It’s not just Republicans in high places who are soft on Republican crimes. South Dakotans in general are soft on misconduct by high-falutin’ Republicans.
Consider the reëlection of Governor Kristi Noem. As Governor, Kristi Noem has practiced nepotism, personal indulgence, and arrogant abuse of power. She has embraced sleaze, betrayed her own party leaders, ignored her duties and her constituents, and demonstrated a lack of vision and skill at the basic management of state government. She has achieved nothing of substance; her capstone policy is the reversal of her initial pandemic cautiousness to instead fight against science and sensible public health measures, leading to deaths from coronavirus that could have been prevented that she tacitly accepts as a fair trade ofr more sales tax and tourists.
And yet, presented with this stunning record of misconduct and incompetence, 44,099 more South Dakotans voted for Kristi Noem to spend four more years in Pierre than picked her for Governor in 2018. Noem won 61 of 66 counties; in 2018, Billie Sutton managed to win 22 counties. This year, the only non-Indian county where Democrat Jamie Smith drew a majority was Clay County, where Vermillionites and neighbors went 54% for the Dems and 43% for Noem.
I can only conclude that South Dakotans aren’t looking at actual performance when they vote. They aren’t thinking about holding public officials accountable for their actions. South Dakotans don’t really want a Governor. Like Corey Lewandowski, they just want a lady who looks good on posters with her cowboy hat.