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Branstner Plays Trump with Willful Disregard for Facts

It's not my camera—the lighting was that bad at the Ramkota, as Branstner spoke from the shadows to ensure we could all see his slides.
It’s not my camera—the lighting was that bad at the Ramkota, as Branstner spoke from the shadows to ensure we could all see his slides.

It will take several shovel-loads to dispose of the waste dropped on Aberdeen last night by anti-immigrant Sharia law paranoia-stoker Ron Branstner. I overdignify his rage-peddling with my digging. Understanding this no-win situation, I offer my first scoop, establishing that Branstner opened with a lie.

Branstner opened his literally shadowy presentation with the declaration that “Everything I say tonight is factual” and that the entire press “can’t dispute any of this evidence.” Toward the end of his program, he had read aloud two of my own texts, one a blog post from February 24, 2015, the other a District 3 Senate campaign Facebook page post from July 21, 2016.

Branstner said that my February 2015 blog post on Aberdeen’s efforts to recruit immigrants to fill its workforce needs showed that Aberdeen Development Corporation CEO Mike Bockorny is a racist. Far from factual, that is character assassination relying on Branstner’s word games and willful failure to understand the demographic realities behind South Dakota’s workforce shortage.

Branstner implied that my use of the word integrating in that blog post instead of assimilating shows I’m collaborating with President Barack Obama’s New Americans Task Force. That’s not factual; that’s asinine.

Branstner then turned to my July 2016 comment about my commitment as District 3’s next Senator to voting rights:

Voter ID laws are one example of how Republicans try to make it harder to vote. We should make it easier, not harder, for all Americans to exercise their right to vote. Luckily, South Dakota allows voters to skip the ID and sign an affidavit to vote. In the Legislature, I will protect that option and your right to vote [Cory Allen Heideberger, campaign Facebook post, 2016.07.21].

From that exact text, Ron Branstner said, in front of a hundred-some of my fellow Aberdonians that I am urging people to violate the law.

That’s not factual; that’s darn near slander. Skipping the ID and signing an affidavit to vote is allowed by South Dakota Codified Law 12-18-6.2.

Ron Branstner claimed everything he said last night was factual. The three statements I identify above that he made last night are not factual.

But when Donald Trump can turn his chronic lying into a political coup, why not tour the Midwest to elicit donations with your flim-flammery? The people putting money in a basket for your expenses don’t care if you lie once or a hundred times—they just need someone to say it’s o.k. to fear and it’s o.k. to hate.

But it’s not o.k. to call lies facts.


  1. Darin Larson 2016-08-12 08:24

    We would all be better off if guys like this stayed in the shadows. But Trump’s national example has given cover for hate filled imitators to appear on the local scene.

  2. jerry 2016-08-12 08:51

    A good picture of the republican base voters for Thune, NOem and the republican legislature. If you were to take the average sense of decency in the whole room, you probably would find it to be about the same as a cockroach. Turn the lights on them folks and lets change the direction of the state.

  3. mike from iowa 2016-08-12 09:29

    Dave (whoever he is) nailed it and it bears repeating- Dave 2016-08-08 at 16:08
    i dont know…. anytime someone tells me that they will be providing “factual” information makes me think they will be selling Amway or requesting money for a ponzi scheme.

    Take a well deserved bow (and forgive my re-using your comment w/o permission).

  4. David Newquist 2016-08-12 09:37

    None of the accounts of this meeting, before and after, mention any names connected with this America First, Task Force. We need names.

  5. Kris 2016-08-12 10:40

    [Kris clutters the comment section with more feigned illiteracy. Kris, supply me with a valid e-mail address—your hotmail address is not working—so we can talk in private.]

  6. Dicta 2016-08-12 10:44

    Does this guy ever clearly state a goal for the Aberdeen community as it pertains to these meetings? What exactly is his end game? Some sort of legislation?

  7. Roger Cornelius 2016-08-12 12:51

    With barf bag in hand, I traveled to Pat Powers Dump Site to see what if anything he had to.
    First of all he called Cory “an uninvited guest”, oddly this event was billed as open to the public.
    Next Powers attempts to give Cory advice on how to run a campaign, UGH!
    I made a comment that won’t likely be posted that Powers misses the mark and doesn’t have the capability to address the real issues of the debate.

  8. Owen 2016-08-12 13:22

    Powers is beating you up Cory

  9. Jon Boon McNutt 2016-08-12 13:34

    The Libertarian Party of South Dakota is proud of Cory for standing up for human rights in our state.
    Lies and misdirection should be highlighted and disproven from every source, including people like this speaker. His rhetoric is dangerous and reeks of personal issues regarding race and national origin.

    Thank you Cory, for being (seemingly) the only voice of reason in that crowd.

  10. Dicta 2016-08-12 14:22

    Powers stated: “People are entitled to their own opinions.” True, they are. They aren’t entitled to their own facts. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Powers conflates the two. All that said, I think this likely hurts you more than it helps you, Cory. I don’t know what victory would have looked like for you in that audience.

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-13 09:01

    Dicta, Ron’s specific recommendations for Aberdeen were to oust Mayor Mike Levsen, get rid EcDev chief Mike Bockorny, and stop any effort to make Aberdeen a primary refugee resettlement site. His endgame appears to include completely discrediting Lutheran Social Services as a dupe of big ag/meat-packing corporations and the Muslim-run United Nations. As side notes, he advocated against the election of Hillary Clinton and me.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-13 09:02

    Dicta, I wasn’t seeking “victory.” I was trying to offer a response to a misrepresentation of my words, which Ron was using to call Mike Bockorny a racist.

  13. Moses11 2016-08-13 15:03

    Powers wont come here he cant debate you,

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-13 20:19

    Mose, Powers has never come here, not because he can’t debate me (though you’re right), but because he’s not really interested in discussion. Like the people at Ron’s roadshow, he doesn’t want discourse; he wants his (and his sponsors’) prejudices reaffirmed, and he becomes very testy when anyone rises with a genuine, factual counterpoint.

  15. Eric Engles 2016-08-13 21:32

    TRUMP 2016 … Don’t forget to vote for what is best for the U.S.A.

  16. Eric Engles 2016-08-13 21:34

    And when the refugees do the crime, don’t forget they WILL do the time!

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-14 08:35

    Eric, I agree that anyone who does a crime should do some time. But I find reprehensible Ron’s suggestion that an entire class of people are criminals. Immigration makes our community stronger.

  18. Jenny 2016-08-14 09:08

    My fellow dems, don’t let any GOP that is anti-immigrant try to tell you they are prolife.

  19. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-14 09:36

    I didn’t feel a lot of love of life in that room, Jenny. I didn’t hear any sentiment that All Live Matter.

  20. grudznick 2016-08-14 12:01

    That fellow in the shorts seemed to want a piece of you, Mr. H. You were wise to ignore him and be the bigger man. You were large.

  21. Darin Larson 2016-08-14 15:02

    I thought this article from the New Yorker was instructive as it relates to fertile ground for Branstner and Trump’s message:

    “This analysis provides clear evidence that those who view Trump favorably are disproportionately living in racially and culturally isolated zip codes and commuting zones. Holding other factors constant, support for Trump is highly elevated in areas with few college graduates, far from the Mexican border, and in neighborhoods that stand out within the commuting zone for being white, segregated enclaves, with little exposure to blacks, Asians, and Hispanics.”

    “In other words, race is important. Rothwell, discussing what is known to social scientists as “contact theory,” essentially argues that living in overwhelmingly white enclaves increases one’s chances of being a racist, as “Limited interactions with racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, and college graduates may contribute to prejudicial stereotypes, political and cultural misunderstandings, and a general fear of rejection and not belonging.”

  22. mikeyc, that's me! 2016-08-14 16:38

    Being a Democrat in South Dakota is like being a black man in the 50’s. You’re not welcome everywhere.

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-15 12:13

    Grudz, anyone spoiling for “a piece” of me has already lost the discussion and will get no satisfaction.

    MikeyC, there is some comparison, although I’m keenly aware that a black man in the 1950s had it far worse. A black man or an Indian man in South Dakota even today just has to show his face to get unwelcomed. I generally don’t catch heck until I open my mouth. ;-)

  24. mikeyc, that's me! 2016-08-15 15:50

    Is the SOB shouter (Hoffman), the one who is paying Branstner to speak at this debacle?
    He sure acts like he has some skin in the game.

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-15 17:33

    MikeyC, I have no idea. AF,TF continues to hide its membership and funding.

    But AF,TF does confirm to day that Usama Dakdok is coming to Aberdeen on October 18. I think that will be a good day for me to campaign around town, since all the anti-refugee radicals won’t be at home.

  26. mikeyc, that's me! 2016-08-15 17:41

    Geez, Cory. You’re a glutton for punishment. I get my fill of that crap just watching Trump on the nightly news.

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-15 17:48

    I agree: once you’ve heard Ron, you don’t need to hear Usama. You’ll just hear more of the same crap that you can get from Trump in any random selection of his Tweets. Bringing Usama to town won’t bring any new information or insight. It will simply give Branstner’s crowd another fix of their rhetorical/psychological drugs of choice: fear, hate, and selfish faux patriotism.

  28. mike from iowa 2016-08-15 18:41

    Sorry Master, but Screwdy Rudy has brain rot just like Drumpf and that California guy.

    As Rudy Giuliani, the former Mayor of NYC, was warming up the crowd before Trump gave his anti-ISIS speech today, he said radical Islam never successfully perpetrated a terrorist attack on US soil until President Obama and Hillary Clinton took office.

    Say, what?

    Rudy said, “Under those eight years before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States.”

    9-11 didn’t happen folks.

  29. grudznick 2016-08-15 18:41

    In case there is some confusion among some of you libbies, grudznick is not a member of AF,TF nor an approver of the group/club/cult activities promoted by such a group, if it really exists and is not a fake front for something more heinous. I just want to be clear about that up front since I see this topic is going to linger.

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