Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Republicans Will Likely Sweep On November 4. So What?

South Dakota voters will likely give Republicans the key to every statewide office on November 4, 2014.  The Democrats will continue to hold a few seats in the legislature but are unlikely to make any measurable gains. For the foreseeable future Republicans will have complete political power within South Dakota. Although the political landscape may change dramatically, it's likely that Republican Senator John Thune and Republican Representative Kristi Noem will will re-election in 2016.

Republicans have no real reason to celebrate. The R next to their names on the ballot provided an automatic advantage. Democrats ran no one for attorney general. Susan Wismer's campaign was lackluster. Corinna Robinson's campaign for the House of Representatives and Angelia Schultz's campaign for South Dakota Secretary of State were nonexistent. Mike Rounds should feel a sense of relief because he dodged the consequences of his actions as governor, but he can also feel a small sense of satisfaction that he defeated Rick Weiland who ran a first-rate campaign

Human nature has not changed since the factual or metaphoric Eden. Lord Acton was correct: power corrupts and absolute power corrupt absolutely. Single party dominance means South Dakotans will continue to see sweetheart deals like those of EB-5 that stretch the law beyond recognition. It will be like the South during Long era. The Longs had the virtue of being characters; their South Dakota equivalents will be no less corrupt but much more boring.

Another fact that history illustrates is that concentrated power tends to breed inertia. South Dakota is famous for granite faces and low wages. That situation will remain constant for the foreseeable future.

Finally, I will keep blogging about politics. It's a great way to vent. That said, I agree wholeheartedly with this Rod Dreher sentence on his blog at The American Conservative: “I no longer believe that politics is capable of addressing the core of our social and cultural problems.” I also agree with this Ryan Booth statement from the same post.

As a former GOP political operative and activist who has come to the same conclusion, I am now trying to come with new standards for deciding whom to vote for. One thing that I have decided is that I don’t want to vote for any “Christian conservative” who expresses hatred for liberals, as I now believe such people hurt my witness as a Christian. If someone is running as a Christian, I want to see evidence of Christian love. So, my witness now comes first.
On social issues, I see a very interesting dynamic emerging. Whether they admit it or not, the GOP (and especially the Religious Right) has basically given up on America. Their idea of America has nothing in common with the depth of community Tocqueville found. It’s rather a vision of a lone family, left alone by government and everyone else, in the woods with their guns.
I suspect South Dakota politics will see much more of the latter paragraph before it sees any of the former.

1 comment:

P&R said...

No, politics isn't capable of addressing our social and cultural problems. But then, politics is an expression of society and culture far more than it is an influence on them.

Our politics, I think, are very good at expressing our social and cultural problems, by the way.

Be that as it may, this article from First Things might interest you, too. It's a somewhat different approach to the question, but the analysis has merit.