Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What If Republicans Held Every Elected Office In South Dakota?

I have never met Pat Powers, so I won't claim to know what was running through his mind as he typed this headline "Take Bernie of that tiny, tiny bench." I don't know if he furrowed his brow as he sought to find the perfect tone. Perhaps he chortled or sniggered. Maybe he rubbed his hands together with glee and laughed maniacally. The only thing I'm relatively sure of is that as a partisan, he wants Republicans to win every race. The idea that a single party could control every seat within the state made me wonder what would be different if Republicans controlled everything.

Republicans won't get rid of the East River/West River divide that dominates residents' thinking, especially West River. There would still be those who claim that RINOs dominate the party. I suspect those folks would become more vociferous. I'm certain the party would be pulled to the right, but I'm not sure what practical effect that would have. For example, I doubt a Maher vs. Bolin  fight over being Commissioner of School and Public Lands would set any records for name calling or vitriol.

More importantly, I doubt there could be many new policies passed. There's no new revenue source, so it's difficult to see taxes being lowered. Roads still need to get plowed and maintained, and other basic services still need to be provided. Further, there are federal guidelines setting the minimum wage or establishing baseline environmental protections. I'm sure that there would be a concentrated effort to bring in new businesses, but most non-residents still view the state as the ice planet Hoth, and I doubt that our image will change unless climate change really takes hold. In short, the success rate for recruiting new businesses would be the same as it is now.

I suppose a few wacky things could happen. The legislature could pass and the governor could sign a bill mandating everyone to own firearm. That would surely show those damned liberal progressives the folly of Obamacare. I would guess the few Quakers or secular pacifists remaining in the state would win all lawsuits. There could be some legislation on marriage, but if the Supreme Court strikes down DOMA, the issue will be moot. Further, I doubt the federal spigot that funds a huge part of state government will be shut off

If Republicans are tying to set up some conservative utopia, one wonders why they haven't done it already; they've won over 80% of the statewide elections in the state's history.

I'm sure I'm missing something, but it seems stakes for Republicans are awfully small.

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