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New DFP Poll: Amendment V!

Plus: Herseth Sandlin versus Huether in November 2018?

Multiple conversations this weekend found my interlocutors asking me whether voters will approve Amendment V, the open non-partisan primary proposal. Beats me—let’s ask you, the smartest blog readers in South Dakota!

The latest Dakota Free Press poll asks a simple question: “Do you support Amendment V, for open non-partisan primaries?” Click your answer in the near-right sidebar. I opened the poll Sunday morning; I’ll take votes until breakfast time Wednesday, when we’ll discuss the results and try to extrapolate your responses to the general South Dakota electorate. (Aaron! Send me some formulas on non-probability polling!)

As you mull your position, consider these two aspects of how Amendment V could alter our election process.

Last Tuesday, Sioux Falls mayor Mike Huether used the words “independent” and “Libatarian” (that’s his exact and regular pronunciation) a lot before choking up and shaking over the prospect of no longer being mayor. Mayor Huether then said he’d love to be President and Governor. Scott Ehrisman speculates that Huether could be trial-ballooning an independent run for Governor in 2018 to avoid a bruising Democratic primary. But if Amendment V passes, Huether wouldn’t avoid having to go head-to-head with Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Billie Sutton, or Joe Lowe. Instead of a free pass to the general, he’d have to fight other Democrats, the aspiring Republicans (G. Mark Mickelson, Marty Jackley, Kristi Noem… and maybe Shantel Krebs?), and any indies, Libertarians, and Constitutionalizers, all on one big, fun June ballot that everyone would get to vote on.

Of course, Huether wouldn’t have to win that primary; he’d just have to place at least second. That brings up another interesting possibility. Suppose the GOP fields four candidates. Suppose the Dems field just one, the biggest gun possible, Herseth Sandlin. Suppose Huether runs indy (the new Amendment V nonpartisan ballot won’t say “indy,” but suppose he focuses on those voters). If the four GOP candidates fight a hard battle and split their base while SHS and Huether split the rest of the electorate, the two candidates receiving the highest primary vote and advancing to the general could be Herseth Sandlin and Huether.

While you contemplate that more-possible-than-you-think outcome, note that the gubernatorial candidates would not have the primary field to themselves. Amendment V applies the open nonpartisan primary to “all federal, state and county elective offices except for the election of President and Vice President of the United States.” Right now, candidates for six state offices—Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, Auditor, Public Utilities Commissioner, and Commissioner of School and Public Lands—are nominated by their party conventions in the summer, after the primary. Amendment V would require candidates for those offices to collect signatures, file nominating petitions, and run in the primary. Amendment V doesn’t specify how many signatures an Attorney General candidate would have to collect to make the primary ballot; it just says, “The signature requirements established shall be based on the total votes cast for that office in the previous general election and shall be the same for all candidates for that office, regardless of party affiliation or lack of party affiliation.” That clause alone leaves the door open for different signature requirements for different statewide offices. It would be up to the Legislature to decide if it wants AG and SOS candidates to collect the same number of signatures as gubernatorial candidates or set the threshold lower for those less well-known offices.

Whatever the signature requirements, Amendment V certainly creates more work for candidates who right now can simply roll into convention and ask, “Is this seat taken?” Adding these six offices to the primary process also creates more work for the Secretary of State, who would have several more statewide petitions to validate in March, before the primary. But hey, that’s why we pay the Secretary of State the big bucks, right? (Secretary Krebs gets $89,700.04, equal to Auditor, Treasurer, and SPL Commish. AG Jackley gets $112,096.28; PUC members Nelson, Hanson, and Fiegen each get $104,611.95.)

A Huether/Herseth Sandlin general election fight? More statewide candidates petitioning? Consider those implications, and vote in the DFP Amendment V poll today!


  1. Chris S. 2016-08-29 06:59

    On the other hand, Eric Loomis at Lawyers, Guns, & Money makes a compelling argument for eliminating “top two,” a.k.a. “jungle” primaries in states where they now exist. Personally, I’m reminded of how we were saddled with the Accidental Governor, Mike Rounds, in the equivalent of a jungle primary amongst Republicans.

  2. grudznick 2016-08-29 07:05

    This V would be the final nail in the coffin of the Democrat party. The Republicans would take first, second, and third in every election. No libbie would stand a Slick Rick chance to ever be elected. I think he’s trying to pull a Vindictive joke on you fellows.

  3. Darin Larson 2016-08-29 07:08

    Cory, you are going to skew the poll results with your talk of a Heuther versus Herseth Sandlin general election if V passes. Some Republicans already think this is a Democratic conspiracy to take back the state. The horror! :)

  4. Darin Larson 2016-08-29 07:29

    Chris S., that is an interesting and compelling point. I wonder if the parties will adapt and stage their own primaries or caucuses to weed their field down. This wouldn’t stop jungle primary concerns entirely because anyone could still run in the primary if they get sufficient signatures, but there may be party support (i.e. money, peer pressure, etc) to vote for the pre-primary winners. Or could the party sanction or kick out members who don’t abide by the results of a pre-primary election?

  5. Rorschach 2016-08-29 08:07

    You listened to 39:14 of Mike Huether on the Belfrage show? Really?

    There is no chance you would ever see Mike Huether and Stephanie both come through a jungle primary as the top 2. If we’re lucky we would get 1 Democrat through a jungle primary in every race. But has anyone noticed that Republicans are pulling 60, 70, 80% in general elections in SD? grudz is probably right. This amendment will mean that Democrats are rarely on the ballot for big races in November.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-29 08:53

    Ror, I skipped ahead to the relevant section.

    I disagree with your and Grudz’s conclusion. Consider the current breakdown:

    GOP: 46.44%
    Dem: 31.89%
    Other: 21.76%

    I can run lots of scenarios, but if four GOP nominees split GOP voters evenly, and if two Dems split their voters evenly, and if the indies split evenly among the six, the two Dems come out on top with about 20% each, while the Republicans sink to 15% each.

    For two Republicans to emerge as the top two in such a field, we’d need to see two Republicans dominate among their electorate and among independents.

    I’m not saying a Huether/SHS general is the most likely outcome. I’m saying it’s far from impossible.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-29 09:11

    Chris, far from a compelling argument, Loomis quotes Kos to cite one example, akin to the Huether/SHS scenario I postulate. Two Republicans and three Democrats ran for Washington State Treasurer. The two Republicans came out on top, even though the three Dems beat the two GOP 52–48.

    But therein lies the basic thesis of Amendment V and, I would suggest, a number of voters: we vote for a person, not a party. The Loomis/Kos thesis seems to be that we should offer a ballot that just lists party and not name. The Kos article says it’s “just terrible for democracy” that “voters have repeatedly been denied the opportunity to vote for the party of their choice,” but that’s a false reading of what’s really happening. That’s like griping that I don’t get to vote for Bernie in November, even though I got to vote for him in June.

    Under V, more people get a chance to vote for both the party of their choice and the candidate of their choice. Under V, everyone gets to vote twice. Under V, even if one party fails to offer any candidates, everyone still gets to vote at least once. Without V, in the status quo, if one party fails to offer candidates, some people don’t get to vote at all. Under each system, everyone gets to vote for the party of his or her choice at least once; it’s just that, under V, that chance may come in June instead of November.

    The problem of ego-driven candidates splitting the ticket and costing one party the win is not unique to V. Right now, ego-driven Huether could choose to run as an independent, split the Democratic and independent vote in November, and help Mickelson or Krebs win the governor’s chair. Even if Huether runs as a Democrat, he could either damage SHS in the primary and play sour grapes all fall or he could win the primary and depress turnout among the Democratic base, either of which could help the GOP win.

    Neither the closed primary nor the open primary guarantees party unity or party victory. V does not uniquely disadvantage one party. V does give more people more opportunities to vote.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-29 11:10

    Coyote, Amendment guarantees no such anti-majoritarian result. It allows the majority to decide both the primary and the general. The current primary system in South Dakota allows each party to advance a nominee on a meager 35% plurality. An independent gets on the ballot with signatures from a mere 1% of those who voted in the last gubernatorial election. The current general election system allows election by plurality.

    Amendment V guarantees that the winner of the general is elected by majority vote. That sounds majoritarian to me.

    Is Amendment V any more “asinine” than the current system, which allows Donald Trump to secure the GOP nomination with only 42% of the popular vote accumulated by the beginning of May, when his last two challengers, Cruz and Kasich, dropped out?

  9. Don Coyote 2016-08-29 12:42

    @cah: “… which allows Donald Trump to secure the GOP nomination with only 42% of the popular vote accumulated by the beginning of May….”

    Except the total popular vote in the state primaries is about as relevant as it is in the national elections. Just as it takes a majority of the electoral college and not the popular vote to elect a President, it takes a majority of convention delegates to nominate a candidate. As long as there are primaries with a crowded field e. g. the Republicans and delegates selected by caucus this possibility more fits the norm rather than the exception.

    Just as blanket primaries have been declared unconstitutional in Washington and California because they violate the First Amendment rights of association, the jungle primaries accomplishes the same end except you have to hide the party affiliation of the candidates. So much for transparency at the ballot box. What we’ll face in future elections is not an honest debate on issues/policy but elections more resembling student council elections.

  10. David Bergan 2016-08-29 13:10

    There are lots of possible ways to do an election. The problem is that anything new that we try will be compared to the old system. Flawed as it is, the old system elects politicians, and the new system will elect some different ones. Anyone who likes the old-system politicians better than the (hypothetical) new-system politicians will gripe that the new system is flawed. This is human nature. We assess outcomes, then rationalize in our favor. “People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.”

    That said, there are ways for groups to make better decisions. Here are some principles:

    1) Better decisions are made when a group is instructed to vote to eliminate undesirable choices, rather than electing the desirable one

    2) Better decisions are made when you have more rounds of voting (elimination)

    3) Better decisions are made when the voter can convey more information (e.g., instead of just voting “for” of one politician out of 17, they could vote “for” one and “against” another, or rank all 17 candidates in order of preference, or give each candidate a score between 0-100)

    4) Better decisions are made when all stakeholders participate (i.e., increase voter turnout)

    5) Better decisions are made when all stakeholders are properly informed (i.e., turn off facebook; stop PACs from airing misleading ads… like Amendment U being a “strict” rate cap)

    6) Better decisions are made when all stakeholders are together in the same process, rather than breaking into factions, departments, or parties, where each sub-group puts forward candidates from their wings

    Amendment V only addresses point 6.

    Kind regards,

  11. Dicta 2016-08-29 13:54

    “What we’ll face in future elections is not an honest debate on issues/policy but elections more resembling student council elections.”

    Wait, so your argument is that eliminating the R or D next to a candidate’s name on the ballot and forcing voters and candidates to discuss their policies is LESS likely to make them debate policy? Funny, I’ve noticed that R and D replacing articulated policy positions for many candidates for a number of years. Take the republican nominee for president, for example. We don’t know what he plans on doing, but we’re pretty sure he’s vaguely nodding at some supposed principles the GOP has held dear for quite a while. Or maybe not. BUT THAT R NEXT TO HIS NAME, AMIRITE!?!?!?

  12. Craig 2016-08-29 14:03

    I’m curious – could a party game the system by having a few false flag candidates run under the banner of the opposing party?

    Scenerio – there are three Republicans running for governor and only two declared Democrats. The GOP knows if they are all dumped into a pool, the Dems are likely to split their support between the Democrats (even if the little “D” isn’t next to their name on the ballot), while the Republicans could split amongst the three Republican candidates leaving the two Democrats earning the number 1 and number 2 spots and thus battling it out in the general election.

    So the GOP decides to run three shell candidates as pseudo-Democrats. The ballot might not tell us what party they are, but targeted mailings and billboards will ensure those names are seen as Democrats. They will target their marketing to more progressive ideas and do what they can to capture some of those voters. So now in the ballot booth, there are five names which have been associated as Democrats and only two associated with the GOP. So Republicans split their vote amongst two candidates while Dems split theirs amongst five. The end result is a general election between the two establishment Republicans.

    [feel free to swap the two parties in the scenario above – the actual parties doesn’t matter]

    Perhaps this isn’t likely to occur, but is there a possibility someone will find a clever way to manipulate the voters? Or are we to assume the voters aren’t that naïve and will see the candidates for what they are?

  13. Craig 2016-08-29 14:07

    I messed up my numbers in the third paragraph of my prior comment – should have been three GOP candidates and five Dem candidates, but you get the idea. I realize this is an over-simplification but I wonder if we will see more candidates who have less interest in winning and more interest in fracturing the vote.

  14. Roger Elgersma 2016-08-29 14:26

    Jungle primaries work better in a local situation where the average person has a chance of knowing the person and the candidate has a chance of knocking on enough doors to actually meet a decent percentage of the people. Actually Huether was one of eleven candidates running the first time he became mayor and won a runoff with Staggers who had die hard support but enough negative that he would never win a one on one campaign.
    To many surprises come in to open of a situation when most people do not know the candidates. I think that in statewide elections that when you do not know a whole list of people very well it does help to know which party endorses them because to win a party nomination includes more of a vetting process than just getting a small group of people that you know to sign a petition. I do believe that we should keep the process of getting on the ballot by petition because someone might not fit well in a particular party if the current party leaders have a personality conflict with a person at a particular time. But even that includes the point that the person might not work together with people well and in a democracy we do not need dictators, we need people who can work with others even though they do not agree on all issues.

  15. John 2016-08-29 14:30

    Craig, you have figured it out… This is exactly what is coming as it does happen in other states….

    Go read about the US Senate race in California there are like 7 Democrats and 13 Republicans and like 15 others…it is crazy…around 35 candidates to muddy the waters and do exactly what you said game the system.

    But oh wait nobody is telling you that….V is a recipe for chaos…So in California the Dems have guaranteed victory but 2 million Republicans have no one to vote for…so do you think they will pick the more progressive candidate or the moderate…I am think they would put there votes behind the moderate…whereas in CA normally the progressive could probably win…..

    Why any Democrat is for this is beyond me…..Ideas win elections not trickery like this…Daschle could win, so could Johnson, Stephanie did…..just need to find the right candidates, lately they have been lackluster at best…..NO ON V!

  16. drey samuelson 2016-08-30 01:55

    Amendment V replicates and expands upon the nonpartisan part of a ballot initiative that Nebraska voters approved in 1934, an initiative that was passed by the determined and passionate urging of progressive Republican (later Independent) U.S. Senator George Norris. Norris’ initiative–which was fiercely opposed by BOTH political parties as well as the Omaha World Herald–was approved by the voters by a stunning 60%-40% majority.

    In addition to changing the form of the Legislature to a one-chamber body (which the authors of Amendment V didn’t choose to replicate), Norris initiative accomplished two key goals:

    1. It allowed thousands of Independent voters to fully take part in primary elections, elections that their taxes paid to administer.

    2. It changed the Nebraska Legislature from a body governed entirely by legislators whose political party was in the majority–and where minority party members were largely irrelevant–to a totally nonpartisan body where formal partisan divisions disappeared, and all legislators were on equal footing. No longer would leadership positions (including committee chairmanships) be closed off to legislators in the minority party; no longer would public policy be made behind closed partisan doors, as partisan caucuses ceased to exist; and no longer would legislators fear retribution from party leaders for voting against their demands, as legislative party leadership positions ceased to exist.

    If you’re curious, a really excellent report on the effect of Norris’ initiative is here:

    But what matters most is what the citizens of the state think, and the truth is that a very strong majority of Nebraskans favor their nonpartisan legislature, as a 2015 poll (done by GOP firm, Terrance and Associates) showed that it was approved by a striking 62%-26% majority. Contrast that with the lukewarm results of a similar question (asked by Public Policy Polling in January, 2016) regarding how South Dakotans viewed their partisan Legislature: 36% approval, 35% disapproval.

    Thankfully, in 2015, 40,000 South Dakotans signed initiative petitions to put Amendment V on our November general election ballot, so we’ll have a chance to change and substantially improve the political dynamic of our state. I hope the readers of Dakota Free Press vote for Amendment V in Cory’s poll.

  17. grudznick 2016-08-30 07:23

    “V” stands for Victory for Republicans. Plus, it’s fun to say “jungle primary.”

  18. drey samuelson 2016-08-30 08:43

    Grudz: I don’t believe anyone who knew me would confuse me with a Republican, but Amendment V isn’t at all likely going to make radical changes in the partisan make-up of the SD Legislature, which currently is 80% Republican/20% Democrat. The Nebraska Legislature, which has had the benefit of being a nonpartisan body since 1936, is 75% Republican/25% Democrat. Amendment V is designed not for partisan advantage but to, as I wrote above, ensure that 1) registered Independents are no longer treated as second class citizens, and 2) that our Legislature is no longer governed by political parties, but rather by the judgment of individual legislators, taking their direction from voters, not their party chairman.

  19. Josh Waltjer 2016-08-30 10:39

    I am going to agree with Drey on this issue and argue that much of the dialogue surrounding Amendment V is missing the mark. Interpreting Amendment V as a political ploy by one party or another to advance their agenda in the state cannot be further from the truth. This Amendment is simply about allowing full participation in our democratic process and reflecting voter’s growing frustration with both political machines in the state and country.

    At the state Democratic Convention this year, Rick Weiland delivered what I believe to be an eye-opening speech about the desire to work together and do what’s best for people, not a private organization. At the party convention-which usually devolves into a weekend of partisan attacks on the “evil” rival party and unwarranted proclamations that “this is the year we take a supermajority!”-Rick had the level-headedness to say he doesn’t really care if there is a Democratic revival in South Dakota, and people need to ask themselves what they value more-winning for a private Party or doing what is best for people.

    Similarly, many moderate Republicans bemoan the radicalization of their party and the dangers that have come with one-party dominance in our legislature. The introduction of bathroom bills that threaten the tourism industry and make our state a laughing stock, aggressive attacks on responsible education spending, and the recurring attempts to ban abortions against voters’ will are all issues that business-minded, moderate Republicans cannot stand to identify with. They are done trying to re-create a Republican party that they can be proud of. They are ready to work with Democrats and set aside rifts we have cultivated simply because of letters next to our names.

    Amendment V is not here to sneak power to one party or another. It is about enabling 115,000 Independents in our state to actually participate in democracy, forcing elected officials to do what is best for people, not a party, and fighting against a partisan climate that is slowly eroding America’s faith in the political process.

  20. Joe 2016-08-30 11:32

    How can any fair minded South Dakotan be against letting all registered voters participate in the primary? It doesn’t make sense to let the fringe right and fringe left decide who will run and who gets to vote. If V passes, more South Dakotans will be voting and more moderate candidates will get elected.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-30 15:39

    Coyote, you evade my point. If you’re going to complain about anti-majoritarian methods of electing people, you should be raging against the status quo, in which, as you admit, convention delegates pick the nominees instead of a majority of the voters.

  22. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-30 15:45

    David, you underestimate V. It addresses your #6 directly, but it also opens the door for your #4—more stakeholders are likely to participate, because now candidates with no challengers from their own party still have to run and get out the vote in the primary to stay alive—and your #2—more elections will have two full rounds of voting, a primary to whittle the field down to two contenders and a general to serve as a runoff.

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-30 15:46

    Like Dicta, I find it incredible that V would somehow make elections more like student council races.

  24. David Bergan 2016-08-30 17:33

    “David, you underestimate V. It addresses your #6 directly, but it also opens the door for your #4—more stakeholders are likely to participate, because now candidates with no challengers from their own party still have to run and get out the vote in the primary to stay alive—and your #2—more elections will have two full rounds of voting, a primary to whittle the field down to two contenders and a general to serve as a runoff.”

    Hi Cory,

    I’ll agree that it should have a positive effect on #4. I’m curious, does anyone have actual before/after stats on voter turnout in jungle-primary states?

    You’re reaching for #2, though… we do already have primaries. (Some of us, anyway!)

    Anyway, I guess I didn’t state it in my earlier post, but even if it just has an effect on point 6, it’s still better than the status quo. I detest labels, generalizations, and stereotypes… and political party labeling caters to that lack of thinking. Opponents say that V is anti-transparency, but what about a party label tells you anything about the candidate? Nothing is stopping a liberal from registering as a Republican and getting a free 10-20% of the vote in an R-heavy district. Or vice versa if Stace Nelson lived in District 15. People are wondering about what games could be played by stacking the jungle primary with too many candidates of a certain party… but all of that takes a lot more coordination than someone gaming the status quo… an aspiring politician simply looking at his district and identifying with what would benefit him the most on election day.

    I don’t like the idea that the ballot indicates something that has sway with ignorant voters. If the ballot carries any information (other than the candidate’s name), why not let them choose it? Give them two words. “Conservative Lutheran” “Honest Businessman” “Guns, Babies” “YOLO bong”

    Or give them 140 characters. “I will defend voters, end corruption, and invest in public education at all levels.” “My opponent is a dope. Sad! Make South Dakota great again”

    Or don’t give them anything at all, which is what V does. Then ignorant votes will be distributed more-or-less randomly.

    On the blogs, almost all discussion about V is whether it’s good/bad for Republicans/Democrats. That’s the most discouraging for me. I hope the average South Dakota voter understands that it’s not about Rs and Ds. We want a process that gets the best people involved. And that isn’t measured by the number of R/D seats before and after V. It has to be measured by seeing our government function better, have less scandals, waste less money, and respond more quickly to citizens.

    Kind regards,

    PS Too bad V doesn’t also randomize the candidate name order on ballots… e.g. print half the ballots with Heidelberger on top and half with Novstrup on top. Then ignorant votes could be truly random.

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-31 09:24

    David, I agree that even if V addresses only one of your six criteria, it still improves on the status quo. Addressing the other five is up to the Legislature and to future voter initiatives.

    I also agree with what David and Josh say about looking beyond the interests of either party and focusing on the general welfare. Laws should not favor the interest of one political party over another or the interests of political parties over independent voters and fair elections.

  26. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-31 09:31

    Craig, on gaming the system: sure, creative people can find ways to exploit any election system. Recall 2014, when some people were suggested that Annette Bosworth was really a plant from Rounds or maybe Lederman and Arends to distract and divide the Stace Nelson vote and ensure Rounds won the primary.

    Amendment V mitigates the effectiveness of the gaming you propose by taking party labels off the ballot. Gamer/fakers planted by the GOP would have to run around actively campaigning as Democrats, saying Democratic things, reaching out to Democratic voters. An active Democratic Party leadership could stamp out such fake contenders pretty easily by conducting a pre-primary caucus and endorsing one “real” Democrat. The blogosphere would also work tirelessly to expose any fakers, because the blogosphere hates being tricked.

    But to that gaming possibility, I’ll offer the same response that I offered to Bosworth-as-Rounds-plant theorists: if I have a million dollars to invest in a campaign, I can get more return on my million by funding the candidate I support (buying ads, organizing GOTV, providing office space and phones and other resources) than I can by funding fake candidates to promulgate a long-shot fiction that could blow up in my face.

  27. Craig 2016-08-31 09:53

    Valid point Cory – perhaps in most cases the most obvious outcome is the most likely. Candidates who have sufficient power to convince others to purposefully lose on their behalf would appear to already be powerful enough to win an election on their own.

    This is why the rumors of Trump being a Clinton plant that we heard early in the primaries were so silly. Trump would never tarnish his brand by being labeled a “losing candidate”. The more obvious answer (that Trump has a massive ego) is much more realistic.

  28. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-31 10:24

    The simplest explanation is often correct, Craig. However, the rationality of focusing resources on a winning campaign instead of on dirty-trick decoys does not preclude the possibility that less rational campaigners wouldn’t resort to such tricks. Consider the payday lenders. They could focus all of their resources on a big “Defeat 21” campaign. However, with practically boundless resources (i.e., more millions to spend than any grassroots SD org will invest in any single ballot question), the payday lenders can unhitch strict rationality and fire everything: petition blockers, specious lawsuits, and a full decoy amendment to at least confuse the voters and offer a shot at writing protection for loan-sharking into the constitution.

    But I think a decoy candidate is far less likely. Let’s imagine your scenario in the context of a possible 2018 gubernatorial match-up. Suppose Shantel Krebs is looking to disrupt the Mickelson-Noem-Jackley field and win a spot in the general election. Suppose only SHS declares on the Dem side. Krebs might well find it better to fight the Democrat in the fall, hang the D around SHS’s neck, and take her chances on Republican advantage, a known quantity. Krebs may not know how to gauge her chances against any one of her fellow Republicans in a general election matchup. Even if she does, even if she can figure out that she would be strongest one on one against, say, Jackley, every dollar she spends propping up fake Dems to hurt SHS is a dollar she’s not spending knocking down Mickelson and Noem to get the GOP general-election challenger she wants.

    Any Krebs-backed fake Dem would have to work really hard to make a dent in SHS’s dominance among Dems if she’s the only real Dem in the fight. Even if Krebs can bring SHS down enough to affect her placing, that doesn’t guarantee that Krebs is placing first or second. Krebs may not know where she stands in the field and how an SHS drop improves her chances until the candidate field is set and we’re into the campaign. Krebs would have to set her game in motion before the petition deadline. She might get to May 1 and see from polling that she’s battling for #3 with SHS while Noem and Jackley are #1 and #2. At that point, Krebs is saddled with a fake Dem or two or aren’t adding value to her battle and who could get peeved and torpedo her campaign by revealing her dirty tricks if she changes focus to bombing the leaders and doesn’t keep sending the fakers money for their “campaigns”.

    The gaming strikes me as too complicated, with too little guaranteed result, for any conventional SD candidate. It’s like a 5K run: I can run back and forth to different runners in the pack and try to trip them or distract them with trash talk, or I can pour every bit of my energy into running as fast as I can.

  29. David Bergan 2016-08-31 11:30

    “The gaming strikes me as too complicated, with too little guaranteed result, for any conventional SD candidate.”

    Hi Cory,

    Yeah, that’s my take. Amendment V elections can be gamed, but so can status quo elections. And the status quo game (i.e. adopt the party label that gives you a 10-20% edge on election day) takes no coordination, no effort, and no monetary resources. Pull it off, and you’re elected. Sure you may get called a DINO or RINO, but you’re elected… and your true beliefs were monumentally non-transparent to the voters.

    I’m not hearing enough chatter about the devil we know.

    Kind regards,

  30. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-31 20:44

    Interesting point, David. I hear lots of complaints from Stace Nelson and his wing of the GOP about RINOs. I have rarely heard Democrats using the term DINO seriously, at least not in referring to a South Dakota candidate who adopts the D label just to get elected. (Does that happen in our few strong D districts, like District 1 or District 15?) Should the Stace Nelson wing of the GOP like Amendment V?

  31. David Bergan 2016-08-31 21:19

    “Should the Stace Nelson wing of the GOP like Amendment V?”

    Hi Cory,

    When you can’t adopt the R for a free 10% of the vote, it has 2 effects:

    1) Less motivation for a candidate to adopt the R if it doesn’t truly represent them. As far as I know of him, Stace should like that aspect.

    2) Legislators won their seats on their own merits, with no help from the R (or lack thereof). As far as I know of him, Stace should like that aspect, too.

    RINOs and DINOs go extinct.

    Kind regards,

  32. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-08-31 21:43

    Not extinct, perhaps—candidates can still adopt an advantageous party label in their public statements. They just don’t get that automatic 10% from the inattentive voters taking cues from labels on ballots.

  33. David Bergan 2016-09-01 09:09

    Hi Cory,

    No, I suppose not extinct. No true Scotsman accusations endure in schools, churches, family reunions, and anywhere else that labels exist. Humans be humans.

    Kind regards,

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