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Dusty for Diversity in the GOP? Please, Tell Me How…

Congressman Dusty Johnson gets the usual unanalytical obsequity from the SDGOP spin blog he sponsors, this time for someone in Texas saying the freshman Representative is working to “diversify” the Republican Party by making it something other than “a party of ‘old white guys.’

I feel like I could stop here and turn the comment section loose with a challenge to complete this sentence: Dusty Johnson is so white….

But I want to say a few things first.

The claim that Congressman Johnson is “trying to make the party more diverse and inclusive” comes from a Tuesday article in Axios whose main focus is the trouble Texas Republicans face as their red state gets younger, browner, and less susceptible to the Leave-It-to-Beaver messaging of the neo-Klan meeting Republicans are now hosting. The Texas GOP lost two House seats in 2018 and has six incumbents retiring this cycle. Axios quotes multiple Republicans who paint a grim picture for their party unless they find a way to speak to the real Texas and the real America—you know, the diverse ones:

“We need a new Republican Party because the one we have is getting our asses kicked in House races,” one Texas GOP strategist, who works with various campaigns and asked to speak anonymously to be candid, told Axios.

…”It sucks being in the minority, and a lot of these guys haven’t been in the minority since ’06, and they are fearful there isn’t a lot of hope to get the majority back in this cycle,” said Jeff Roe, a Republican political consultant who’s worked with Sen. Ted Cruz.

…”The base is shrinking. Period. End of story,” said Rep. Will Hurd, the only black House Republican, who at 42 will leave office rather seek another term representing his heavily Hispanic district in southwest Texas [Alexi McCammond, “Texas Republicans Admit There’s a Problem,” Axios, 2019.10.01].

Those are the main lines supporting the main thesis of the article, that Texas Republicans are in trouble. When the only sign of hope Texas Republican Hurd can point to of a movement to diversity in the ranks he’s leaving is two mid-40 white guys from states not called Texas, that’s a sign of trouble, not “oh boy! good boy, Dusty!”

But what exactly is Congressman Johnson doing to promote diversity and inclusion among the GOP, either here in South Dakota or nationwide? All we get from the article is, “Hurd said Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Dusty Johnson of South Dakota are two members trying to make the party more diverse and inclusive.”

Well, I’ll give Dusty credit for stopping his South Dakota primariate from sending another Trumpian racist to Washington. But preventing the party from becoming less diverse and inclusive is not the same as trying to make the party more diverse and inclusive. Thank you for not letting your dog poop on my lawn… now how about picking up the poop he left there every day last week?

And don’t forget, Dusty is the Congressman who declared Trump’s fake border emergency bogus but then floated a bill to help Trump build the wall faster by repealing environmental reviews that would lay out all the ecological destruction Trump’s folly would cause. Our man Dusty isn’t winning on diversity for any species there.

I turn to Congressman Johnson’s website, looking at least for some imagery suggesting a tilt toward diversity and inclusion. The lead photo:

Lead photo on Rep. Dusty Johnson's website, 2019.10.02.
Lead photo on Rep. Dusty Johnson’s website, 2019.10.02.

Dusty with two old white guys. Nope. Next:

Dusty at Twist Cone, August 2019; photo from Congressman Johnson's website, 2019.10.02
Second photo on Rep. Dusty Johnson’s website banner, 2019.10.02

Hey! That’s Aberdeen’s own Twist Cone! Yay! But every cone I see here is vanilla. Next:

Third photo from Rep. Dusty Johnson's website banner, 2019.10.02.
Third photo from Rep. Dusty Johnson’s website banner, 2019.10.02.

Dusty preparing to walk on water? A metaphor for the miracle it will take to make America believe the party of Trump is about diversity and inclusion? Next:

Fourth photo from Rep. Dusty Johnson's website banner, 2019.10.02.
Fourth photo from Rep. Dusty Johnson’s website banner, 2019.10.02.

Interns! Call for interns! What a great place to show off the diversity of young people whom our lone Congressman brings to experience the greatest legislative show on Earth! Alas, this banner photo, which appears to be the product of less-skilled interns, given the awkward cropping of body parts in every human picture, still shows nothing but white people’s kids. Next:

Fifth photo from Rep. Dusty Johnson's website banner, 2019.10.02
Fifth photo from Rep. Dusty Johnson’s website banner, 2019.10.02

Jackpot! Ben Reifel! South Dakota’s first Lakota Congressman! Our man Dusty proposed naming the Post Office in Rosebud for Reifel in May. Incredibly, Congress has taken no action on H.R. 2454. Come on, Congress! Naming Post Offices is what you do best!

In another inclusive shout-out to our tribal neighbors, Congressman Johnson is sponsoring H.R. 895, which would include tribal school employees in federal employee health insurance.

But Congressman Johnson still hasn’t signed on to H.R. 3467, the measure to rescind the Medals of Honor awarded to the butchers of Reifel’s ancestors at Wounded Knee. Come on, Dusty: sometimes standing for diversity and inclusion requires being a little aggressive. Next:

Final photo from Rep. Dusty Johnson's website banner, 2019.10.02
Final photo from Rep. Dusty Johnson’s website banner, 2019.10.02

Well, we got a few more young people, but if there are any minority students in this photo, they are blocked by the well-cropped Anglo boy in front. And all of the young people sit passively in straight lines as Dusty does all the talking. The metaphor for inclusion here is wanting.

Overall, Dusty’s website-welcome photos show more diversity in fonts than in people. So wherever outgoing Representative Hurd sees his fellow 43-year-old plainsman fighting for diversity in policy or in his party, he doesn’t say. And whatever Congressman Johnson may be doing isn’t enough to outweigh the loss the Republican Party has inflicted on itself by sidelining Hurd’s moderate, inclusive voice with its embrace or Trumpist racism:

Before Trump’s election, Hurd was seen as a rising star in a party that had been seeking to broaden its appeal beyond white voters. But as Republicans largely rallied around the president’s strategy of stoking racial and ethnic divisions, Hurd became a more and more lonely voice of moderation on issues such as immigration and the border. He was first elected in 2014 and won his reelection bid last year by just 1,000 votes in a district that Hillary Clinton narrowly carried in 2016. Hurd’s retirement immediately makes Democrats favored to pick up his seat next fall, according to congressional forecasters. With Hurd’s departure, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina will be the only elected black Republican in the Capitol [Russell Berman, “Will Hurd Could Be the Canary in the Coal Mine,” The Atlantic, 2019.08.02].

So on dual levels, Dakota War College‘s cheap retweet of Hot Air‘s lazy forward of Axios‘s actual reporting misses the story. DWC grabs a bottom bullet point with no warrant for its claim, and the claim itself is a rhetorical mouse, barely peeking out from beneath the big collapsing elephant that is the center of the actual story. Dusty Johnson is fighting for more diversity and inclusion in the Republican Party? Please, DWC, tell us how… and then tell us how that pipping, squeaking effort will be heard above the roaring racist trumpet of your dear wrinkly leader in his (and your) desperate death throes.


  1. Debbo 2019-10-02 20:19

    Dusty Johnson is so white the people around him gotta wear shades.

    Dusty Johnson is so white he disappears against art gallery walls.

    Dusty Johnson is so white he rents himself out as an emissions free radiant energy source.

    Dusty Johnson is so white NASA plans to use him as a heat shield.

  2. Debbo 2019-10-02 20:34

    Dusty Johnson is so white his own family lost him in southern New Mexico.

    Dusty Johnson is so white he doesn’t reflect in mirrors.

    Dusty Johnson is so white he doesn’t need a Klan hood. (Not that he would wear one.)

    Dusty Johnson is so white he doesn’t need a Halloween costume.

  3. jerry 2019-10-02 21:15

    What a rhythm Ms. Debbo, more please.

  4. Debbo 2019-10-02 22:46

    Thanks. Add more Jerry.

  5. Debbo 2019-10-03 02:54


  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-10-03 07:12

    I knew i could count on you, Debbo.

    I have extended an invitation, via his Congressional contact page, for Congressman Johnson to submit a guest column explaining how and why he is working to make the GOP more diverse and inclusive.

  7. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-10-03 10:30

    Dusty Johnson is so white he has to wear moonblock.

    (stolen from Trevor Noah’s characterization of Norwegians after twitterpate45 complained that too many people from poophole countries were taking Norwegians’ slots in the immigration market)

  8. o 2019-10-03 11:51

    How about: Dusty is so white, he could be in the Senate.

    Too political?

  9. Debbo 2019-10-03 12:36

    Cory, I only use my gifts for the greater good.

    CIRD and O, well done.

  10. Debbo 2019-10-03 14:43

    Dusty Johnson is so white in his spare time he works in a science lab as a human light reflector.

    Dusty Johnson is so white he envies albino people.

    Dusty Johnson is so white science wants to clone him for biological headlights.

    Dusty Johnson is so white he has to wear dark colored clothing or he looks naked.

    Dusty Johnson is so white artists try to paint on him.

    Dusty Johnson is so white he can’t sky dive.

    Dusty Johnson is so white he disappears in winter.

    Dusty Johnson is so white he always wins snowball fights.

    Dusty Johnson is so white he could be a Xmas tree ornament.

  11. Debbo 2019-10-03 16:07

    Dusty Johnson is so white people with classic cars use him on the sidewalls of their tires.

    Dusty Johnson is so white he could be a wedding gown.

    Dusty Johnson is so white he must be a virgin.

  12. Donald Pay 2019-10-03 16:14

    I’ll give credit to anyone who is trying to improve diversity in his or her political party, I don’t care how much melanin they have. Also, I’m not a fan of making jokes about people for their genetically determined skin color. I knew Dusty as a child, and he’s had his skin color for his entire life. I don’t like any of these “jokes.” I think they are insensitive, at best. Republicans were always “joking” about Obama’s skin color. Let’s not be that way.

    I remember watching the Democratic Party struggle with these issues in the 1960s, when they ushered out the segregationists. It was a struggle that took a generation from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s, and was led by a young mayor from Minneapolis who had grown up in South Dakota. I think it is an honorable effort to improve race relations. Governor Mickelson did it, and I will always honor that effort.

  13. mike from iowa 2019-10-03 16:21

    America was making real progress on judicial diversity. Then Trump happened

    If you are ever unfortunate enough to wind up in federal court, chances are that your fate will be decided by a white man.

    That’s the big takeaway from a new report by the Center for American Progress (CAP) on diversity within the federal bench. According to the report, “more than 73 percent of sitting federal judges are men and 80 percent are white. Only 27 percent of sitting judges are women, while Hispanic judges comprise just 6 percent of the courts. And LGBTQ judges comprise less than 1 percent of judges sitting on the federal bench.

  14. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-10-03 16:32

    Dusty is so white, Donald Pay thinks he should get a pass for his silliness.

  15. Donald Pay 2019-10-03 17:03

    You do have to show some courage if you are really serious about this issue, and, unfortunately, Republicans haven’t shown the necessary courage. Lyndon Johnson knew he would be losing the South for a generation by supporting civil rights. He was wrong. It has been much longer. Cory is correct to point up the medals given to the butchers at Wounded Knee. If Dusty is serious about the issue he will put himself on the line. It’s not that hard of a vote. Once George Mickelson got behind ML King Day it got plenty of support in the Legislature, and among South Dakota citizens. Sometimes, it takes a little courage to do the right thing.

  16. grudznick 2019-10-03 17:57

    Didn’t the legislatures take a day away from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King?

    Dusty is so white he wears undershirts to make his skin pop.

  17. Debbo 2019-10-03 19:48

    Don, I don’t know that Dusty’s skin is any whiter than any other Caucasian. He’s part of the dominant group in the USA. He’s not being kicked while he’s down and I’m not punching down, nor attacking his character. Dusty is still as on top as ever.

    I would laugh if these jokes were made about me and I’m not part of the white male ranks. So, no, I don’t feel bad about these, but you’re welcome to your opinion.

  18. grudznick 2019-10-03 19:55

    grudznick corrects himself. It was not the right Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King from whom the legislatures took away a day. It was Cristoforo Colombo who had a day taken away, and Mr. Columbo was likely not as white as Dusty.

  19. o 2019-10-03 20:05

    Not to stir up a level of “whataboutism,” or to squelch any EXCELLENT discussion of ethnic/cultural diversity, but I would add that the GOP specifically, and congress in general, seems out of touch to many of us here because of the economic gentrification of our elected offices. How can we expect the success of a robust middle-class if our elected officials are not from that middle-class?

    Roll Call reports, the median minimum net worth (meaning half are worth more, half less) of today’s senators and House members was $511,000 (up 16% over the past two years) at the start of this Congress.

    I would say that the GOP has not only a white man problem, they have a wealthy, white man problem in their composition.

  20. grudznick 2019-10-03 20:10

    Now, now, let us not start casting aspersions on old white guys for their lack of resources, or on those who perhaps worked really hard and have a few resources. We should not kick them for being successful, no matter how much better it makes us feel in ourselves.

  21. o 2019-10-03 20:57

    Grudz, I don’t think it is an aspersion to point out that those who govern us, who make the rules for us happen to not look like us economically. It is only a difference in perspective I point out – a difference that clearly shows.

    Isn’t that really what this discussion is about: a concentration of an unrepresentative, narrow vision?

  22. grudznick 2019-10-03 21:02

    Mr. o, perhaps we all should then work harder so we looked like them, economically, and then maybe we could govern them and make the rules for them. I’m just sayin…

  23. Nancy 2019-10-03 22:29

    It just amazes me – you make all these he’s so white jokes but if people were making he’s so black, brown, red – they would be called out as racist’s!! Leave skin color out of it – none of those “white” jokes were funny!! It was just mean and demeaning!! Can’t you get your points across without putting someone down? You have to make fun of and put someone down to make your points? You can’t make your points without throwing in all the garbage digs? Maybe, you should hit the campaign trial – since it seems you have all the answers. You could do your stand up jokes there. If you can’t make your points without putting someone down – then you should shut up!! This was sickening to read!!

  24. o 2019-10-04 08:12

    Ahh, there is the rub – the fallacy of the bootstrap philosophy — the assumprtion that we ALL can be in the 1% if we just work hard enough, we can all overcome the institutional constraints biased against minorities, women, the poor . . . if only we/they work hard enough. In reality we see that those who attain the upper economic status – by hook or by crook – legislate to PREVENT others from infringing on the zero-sum game of their wealth. Even in terms of voting rights, how can I take seriously a GOP position to increase diversity while that same party disenfranchises minorities from the foundational act of voting?

    Even the heart of this discussion, a more diverse GOP, can happen ONLY IF the current white men step aside (or are pushed out) by a more diverse crop of candidates. Paying lip service to equality and diversity is easy — right up until it requires YOU to make a sacrifice to further that end.

  25. Spike 2019-10-04 09:59

    Sorry Dusty but if you think renaming the ‘Rosebud’ post office the ‘Ben Reifel’ post office is going to
    1. solve the problems inadequate and incompetent federal programs have created on the rez or
    2. Bring more tribal members back to the Republican party of Ben Reifel (which is FAR FAR FROM the twitter party of the current shyster in chief)….

    You are sadly mistaken Dusty.

  26. mike from iowa 2019-10-04 11:08

    Grudzilla, you are from somewhere in Northern Mississippi so I am unsure whether you are nutz like a certain troll, or not, but, exactly how does John Q Citizen work to get born into a wealthy family of crooks and inherit millions and lie about it his whole life? I won’t even ask about the dead -pelt on Drumpf’s numb skull.

  27. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-10-04 17:53

    No, Nancy, it wasn’t sickening. Please spare us the fake false equivalency with actual racist jokes.

    Dusty is very white. He is a member, beneficiary, and perpetuator of white privilege. Referring with disdain to the privilege secured by racism is in no way equivalent to the racist remarks used by Donald Trump (even whiter than Dusty) to perpetuate his privilege and the oppression of millions of Americans.

    We thus have every right to put down white privilege… and to ask the important question that you, Nancy, absolutely failed to answer: what is Dusty actually doing to promote diversity that prompted Rep. Hurd’s comment and DWC’s empty blog post?

  28. grudznick 2019-10-04 18:10

    Mr. H, can we define this “white privilege” for those of us not in the full rage of hate sported by certain out-of-state name-calling man-haters? It would help grudznick engage in a more enlightened blogging of the subject.

  29. mike from iowa 2019-10-04 18:43

    White privilege, spelled out for Grudzilla, in crayon……..

    Your skin color, or lack of pigment, means you don’t get hassled by cops because you are not a POC.

    Unfortunately for all involved at DFP, Grudz will pretend he is innocently ignorant of any abuse of POC by white cops.

    The internet is chock full of similar stories of blacks and Latinos getting the third degree because they aren’t white. White privilege means Grudz and most of us whites never get treated this way.

  30. grudznick 2019-10-04 18:56

    How do you know the color of my skin, Mr. Mike? grudznick has never stated my color or ethnicity or number of fingers. You, being from Iowa, simply assume I am white, rich, and really good looking.

  31. grudznick 2019-10-04 19:11

    Well, I guess everybody does know that grudznick is really good looking, as my good friend Bob does spread that around a bit so I might as well come clean about that.

  32. mike from iowa 2019-10-04 19:16

    I know yer pastey hide is white with orange highlights because you whine about outsiders exactly like Drumpf.

  33. grudznick 2019-10-04 19:22

    I got yer goat again, you racist Iowegian. grudznick will sleep with a big grin on my really good-looking face tonight.

  34. Debbo 2019-10-04 20:19

    Go easy on him Mike. You know grudz is an impotent little white man desperate for attention. He’ll say or do anything for it. His only joy in life is trying to make others feel the shame he does.

  35. Donald Pay 2019-10-04 21:49

    I actually agree with Nancy. You can disagree with his politics and stands on issues and ask what he’s doing to encourage diversity, but Dusty didn’t grow up with a lot of privilege, Cory. Sure, he was white and gifted, but when we lived a block up North Grand Avenue, his family was pretty damn poor, probably poorer than we were, because we didn’t need state assistance. My daughter played with Dusty’s siblings, and they were just normal folks. I knew that family well, and they were not people who thought they were entitled by race or any other factor.

    I wish people would deal with issues, not think they are cute by making stupid jokes at others’ expense.

  36. leslie 2019-10-05 21:38

    I could get moonblock?!

    Dusty is so white he was fraternity president. Does that cost anything while attending USD?

  37. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-10-06 19:37

    I’m thinking about O’s good point about the bootstrap fallacy and the composition of Congress: folks trying to pull themselves up by the bootstraps are generally too busy (especially in South Dakota, with low wages driving more parents to work more jobs and more hours just to stay afloat) to drop everything and run for office. People like Dusty with connections to the GOP’s country-club elites who will subsidize his year off work make up a disproportionate number of members of Congress.

    Donald, I do give Dusty more credit than many of the GOP establishment. But I still haven’t heard anything proving that he’s really trying to diversify the party. What is he doing to bring other poor kids along? What is he doing to support struggling families so they have the time to participate in politics? How many of the interns he’s hiring will come from poor families? How is he using his power to do what his propagandizing party says he’s doing?

  38. Debbo 2019-10-06 20:33

    Good one Leslie!

    Are any of Dusty’s interns POC? Women?

  39. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-10-07 05:42

    The photos in his call for intern applications show one male and three females, all apparently white.

  40. Debbo 2019-10-07 18:06

    Thanks Cory.

Comments are closed.