With the House’s close vote Tuesday to place sports betting in Deadwood on the November ballot, we now have three ballot measures to spice up the general election. Tom Lawrence says Democrats once again have an opportunity to build their brand by getting behind these arguably popular and practical ballot measures:
These are real political issues. The Democrats, who have been in disarray for the last few years, even more so than usual, have not seized the high ground, both in the case of legal pot and now sports betting.
Instead, they shuffle along, making as little noise as possible, afraid to irritate their Republican brethren, who have become used to lording over their political rivals.
What if the Democrats fully embraced these issues? What if they endorsed recreational and medical marijuana and had a plan for how to, um, roll it out?
How about crafting a plan for legalizing sports gambling and dedicating a chunk of the state’s share for schools, roads, assisted living facilities in small towns or other pressing matters?
How about trying to seize the lead, to taking a firm stand on something? If you don’t stand for something, you will continue to fall at the polls [Tom Lawrence, “South Dakota Democrats, There’s a Glimmer of Hope: Own the Ballot Issues That Voters Agree with and Improve Your Odds,” South Dakota Standard, 2020.03.05].
Even David Owen says South Dakotans like ballot measures. They offer an opportunity to get South Dakotans thinking outside the party labels and personality politics on which the Republican Party relies and into the instructive and helpful policy discussions that bring to the surface moderate, practical, and hence (in South Dakota, for sure) Democratic thinking.