Governor Dennis Daugaard himself steps out in favor of the easiest ballot measure to oppose, the patently unconstitutional Initiated Measure 24. In his Pro statement on Speaker G. Mark Mickelson’s folly in the official 2018 Ballot Question Pamphlet, Governor Daugaard himself appears to acknowledge that unconstitutionality with one little word shift:
Support initiated measure 24 to ban out-of-state financial contributions to ballot committees. Let’s protect a SOUTH DAKOTAN’s right to petition the people, but deny that privilege to New York, Massachusetts and California business interests [Gov. Dennis Daugaard, Pro statement on IM 24, 2018 Ballot Question Pamphlet, August 2018].
When talking about South Dakotans engaged in supporting a ballot question, Daugaard speaks of a right. When referring to the same speech activity conducted by a person from a different part of America, Daugaard shifts to privilege. No court will accept Daugaard’s claim that a Constitutional right applies to people from one state but not to people from the other 49.
Note also Daugaard’s attempt to shift the debate from people to businesses. He tries to paint IM24 as a question of protecting South Dakotans while opposing businesses from big bad far-away liberal states. He sounds almost like a liberal class warrior, ready to join me in fighting the oppressive and absurd notion of corporate personhood (yes! Dennis! join me for a podcast and a protest after Sutton’s inauguration!) But IM 24 doesn’t provide us the platform for that worthy debate. Read Mickelson’s petition: it bans people, not just business interests, from participating in the political process. 325 million Americans, including our friends and cousins in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota, from speaking out on ballot measures in the state where they all love to come eat chislic on motorcycles.
Governor Daugaard has put his name on a patently unconstitutional measure. Even if IM 24 could withstand judicial scrutiny, its loopholes for clever corporations would only increases the proportion of big money in ballot question campaigns. Vote for the Constitution and democracy; vote against Daugaard and IM 24.