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Libertarian Momentum: 1% of South Dakota by 2038!

Last week, the Pierre Capital Journal ran an article by Phil Torres headlined “Libertarian Party Gains Momentum Amongst SD Voters“. The article provided no evidence beyond the assertion of a party functionary that the Libertarian Party has any momentum among South Dakota voters:

Nicholas Machuca, East River coordinator for the Libertarian Party of South Dakota, thinks the two party system has painted them into a corner.

As a result, younger people are turning away from the Republican and Democratic Parties, with many opting to join the Libertarian Party.

“A lot of them don’t fit into any category for either of those, most are independents. So they have this need to find another spot and Libertarianism is where a lot of them end up falling in,” Machuca said.

Libertarians tend to rely heavily on word of mouth over active recruitment efforts, Machuca explained [Phil Torres, “Libertarian Party Gains Momentum Amongst SD Voters,” Pierre Capital Journal, 2023.02.28].

The article then non-sequiturially cites the plutocratic Americans for Prosperity as evidence that the Libertarian Party is critical of the Biden Administration:

On the national front, the party is critical of the current administration’s economic policies.

That’s according to the Americans for Prosperity, an advocacy group with libertarian and conservative leaning principles.

Americans for Prosperity President Emily Seidel stated in a press release a criticism of the Biden Administration [Torres, 2023.03.01].

Um, AFP is not a part of the Libertarian Party. It doesn’t pour money into Libertarian campaigns. AFP’s focus is on Republican candidates.

But hey, let’s help out the Pierre Capital Journal and provide the empirical data they should have reported to support their headline:

According to the Secretary of State’s latest tally of registered voters, as of March 1, 2,894 South Dakotans are registered Libertarians. That’s an increase of 10.16% over the past year. No other party posted double-digit percentage growth in its ranks over the past 12 months: Since March 2022, Republican registrations grew 6.79%, independent registrations grew 4.92%, and Democratic registrations fell 0.57%. The number of registered voters of all affiliations in South Dakota grew 4.40% over the last 12 months.

The Libertarians’ 54.68% growth rate over the last four years is more than triple the 16.09% growth of the SDGOP, more than quadruple the growth of South Dakota independents, and far superior to the 4.80% decline in Democratic ranks. Over the past four years, the voter rolls have grown just 9.71%.

In four years, the Libertarians have increased their share of South Dakota’s electorate from 0.34% to 0.48%. At that rate of growth, by 2038, Libertarians will constitute 1% of South Dakota’s electorate.

That’s the momentum the Pierre Capital Journal meant to quantify. You’re welcome.

Related Voter Counting:

  • Republican registrations exceeded 300,000 for the first time at the beginning of this month—300,036 to be exact.
  • Democrats still lead independents in registration, but the margin has dwindled to 0.66 percentage points, with 151,320 Democrats versus 147,337 registered independents.
  • Since November 1, registered Republicans have outnumbered Democrats and independents combined. Only the Libertarians have prevented the Republicans from claiming a majority of the voter rolls.


  1. Bob Newland 2023-03-06 07:42

    The Libertarian knight lies on the field armless and legless, shouting, “Come back and fight, you coward!”

  2. Mark Anderson 2023-03-06 07:49

    The real definition of Libertarian is a Republican who smokes dope. That’s why their so lackadaisical in recruitment.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2023-03-06 17:34

    On recruitment, the quote from Machuca above suggests that the Libertarians suffer from the same faith in the true free market (or maybe that’s just code for laziness) that hamstrings my own profit-making. They believe that the quality of their principles and their party will speak for itself and naturally draw new members. I’ve spent 17 years blogging without engaging in any major ad campaign or SEO manipulation, thinking that if I just write good material, my audience and Blog Tip Jar revenue will grow naturally. I do have a remarkably large audience (perhaps as large an audience as one can build for wonky discussions of South Dakota politics!) that is remarkably generous with its attention and financial contributions, but like the Libertarians, I don’t come close to the major players in the field (mainstream media, analogous to mainstream political parties) in attention and income.

  4. leslie 2023-03-06 22:52

    That half of registered voters are Democrats and Independents, is interesting and curious.

    Like the Trump “Republican” base that remains at 30% of national registered voters no matter how much of a crook he eventually is proven to be, those who vote the majority are largely Republicans in SD. Independants like LCJ may flesh out the conservative ranks considerably. Three-eighths of the state’s total population, or more.

    It is like income inequality, the other existential crisis effecting the global population. (Global climate warming of course is the first such crisis.) “Russia has a lot of billionaires, it doesn’t have very many millionaires, but it has a lot of billionaires and billionaires can afford to employ the services of the best lawyers to create the best offshore solutions. They really want the best offshore solutions because they want to make sure that no one can find their money.” (April 20, 2022)

    SD, population 800,000 plus, is a world “off shore solution” as of late. $360 Billion or perhaps by now a trillion dollars are secreted in paper mailbox holding companies under legislatively designed and annually improved trust laws that maintain secrecy and shun generally accepted accounting principles, and are “enforced” by the inherent power of state government in its lack of oversight by a state court judicial system and a corrupt Republican administrative government that benefits from a “sheen of legitimacy” as one of the fifty United States, of America. Kristi, like Trump the con-man, is the perfect leader of the ship of this particular state, as its Republican-elected governor who will say anything, unknowingly, or maliciously, to keep self-enrichment flowing. Those Republican voters are there for her, just like they were for the former RAGA member/Attorney General, the utterly incompetent Jason Ravnsborg.

    Swiss prosecutors have charged four banking executives for allegedly overseeing accounts that helped move millions of dollars of what is believed to be Russian president Vladimir Putin’s secret wealth, according to reporting by Swiss publication Tages-Anzeiger.

    The Swiss indictment includes the CEO of the Swiss arm of Russia’s Gazprombank and three other employees at the bank. They allegedly ignored clear red flags that money was being transferred via the accounts of a strawman for the Russian president…
    in a clandestine network operated by Putin associates that moved at least $2 billion through banks and shell companies. (March 2, 2023)

    Since the invasion of Ukraine, Western authorities have embarked on an unprecedented campaign of sanctions targeting the massive wealth of Russia’s ruling elites.

    In the chaotic aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse, a few politically connected officials and businessmen in the early 1990s gained control of state-owned enterprises for pennies on the dollar, locking the vast majority of Russians out of the rapid process of privatization and robbing the public treasury of the assets’ fair value. Over the following decades, these elites registered shell companies in secrecy jurisdictions like the British Virgin Islands and the Seychelles, used them to open bank accounts in countries with weak corporate regulation, and bought real estate, stocks, bonds and extravagant luxury items.

    The offshore system [now in South Dakota with hundreds if not a thousand or more miles of isolated Missouri River shoreline which appears to be good enough!] can blunt the effect of sanctions to the extent that it enables oligarchs to hide assets behind anonymous shell companies and use other instruments of financial secrecy. (April 20, 2022)

    The complexity of corruption is beyond the competency of South Dakota’s Republican law-makers and administrators.

  5. larry kurtz 2023-03-07 18:12

    The LPSD really doesn’t stand for anything hence the far white wing still yearns for real representation in congress. Mike Rounds has publicly rejected the Fox election narrative infuriating the West River faction, Mrs. Powers has put her family’s personal safety on the line defending the Schoenbeck wing and John Wiik makes shrinking violets look bold yet cowardice still looks like a firm stand in Pierre.

  6. Phil Torres 2023-03-13 20:23

    Thanks for reading Cory. I wasn’t familiar with your website but you seem swell.

  7. Gideon Oakes 2023-03-31 19:02

    Hey Bob, Mr. Anderson thinks you’re a Republican who smokes dope. 🤣🤣🤣

    If you want to find a reason for why people aren’t lining up to register as Libertarian, you could reasonably blame our lack of shininess — we certainly don’t have entire media conglomerates whose mission statements are dedicated to making us look good 23 out of the 24 hours in the news cycle.

    You could also blame institutional, systemic suppression of third parties. We wouldn’t even HAVE a third party in South Dakota if the ACLU hadn’t helped us sue the state in 2016 to release the strangling requirements that were nearly impossible to meet as a small party. Even now in 2023, the governor and her sock puppet, Senator/Chairman/Comrade Wiik, felt compelled to bring a ranked-choice voting ban. Why do you suppose they hate RCV? I’ll tell you. Because it eliminates spoilers, and without spoilers, they have no leverage to hold over voters’ heads with the “too important of an election to waste your vote on a third party” narrative that they roll out every… single… election cycle.

    But I would not blame laziness. Sure, it’s cute and funny to dredge up the classic mental image of a bunch of stoners sitting around whining about how much it sucks that pot is illegal. However, I would lay you dollars to doughnuts that the average Libertarian works harder to advance libertarianism than the average Republican or Democrat does for their respective parties. Case in point, if you have a Libertarian friend, you undoubtedly know you have a Libertarian friend. We’re kind of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and/or vegans of the political world. 😁

    But, if you don’t like my anecdotal evidence, consider that Libertarians have about 2,900 registered voters in South Dakota. Of those voters, LPSD state conventions generally attract around 40 delegates. That varies, often depending on weather, but that’s a pretty safe average. That means on average, about 1.38% of the party shows up to the state convention. That sounds like a paltry number, but if Republicans attracted that same percentage, they would need a convention hall that fits more than 4,100 people rather than this year’s record-breaking 687. Democrats would need to find room for close to 2,100.

    That’s also not even considering the percentage of Libertarians who stepped up to run for office in the past few years — many times, there were only Rs and Ls in the race, including two times in a row in the Congressional race.

    I’d say broken down per capita, we’re working our tails off.

  8. larry kurtz 2023-03-31 19:13

    It’s good to read you here, Mr. Oakes. Maybe check in more often?

  9. Gideon Oakes 2023-03-31 19:21

    @LK – Thanks for that. I’d check in more often, but I’m awfully busy trying to get to 1% by 2038. 🤣 (That, and trying to keep three kids alive — plus occasionally guiding them on their way to becoming functional members of society)

  10. larry kurtz 2023-03-31 20:29

    Mr. Oakes, you’re the only breath of fresh air at Pat’s Pissoir where a handful of named respondents have to endure whichever personality Mr. Powers trots out to defame or smear over there. Why you bother with that is a mystery.

  11. Kurt Evans 2023-03-31 21:43

    Larry Kurtz writes to Gideon Oakes:

    It’s good to read you here, Mr. Oakes. Maybe check in more often?

    I’m planning a suicide-by-cop final exit from DFP, and Larry is already recruiting a replacement.

    If Gideon checks in too often, Cory may accuse him of “hijacking” his posts.

    Mr. Oakes, you’re the only breath of fresh air at Pat’s Pissoir where a handful of named respondents have to endure whichever personality Mr. Powers trots out to defame or smear over there.

    When Pat Powers removes comments, at least he only destroys a half hour of your work at a time.

    *has to*

    Good eye, Larry, but since handful is a collective noun, you’re probably okay with either the singular or the plural verb here.

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