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Cool Consistent in Statement of Free and Fair 2020 Election; Johnson Flips and Spins

After refusing to acknowledge on KELO-TV that Joe Biden won the 2020 election and is the legitimate President of the United States, Republican candidate for secretary of state Monae Johnson acknowledged on SDPB that Joe Biden won the 2020 election:

Hendry: Your opponent in our conversation with him, he called you an election denier. I want to give you a chance to respond to that. Do you believe the 2020 election was a free and fair election?

Johnson: Well, one thing is President Trump did win South Dakota, but Joe Biden did win the key states, so he is our President. For me, I wasn’t in the office at the time, so I want to move forward. I want to have people moving forward to the primary and to the general and making sure that what their votes count, what their votes, count, who they vote for is what’s tabulated. So I’m just pushing forward for that [Lori Walsh, Jackie Hendry, and Chris Laughery, “Secretary of State 2022,” SDPB, 2022.10.24; transcribed by CAH/DFP].

Three elements of this exchange annoy:

  1. Slipping into agnostic faux-objectivity, SDPB’s Jackie Hendry frames the question about election denial as name-calling by Democratic candidate Tom Cool rather than an objective recollection of words that came out of Johnson’s own mouth that show she will not stand against the baseless lies of the MAGA-Republicans whose election denial threatens our election system.
  2. Speaking code for her denialist base, Johnson refers to Trump with his old title but does not do the same for the current President.
  3. Most significantly, Johnson still buries a direct answer in all sorts of irrelevant and barely intelligible commentary. Compare her deliberate diversion with Cool’s consistent, comprehensive, and clear response:

Hendry: You’ve mentioned your opponent—you say she’s an election denier. Do you believe the 2020 election was stolen?

Cool: Absolutely not. Joe Biden was elected. We’ve had 60+ court cases that have shown that. And actually the South Dakota Governor actually said that the 2020 election, at least in South Dakota, was fair. The other question is whether there was voting fraud, and there were—the Secretary of State office as I understand it does not investigate voting fraud, that is up to local counties—but there were no cases filed in 2020 alleging or proving voter fraud in South Dakota [Walsh, Hendry, and Laughery, 2022.10.24].

Notice that Hendry again frames the question as one of an allegation from Cool, but here she refers to words that came out Cool’s mouth in a way that she doesn’t with Johnson. And she gets the words not quite right: earlier in his conversation with Hendry, Cool said “several have described” Johnson “as an election denier.” That construction is itself a bit tricky, but Hendry gives us another instance where SDPB subtly goes a little easier on Republicans and little harder on Democrats than full, forceful objectivity would require.

Here’s an objective assessment of the two candidates seeking to run South Dakota’s elections: Democrat Tom Cool directly acknowledges the fact that the 2020 election was honest and not stolen, while Republican Monae Johnson can’t give a consistent straight answer. Telling plain facts should not be hard for a Secretary of State or any other public figure.


  1. larry kurtz 2022-10-29 08:17

    With guidance from the Koch’s American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC North and South Dakota Republicans have passed legislation that disenfranchised Native voters. But, President Joe Biden is restoring the White House Tribal Nations Summit after the former guy declared war on Indian Country and undercounted Indigenous Americans. But, Republicans want citizens to believe democracy isn’t for everybody so it’s happening in Montana, too.

  2. Sharon SE 2022-10-30 16:10

    The SDPB SoS interviews were recorded at least a week before the KELO interviews, if not more.

  3. All Mammal 2022-10-30 22:49

    It all seems to lead directly back to the same place. Over and over. Infallibly. Everything conservatives fear radiates from one idea they cannot accept. They hate the concept. It makes them feel out of control, and they need to squeeze control until it chokes and it’s head pops off. The entire angst in our society, past and present is thanks to……Women’s Lib.

    Conservatives refuse to allow women to choose for themselves. Conservatives, aka right wing republicans, are at war with legal divorce, birth control, abortion, student loan relief, housing, medicare, public education, books, holistic medicine, environmental protection, LGBTQ, freedom of movement and locomotion, transparency, peace and harmony, self awareness, compromise..basically, everything that helps women become independent, self governing, masters of their own destinies.

    For conservatives, a single, independent woman with a job, car, drivers license, home, self-love, respect, bank account, family and supportive social circle, and the freedom to date (maybe even black men-oooh) and choice to have medical guidance in planned parenthood options….. is way out of whack and must be forced back into order. Immediately.

    One side of the division in current affairs is liberal and wants freedom and respect and opportunity for everyone. The other side wants their traditional, albeit false, image of the woman who bears children, cooks, keeps her mouth shut, obeys, has no power to do otherwise, lest she opt for being thrown on the streets to become prey for a pimp. One side wants liberty. The other side wants to bring back slavery. They’re the Confederacy 2.0.

    See the distinction? Once I noticed this, I can point it out in everything coming out of a conservative’s mouth. Is this misogynistic heart of the right already an established theory? If not, what should we call it, other than an accurate definition of a conservative: Emancipation Proclamation Denier?

    Test it out, ladies and gentlemen. What stance do conservatives have that is not 100% related to putting womban back in her place so the world can be right and wholesome and stable once again?

  4. P. Aitch 2022-10-30 23:02

    All Mammal – That’s a solid description of the Taliban.

  5. All Mammal 2022-10-31 13:39

    P. Aitch- Oh, yeah! The Taliban. Duh. I knew there had to be a name for it already. Thank you. Taliban aka conservative.

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