The rest of the press picked up quickly on my 5:59 a.m. post yesterday noting that Democrats have now fallen behind independents to third place in voter registration in South Dakota.
Blogger and Representative Tony Venhuizen (R-13/Sioux Falls) notes this may not be the first time Democrats are #3 in SD:
Although voter registration records are not readily available, election results indicate that the Populist Party (and related parties) may have exceeded the Democratic Party in the state’s early history. In three gubernatorial elections in 1890, 1892, and 1894, the populist-affiliated “Independent Party” finished in second place, ahead of the Democratic nominee. The populists and Democrats thereafter joined forces with a “fusion” ticket that elected Governor Andrew E. Lee in 1896 and 1898 but lost to the Republicans in 1900 [Tony Venhuizen, “SD Democrats Fall to 3rd,” SoDak Governors, 2023.08.21].
South Dakota Searchlight borrows Tony’s voter registration chart and mentions the Dems’ newfound third-placery.
Annie Todd of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader contends that Democratic registration peaked in 1980 and has declined since, but that claim doesn’t square cleanly with the data Venhuizen maintains showing Dems at 202,052 in 1980 and 204,413 in 2008. Dems peaked percentage-wise in 1980, but they peaked numerically in 2008. Republicans have grown steadily in numbers since 1980 but have stayed in the high 40s as a percentage of the electorate. Only indies have gained both numerically and percentage-wise over the last 43 years.
Todd also reports that three registering voters this month have adopted the new No Labels label and suggests the new party could eat into Democratic and Republican numbers… but why would registered South Dakota Republicans give up the prestige and primary privilege of adopting the powerful one-party regime’s “R” for a party whose work will only produce the same results that their current Republican Party is after, the reëlection of Donald Trump?
The SDGOP spin blog says the Dems’ slippage “should be a huge wake-up call to… everyone that when you quit doing the things that a political party is supposed to do, the end result is irrelevance.” Of course, the South Dakota Republican Party stopped doing this that a political party is supposed to do seven years ago and just became a tool of a reality-TV host and incompetent Manhattan billionaire who refuses to support any Republican nominee other than himself, and they keep winning elections….
The Secretary of State has updated the registration figures since my report before business yesterday: evidently on Monday, Democrats added one registered voter, Republicans added 45, and independents added 61. Hooray for 107 more voters!