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Ho Ho Ho—Trump Threatens to Primary John Thune

Even though we’re both selfish bastards, Donald Trump and I evidently see the world through very different lenses. Senator John Thune says an Electoral College challenge stands as much chance in the Senate as a dog against a shotgun (hey, has PETA criticized Thune for his grim simile yet?), and where I hear a somewhat milquetoasty, triangulatable comment that falls short of the ringing condemnation that Trump’s assault on democracy deserves, Mad King Don takes enough umbrage to hop on his Tweeter and threaten Thune with a career-crushing 2022 primary:

Donald Trump, tweet threatening Thune primary 2022, 2020.12.22.
Donald Trump, tweet threatening Thune primary 2022, 2020.12.22.

Hey, Merry Christmas, John! You finally got Trump to tweet about a South Dakotan other than Kristi Noem! I envy you: I only have a month left to get Trump to tweet back at me. ;-)

But seriously, Donald, who’s your primary candidate against Big John? Can you name anyone in South Dakota who would stand a non-zero chance of beating Thune in a statewide vote? If you think anyone in the SDGOP establishment is going to run against our three-term Senator, you clearly don’t understand the lay of our one-party land. Republicans here still have to live with each other, and the Republican who challenges a powerful incumbent will see his or her opportunities for advancement in our small-town political machine disappear faster than chislic at a threshing bee. Kristi Noem won’t do it; she gets much better 2024 mojo from being a chief executive than going back to Washington as a rookie Senator… and she knows that trying to upset this particular apple cart would rally Team Thune and Team Jackley to finally excise her pageantous cancer from their happy GOP family.

The only people likely to rise to any Trump invitation to primary South Dakota’s handsomer Senator are fringe radicals who have demonstrated over the past decade that they lack the charm, money, and organizational skill to run a successful statewide campaign. Neal Tapio, Liz May, Lora Hubbel, Gordon Howie, Stace Nelsonbe still my beating heart on the last, but come on—Donald Trump could send ten million dollars and Ivanka here, and Stace or any of those other arch-conservatives still wouldn’t beat Thune in an SDGOP primary. (Stace is the only one of those five who, in the astronomically unlikely event of a Thune collapse, might run better than 50-50 odds of beating the underfunded Democrat in the 2022 general.)

I’d ask Donald (I would! Donald! If you’re really going to mastermind a primary in South Dakota, give me your non-mainstream media interview!) just what in the Hecla he’s thinking, but we know the answer: he’s not thinking. As usual, he’s just burping up his indigestion at the latest perceived insult to his naked-emperor fantasy. Donald has no knowledge of South Dakota, no understanding of the political dynamics here, and no name in his head, let alone boots on the ground ready to rent fair booths in 2021, who could run a real campaign against Senator John Thune.

But hey, if someone whispers something to King Donnie about the Curse of Karl, maybe Trump will move to Dakota Dunes and primary Thune himself. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Fun as the chance to interview Trump over corn dogs at the Brown County Fair might be, I’d rather see Trump’s attack on Thune finally convey to South Dakota’s Trumpists the kind of bitter, impulsive knucklehead they are still beatifying. Trump has no plan, no knowledge, and no respect for South Dakota or the dutiful politicos whom you have elected and who have faithfully supported his agenda for four years. Say one thing that does not please him, and Trump will lash out with mindless threates to destroy you.

Trump is a loser. There is no way for him to project that status onto Thune in the 2022 primary.


  1. leslie 2020-12-22 21:27


    “Betrayed From Within”: @Patrick Byrne Blasts White House Staff After Attending Election Meeting With President Trump, Sydney Powell and Gen. Flynn. Twitter


    Last Friday night at the Whitehouse was a hoot!

    Were the pillow guy and flame thrower girl there?

  2. jerry 2020-12-22 21:34

    GNOem will bring her widdle pony to joust Vladimir Thune. From Rapid City, Torchi and Flo will be GNOem’s faithless gargoyles of support. GNOem’s gonna have to raise more millions to tangle with Vladimir Thune though, the poor boy from Murdo, done found himself a goldmine over the years. Should be a grifters dream contest.

  3. mike livingston 2020-12-22 21:48

    John boy is caught between a sociopath and a dingbat. To China with love.

  4. Curt 2020-12-22 22:19

    Recall that in October, 2016 upon release of the Access Hollywood tape, Sen Thune was among those who called for Trump to abandon his candidacy. That has not been forgotten in the Oval Office, but some dogs are better left sleeping (not shot). I suspect Sen Thune fears a primary challenge about as much as he fears a blizzard on July 4.

  5. Loren 2020-12-22 22:37

    I guess Donnie and I hold JohnBoy in the same regard, but for different reasons I’m sure. I believe Thune is a spineless coward where Donnie sees him as some sort of personal turncoat. Watch our boy, who is most probably unbeatable in SD, start to turn inside out and do another 180* spin back toward fiscal conservatism and an outspoken stand against our primary adversary, Russia. Watch Johnnie become some sort of law and order Republican and an international free trade GOPer. Thune and Rounds BOTH could have spared us from this scat show we are now experiencing as Trump has his hissy fits. Thanks, John. I really look forward to the reelection BS you will feed us. @#%^&*!

  6. jerry 2020-12-22 22:55

    Vladimir Putin will tell trump to lay off his boy Vladimir Thune. Putin knows full well that Thune is his boy after his 4th of July visit to Moscow. Thune will not be pressed any more by trump for fear of the displeasure of Putin. trump knows now for sure that Putin is the only banker that will help him out now that the Deutsche Bankers have bailed on him so trump will shut up.

  7. leslie 2020-12-22 23:13

    9.30.19 rawstory:

    The Republican Party is dead as we knew it, and the question is this: will anyone in that party finally lead a decisive challenge to the abuse of power going on, which threatens the nation and the world at large, or will a new political party emerge, as the Republicans did in the crisis of the 1850s, when they replaced the Whig Party?
    American democracy and constitutional government is at stake right now every day!

    Ronald L. Feinman is the author of “Assassinations, Threats, and the American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama” (Rowman Littlefield Publishers, 2015), originally published at History News Network

  8. Nix 2020-12-23 06:50

    I will bet anyone any amount of money that if Trump was stranded on a deserted island with his family, he would eat his children.
    Maybe Thune finally realizes this.

  9. Dicta 2020-12-23 07:46

    It will be interesting to see how far gone the GOP is here in South Dakota. The defining principle with many of the party’s members at the moment seems to be loyalty to Trump, no matter the cost. We’ll see how many of them come primary time.

  10. Mark Anderson 2020-12-23 08:40

    Who cares about the primary? Trumpies can just stay home and elect a Democrat for South Dakota. Its been awhile.

  11. Dicta 2020-12-23 08:44

    I mean, I care about the primary. The politics of South Dakota is so heavily tilted towards the GOP that the primary is a de facto final election in the vast majority of cases. While I have been disappointed in Thune’s fecklessness in the face of Trump, I would prefer him to the Tapio’s and Stace Nelson’s of the world.

  12. Donald Pay 2020-12-23 08:53

    Loren has Thune figured out, and so does Trump. Thune is a Ken Doll–no genitalia, his arms and legs bend however you want, and his head pops off.

  13. Norma Wilson 2020-12-23 09:29

    Write on!

  14. leslie 2020-12-23 09:58

    Seems difficult for anyone to be worse than Thune and the FUNDAMENTAL damage he has done, moulded directly under McConnell’s tutelage.

    SD merely mints empty “R’s” for use as tools by the GOP.

    McConnell is what the next competent authoritarian is going to look like. The Kevin McCartheys, Tom Cottons, and Deven Nuneses of the party are nothing but dolts compared to that. Even Ted Cruz has shown his “crazy” stripes. But Thune, as jerry points out, is now directly even a hand maiden to Putin as well.

    And he doesn’t speak *anything* without McConnel’s pre-clearance. Remember Thune spoke out just before the Mt Rushmore July fizzle, and though unmasked, caused Trump to question his allegiance (“you mean my John Thune said that?”).

    Trump’s attack on McConnell in 2016 is being repaid now. Orange pajamas for the Trumps. So the upcoming pardon drama will be epic.

    McConnell is not physically well from the looks of recent and current photos.


  15. leslie 2020-12-23 10:00

    Cory, your selfless work for democracy is anything like a “selfish bastard”. Merry xmas or whatever!

  16. jerry 2020-12-23 12:51

    Vladimir Thune better watch out, GNOem’s got some power backers. Old Stretch maybe is gonna get a primary. Soft donations like this one make the crooked evangelicals wet themselves, talk in tongues and vote.

    “A Republican candidate for the 2018 Wyoming gubernatorial election is making five donations of $100,000 to five different South Dakota charities on behalf of Gov. Kristi Noem’s family.” Rapid City Journal 12.23.20

  17. leslie 2020-12-23 13:00

    Trump ran in 2016 because as a so called billionaire, he had nowhere else to turn to to stave off creditors. And the GOP bought it hook line and sinker. Tells us a lot about the Republican party.

    “Beggars and theives, the whole lot of ‘em.” (Of course there are good Republicans, in polite society, but it is time for MAJOR revision of the two party “system”.) If we can’t devise ways to keep out the corruption, we will do this all over again, in the middle of the CLIMATE crisis, superseding this pandemic.

    Inspector Generals which Pompeo-types can fire, SCOTUS nominees a Republican senate can ignore, congressional investigations the GOP will sidestep, multi-million dollar legal fees which chill political criminal prosecutions, ridiculous pardons, politicized courts and agency appointments, lack of vetting, security clearances like candy, ineffective or abusive law enforcement, and even mayors and city councils which won’t/can’t protect all members of the public during crisis, and in fact political denialists, are tips of this fetid iceberg.

    Democrats need to 1) effectively govern from day one, and 2) revise government in all the ways we have seen necessary.

    Knowing how Thune ect will obstruct, at every turn, this is a mammoth job facing us. There is not enough time, money or sensible liberal minds to carry forward on this fundamental mission. Well, there probably is the liberal expertise willing and available.

    We must OVERWHELM the GOP. Fu*k the Kochs and all their manifestations. Same with Rupert Murdoch. eTc.

    Clawing back taxes from the wealthy is step number one.

    Whether Pelosi or AOC leads, Democrats must NEVER tolerate internal corruption. Republicans have already labeled Biden a crook beholden to China, the Democrats as socialists, and Harris as a whore. That may as well be their official platform.

    The cost of righting this ship from intentional Republican damage in these last 4 years, and cumulatively for the last 50 years, is a complete waste of taxpayers work and sweat.

    This is what Thune stands for. Power with no accountability. Fight the GOP until it is dead and gone. Kill Bill from Ill:)

  18. o 2020-12-23 18:06

    We could hope for a Rounds-like scorched-earth-takes-out-the-top-two-and-third-place-wins scenario.

    Trump finances a NASTY primary battle (like the Mark Barnett/Steve Kirby mutual primary assignations of 2002). The remaining GOP candidate is damaged to the point where a strong Democrat marshals the vote (with help from a MAGA stay at home protest).

    Trump is LOVED in SD. Thune is also ready to fall to the very “gone Washington” rhetoric that edged him over Daschle.

  19. mike livingston 2020-12-23 22:17

    Shootin dogs with a shotgun sounds like a governors hunt to me. silly me was thinking of prairie dogs,

  20. John 2020-12-26 16:48

    The current state of electoral affairs & the increasing wealth gap cannot continue. Either or both will lead to large-scale violence. Slightly more than half the nation cannot continue becoming better off while the other half swirls around the drain.

    Republicans can’t win the popular vote & can’t win where it matters in the counties that are the economic engine. Democrats made themselves irrelevant outside of the coasts/urban elites. We may need a 3d centrist party- so much so that neither democrats or repubs can win without them.

    It’s more imperative for repubs to move away from their extreme. Recall the dems can win the Electoral College with only 11 counties, and they’re all Blue, while still losing the popular vote by 100 million.

    Chamath shares some numbers & thoughts. Read his whole thread.

  21. bearcreekbat 2020-12-26 17:33

    John, I recognize there apparently exists almost an anathema toward Democrats “outside of the coasts/urban” areas. What I cannot understand, however, is how this came to exist in modern times. What specific Democratic policies angered and alienated so many rural residents, especially here in South Dakota, and especially the rural people with little or no resources or income?

  22. mike from iowa 2020-12-26 19:50

    What specific Democratic policies angered and alienated so many rural residents

    The ones wingnuts made up and lied about. Coming for your guns. Make you all atheists. Make you Gay. Sell your kids to pedophiles. Kicked gawd out of classrooms. Turning your kids into liberal thinkers through liberal arts schools. Trying to make everyone equal. Stealing your jobs and giving them to illegals. Open borders. Pro abortion. Anti one man/one woman marriage. Letting boys use girls locker rooms.

    The list is endless. Pardon my interruption.

  23. bearcreekbat 2020-12-27 00:49

    mfi, I know what you mean, yet why would anyone believe such statements so obviously contradicted by the reality that they experience every day in their towns and actual lives?

  24. mike from iowa 2020-12-27 08:04

    Likely brainwashed by wingnut propaganda, BCB. Maybe wingnuts vaccinated them with programmed chips that force them to vote against all they ever knew was right. You know, wingnuts claim Bill Gates is injecting chips in unsuspecting peoples.

    My apologies if you read this stuff before. If George Soros was implicated, wingnuts would swear the whole conspiracy was gospel.

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