Representative Jon Hansen (R-25/Dell Rapids) doesn’t know jack about constitutional law, but at least he and his pal Senator Lee Schoenbeck (R-5/Watertown) know how to cloak their attack on democracy in good political branding.
The prime sponsors of House Joint Resolution 5003, eventually to appear on the ballot as Amendment C, have formed a ballot question committee to advocate for their plan to require a 60% supermajority for voters to enact any ballot measure that taxes or spends $10 million or more a year. In their June 18 statement of organization, they dub their committee “South Dakotans Against Higher Taxes.”
That’s a fine committee name. When Jon and Lee go knocking on doors next spring to campaign for their measure and say, “Hi, we’re South Dakotans Against Higher Taxes!” they’ll automatically get invited in for chislic and Pabst.
Of course, that name also neatly obscures the fact that Jon and Lee aren’t really fighting higher taxes; they are campaigning against the will of South Dakota voters, who overwhelmingly agree that they want more democracy and less interference from legislators like Jon and Lee in the citizen initiative process. But less obscurantist, more honest committee names just wouldn’t work as well:
- South Dakotans Against South Dakotans
- Republicans Against Democracy
- Well-to-Do Lawyers Against Majority Rule
- The He-Man Voter-Haters Club
- Smarty-Pants Lawyers Who Think You’re Too Dumb to Make Laws
- Elitists Against Everybody Else
- Freedom Means Letting Us Make All the Decisions for You
- Get Rid Of Slimy Ballot MeasureS
- Father Haire Was Full of Crap and So Is Democracy
- Just Make Lee King and Shut Up Already
Having formed their ballot question committee, Hansen and Schoenbeck can now start taking cash from Americans for Prosperity and the other corporate fascist donors and spending that money to prevent us from making our own laws and investing in public goods. But we won’t see any documentation of their anti-democratic fundraising and spending until next January 28, when 2021 year-end reports are due. We’ll get one more look at their finances next May 23, fifteen days before the vote on the Amendment C supermajority requirement.