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IM22 Repeal Goes Over Poorly at Aberdeen Crackerbarrel

Senator Brock Greenfield, bracing for Aberdeen crackerbarrel, 2017.02.04.
Senator Brock Greenfield, bracing for Aberdeen crackerbarrel, 2017.02.04.

The single truest statement of today’s Aberdeen crackerbarrel came from Senator Brock Greenfield (R-2/Clark):

Every time someone’s made a comment today that’s anti-Legislature, it’s been cheered for.

During the crackerbarrel, Senator Greenfield, asserted that no one he’s talked to supports “Democracy Credits,” the public campaign financing portion of IM22. Aberdeen musician and teacher Joe Berns rose, said he supports Democracy Credits, and asked if the Legislature would let stand a voter-approved ballot measure establishing nothing but public campaign finance. Greenfield said to Berns, “Your voice is heard,” but that strangely passive construction, along with Greenfield’s subsequent non-answer, indicated that he himself did not want to hear that voice.

Greenfield’s northern neighbor, Senator Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen), offered his own rhetorical trick to win the Democracy Credits debate. Referring to his bill raising taxes to increase pay at community support providers and nursing facilities, Novstrup asked the audience how they would choose to spend millions of dollars, on Aspire or on politicians. Apparently stacked with logicians, the audience erupted in shouts of “False! False dilemma!” (shouts which I did not start but heartily joined). I suggested from the floor that we raise taxes like Novstrup does and do both.

From the non-logicians’ table, Brock’s mom Lana (Rep. Lana Greenfield, R-2/Doland) tried out the new Curd-Cronin electoral math, saying she justified her vote by the vote to repeal IM22 on her constituents. Rep. Greenfield said Hamlin and Clark counties voted against IM22. She noted that Spink and Brown counties voted for IM 22 but dismissed their totals by noting how many did not vote at all in those counties. She did not mention the abstainers in Hamlin or Clark as delegitimizing their vote, nor the basic fact of elections that abstentions count for nothing and are thus irrelevant in determining the outcome.

The lack of logic and listening from our Republican legislators explains the fuming distrust they heard from today’s Aberdeen crackerbarrel audience. Now let’s see if that mistrust will stick around to support ballot measures and new legislators in 2018.


  1. grudznick 2017-02-04 18:25

    Mr. Spenser who is a leader of the Democrats said that there is no call for democracy credits but people should bring that as a standing alone measure and just see what happens. I, for one, would dare Mr. Weiland to bring a standing alone measure to initiate democracy credits and no other sloppily written tripe. Let us see what the citizens say. grudznick will sign that paper offered to me outside a popular breakfasting spot any day.

  2. Chip 2017-02-04 18:36

    How would IM22 have gone differently had it just made legislators disclose every bowl of ice cream instead of making them illegal?

  3. Porter Lansing 2017-02-04 18:37

    Brock Greenfield lives in Clark. Population 1150. Who does he talk to about “democracy credits”? The billy goats from the colony that come to town on Saturday to sit in the beer joint? I’ve many lifelong friends in and around Clark and Garden City and none have anything to say to Brock Greenfield or even really know who he is.

  4. grudznick 2017-02-04 18:40

    Mr. Lansing, I am not sure why your lifelong friends around that town you denigrate continue to elect young Mr. Brock, but I would tell you he seems to look wiser with those glasses and more svelte in black than every before.

  5. Jenny 2017-02-04 19:02

    I think people might be a bit confused about how democracy credits work. In MN they have had public funding of campaigns since 1974. It is strictly voluntary for candidates but is popular. In 2012 over 88% of MN candidates signed the agreement to participate. Both candidates in a race have to agree and sign to participate and each candidate has to raise a certain amount before they’re eligible for the grant.
    It’s really a win win for any candidate in my opinion and helps people who have no money at all to have an interest in running.
    Also to get the grant, the candidate has to agree to a spending limit which is nice because a lot of times in races it’s all about who spends the most money.
    How is it paid for in MN – legislation appropriation and state income tax check off. People who contribute to a candidate get the first $50 refunded to them.
    Again, public funding sounds so awful to the SD legislature but is very popular with legislators in MN.

  6. Porter Lansing 2017-02-04 19:04

    Funny stuff, Grudz. You crack us up. You’re the Henny Youngman of the 21st Century.

  7. Porter Lansing 2017-02-04 19:06

    Exactly, Jenny. As you note, IT’S VERY POPULAR Portraying new things as evil is the Republican way, but times are changing. All denounce out of state money and this is the answer to stopping out of state money. It’s like cutting off your nose because you’re mad your face is so ugly.

  8. grudznick 2017-02-04 19:16

    But Mr. Lansing, I’m not religious. I’m not even Jewish at all.

  9. Mark Winegar 2017-02-04 19:29

    The Republican super majority in South Dakota has been working hard to lose the trust of the people for decades. IM 22 was their wake-up call and there isn’t any snooze button for a timeout. The cracker barrels in Aberdeen, Vermillion, and across the state are sending a clear message to deaf ears. No, we will not move to Hawaii Senator Rusch but you and your Republican colleagues might want to after the 2018 election.

  10. Tim 2017-02-04 19:36

    “It’s really a win win for any candidate in my opinion and helps people who have no money at all to have an interest in running.”

    And here Jenny you have hit it on the head. If we all had a chance at Republicans power they might lose part of their grip on this poor state.

  11. Jenny 2017-02-04 19:40

    I said both candidates in a race must agree in order to participate in the public finance campaign program. My error, one candidate in a race can sign up and participate, but both don’t have to (in MN).
    This program is also available for any candidate in a primary election not just the general election.

  12. Douglas Kronaizl 2017-02-04 20:12

    Rep. Greenfield must have some electoral insight unbeknownst to the rest of us. Every year I go through precinct by precinct to determine how each legislative district voted for certain ballot measures (since the SoS website just gives us county totals). Every cycle, districts 1-3 and districts 4 & 7 give me a lot of grief because of their vote centers. Moreover, absentee ballots are all pooled. It is next to impossible to discern totals for ballot measures in these districts.

    That aside, if every legislator voted per their constituents’ wishes, here’s how the whole process would have played out:

    House State Affairs: 6-6 (1 unknown)
    House: 20-40 (10 unknown)
    Senate State Affairs: 3-5 (1 unknown)
    Senate: 10-20 (5 unknown)

    Using this already flawed reasoning, HB 1069 could have passed through the House State Affairs, but most certainly would have been killed on the House floor by the legions of legislators who chose to follow the election results in their respective districts.

  13. CLCJM 2017-02-04 20:12

    The Legislative Coffee here got pretty hot, too, when ISAAC Latteral attacked Represent US and Represent South Dakota for the out-of-state monies that assisted their efforts to get IM22 on the ballot! He apparently has no such compunctions about the monies that get funneled to them, usually, as far as we know, through Koch brothers backed organizations! Have never seen shouting and such rage at any of the Legislative Coffees that I have attended for about three years now!

    I hope the momentum that I’m seeing continues! The initiated measures, referendums and amendments are bringing change and Republicans are terrified they’re going to lose their strangle hold on democracy and freedom! That’s why they are declaring war on every attempt to bring change! Stay strong, stay determined, stay tuned!

  14. grudznick 2017-02-04 20:46

    The law bill #77 seems like a really good idea to fix much of this nonsense. It is common sense open and transparent government, good for the people to know all the more.

  15. Jana 2017-02-04 20:52

    Ronald Reagan used “Democracy Credits” to win his election. Of course, Saint Ronny is only invoked when it fits.

    I send well over $100 to Pierre through my taxes and I would like that first $100 back to support a candidate who wasn’t pres-elected and already funded by big money and the party.

  16. Jana 2017-02-04 20:55

    Having watched the cracker barrels online, I was struck with how the legislators talk down to their audience. They have no respect for the voters or citizens, in their eyes, it truly is just about them and their own special interests.

  17. Richard Schriever 2017-02-04 21:01

    Well, of course, all of those that didn’t vote also didn’t vote FOR HER. Do you suppose she understands that by her own logic that would make her an illegitimate legislator?

  18. John W. 2017-02-04 23:20

    “All congresses and parliaments have a kindly feeling for idiots, and a compassion for them, on account of personal experience and heredity.” Mark Twain

  19. Don Coyote 2017-02-05 05:14

    @Jana: Of course you neglected to mention that Hillary and Bernie didn’t use public funds. What’s with that?

  20. Jana 2017-02-05 07:43

    DC. I din’t mention either Bush, McCain, Kerry, Dole or many others. My point was, that while SD Republicans hate public finance elections, Ronald Reagan used the tool with great success. Ronald Reagan was not opposed to public financing of elections, but then he raised taxes, gave amnesty to undocumented immigrants and imposed new gun laws too.

    Just saying…

  21. David Newquist 2017-02-05 08:41

    When Tim Even asked why Novstrup, who is a member of a lawsuit against IM22, did not recuse himself from voting on its repeal, “Novstrup argued that he did not feel there was any conflict of interest, and to say there is a conflict would be the same as not allowing a legislator who farms to vote on agriculture issues.” [AAN} The only possible way to interpret that gem is to watch Melissa McCarthy’s portrayal of Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live. Derangement is the new black [hole].

  22. David Newquist 2017-02-05 09:17

    Here is the link to the SNL sketch.

  23. Dana P 2017-02-05 09:21

    The Rapid City Journal editorial board, today, also laid out, very clearly, why South Dakota citizens are having so many problems with the repeal of IM22. Unfortunately, the governor and the legislators are deaf.

    ” the speed IM 22 was repealed and now statements made by Republican leaders that seem to create an alternate reality while justifying their opposition to the voter-approved measure.”

  24. Porter Lansing 2017-02-05 09:57

    Good SNL, Mr. Newquist. ?

  25. Chuck-Z 2017-02-05 10:56

    I gave up attempting to contact Senator Greenfield years ago. I was an unwilling gerrymandering victim and was transferred to his district. My respectful objections to that and subsequent issues were met with total silence from Brock Greenfield. This year my choice at the ballot box was to either check the box for Senator Greenfield or leave it blank. I left it blank. My voice has been pretty effectively scrubbed.

    I voted for IM22 as it was the only voice I seemed to have left. Thanks in part to Senator Greenfield’s extraordinary efforts, that has been squashed as well. He has zero incentive to listen to his constituents. What kind of democracy has been created here?

  26. Francis Schaffer 2017-02-05 18:13

    Does anyone know the undervote for Brock this past election? I did not vote for him either. I did vote for IM 22 and was actually surprised and happy it was voted into law. My first thought was how was it going to get implemented. Truth be know I didn’t think the Republicans in SD had big enough balls to simply remove it, I did not see that coming. My take is they have confused themselves as swamp drainers instead of being swamp residents they have shown themselves to be.

  27. grudznick 2017-02-05 18:16

    Mr. Brock is one of the most beloved in the legislatures. He has years and years despite his youth of being in charge of things like this. We all need to heed him a little more closely for he does know more than most of us.

  28. Francis Schaffer 2017-02-05 20:11

    Beloved by whom? Beloved why? The majority of the voters chose to cast a vote for an anti-corruption law. Brock led the opposition in the suit and in the legislature to get rid of the law. I don’t like being told what is best for me by anyone. We will never know if IM 22 is unconstitutional because it is gone. I don’t believe an injunction equates to illegal nor unconstitutional.

  29. grudznick 2017-02-05 20:15

    Mr/s. Schaffer, Mr. Greenfield is beloved by the people of his district who elected him as a very very young man and who have sent him back many times to Pierre to do their bidding. And Mr. Greenfield is beloved by the legislatures who elected him as their right one leader.

    But rest assured, the IM #22 was very unconstitutional, and was very, very sloppily written. The libbies in the legislatures all said as much. To a man and woman they all agreed it was slop. But now it is gone and that is good.

  30. Chip 2017-02-05 23:11

    I got a bit of a tongue lashing on here before the election after expressing my doubts about IM 22, so I bit my tongue then, but I’m going to go ahead and say it now. I believe IM 22 will end up blowing up in the face of SD Democrats in the end. I think that it already has in some ways. It was poorly constructed, overreaching, and petty. I don’t agree with what Republicans have done here, but the door was left wide open for them to do so. And they walked right in.

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