Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lessons From 2015 Legislature: South Dakota Republicans Are Afraid

One would believe that a party that recently defeated a sitting Senate Majority Leader, swept the 2014 races for constitutional offices, and possessed a supermajority in the 2015 legislature would be emboldened to do something other than cravenly conserve power.

Relatively early in the session, there was the "Let's Let John Do What We Wouldn't Let Tom Do" bill. It's unclear why a party that boasts of its deep bench, mocks the opposition for being unable to field candidates, and believes that no one will challenge its senior senator in 2016 would feel the need to enhance their ability to hold that seat unless they don't believe their own boasts and jeers.

Later in the session the Republican majority passed Senate Bill 69 which makes it harder for independent candidates to get on the ballot. Off the top of my head, I can't think of the last time independents of either conservative or liberal leaning successfully challenged an entrenched South Dakota Republican.

I am old enough to remember Republican leaders at a national level proclaiming their trust in the American voters. Apparently South Dakota Republicans don't have the same trust in the South Dakota electorate. They certainly don't seem to want to allow them any choices but those with an "R" behind their name on the ballot. I suppose if a party has no ideas and harbors a distrust of voters, it ought to be fearful.

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