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Forward Party Not Likely to Break Republican Dominance in South Dakota

An eager reader asks what I think about Andrew Yang’s Forward Party, an attempt to unite disaffected Republicans, Democrats, and others under a new banner. The eager reader suggests “there would be significant interest for that type of party here” in South Dakota.

I am dubious. In 2020, Scyller Borglum said 80% of South Dakota Republicans constituted an “exhausted middle” that was ready for something new. She won less than 25% in the primary against Senator Mike Rounds.

Aaron Aylward chaired South Dakota’s Libertarian Party and ran as a Libertarian for District 6 House in 2018. He won a sixth as many votes as the Republican winners and  less than a third as many votes as the Democratic challengers. Aylward quit the Libertarians and ran as a Republican in 2020, and now he’s a District 6 Representative.

Republicans in South Dakota have no reason to run under a different party banner, because 9 times out of 10, that Republican banner guarantees they’ll win. Democrats in South Dakota have no reason to run under a different party banner, because their Republican party opponents will sniff them out and brand them as Democrats, liberals, progressives, baby-killers, or whatever other words they need to use to keep their locally inattentive but Fox/Breitbart-obsessed audience voting against any challenge to the status quo.

Not Left. Not Right. Forward,” is a clever slogan, but it also perpetuates the false both-sidesism that claims Democrats are equally as radically extreme and out of touch as Republicans. In South Dakota in particular, that message is wrong: Democrats just want to solve policy problems, while Republicans seek a radical one-party theocracy. A Forward Party movement in South Dakota won’t peel Republicans away from their safe brand; it will only divide whatever sensible, pragmatic opposition is out there and ensure ongoing Republican domination of the Legislature.

Nuts and Bolts: The Forward Party is currently endorsing candidates in existing parties. None of those endorsees have scored victories at the ballot box yet. If Yang and friends want official party status in South Dakota, they’ll need to collect 3,392 signatures from registered voters (that number will change after this year’s gubernatorial election: the signature threshold is 1% of the votes cast for Governor in the last general election).

15 Comments

  1. jerry 2022-07-31 09:59

    That’s about the Yin and Yang of it right there, without the complexity.

  2. John 2022-07-31 10:34

    I dunnoknow. I hope the Forward Party has success. The co-chair is former governor Christine Todd-Whitman. If the party merely throws its effort behind candidates who get, or want to get things done – that’s good enough.

    The partisan fist-bumping crap republican senators: Thune, Tomey (Q-Club for Growth), Cruz (Q-Cancun) just pulled on the Pact Act — where the Senate passed the same bill, WITH THE SAME LANGUAGE, in June, 84-14; then defeated the SAME BILL in July – – – is enough to want to burn down the Senate and oil the guillotine. Ditto for the lack of support for an assault weapons ban, etc.

  3. jerry 2022-07-31 11:36

    Christine Todd-Whiteman and David Jolly are both Republicans. Flip flop, nothing to see here but the grift.

  4. John 2022-07-31 13:05

    Jerry, no, Whitman was a popular 2-term governor, as were the governors on the presidential ticket: Weld/Johnson.
    Mickelson was a SD republican. Republicans are not automatically evil or morons. Unfortunately in today’s politics most are.

  5. jerry 2022-07-31 15:40

    Whitman did such a poor job at the EPA, we still suffer from it. She is a Republican/big oil, so there is no way in hell she can be anything “Forward”, but against anything that makes sense to save the planet. David Jolly, Republican/big oil, cut from the same dirty piece of cloth. Check out his track record as well.

    “Yang also calls for research on removing carbon from the atmosphere, “cooling the planet and rejuvenating ecosystems.” He proposes passing a constitutional amendment “that creates a duty on the federal and state governments to be stewards for the environment.” CNN Aug. 26, 2019

    So then, they would come to South Dakota and tell NOem to be a good steward for the environment…Imagine that or better said, imagine a constitutional amendment saying so. Man, I just imagine who will be at the table when they go to Russia, wonder if Thune will have a reservation at the same table.

  6. P. Aitch 2022-07-31 17:42

    Gallup Poll Data:
    Among registered Dems 51% identify as liberal while 49% identify as moderate or conservative.
    In 2011 just 39% identified as liberal while 59% considered themselves moderate or conservative.
    – AXIOS

  7. ABC 2022-07-31 22:57

    The Republican Party is not the Forever Party, guys.

    Scandinavian Countries thrive because of 3 things- capitalism, a good safety net, and no Party ever having a majority.

    USA has on,y the first one.

    So to make South Dakota Scandinavian, add the 3rd element, multiple parties.
    Once you add parties so there is at least 8 or 10 parties, then voters really have a choice.

    Add 5 more parties to the 3 we have, then the 2nd element will come in, a much wider safety net.

    Also, intelligence matters. If there are 1 or 2 dumb parties and 6 smart ones, then the safety net will grow wider.

    “Republican dominance” is an oxymoron. When 70% of a Party believes an election was stolen (no facts to support that) then dominance of Anything is impossible for that Party. Facts are reality. Disbelieving in facts and reality, there is no domination.

    The fact that Republicans win 90% of all elections means zero. Without intelligence only cruelty to those who need help and neo fascism and racism are the fruits of the R Party.

    The winners are losers because they are not smart or bold enough to build better for Everyone!

  8. jkl 2022-08-01 08:16

    I agree with ABC that additional parties would be beneficial. I admire the parliamentary system of democracy because it often forces multiple parties to work together to form a government. It may not be perfect, but this polar opposite two party system is showing some real flaws.

    I agree with your eager reader that there are people in s SD that are interested in a middle ground specifically amount the registered independents. I have read so many times in the last year or two of how close Billy Sutton was to winning the governorship and he may very well have fit into this moderate position.

    Finally, I find it sad how dismissive some are of something new when there was just a blog of how four democrats turned tail and “bail out of legislative contention”. I agree that the likelihood of this third party succeeding is small, but history is littered with underdog successes.

  9. grudznick 2022-08-01 10:36

    Democrats are equally as radically extreme and out of touch as Republicans, but the Conservatives with Common Sense is the sweet spot you are looking for.

  10. Jenny 2022-08-01 11:14

    No, that’s not true at all Grudz. Trump bringing all the racist pubs out of the closet and bellering them to tear down the capital was a major turning point in history that confirmed that the Repbulican Party is the Party at the present moment that is insaner than most.

    Give me a flaky liberal anyday over a racist pub full of hate.

  11. jkl 2022-08-01 11:18

    I googled “Conservatives with Common Sense” thinking this may be some organization, but nothing came up.

  12. jkl 2022-08-01 11:49

    I agree with Jenny, I too will take a flake over a racist, but I want to be in the middle somewhere. I don’t know what the Forward Party will ever be but I want to listen and find out.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-01 12:20

    Believe it or not, jkl, I share your desire to see more parties. I like to think a multi-party system would help bring more diverse candidates and policy ideas to the forefront and drive more practical compromise.

    The concern I express here is that a Forward Party would not produce a real three-party system. At best, it would replace the Democratic Party as the second party. At worst, it would divvy up the Sutton voters and leave in place, if not enhance, the Republican dominance of elections. Either way, a Forward Party would only strengthen the SDGOP narrative that liberals/progressives have no place in South Dakota.

  14. jerry 2022-08-09 15:38

    Yang just did his boss Xi, a solid. Yang condemned the records gathering at trumps hideaway as being political. Nothing could be further from the truth, but ya gotta keep the boss in China happy.

  15. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-09 16:35

    Yang, like Noem, knows nothing that can justify that statement. The FBI executed a search warrant, apparently in a search for improperly taken classified documents. That’s a far cry from any politicization.

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