pockets filled with those that make billions off the destruction. Jihadi John is far from anything but a corrupted politico, who hates women and does not give a damn about what he is doing to the planet or its female inhabitants.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-25 10:15

    Porter, interesting note on that Pew Research result showing that white Christians no longer make up a majority of the U.S. population. The Republican Party is the only demographic subgroup where Pew found white Christians still constitute a majority. Thune and the SDGOP will enjoy some benefit from South Dakota’s demographic lag, but it will catch up with them. Candidates will have to speak and legislate more inclusively to win and hold power.

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-25 10:16

    Bree, I’m a dedicated family man. Does that mean I should be a U.S. Senator?

    I’m glad we agree on Bernie Sanders. He’s honest about his socialism; why can’t Thune, Rounds, and other Republicans be as honest about their (corporate fascist) socialism?

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-25 10:18

    Winston, I’m not convinced regular South Dakota voters are persuaded by discussions of inside baseball like war chests and such. But I can see the point: Thune’s huge fundraising seems to be an effort to pre-empt any serious challenge at the polls. He knows he can’t withstand open scrutiny of his record, so he has to try scaring any candidate away from attempting such scrutiny.

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-25 10:20

    But Bree, redistributing campaign funds? No way—I don’t want any of John Thune’s dirty money. Besides, that kind of redistribution is not my kind of socialism. :-)

  19. moses 2015-11-25 10:21

    I would bet that photo op has been to more basketball games than Bernie.

  20. Winston 2015-11-25 13:17

    Cory, I heed your constructive criticism. No doubt the 9 million dollar card has already been played in South Dakota to no avail. But I just think that when you have a politician who appears to be invincible still able to raise $ 11 million, then his major contributors must really be getting something for their special interest, and what is it?

    It is one thing to contribute to a credible candidate in a competitive race to help maintain a particular philosophy, but with a built-in degree of inevitability contributors are no longer promoting an idea rather they are also asking for a piece of the pie. Who is asking and what kind of pie are they getting?

  21. Porter Lansing 2015-11-25 14:13

    Pat Powers was trained in the lowest echelon of sales … auctioneering. They develop unscrupulous methods to goad you into buying something you don’t really need and get you to pay more than you would, elsewhere. Among sales people auctioneers are equivalent to Porta-Potty rental agents.
    Mr. Powers currently sells advice, research and column space to politicians during their campaigns. He also rents some ad space to the Koch Bros deep pockets and arranges bail.
    The longer a worthy South Dakota Democrat takes to announce, the less money flows from say the $11million of Thune’s coffers to the Power’s family bank account. No wonder he’s apoplectic that no candidate has committed. He’s got no one to research and no valid claim on any political facet of SoDak. Last time he was in Pierre wasn’t good for the old boy.
    He’s trying sooooo hard to goad SDDP into premature action, purely because he needs the money. Why jump? He’s not anyone’s lion tamer. His whip is spaghetti and his pistol is licorice.

  22. Bree S. 2015-11-25 20:09

    Cory, every good family man can’t be Senator.

    Why do I feel like I’m singing scales.

    Jerry, you’re missing the great connection. By denying the climate, women-hating Republicans sucking at the teat of Big Oil can pollute the environment and raise the ocean levels at the same time. This is a double whammy against women’s health care, by both drowning possible female breeders and suffocating their gonads, which will ultimately put Planned Parenthood out of business.

  23. Les 2015-11-25 21:53

    “””He’s trying sooooo hard to goad SDDP into premature action, purely because he needs the money. Why jump? He’s not anyone’s lion tamer. His whip is spaghetti and his pistol is licorice.””

    Speaking of a spaghetti whip and a licorice pistol, Porter, the SDDP has to get it up before they can have a premature action. Just saying.

  24. mike from iowa 2015-11-26 06:02

    Marlboro Barbie is dedicated to the koch bros family. A wholly owned subsidiary as it were.

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-26 17:47

    Porter: Powers as auctioneer… is that why he keeps rattling off the same gibberish and hoping to build a false sense of urgency to drive up the bids?

  26. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-26 17:49

    Good point, Winston. Capitalists are rational, right? They expect value for their dollar. I can easily hypothesize that Thune’s donors are getting some sort of crony-capitalist benefits, but I don’t have an accurate track of the dollars and favors myself. If someone can find the answer to that question, I’ll happily help package that answer for our Democratic challenger to cudgel Thune with all through 2016.

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-26 17:51

    Moses, Thune can keep going to all those basketball games. A South Dakota Sanders/Wellstone man can still overcome that, drop by a game or two for PR purposes, then spend the rest of the night knocking on doors, ringing phones, and social-media-ing the crap out of the “Thune has no legacy” message.

  28. Thomas 2015-11-28 13:37

    This bantering is nuts. Until the SDDP can articulate a vision, find a respectable candidate, organize a campaign, AND quit demonizing the constituency, status quo will remain. Kurtz and Iowa Mike do more damage to your brand than you can imagine.

  29. larry kurtz 2015-11-28 13:45

    Get a grip, Tom.

  30. Lynn 2015-11-28 13:58

    Thomas sometimes it’s best to let them live in a fantasy land. Meanwhile elsewhere things getting done and they will come up with excuses and conspiracy theories why they got crushed at the polls. Good observation.

  31. larry kurtz 2015-11-28 15:18

    SDDP has exactly zero to lose by being revolutionary and everything to lose by being SDGOP lite.

  32. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-11-28 17:42

    Thomas, lay it out for me: how do two commenters unknown to most of South Dakota, mostly not in South Dakota, and not affiliated with the SDDP, making comments on a blog not known to most of South Dakota and not owned or controlled by the SDDP, do more damage to the SDDP brand than I can imagine. Lynn, it seems to me that “fantasy” would be my sitting here thinking that my little blog has all that much influence on anyone’s statewide brand… except maybe for Annette Bosworth’s, and that took a lot more work than a few grouchy or off-color comments.

  33. grudznick 2015-11-28 17:47

    I’m glad your head is not swollen as much as people say, Mr. H.

    I, for one, think it is funny that most of the ranting and railing comes from out of state people. I really don’t think the SDDP cares very much about out of state people thinking ill of them.

  34. larry kurtz 2015-11-28 17:57

    CAH, you cut me to the quick as i am known to a majority of South Dakotans who read but the little blog thing? Pretty much.

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