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Evans Tweets Honestly, Just Not Enough

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?

Kurt Evans, Tweet, 2018.10.21.
Kurt Evans, Tweet, 2018.10.21.

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, and 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!


  1. TAG 2018-10-23 13:56


    Do you think that Kurt’s presence in this race will hurt Noem? Libertarian candidates likely draw more conservative voters away from Republicans than Democrats, right?

    Here is a great case for ranked-choice voting in South Dakota that the ruling Republicans can actually get behind. In this case it would both legitimize third-party votes, knowing that they won’t be wasted, and it would help Republicans, by giving Noem more “second choice” votes than Sutton. Maybe a narrow Noem defeat would help get South Dakotans more interested in RCV.

    Current (October 2) Registrations, according to the SD Secretary of State:
    Total registrations:538,698 (up 7,800 since primaries)
    Republicans: 253,933 (47%)
    Democrats: 157,118 (29%)
    Independent/no party: 124,539 (23%) (up 2,969 since primaries)
    Libertarians: 1,787 (0.3%)
    Constitution: 507 (0.1%)
    Other Parties: 811 (0.2%)

  2. Kurt Evans 2018-10-23 16:25

    “TAG” writes:

    Here is a great case for ranked-choice voting in South Dakota that the ruling Republicans can actually get behind. In this case it would both legitimize third-party votes, knowing that they won’t be wasted, and it would help Republicans, by giving Noem more “second choice” votes than Sutton.

    Thanks for the comment, but Republicans generally know how ranked-choice voting works, and they’ve fought against it tooth-and-nail in Maine, where it’s finally being implemented this year. They *LIKE* being able to tell people that a vote for an alternative-party candidate is a wasted vote, and they like being able to scapegoat alternative-party candidates when they blow close races.

    Alternative parties generally support ranked-choice voting. Republicans generally oppose it. Many Republicans would prefer to let Democrats win elections without majorities rather than letting alternative parties compete and grow on a more level playing field. We’re not going away though, and the GOP is always finding new ways to prove we shouldn’t.

    By the way, thanks to Cory for the post. I’d already considered most of the ideas it presents, but I’m trying to drive traffic to my tweets, and this is a big help.

  3. TAG 2018-10-23 16:48

    Thanks for the response, Kurt! Although I don’t agree with a lot of the Libertarian platform, we absolutely need more diversity in our politics. At least we have a lot of independents in SD. Could be a source of recruitment for third parties. Possibly independents are tipping the scales a bit for Sutton as well.

    Here’s another thought about RCV (or instant-runoff). If we had used it for Sioux Falls’ mayoral race last year, the outcome would have likely been the same, but we could have avoided a costly second runoff election that had poor turnout (as they usually do). You would think that Republicans would appreciate the fiscal efficiency of avoiding the second election. A lot more cities currently use it than other levels of government anyway. It’s a natural fit for a multiple-candidate mayoral race. Baby steps?

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-10-23 22:31

    I am pleased to see that Kurt has thought through his online presence choices and decided to focus on one medium. Obviously, I’m biased toward blogs. I want lasting material, items I can go back and link to and read. But I can see the argument that immediate engagement is more important to a modern campaign than lasting and lengthy policy statements. I don’t like that trend… but you know, campaign wise, my Twitter gets much more attention than my campaign website.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-10-23 22:38

    TAG, I don’t think this election will provide an example of when Ranked Choice Voting would have made a difference. I am nervous about making a prediction about any election in which I appear on the ballot, but I will predict that the winner of this election will get over 50% of the vote. Kurt will not replicate his 2014 vote percentage; he will be back in the low single digits.

    Jackley conservatives won’t vote for Evans; they’ll vote for Sutton to make sure Noem gets knocked down.

    Trump conservatives will stick with Noem, because they are amoral and unpersuadable.

    Women who are mad at Billie for not standing up for their rights won’t vote for Evans. They’ll hold their noses for Sutton and they chance of persuading him in office to protect them from Republican sex-shaming, or they’ll leave the gov’s line blank.

    Evans has no base, no groundswell, no breakout story or strategy. He’s got integrity and decent (if too rare) Tweets, but he and I both know that’s not what wins elections.

  6. Debbo 2018-10-23 22:52

    RCV has been in use in Minneapolis, St. Paul and I think it’s used in Duluth and perhaps Rochester, or coming soon. Jenny, help me out on this. In the first 2 cities it was the Democratic majorities that supported RCV. I haven’t seen Democrats opposed.

    The first RCV election had a few hiccups, but it’s reall quite simple and smooth sailing now. Voters like it.

  7. Debbo 2018-10-23 23:00

    Kurt, I wish you had a blog or some resource that allowed a longer question and answer format so I could learn more than the generics about Libertarianism. There are several things I like about Libertarianism, but I have questions when it comes to specifics and it feels like pulling teeth to get answers.

    My cousin here in Minnesota is a strong and active Libertarian. She regularly posts items on FB about MN Libertarian candidates, but I have the same problem when I try to get beyond principles and into the nitty gritty.

    I like my cousin and I respect you, but sometimes I feel like Libertarianism is some kind of secret club that won’t share the real inner workings until I’m initiated into it. It’s really frustrating to me.

  8. Porter Lansing 2018-10-23 23:12

    Good one, Debbo. Libertarianism does resemble L. Ron Hubbard’s Church of Scientology. I’ve always heard libertarians are just Republicans who want to smoke weed and cheat on their spouses. Evans isn’t married and claims he doesn’t smoke pot. It’s rather nihilist to advocate for no laws. If you took away government from most libertarians they’d starve, freeze to death or (heaven’s to Betsy) form a group, to keep from dying. That’s what happened to the Pilgrims who came to Mass with all intentions of being totally independent of government. After about 40% died they banded together. It’s human nature and natural progression.

  9. Kurt Evans 2018-10-23 23:22

    Deb writes:

    … sometimes I feel like Libertarianism is some kind of secret club that won’t share the real inner workings until I’m initiated into it.

    I’m a little busier than usual these days, Deb, but for whatever it’s worth, the initiation ritual is typically centered around this book:

    It’s a great read that you can probably enjoy even if you haven’t joined the club.

  10. Debbo 2018-10-23 23:59

    See, that’s the thing Kurt. There are sources for general principles, but I want to sit down with a candidate, perhaps metaphorically, and say, “In my neighborhood, this is happening and I want to know what you will do to help us with it.”

  11. Debbo 2018-10-24 00:01

    I can’t find a way to get concrete answers to concrete problems. How do you apply those general principles to me, my family, my neighborhood, my school, etc?

  12. Porter Lansing 2018-10-24 01:56

    Libertarians have a basic character flaw. Libertarians are foundationaly selfish, Debbo.
    ~ We now have overwhelming evidence that the individualistic, acquisitive, selfish-gene model of human nature is seriously deficient; it is simplistic, one-sided and in reality resembles the pathological extremes among the personality traits that we find in our society. 
    ~ The evidence about human evolution indicates that our species evolved in small, close-knit social groups in which cooperation and sharing overrode our individual, competitive self-interests for the sake of the common good.

  13. bearcreekbat 2018-10-24 10:17

    Porter, that is an interesting link. Thanks for posting.

    Years ago I was attracted to the purported libertarian point of view because it seemed to encourage a government that permitted the maximum individual freedom without harming either society or other individuals or groups.

    As time went on, however, the libertarian philosophy began to reveal an economic Aynn Rand selfishness that accepted and even encouraged causing harm to others in the name of selfish personal acquistion and retention of wealth – e.g., the demonization of altruism. I began to notice that the libertarian philosophy objected to sharing any acquired wealth, by paying taxes, for the benefit or either society or other people.

    The article you linked provides objective analysis that seems to confirm my observations. Disregarding the needs for others in an effort to accumulate money and objects that one really has no particular need to accumulate or retain seems short sighted, just as your linked author explains, even for folks that distain altruism. It is a philosophy that seems destined to backfire (perhaps as Marx predicted?).

    For me, it is a philosophy I reject, even if I thought it might actually benefit me and mine in the long run. Other people are part of the life blood of humanity and we are at our best showing compassion, empathy, generosity and tolerance of our fellow human beings – at least in this old athiest’s humble opinion.

  14. Porter Lansing 2018-10-24 11:02

    Perfect BCB … Ayn Rand selfishness
    (For those reading this – USSR was never socialist in any way. The people controlled nothing. Socialist was added to the name (by Lenin) to attract fledgling revolutionaries like Castro and Mao.)

  15. Debbo 2018-10-24 14:22

    BCB and Porter. That’s how Libertarianism has seemed to me. I guess I’ve been trying to find out that I’m wrong, but my experience is that Libertarians like to talk lofty principles, but not so much the effect of those principles in action on the ground.

  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2018-10-24 22:43

    Strange: I had a lengthy conversation with an intellectual, multi-degreed individual who described himself as a Libertarian. We spoke in more abstractions than I’m used to in my standard campaigning and even my blogging. Libertarians seem to do that to me, bringing me back to the more abstract, less pragmatic mode I was in when I was a far less experienced, less other-oriented Limbaugh Libertarian Clinton-hater.

    But among the points we covered, I noted that if you’re a Libertarian in South Dakota, if you really believe in maximizing liberty, you need to vote for the Democrats on the 2018 ballot to break the hold of the one-party regime that is stifling innovation, opportunity, and liberty for South Dakotans.

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