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Adelstein: Trump’s Praise for Hussein Justifies RNC Delegate Revolt

Former legislator Stanford Adelstein is trying to be his party’s voice of conscience against the fascism of Donald J. Trump. The Rapid City Republican has aptly compared Trump to the racist, totalitarian President Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip of Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here. (Adelstein, only the third Jewish man elected to South Dakota’s Legislature and one of five total*, maintains that America has resisted any such decline to fascism thanks to its “two-hundred-year commitment to… almost universal pluralistic support of differing religions, races, and ethnic groups,” which pluralism I cited as the fundamental American value in my July 4 essay.)

Saddam Hussein, Donald TrumpNow Adelstein hears Trump praise Saddam Hussein for killing terrorists (a false claim that ignores Hussein’s pragmatic nurturing of terrorist groups who attacked his opponents and his willingness to deem any dissidents “terrorists” and crush them with brutal tactics). Adelstein recalls Trump’s explicit belittling of Hussein’s use of chemical weapons against the Kurds (“Saddam Hussein throws a little gas. Everyone goes crazy. ‘Oh, he’s using gas!’“).

And Adelstein concludes that the only honorable path for Governor Dennis Daugaard and the delegates he leads to the Republican National Convention in two weeks is to refuse to nominate Trump:

This is the candidate of my party?, of the party of Lincoln?, of the party that sent this now grown up jewish boy of 12—but spared from gas—to the Capitol of South Dakota to help make laws??????????????

If a single delegate from South Dakota refuses to abstain from voting for this monster, that person is has not the values of our great people, and they should be shunned when they return the return to the home of Mount Rushmore. Our Governor the delegation chairman, who spent his life saving children of eleven or twelve, should refuse to answer when Paul Ryan calls the words of this wonderful, magnificent, magic place SOUTH DAKOTA [link mine; Stanford Adelstein, Facebook post, 2016.07.06].

I agree with Adelstein that It Can’t Happen Here. But the American values that keep It from happening depend on each of us actively standing up for those principles against aspiring tyrants. Governor Daugaard, the former Senator from Rapid City makes your duty clear. Do it.

Related Reading: The Daily Wire reports that the effort to unbind the GOP delegates proceeds apace.

*Correction 12:18 CDT: A commenter below reminds me that two more Jewish men, Marc Feinstein and Dan Lederman, won seats in the Legislature after Adelstein, bringing the historical total to five.


  1. Rorschach 2016-07-07 08:23

    Are Stan Adelstein, Marc Feinstein, Dan Lederman really the only three Jewish legislators in South Dakota history? I don’t believe it.

  2. Nick Nemec 2016-07-07 08:57

    South Dakota’s Republican delegation will fall in line and support Trump because that’s what Republicans do. Anyone looking for profiles in courage will be disappointed.

  3. jerry 2016-07-07 08:58

    Stan just does not know his party. His party has denied Medicaid Expansion, his party has accepted Mike Rounds (thanks to Stan) as their guiding light, his party has done all in its power to protect themselves from any kind of blow back from the EB-5 to the point of actually condoning its corruption. The list goes on with more shenanigans, racism and outright corruption at all levels. How could Daugaard and the rest not support Trump when they are Trump? The mirror they look at each morning does not have logic, it only has corruption. That is why they support Trump because they know that if he wins, they will be able to find more ways in which to fleece us while taking away meaningful social programs. If you thought Gear Up and the EB-5 was corruption, Stan, old buddy, ya ain’t seen nothing yet.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-07-07 09:15

    Ror, Adelstein phrases it this way:

    The last time was after first being elected to the South Dakota Legislature as the first Jewish person in thirty years—and only the third ever—to serve in that capacity.

    he may have been referring only to Legislative history up to his election and not looking forward to those who followed him.

  5. Don Coyote 2016-07-07 12:09

    The Buzz Windrip character in Sinclair Lewis’s “It Can’t Happen Here”, was a caricature of Democrat Senator Huey Long who was planning to challenge FDR in 1936 before he was assassinated in 1935. The entire book was a transparent political attack on Long by Sinclair who was an ardent supporter of FDR.

    It’s ironic that Sinclair, while attacking Long, was also attacking long held Democratic ideals of wealth redistribution such as a cap on fortunes, a wealth tax, free college, a yearly stipend for the poor, free health care, a 30 hour work week and just about every major Federal program in existence today including Social Security and Medicare.

    Unfortunately this sad piece of propaganda by Lewis has long been used to attack Republicans by the ignorant who don’t possess a clue of it’s real history.

  6. Rorschach 2016-07-07 12:14

    Cory, it’s clear that you incorrectly paraphrased Stan. He’s saying that he was the third ever when he was elected. I have no reason to question that. Then Feinstein and Lederman were elected.

    The main point is that Trump has too high a regard for murderous dictators and too little regard for the US constitution and due process. Trump’s repeated dog whistles to neo nazis, white supremacists and xenophobes ought to scare Democrats and Republicans and independents and Libertarians alike. It can happen here. It can start this year and happen here in the next 4 years. And if it does happen here it will spread worldwide.

    If the devil took human form he would say and do exactly what Trump is saying and doing. He would cheat and ruin people stupid enough to do business with him. He would stir up hate and discontent – befriending and comforting hate groups while pretending not to. He would turn neighbors against neighbors. He would say things and then say different things making it difficult to know what he really stands for and impossible to predict what he would do if put in control. He would exploit people’s fears and uncertainties. He would appeal to religion and convince the most religious to support him despite his words and deeds. And he might find that the most religious are the easiest to dupe. Don’t be duped.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-07-07 12:17

    Ironic indeed, Don. So how does your literary/historical nitpicking challenge Adelstein’s call to conscience for Republicans to repudiate Trump?

  8. Rorschach 2016-07-07 12:30

    If Trump were elected, how long would it take for members of his cabinet to invoke section 4 of the 25th Amendment and declare Trump mentally unfit to serve – installing the VP as acting President and causing a constitutional crisis? Not long, is my guess.

  9. Dicta 2016-07-07 13:11

    Republican here. Never Trump. Ever. Nobody curr, though.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-07-07 17:18

    Ror, let’s spare the country that constitutional test. Dicta, we appreciate your non-vote in that direction. Now, can we get the South Dakota RNC delegation to heed that call?

  11. Jana 2016-07-08 12:50

    If GOP delegates are looking for a way to not back Trump. Tell him “No tax returns…no vote”

  12. Steven Parsons 2016-07-08 12:52

    If the devil took form you would see….Hillary Clinton.

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