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Blogging on the Radio: Democratic Convention Recap!

Patrick Lalley invited me onto the airwaves yesterday to provide KSOO listeners a recap of the Democratic Convention. I did not have time to recount my two splendid runs—a morning jog through Terrace Park and the Cathedral neighborhood, then an evening trek along the Big Sioux—but we did have time to talk about our success in recruiting candidates for all six sub-gub statewide offices (better than 2014, when we only fielded nominees for three of the six constitutional offices… and I apologize, Angelia Schultz, for forgetting on air your quiet run for Secretary of State!). I gave Tatewin Means props for her diverse experience and a solid convention speech, even though Randy Seiler still beat her for the Attorney General nomination by a 2–1 margin in the weighted delegate vote. I mentioned the advantages that the husband/wife team of Wayne and Alexandra Fredrick bring to their races for Public Utilities Commissioner and Secretary of State. Finally, we discussed the brief challenge lifelong Republican Michelle Lavallee faced to her nomination as lieutenant governor.

Our political portion of the program begins around 36:30:

Lalley asked whether South Dakota lefties like me are really excited about having Michelle on the ticket. My considered response:

…[T]here are other choices that would have made the left wing more excited. But the practical question is does the left wing of the party want to win in November or not. Billie Sutton is the nominee. He gets to make his choice. Nobody raised a viable alternative, so—I haven’t polled all of the left wing, but I can say for myself and my sense of the left wing that we understand the practical balance that had to be brought to this ticket and we understand the skills that Lavallee can bring to this ticket to win a whole lot of votes, and we look forward to seeing her put those skills to vigorous work to win all those votes for us [CAH to Lalley, KSOO, 2018.06.19, timestamp 51:20].

Lavallee joined Suttonon South Dakota Public Radio earlier Tuesday to promote the messages they will use to work for those votes. You can hear their full 35-minute interview here.


  1. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2018-06-20 12:46

    Oh please, you don’t win in November by trying to fool the electorate. This ticket is a joke. Democrats should politely and civilly sit across the table from the business establishment in this state and not next to them rubbing elbows. The Democratic Party is suppose to be an advocate for the people and for the worker and not the establishment.

    This Sutton/Lavallee strategy will not work, and if it did, what would we have but a further compromised soul. A soul that has already been damaged by raising the sales tax on the working poor so that teachers could still be 49th; and by allowing itself to appease the Republicans, when it comes to IM22, with a watered down alternative.

    This travesty, which the SDDP is currently promoting, has nothing to do with right versus left politics within the Party, rather it has to do with what it means to be a Democrat itself. And anyone who promotes this joke should be a shame of themselves. The SDDP has proven to me that it is not a political party with a philosophy, rather it is merely a service club with a watered down mission that obsesses with association over belief.

    With all due respect, Cory, you are better and much brighter than this party line nonsense…..


  2. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-20 15:57

    Party-line nonsense? Hey, JKC, you know I’m not for “tricking” anybody.

    I acknowledge that I am not speaking for the diverse and somewhat nebulous “left wing” (should we be saying “Democratic wing”?) of the Democratic Party. I acknowledge exactly what you say: that the justification for this ticket is practical, not principled. And in my somewhat cautious closing statement on the radio, I think I made clear that I am waiting to see if this choice can deliver the practical results it promises.

    JKC, I respect deeply the effort you made Friday and the effort you are continuing to make to hold our party accountable for what you view as a very bad choice. I know from your history of intelligent commentary on this blog that you do not form your opinions casually. I was hoping we’d get to hear your argument on the floor Friday and have a vote between two candidates representing the opposite views on this issue of the party’s soul. Unfortunately, your proposed nominee declined and, I hear, was not eligible for the job, anyway. We thus didn’t get to have that debate.

    So what is our course now, John? Do we have a practical course of action?

  3. Minority woman 2018-06-20 16:05

    Governing from the far left seems as ridiculous to me as governing from the far right. Good people across this state and our nation are tired of the polarizing politics that use political party rather than a moral compass to find true north. John – if you feel so strongly step forward and become a gubnatorial candidate and we’ll see how far you get. In the meantime – please focus your energy on building up the candidates that will make the best leaders. LBJ said any jackass can kick down a barn. It takes a carpenter to build one. Which one are you?

  4. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2018-06-20 16:50


    No, you are not for “tricking anybody,” I would agree.

    And I appreciate your comments about me, and frankly you are the Stephen Hawking of Democratic thought in this state, in my opinion and many others I am sure, and I am at best a physics teacher at a local high school (I can only hope). But facts are facts that this ticket and the Democratic team as a whole will not win or win credibility or substantially as long as the GOTV/organization element of our fall campaign is not already in place and I see no sign that it will be…. and as long as we try to win by relying upon some type of “Republican credibility” stunt….

    So you ask what is the practical course of action? Well, its to have a 2028 and not a “Hail Mary” 2018 strategy. Our honest and realistic goal should be to be a viable minority voice, which continues to build upon principle and not merely a claimed voice which hopefully wins an election by selling its soul and winning in name only. And then, through our long term building, we can establish a credibility which allows us to win, win more seats, and win honestly with a substantive and meaningful platform and candidates, who represent what it means to be a Democrat.

    My only regret last Friday is that I did not run, so that we could have that debate. Because last Friday, I failed all South Dakota Democrats – whether they agree with me or not – because I was going to run, but then those of us who were involved in this decided that Kooper would be a better candidate given his title as President of the local AFL-CIO and the positive notoriety he received from his speaking performance at the McGovern Day Dinner. And then given the timing over how it played out, I felt that fate had played its card for now and I felt as though some of us had just dropped the ball in the end zone. And as far as Kooper’s residency issue, well, there was not enough time amongst us to discuss that thoroughly, but in time and place I felt that issue was academic given the obvious protest nature of this fight to begin with. Call it Machiavelian if you like, but the residency requirement was the least of my concerns…. But there will be an other day, trust me there will be an other day…. Because the future of the SDDP beyond name is currently in question in my estimation and “Hail Mary politics” is not the answer.. Rather, its organzting the vote, doing the math, and finding the vote, that’s how McGovern and Daschle won their first fights!…. And right now as a Party, we are closer to 1953, than 2014 – when we still had a Democrat holding statewide office – but many of my fellow Democrats are unwilling to admit it….

  5. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2018-06-20 17:07

    Minority woman,

    I believe that I answered your question in my 2nd comment. If not, let me know.

    And as far as LBJ, well, I happen to be a carpenter as a hobbyist, does that help? I also don’t normally quote LBJ either, because we all know how his rightist Southeast Asia policy “kick(ed) down a barn” for many of us for many years to come.

    If picking a Republican to run as a Democrat is a centralist position and to oppose it is to be a “leftie,” then I guess I didn’t know that Republicanism was the heart of our Party.

    You assume we can we, but we can’t because there is no organization a foot that resembles what McGovern, Daschle, or Johnson did in their day. What we are seeing right now is “Hail Mary Politics” by a group with a dwindling soul….

    And as far as me running, well, you are right, I should have run last Friday and I apologize to all for not giving them that opportunity to vote either thumbs up or down….

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-20 18:07

    John KC, if you’re right, if we’re seeing a one-off Hail Mary instead of a long-term strategy, and if that Hail Mary doesn’t work, you may be a shoe-in for the 2022 gubernatorial nomination. Not that I’m thinking one day past November 6 right now (although maybe that’s part of the problem?)….

    I appreciate both M.W.’s and JKC’s points. But I see one flaw in MW’s characterization of JKC’s position: “Good people across this state and our nation are tired of the polarizing politics that use political party rather than a moral compass to find true north.” I don’t think JKC sees political party and moral compass as separate, mutually exclusive criteria. I think (and JKC, don’t leave me out here thinking—feel free to clarify your own thoughts and reject any of my speculation that misses the mark) JKC is calling on Sutton and the rest of us to demonstrate that the Democratic Party really does stand for coherent moral principles and that voting Democratic really means voting morally, in contrast to the moral rot and nihilism the crony-greasing, IM22-repealing, refugee-villainizing, family-separating, truth-bending Republican Party embodies.

    While serious campaigners can argue that JKC’s complaint represents a blind adherence to party label instead of the moral principles that our gubernatorial candidate seeks to bring into the Executive Branch with a practical ticket optimized for victory, JKC appears to be critiquing that optimization as counter to both party and principle.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-06-20 18:09

    MW, I would like to hear a quantification of “governing from the far left.” I’m not sure JKC as staked out any far-left positions. I call myself liberal, but I always remind myself that “left” in South Dakota is probably centrism in most of the country.

  8. jerry 2018-06-20 18:29

    Anyone remember how the last true liberal gubernatorial election results were? Anyone remember who ran and who was their running mate?

    Insanity is when you keep doing the same things over and over again expecting different results. I think this ticket with Sutton and Lavellee is one of the most positive choices I have seen in years. Of course, it is not exactly what some want but how many complainers liked Tim Kaine as a choice with Hillary?

    Speaking of LBJ, yes, he gave us with the Vietnam War, but Nixon could have ended it in 1968, but made the choice not to. So Nixon screwed us and our economy for a decade or more. Some 40,000 of us died there that could have been prevented by Nixon. Several hundred thousand of us were wounded there that should not have been. I blame LBJ for kicking the hornet’s nest, but I fault Nixon for being so calloused. Maybe a million civilian deaths are on the hands of those who supported Nixon as well. When you do a history lesson, finish the history.

  9. jerry 2018-06-20 18:31

    One of the greatest men who have ever come from South Dakota could not even win this state in the election with the greatest crook before trump. George McGovern.

  10. mike from iowa 2018-06-20 18:51

    Ike got the Vietnam ball rolling by refusing to allow the two parts to re-unite and sending US military advisers over there. Kennedy made it worse. Johnson made it worser and Kiss-Nixonger nuked the peace agreement and drug the closure out for several more years.

  11. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2018-06-20 20:29


    The definition of insanity is to repeat 2010, if you ask me….. Oh, and didn’t Clinton/Kaine lose too?

    And as far as Nixon, well, questioning LBJ doesn’t mean you are automatically a Nixon fan.

    And also, you do like McGovern, right?

    Oh, and thank you for your service too…. And I do mean that, because I was fortunate enough to never have to fight in a war, but my father did spend four years in the Pacific with the Army during WWII, however….. And from some of the stories he did tell me, I can just imagine some of the hell you went through too….

  12. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2018-06-20 20:45


    Thank you for your eloquent assessment and advocacy, or fair time evaluation, of my position.

    Simply put, the current strategy will not work; but it does further damage what it means to be a Democrat and the Democratic brand, in my estimation.

    If Sutton/Lavallee win in the fall, I will be the first to admit I was wrong. If anyone cares to here me out, that is. In fact, and Cory will like this, I will even take a temporary ad out with the DFP proclaiming my congratulations to Billie and Michelle as well as asking forgiveness for my political transgressions and stupidity….

  13. jerry 2018-06-20 21:31

    Clinton/Kaine won by over 3 million votes. The Russians stole that election for their boy and we are all about to pay for that big time.

  14. Debbo 2018-06-20 23:59

    What does the Democratic party stand for?

    Full, complete autonomy for women–no exceptions.
    Emphasis on working people and unions.
    Progressive income taxation.
    Equal rights for everyone– no exceptions.
    Ease of voting.
    Free education through 4 years of college.
    Free pre-K
    3 months paid maternity and paternity leave.
    Universal free health care.

    These are just the first few things off the top of my head. How do you define the Democratic Party? Does Sutton/Lavalee fit the definition?

  15. Debbo 2018-06-21 00:06

    BTW, I describe myself as a liberal Democrat with Socialist leanings.

  16. jerry 2018-06-21 12:51

    Ms. Debbo, Consider just about any country in the EU for those line items. We here, are still stuck with trying to master the automatic transmissions for our vehicles and are lucky if we can figure out that the P is for park and the R is to go backward, they do kind of look alike.

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