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Thune Provokes Trumpist Retaliation

Senator John Thune may be catching some of the retaliation Donald Trump is urging his supporters to wreak on the “self-righteous hypocrites” among GOP leaders (“leadership”, Trump puts in mock quotes) who have called on the Republican nominee to withdraw from the Presidential race.

On his Facebook page Saturday, Thune posted a pleasant video showing him shaking hands at the USD Dakota Days parade (and running to catch up with his parade team, showing me my own NSU Gypsy Days Main Street jog is not unusual for a hard-working candidate). Out of 310 click responses (as of my check at 08:10 CDT), he has so far drawn nine “Angry” faces. The comment section has lit up with Trump flames. Many of those comments come from out of state. They are interspersed with some support for Thune’s repudiation of Trump. Here’s a sampling so far:

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Various commenters accuse Thune of being a coward, a “disgrace to liberty,” a “traitor,” a “pansy,” “insane,” a “RINO,” and a “Sunshine Patriot.” Some accuse Thune of taking money from the Clintons, “allowing the left to force us into a couple decades of darkness,”. Some vow to never vote for or donate to Thune again. Very few of the anti-Thune comments revolve around defending Donald Trump as qualified for the Presidency; most of the Thune-hate burbles up from Clinton-hate, plus an appalling dash of anti-Semitism floated by a commenter flying a Confederate traitor flag (yes, Hillary Clinton, you may call that Trumpist “deplorable”).

On the other hand, Thune also gets urgings to run for President (with Condoleezza Rice as VP), thanks for leading and doing the right thing, and a vote of confidence from a guy who met Thune on the way to the john at the State Fair.

And as far as I can see, none of the Trumpist Thune bashers who vow to see Thune removed from office express explicit support for his Democratic challenger, Jay Williams. But the Trumpy-grumps offer an interesting challenge to Williams. Are the out-of-staters swarming Thune’s Facebook page willing to put their money where their mouth is and send Williams money to oust Thune? Are the registered South Dakota voters in the discussion willing to vote for the enemy of their enemy and encourage their friends to do the same?

Recognizing that Trump backers act mostly on emotion, not reason, I would suggest Williams doesn’t have to worry about formulating a strategy to pick up these anti-Thune Trumpists. Williams certainly won’t win over any Trump supporters with his own consistent record of moral outrage over Thune’s earlier endorsement of Trump. Williams’s best path is to press his own critique of Thune, remind voters that Thune only turned against Trump when it was practically too late to do anything about him, and enjoy the natural depression of the Republican vote as casual Republicans stay home and as rabid Trumpists check the Donald but skip the U.S. Senate line.


  1. mike from iowa 2016-10-10

    A stopped clock is right twice a day. 2X more times being right than Marlboro Barbie. Plus a stopped clock doesn’t hem and haw with its decision to be right. That is decisiveness, something sorely lacking in MB.

    On the down side, the clock probably can’t shoot baskets.

  2. Craig 2016-10-10

    Facebook hasn’t made the citizens any less intelligent, but Facebook comments most certainly have put the idiocy on display.

    Is there any doubt as to why someone like Donald Trump is STILL polling somewhere near 43% of the popular vote when you have people with these opinions out there?

  3. Super Sweet 2016-10-10

    Good to see Team Thune in Jack Rabbit blue at Dakota Days :)

  4. grudznick 2016-10-10

    This makes me wonder. If Mr. H gets into the legislatures, would Mr. Thune consider racing him in a foot race for charity.

  5. chris 2016-10-10

    It should be quite painless now for real Thune supporters in South Dakota to vote for Hillary. George H.W. Bush has endorsed her. Thune doesn’t need any of these Trump die-hards corroding his future prospects. The Trump voters have already served their useful purpose here in past elections.

  6. Roger Cornelius 2016-10-10

    Today Speaker Paul Ryan cancelled all future campaign events for Trump and instead will concentrate on congressional races in an effort to retain the House.
    Trump wasn’t really clear on how he would retaliate against republican deflections which leads me to believe that he can no longer afford to make donations to them.
    As Trump continues to spiral out of control there doesn’t seem to be much he can do to retaliate.
    The historic defections of republican leadership this late in the campaign has the republican down ticket campaigns gravely concerned, as noted by Paul Ryan todays defection.
    It is more like the republicans have retaliated against Trump and he can’t do anything about it.

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-10

    Good point, Roger! Just how would Trump “retaliate”? He has no organization of his own. He stinks at nuts-and-bolts retail politicking and fundraising. He just makes celebrity speeches. What does he plan to do: fly to South Dakota and tell people John Thune stinks? (Please, Donald, please, do it!)

  8. Greg 2016-10-11

    Donors, K Street and lobbyists need politicians. Politicians need donors, K Street and lobbyists.
    It has become and incestuous relationship where citizens of this country are only here to; a) funnel more tax dollars to DC and b) elect a DC insider (whether it be a R or D).

    Trump is the only presidential candidate that might change the whole dynamic in DC, and it would appear from GOP leadership that they might prefer to lose rather than deal with a Trump presidency.

  9. Donald Pay 2016-10-11

    One issue that Thune and Williams need to be asked about is the borehole project and the potential of the rebid of the project to target South Dakota. I posted elsewhere in Dakota Free Press the following:

    According to the linked article, there are five applicants for the rebid of the borehole project. We don’t know whether South Dakota is one of them yet, but we know there is one in Quay County, New Mexico.

    I suspect we will hear something about South Dakota’s application after Senator Thune doesn’t have to answer any questions about it during the campaign. Maybe Thune needs to be asked about his past and present positions on nuclear waste matters.

  10. Darin Larson 2016-10-11

    Greg, I raised the question months ago about whether Republicans would truly rather have Clinton win because she would unite their party and Trump would destroy it. As one commentator said, Trump is going to go out like a suicide bomber–he is going to try to take everyone with him.

    The notion that Trump would change anything in Washington is a joke. Putting the inmates in charge of the insane asylum would be a big change, but not the type of change that a sane world needs. Trump’s only goal is to enrich himself and build his brand.

  11. jerry 2016-10-11

    Mr. Pay, great point. You know who I miss is Tom Daschle as I believe he would have put the brakes on this South Dakota idea before it formulated. I bring him up for another reason. Today, I got my Agent Orange Newsletter. Had it not been for the great work that Senator Daschle did for veterans exposed to this poison, it would have never passed. We lost Senator Daschle to a light weight replacement that promised an end to the gridlock his party invented. Here we are today with Thune in the senate that is so full of gridlock they cannot even pass a bill to kill a killer mosquito. Pretty sad state of affairs from our state’s biggest obstructionist.

  12. Greg 2016-10-12

    The enemy of your enemy is your friend isn’t that how it goes?

    I wonder if its Hillary’s public or private position that gives you great confidence in her?
    I will give you democrats credit, Bernie got the shaft and you all have coalesced around Hillary with no apprehension. Getting republicans to back a single candidate is like herding cats.

    I can’t wait until they make College Affordable again like they did to Health Care.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-10-12

    Trump is everyone’s enemy, Greg. He seeks the Presidency out of bruised ego, not out of a desire to serve. No good can come for any party with his election.

    Trump’s supporters need to decide just how serious they are in turning on Thune. Do they really want to defeat a Republican Senator just to boost an egomaniac who will give them a brief emotional high that will last until the next commercial break but who ultimately will ignore them and simply bathe himself in gold coins in a White House bathtub and laugh at the idiots who sent him there?

    Greg, I can’t speak to private positions… at least not until the pro-Trump Russians trying to undermine our country release the conversations they recorded from the bugs in her New York house. But Clinton’s record of public service, along with her public positions, which are the only ones we can verify and thus the only ones that matter, tell me that she moves us closer to my policy priorities than the GOP will—not as close as Bernie would, but still in the right direction.

    Don’t misstate my position: I moved on from Bernie to Hillary with plenty of apprehension.

    And please, don’t misstate history. You Republicans have been the party unity people for a long time, while we Dems keep fracturing and fighting. Don’t let the Trump aberration cloud your historical view.

    And note that Thune and Daugaard both haven’t really de-coalesced away from Trump. Evidenlty the heat got to Thune, as he has revealed he lacks the courage to back his call for Trump’s withdrawal with a threat not to vote for the GOP electors.

  14. mike from iowa 2016-10-13

    How is anyone going to know if Thune does or does not vote for Donnie Drumpf**k?

    Maybe some Drumpf jackbooted thug marches Thune into the voting booth and watches him vote.

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