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First Amendment W Ads Don’t Mention IM 22—Why Not?

Represent South Dakota offers two video ads for Amendment W, neither of which hit the marketing mark I expected:

Obviously Represent South Dakota is trying to keep things simple: corruption and lobbyists are bad, our cross-partisan Amendment W is simple and good. But they leave out the one key phrase that would rouse tens of thousands of grouchy voters: Initiated Measure 22. W exists because the corrupt and lobbyist-captured Legislature voted to repeal the similar anti-corruption IM 22 that voters passed in 2016.

In their first major fall ad sally, Represent South Dakota has apparently decided that IM 22 isn’t as strong a voter trigger as the other key terms and generic images they’ve chosen. They may be underestimated the power of the “Remember IM 22” message. Consider what happened the last time the Legislature blatantly overturned the will of the people. In 2014, we raised the minimum wage by passing Initiated Measure 18 55% to 45%. Scant months later, the Novstrups and their fellow Republicans pretended to know the will of the voters better than the voters themselves and repealed that minimum wage hike for young workers. We responded to that affront to the voters’ expressed will by referring that repeal and voting it down 71% to 29%. 105,839 more South Dakotans showed up to vote against Referred Law 20 than voted for Initiated Measure 18, not because they all thought that paying teenagers the same minimum wage as adults was a good idea, but because many of them were mad as heck at the Legislature for ignoring and overturning the people’s vote.

IM 22 passed in 2016 52% to 48%. Our experience with IM 18 and RL 20 suggests that W supporters could win double-digit more percentage points by tying W clearly to the repeal of IM 22.

Web Accessibility Quibble: W Ad #2, “Report Card,” invites us to “Read the Plan.” Yet has never offered anything but a link to the original PDF language, which is not a convenient six-page read. I’d love to see a simple HTML text version with clear links and annotations explaining each section.


  1. Donald Pay 2018-10-06 15:57

    You could harken back to IM 22, but often it’s better to look forward than backward.

    I assume there is some polling data or focus group testing that shows this is the better approach. The assumption might be that people who vote regularly already know the history, and are already pretty set in how they are going to vote. You might not move that many people, therefore, by harping on the legislative arrogance aspect, because it is already baked in to a large part of the electorate who vote. Those who don’t vote regularly and who might be undecided won’t really understand that focus, so it is better to deal with the corruption issue, which probably moves more people.

  2. Michael L. Wyland 2018-10-06 16:47

    I’ll be interested to see whether the 2018 Amendment W funding is similar to the 2016 IM 22 support money – charitable grant money funneled through the national 501(c)(3) to the national 501(c)(4) and then spent on behalf of Represent South Dakota. See: “Prairie Playground for Special Interests to Test Campaign Finance Initiative” –

  3. grudznick 2018-10-06 17:44

    “W” is Wrong. An unaccountable tribunal set up with no oversight and a a permanent free gravy train of money out of the taxpayers pocket. Why was it again nobody tried floating this Democracy Credits again, all alone, instead of being buried and hidden on the bottom of the sloppily written and unconstitutional and heinous IM number 22.

  4. Donald Pay 2018-10-06 17:56

    W is “We the People.” The Grudz-elitists think that’s “Wrong” because the elitists will lose their unaccountable tribunal, and the people will have a tribunal more accountable to them than the elitists. It’s four decades too late, but better late than never.

  5. OldSarg 2018-10-06 18:55

    No, Grue objets to it because we elect the people to make the decisions on spending. We do not elect and unelected board to make the decision for them.

  6. Donald Pay 2018-10-06 19:47

    Pffff. That argument doesn’t hold water. And how many unelected boards are there right now? Dozens of them, all beholden to the elite, all making decisions on spending. How many unelected bureacrats making spending decisions? Hundreds of them.

  7. Donald Pay 2018-10-06 19:53

    Who made all those decisions on spending resulting in the beef packing scandal or the education co-op scandal? Let’s have some accountability there, OS, before we go down your imaginary rabbit hole.

  8. grudznick 2018-10-06 21:48

    Mr. Pay, you know darned well that those boards are accountable to the legislatures and you are lying and corrupt like Billie if you say they are not. You, sir, have dealt often with the minerals board and know they are overseen by the legislatures. Not so this tribunal.

  9. Debbo 2018-10-06 23:08

    The “legislatures” that does the overseeing is exactly where the corruption lies Grudz. If that weren’t so, all these scandals wouldn’t exist. But the “legislatures” is an active participant in the scandals. The “legislatures” is exactly what needs to be overseen. Since the “legislatures” is corrupt and the governor’s office is corrupt and the AG is corrupt (Hence the F grade for SD government.), it’s left to the citizens to do the overseeing.

  10. Anne Beal 2018-10-07 04:34

    The legislature should have left IM-22 alone. I had great plans for those Democracy credits: I was going to have a yellow Labrador run for Governor. People would drop off their Democracy credits at any one of his campaign offices, which would also be any animal shelter in South Dakota.

    Dr Terry LaFleur and Lora Hubbel would also have benefitted from those credits. Imagine what those two could do with 12 million dollars.

  11. Donald Pay 2018-10-07 10:40

    Grudz, The only legislator who took oversight of the DENR boards seriously was Sen. Kloucek. He would actually show up and sit through the majority of the meeting.
    Occasionally others might slip in for a few minutes. The only thing legislators do is rubber-stamp the elitists who the Governor appoints. That’s it.

  12. Debbo 2018-10-07 16:58

    Off topic, but fun —>


    Yup, it’s the women. 😁

    “The tallest adult men in America live in Iowa and Alabama, while the tallest women live in South Dakota.
    “Hawaii, meanwhile, can lay claim to the shortest members of either sex.”


  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-10-09 05:35

    Michael, you may slake your curiosity by October 22 when pre-primary campaign finance reports are due.

  14. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-10-09 05:38

    Don’t forget, Anne: Democracy Credits are not part of Amendment W.

    Anne also makes clear that she shares the Legislature’s disdain for the people by suggesting that South Dakota voters would have given money to her yellow Lab. Of course, Anne’s fellow Republicans are willing to give $5,000 for a picture withb an orange crab, so maybe her crowd is that irresponsible.

  15. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-10-09 05:41

    Donald makes an excellent point about the Republican regime’s embrace of unelected boards. Unelected Rick Melmer sent millions in GEAR UP money to his cronies in Platte. Unelected Melody Schopp saw those cronies mishandling that money but kept on sending the dollars. Unelected Richard Benda carried that million-dollar check to Joop Bollen. Unelected Ralph Marquardt gets to decide how to spend our road money and, as a bonus, gets off easy when his elevator breaks the law.

    But with all those unelected pals running wild with our money, the one unelected board against which Republicans take a stand is an independent statewide ethics commission.

  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-10-09 05:44

    Donald’s hypothesis about the reason for leaving IM 22 out of the W ad is plausible. We didn’t have to run any ads in 2016 to bring 100,000 more voters out to reject the Novstrups’ effort to repeal our minimum wage increase for young workers. But I still mentioned it in every conversation and media appearance.

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