With both Billie Sutton and Kristi Noem reporting seven-figure contribution totals (and the surging Democrat reporting $85,000 more in cash on hand than the struggling Republican), Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Kurt Evans’s polite authenticity probably isn’t a headline.
Wait: is that authenticity or cheapskatery?
On the one hand, in this one simple response to an interested Tweeter, Kurt speaks more genuinely than Kristi Noem in her 2,939 campaign tweets. He also shows his commitment to running for office on pure commitment to principle—save money, dig Ron Paul.
On the other hand, Evans shows a disconnect from the practical business of campaigning for Governor of South Dakota. Asked for his positions, Evans, like some other conservatives I know, appeals to national-level issues with no direct connection to the state office for which he is running. Perhaps Evans simply recognized he was talking to an angry Paulist/Trumpist Oregonian and thus tried to craft a response that would resonate with her, but (a) for full resonance with his questioner, Kurt needs to says he’s running up that hill, and (b) he needs to explain to the rest of us how trade and immigration fit into the Governor’s portfolio. If “America First,” trade, and immigration summarize your platform, you should be running for Congress, not Governor.
I must also question his choice of Twitter as his sole advertising medium. Twitter works for Trump because he is all id and no composing superego. Trump has nothing to say but improvised, attention-grabbing outbursts. He does not explain governing principles or reasons for policies, Trump simply campaigns à la Tourette, burping blurts that are meant to pop like bubbles at the next distractive blast. A medium in which 280 characters and a picture is considered a complete work is perfect for such gut-ruled brainlessness.
Evans has more things to say than Trump. His thoughts on Libertarianism and its application to practical state governance require more explanation, and Evans has demonstrated with intelligent and sustained comment on this blog that he can compose those explanations. Twitter and Facebook are for immediate engagement and thoughts of the moment. To say things for the record, to summarize a real agenda of principle and policy, Evans should offer at least a minimal website to billboard his biggest ideas.
I get the sense that Kurt is more frugal than I am, but even the most frugal campaigner can put up a blog for free on Blogger or WordPress, with all the room one needs to create linkable, sharable, memorable pages explaining one’s political ideas and goals.
I respect Evans for his direct and honest engagement of questioners on Twitter. I respect Evans for his commitment to keeping a campaign simple. But one can keep it too simple. With his opponents spending over four million dollars in the last five months, Evans could benefit from a little more web presence, just enough to give voters something to sink their teeth into if they get tired of the two big-party candidates trying to take up the entire conversation.
Take just an hour a day for these last two weeks of the election, Kurt. Set up a free blog (incredibly, EvansForGovernor.wordpress.com and KurtForSD.wordpress.com are still available), put your Twitter picture in the header, and type away. Heck, you can even borrow my campaign posts for material: take each one of my daily October policies (independent petition freedom, a third overpass in Aberdeen, increased funding for school bus service, advertising tax to subsidize Aspire wages…) and write the Libertarian response. Explain what if any of my policies you would support and, where you disagree, what alternatives logically arise from your Libertarian principles.
I harbor no illusions that a last-days blog push by Evans would turn the election in his favor. But an Evans campaign blog would be a fine expression of a candidate’s first duty to inform the public. It would offer voters a small body of direct, authentic communication straight from the candidate that would certainly put to shame any of the pronouncements Kristi Noem focus-groups into banality before publishing.
And an Evans blog just might capture a few voters’ attention and raise his vote total a couple percentage points… which in the current toss-up could make a historic difference.
Come on, Kurt! Help make history! Make a campaign blog!