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Rounds: 2020 Election Fair, Attacking Results and Republicans Unhelpful. Trump: WAAAAH!

Senator M. Michael Rounds went on ABC News yesterday and stated the simple fact that, contrary to the Big Lie fascists are peddling in South Dakota, the 2020 election was the fairest election in American history:

We looked — as a part of our due diligence, we looked at over 60 different accusations made in multiple states.

While there were some irregularities, there were none of the irregularities which would have risen to the point where they would have changed the vote outcome in a single state.

The election was fair, as fair as we have seen. We simply did not win the election, as Republicans, for the presidency. And moving forward — and that’s the way we want to look at this — moving forward, we have to refocus once again on what it’s going to take to win the presidency [Senator M. Michael Rounds, interview with George Stephanopoulos, transcript, ABC: This Week, 2022.01.09].

Senator Rounds told his fellow Republicans that winning future elections requires rejecting the Big Lie:

And if we simply look back and tell our people don’t vote because there’s cheating going on, then we’re going to put ourselves in a huge disadvantage. So, moving forward, let’s focus on what it takes to win those elections. We can do that. But we have to let people know that they can — they can believe and they can have confidence that those elections are fair.

And that is in every single state that we looked at [Rounds, 2022.01.09].

Asked if he would support the Biggest Liar, Donald Trump, if he runs for President again, Senator Rounds said, “I will take a hard look at it”:

Personally, what I have told people is, is I’m going to support the Republican nominee to be president. I’m not sure that the eventual nominee has even shown up yet. There’s still — we’re two years to go, where we’re going to focus on the next election cycle. It’s critical that we take back the House. It’s critical that we take back the United States Senate.

And doing and based upon that, then we will decide who our nominee for president is going to be [Rounds, 2022.01.09].

The fact that Senator Rounds can speak simple fact should not impress us. The fact that Senator Rounds can still suggest he would support a fascist menace who unleashed an insurrection against Congress and is still undermining the United States Constitution should disgust us.

The fact that Senator Rounds declined to directly endorse Trump but directly refuted Trump’s Big Lie disgusted Trump, who posted this stream of insults against Rounds on his website today. Let’s take it in chunks:

“Senator” Mike Rounds—

Mock quote marks? Really? Is Trump making his Lie Bigger by asserting that South Dakota’s 2020 U.S. Senate election was also rigged and that Democrat Dan Ahlers is the rightful junior Senator from South Dakota? Yes, please, bring that lawsuit.

—of the Great State of South Dakota just went woke—

Senator Rounds is “woke”? I thought that Left and Right at least agreed that “woke” refers to attention to racism and other social injustice. Senator Rounds’s comment Sunday says nothing about race, gender, or anything else that seems to fit the “woke” frame. He’s not discussing his party’s generation-spanning efforts to quash voting rights through systemic racism (although he should be). His affirmation of the results of the 2020 election make no claim pertaining to racial or social justice. Rounds is stating only that we counted ballots correctly. That’s not a “woke” statement; that’s just math and law.

—on the Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020. He made a statement this weekend on ABC Fake News, that despite massive evidence to the contrary,—

Were you not listening to Senator Rounds? There is no evidence, massive or minuscule, of a fraudulent election.

—including much of it pouring in from Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and other states, he found the election to be ok—just fine. Is he crazy or just stupid?

Why both listening further? Forever lacking evidence, the Big Liars can only resort to name-calling.

The numbers are conclusive, and the fraudulent and irregular votes are massive. The only reason he did this is because he got my endorsement and easily won his state in 2020—

Oh, so Rounds did win the 2020 election. So he is our Senator, without quote marks. Trump’s style is not about developing a coherent story; it’s just about venting his boundless spleen.

Additionally, I concur with the assessment of South Dakota Republican Party blogger Pat Powers that Trump’s endorsement of Rounds in 2020 has no impact on the results of Rounds’s victory over Ahlers. Suppose Trump hadn’t endorsed Rounds. Would the outcome of the election have changed? Rounds won over 15,000 more votes than Trump. At least 15,000 people who did not want Trump as their President chose Rounds as their Senator. The absence of a Trump endorsement wouldn’t have swayed those voters. If “doing what Trump tells me” was the only criterion for any other voters, they still wouldn’t have added their votes to the Dan Ahlers and the Democrats, and they had no alternative candidates; they’d have just left the ballot blank rather than casting a traitor’s vote for woke liberal Antifa lovers. Rounds could have given more than 132,000 votes, almost 48% of his total, without losing his seat to Ahlers.

Rounds won a harder campaign against multiple opponents in 2014 without any endorsement from Trump. Rounds won an easier race in 2020 independent of any “help” (i.e., a few words on Twitter) from Trump.

—so now he thinks he has time, and those are the only ones, the weak, who will break away. Even though his election will not be coming up for 5 years, I will never endorse this jerk again.

Jerk. That’s all Trump has. Name-calling. All that’s left now is for someone to tell Trump M. Michael Rounds’s real first name.

It’s RINOs like this that are allowing the Democrats to destroy our Nation! Our Borders, our Military, our Economy, Inflation, the horrible handling of the China Virus and Afghanistan, and rampant crime throughout our Democrat-run cities are ripping our Country apart. We are a laughingstock throughout the world when we were respected and even feared just 1 year ago. There were no thoughts of Russia with Ukraine, China with Taiwan, Iran with nuclear weapons, or North Korea with nasty statements.

The Radical Left Democrats and RINOS, like “Senator” Mike Rounds, do not make it easy for our Country to succeed. He is a weak and ineffective leader, and I hereby firmly pledge that he will never receive my Endorsement again!

Now one would think that Trump’s vow not to support Rounds if he is again nominated by the Republican Party would free Rounds from his loyal party-boy promise to support his party’s nominee for President, even if that nominee is the disloyal Trump. But Senator Rounds doesn’t go there. He just sticks with the facts:

I’m disappointed but not surprised by the former president’s reaction. However, the facts remain the same. I stand by my statement. The former president lost the 2020 election.

This isn’t new information. If we’re being honest, there was no evidence of widespread fraud that would have altered the results of the election. To that point, nearly all of my Senate Republican colleagues acknowledged this last January. During the electoral certification process, we did our due diligence and looked at the challenges made by the former president’s lawyers. Over 90 senators agreed that there was not enough evidence to overturn the results and, therefore, certified the election as our Constitution calls for [Senator M. Michael Rounds, Facebook post, 2022.01.10].

…takes two clever and Senatorially subtle shots at Trump:

Additionally, Vice President Mike Pence stood his ground, acknowledged President Biden’s victory and acted with integrity. It’s time the rest of us do the same.

If you look at the challenges our nation faces today – whether it be inflation, the border crisis or Afghanistan – it’s clear that we are in desperate need of responsible, conservative, disciplined leadership in the White House [Rounds, 2022.01.10].

…and reminds his fellow Republicans that attacking fellow Republicans, not to mention the legitimacy of elections, will not win elections:

As a Republican Party, our focus should be on what lies ahead, not what’s in the past. Elections are about growing support for your party, not further dividing it. Attacking Republicans certainly isn’t going to result in a winning formula. Neither is telling citizens not to vote. If we are going to win in 2022 and 2024, we have to move forward together [Rounds, 2022.01.10].

Just compare the content and tone of these two men’s statements. While Trump lies, calls names, and wallows in personal pique, Rounds ignores personal insult and recites plain facts and practical campaign strategy. Just imagine hearing talk like this at your dinner table, at Caribou Coffee, or at a ball game, from a real person speaking directly to your face. Which person would you rather listen to? Which person would you want to spend more time with? Which person would you trust as a neighbor, or as your boss, or as the person speaking for you on your City Council, or in Congress, or in the White House?

I don’t like either of these Republicans. (Remember, Rounds is the Republican who made me a Democrat, and his complicity in Trump’s ascent affirms my choice.) But the Rounds/Trump exchange shows South Dakota Republicans that they face a stark choice: follow a petulant, lying child, or follow a mild-mannered, occasionally honest adult who can put his party ahead of his ego.


  1. O 2022-01-10 20:15

    The Senator whose seat is safe for the next half-decade took the opportunity to state a fact a YEAR after its self evidence. The real test will be where our Senator whose political life is now in the moment will stand: with a party beholden to the Trump cult of personality and the delusional minions who follow that cult or with a minimal level of decency to also uphold basic truth and reality.

    I also remember that this kind of tough talk (referencing reality or in any way critical of Trump) was the norm in early 2016 primary season; once Trump became the GOP nominee, these sycophants, including Rounds, fell into (party) line and danced to Trump’s tune.

  2. Donald Pay 2022-01-10 20:36

    It tells you how bad things are being a Republican these days when telling an obvious truth gets you called out by the leader of the party. Rounds took a couple soft, polite swings at the Trump ego, and Trump melts down. See, Republicans, if you all took Trump on at the same time, this guy would be a sputtering lump of mush. Trump is like the Wizard of Oz, all bluff and bluster. He’s really got nothing.

  3. grudznick 2022-01-10 21:00

    Well, Mr. Rounds is a bit left of being a Conservative with Common Sense, but he was polite yet correct about Mr. Trump, who is insaner than most. Let us hope Mr. Rounds keeps poking at that bee hive.

  4. Porter Lansing 2022-01-10 21:55

    People in Colorado just laugh at Trump’s assertion aka The Big Lie.
    CO has had mail in ballots for nine years and all three political parties agree that mail-in ballots favor no party.
    Trump jumped on mail-in ballots, as an excuse, because most of America have never had a ballot sent to them, without asking.
    But the response to The Big Lie is easy and I use it with any MAGA brave enough to bring it up, with me.
    “Just try and mail in more than one ballot and see what happens, Mrs. or Mr. MAGA voter.”
    It’ll end with an FBI agent knocking on your door because it’s 99.9% impossible to cheat that process.

  5. Loren 2022-01-10 22:17

    Blah, blah, blah… These SD senators are full of words, but let’s look at their actions. They stood by the guy that grabbed crotches, paid off porn stars, tried to blackmail a foreign country, recommended ivermectin/internal UV lite/hydroxychloroquine, selected a cabinet from talk show hosts ad family members, incited an insurrection, impeached twice… And little Mikey had to think about backing this gent again, if he runs. Really???? Yup, it’s SD!

  6. Arlo Blundt 2022-01-10 23:18

    Well…Thune and Rounds are squirming, looking for some safe ground to escape the “Big Lie” that they have endorsed with the shards of their reputation for the past year. In a state that has a population with a dislike for “politicians”, they certainly fill the bill. Problem is, they know more about this fraud and the criminal insurrection than they will admit. It won’t blow over.

  7. M 2022-01-11 06:36

    No matter what Rounds or Thunes say or do, they will be elected because the Republicans in this state vote straight party ticket. I can’t believe some of the friends I have that voted for Trump the 2nd time because they were fighting for democracy and against socialism. Heard those words many times. Labels stick. And they now blame Biden for all the ills we are facing.

    Rounds is lining himself up for something in 2024 or knows something we will soon find out. So far, Trump’s telling of the big lie keeps going on and on and on. Nobody in their party can do anything else except for Trump and Rounds knows this will have to stop soon.

    Can I run around and claim that I won the Miss Snow Queen Contest in 1973 in small town SD when I didn’t? Can I claim publicly that I earned a doctorate degree at SDSU when it was just a graduate degree? How can there be no consequences for lying in public like this?

    I did email Rounds and thanked him for standing up. It’s the only compliment I’ve given him since Trump took over the party. Now, Thune will stand up and maybe the crack will open up. Let’s remember that McConnell knows dam well Trump is an insurrectionist and he and Thune are close.

    There’s a plan in the making.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-01-11 07:19

    I agree: it’s not enough two years before the primary to vaguely invite primary challengers and hope someone can topple the fascist who wants back in. Republicans need to reject Trump forcefully now and crush his support.

    That said, South Dakota Republicans still face a clear choice: they can support Mike Rounds or they can support Donald Trump. They cannot support both.

  9. larry kurtz 2022-01-11 07:27

    Let’s be clear: Mike Rounds supported Trump’s agenda right up to the time it was no longer politically expedient. Recall Rounds campaigned on needing $9 million to be credible and stay in office but has a fraction of that in the bank today while Kristi Noem has eclipsed that in spades.

  10. Richard Schriever 2022-01-11 09:11

    Trump and many “conservatives” tend to interpret the world, and their own place in it, in the frame of an athletic contest, or some permutation of it – with simple additive point-keeping determining winners and losers and nothing other to the adoration of fans beyond that. What I first noted, on moving back to SD was the extent to which peoples’ identity in this state is all tied up in the achievements or lack thereof of their local High School athletics teams – and the tribalist sort of cultural organizing associated with same. Those contests serve as a sort “coup counting” ritual toward their tribal pride. It’s really not so different to the “tagging” and “color” associations, and territorial marking of the various gangs in urban settings or biker groups on the road(s). The actual complexities of governance of a diverse society? Their only consideration there is “who’s gonna tax me more?” is the only “real” question. It becomes just another simple coup-counting exercise to them.

  11. O 2022-01-11 09:29

    grudznick, in what way is Sen. Rounds “a bit left of being a Conservative with common sense?” You want to take some moral high ground with Trump, yet you make in essence the same RINO attack against this VERY CONSERVATIVE Senator who speaks truth to the Dear Leader.

    You sir, are insaner than most.

  12. buckobear 2022-01-11 10:15

    … and yet round mike has nothing to say about his party’s lack of any coherent policy proposals. As Jennifer Rubin said in the WaPo, he should have been asked how he could remain in this party (cult) he is in.

  13. O 2022-01-11 11:18

    buckobear, they are the opposition party; they only need to oppose what the Democrats want to do and that is how the GOP defines success. He will campaign on that. MMR is only speaking truth to the newest, MAGA iteration of GOP madness, not the core of its traditional madness.

  14. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-01-11 15:01

    Rounds is merely a politician; he doesn’t know enough to care or be anything more.

  15. Mark Anderson 2022-01-11 16:43

    Rounds brings down trump? Nahhh. He may outlast him.

  16. Donald Pay 2022-01-11 17:20

    In a way this little tempest in a teapot is just a little way to distract from the attack on democracy that Republicans are doing across the nation. Isn’t that the issue that Rounds should be focusing on going forward? As long as he’s stating the obvious about a past election he’s deflecting attention from how his party is set to steal the next.

    I’m sure Trump isn’t Rounds’ idea of a good Republican. I know from living and voting in Pierre that Rounds was considered a good guy who didn’t attack other candidates no matter how much he disagreed with them. His statement was not really an attack on Trump, as much as it was a statement of fact. If Trump can’t handle it, it’s not Rounds’ problem. No, Rounds didn’t attack other candidates, but he was not a little d democrat, either. He wasn’t much of a friend of voting rights for everyone. Not a friend of the initiative, for example. Supported gerrymandering. Not very willing to make it easier for Indians on the reservations to vote. On all the issues involving the ballot he was just a little left of Hitler.

    Now I wasn’t there for his Governorship, but that coincided with the efforts to bureaucratize the initiative process so that it was more difficult for citizens to use it. Like I said, Rounds gets no award for stating the obvious. If he can’t vote for voting rights, his statement is just a fart in the wind.

  17. grudznick 2022-01-11 18:15

    Farts in the wind, Mr. Pay, are still farts, especially for them standing downwind facing uphill.

  18. Bob Newland 2022-01-11 18:20

    Mike Rounds does the right thing FOR ONCE IN HIS LIFE, and people are talking about making him a saint. I’ll tell ya….

  19. larry kurtz 2022-01-11 18:42

    Has anyone petitioned Mrs. Noem to pardon Mr. Newland for being an enemy of Judge Battey’s state?

  20. grudznick 2022-01-11 18:46

    That would be a great cause, Lar. But remember, my good friend Bob was not only an enemy of the state but also a menace to society. Still is on some days.

  21. larry kurtz 2022-01-11 19:16

    There was a curmudgeonly judge named Roy Battey
    Who fumed when Bob Newland smoked a big fatty.
    Roy huffed and he puffed then sequestered Bob’s stuff
    Then he sentenced Newland sans his beef patty.

  22. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-01-12 07:14

    Bob, I’m not talking about him as a saint. I’m talking about him as a Republican thorn in the Republican side.

    In this resistance to Trump, Rounds is now experiencing how we Democrats feel all the time, trying to be the mature, honest adults amidst a bunch of bratty children. Being the grown-up is always harder. Republicans in general are surrendering to easy childishness. Trump is lazy. He doesn’t research. He doesn’t work to make his message fit with facts and evidence. He doesn’t compromise, accede to reality, and admit mistakes. It’s much easier to just wing it, to act and speak on impulse, to throw cheap insults, and play the bully. It’s much harder to resist responding in kind and instead maintain one’s composure and speak like a rational adult who has to deal with the consequences of his words and actions.

    We can hope Rounds, working from his position of personal sympathy from other members of his party due to the recent death of his wife as well as his insulation from primary pressures and his lack of involvement and interest in jockeying for 2024, may be the perfect messenger for a Republican movement to finally reject Trump. We can hope that’s the full game here. We can cheer on any Republicans who work to excise the Trump cancer. And even as we cheer that effort, we can still stand prepared to assail Rounds for his prior complicity in fascism and work to unseat him and his more immediately vulnerable fascist cronies back here in Pierre.

    But let Rounds have his message. Let Rounds bait Trump and challenge Republicans to face the monster’s childish, fanatic reactions. Encourage any action that removes Trump from the stage. Trumpism is a primary danger to our Constitution. We should accept any help in neutralizing and eradicating that danger.

  23. jerry 2022-01-12 09:40

    Rounds took note of what Biden said ““Those who stormed this Capitol and those who instigated and incited and those who called on them to do so held a dagger at the throat of America and American democracy,” Biden said.” Think about that for a minute, those words are a powerful indictment.

    Biden has called out the republican party for their support of the Big Lie and therefore, the insurrection. Rounds is a politician that can read tea leaves, he has known that what his party now stands for is sifting sand and in order to have any kind of changes that mean something to the American people, The Big Lie cannot stand.

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