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Weiland Won’t Rule Democratic Party; Weiland’s Anti-Plutocracy Politics Should

Rick Weiland, at coffee shop campaign stop, Madison, South Dakota, 2013.07.16
Rick Weiland

Sorry, Meade County Dems: Rick Weiland does not want to chair the South Dakota Democratic Party. We can now focus on debating the relative merits of Ann Tornberg and Jeff Barth as to who can best redirect and rebuild the party.

Whomever Dems pick as their practical leader, they should look for someone who can align with Weiland's philosophical leadership. Consider this passage from Weiland's message to supporters yesterday, which sounds more like a call to arms than a demurral:

But in 2014 our Democratic Party has become almost as hogtied by big money as the other party and ridding our political system of it’s influence became the cornerstone of my campaign for the United States Senate.

It is past time for another injection of common sense from the prairie.

We need a new declaration of independence, a declaration of independence from big money [Rick Weiland, e-mail, 2014.12.04].

Weiland is saying the same thing here that he consistently said during his 18 months on the Senate campaign trail: plutocracy is bad for democracy, and even his own Democratic Party needs to do more to reclaim democracy from its rich hijackers. It sounds an awful lot like what many progressive commentators are saying Democrats need to do to win back their base.

David Dayen says the working class and the middle class are mad that the wealthy have rigged the system in their own favor, and the only thing they are hearing from most Democrats is the same free-market bushwa they get from Republicans:

This is not the Democratic Party of your great-grandfather’s New Deal or your grandfather’s Great Society. The takeover of the party by more business-friendly interests — which ironically (or perhaps not) dates back to right around 1973, when wages decoupled from productivity — necessarily impoverishes the imagination around issues of economic security and prosperity [David Dayen, "The So-So Society: Democrats Have Forgotten What Made Them Great," Fiscal Times, 2014.11.14].

William Greider says we can't campaign on the Obama recovery because the near-18K Dow isn't lifting the masses' boats, and Dems look as pro-Wall Street as the GOP:

Barack Obama kept telling folks to brighten up: the economy is coming back, he said, and prosperity is just around the corner.

A party truly connected to the people would never have dared to make such a claim. In the real world of voters, human experience trumps macroeconomics and the slowly declining official unemployment rate. An official at the AFL-CIO culled the following insights from what voters said about themselves on Election Day: 54 percent suffered a decline in household income during the past year. Sixty-three percent feel the economy is fundamentally unfair. Fifty-five percent agree strongly (and another 25 percent agree somewhat) that both political parties are too focused on helping Wall Street and not enough on helping ordinary people [William Greider, "How the Democratic Party Lost Its Soul," The Nation, 2014.11.11].

Dave Johnson of the Campaign for America's Future says Democrats' "New Coke" response to the GOP's pro-business Pepsi has driven voters away:

As Democrats embraced neoliberal “market solution” arguments and moved away from representing the interests of working-class and middle-class voters, many of those voters had nowhere left to turn and simply stopped voting [Dave Johnson, "Is the Democratic Party Relevant Anymore?" Truthout, 2014.12.03].

The Nation says voters see the Democratic Party "too close to corporate funders" and calls for a progressive challenger to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential primary. Richard R.J. Eskow says Democrats must rekindle a "passionate commitment to core progressive values" to restore their party's soul. Greider calls for outright populist-progressive insurrection to reclaim the party:

What we need is a rump formation of dissenters who will break free of the Democratic Party’s confines and set a new agenda that will build the good society rather than feed bloated wealth, disloyal corporations and absurd foreign wars. This is the politics the country needs: purposeful insurrection inside and outside party bounds, and a willingness to disrupt the regular order [Greider, 2014.11.11].

Is Weiland reading these thinkers? Are these thinkers reading Weiland? Whichever the case may be, Weiland may be positioning himself to lead just such a progressive-populist fight for the soul of his party. Weiland writes in his December 4 e-mail that he will do everything in his power "to assist the new Chairperson," but by keeping himself out of the elected party leadership, he keeps the freedom to advocate and criticize his party to push them toward his populist values.

As the South Dakota Democrat to emerge from the unpleasant midterms with the largest, most active base, Weiland doesn't need an official title to lead the party in the right direction. Dems, and next Dem chair, you should strongly consider following Weiland in the fight against plutocracy.


  1. Tim 2014.12.05

    Am I the only one to think Weiland would make a great President? I hope he considers another run in the near future, we need a bunch just like him. What kind of a future would he have if he lived and ran in a blue state where people would actually get off the couch and listen to him?

  2. Tim 2014.12.05

    The observations in this post are spot on, but I wonder how much SD dem leadership will listen.

  3. Jeff Barth 2014.12.05

    I like what Tim says about getting “off the couch”. Some Democrats seem to think that they can wait in the “wagon” and that the Party will take them where they want to go. The fact is that the “wagon” is going nowhere unless we all get off the couch! Get out of the wagon! And push!

  4. larry kurtz 2014.12.05

    Good morning, Jeff and thanks for being a leader!

  5. tara volesky 2014.12.05

    Weiland said some things on the campaign trail that set him self apart from establishment Democrats. He came out to get big insurance out of health care. He called out Harry Reid, he committed to getting big money out of politics. He reminds me of a Paul Wellstone. When other Democrats caved into voting for the war in Iraq, Wellstone stood strong and voted his convictions. He didn't worry about getting re-elected. That's how I see Weiland emerging as a populous candidate rather than a party elite candidate.

  6. tara volesky 2014.12.05

    Excuse me Bill, correction....himself instead of him self.

  7. mike from iowa 2014.12.05

    The word is p-o-p-u-l-i-s-t. It is not p-o-p-u-l-o-u-s.

  8. mike from iowa 2014.12.05

    Jeff B-with the cluster-#### wingnut corruption going on in South Dakota,one would think Dems should not even have to campaign to get elected.

    The sad truth is wingnuts know what goes on in South Dakota and the majority just don't care as long as a pol has an R behind their name.

  9. leslie 2014.12.05

    way to go Jeff! best of luck. west river will work for yah!! was inspired by your aggressive EB5 attack! wish Brendan would say something. Am pretty sure SDGOP's rounds ect. are NOT too big to jail.

  10. barry freed 2014.12.05

    Can't push a wagon when the oxen are up to their ears feeding in a trough full of sweet chop.

  11. Bill Fleming 2014.12.05

    What wagon? LOL

  12. tara volesky 2014.12.05

    Thank you Mike.....populist. Why can't I catch my mistakes before I post?

  13. Steve Sibson 2014.12.05

    Weiland's problem is that his solution is more of what created the plutocracy in the first place...Big Government.

  14. tara volesky 2014.12.05

    Steve, he campaigned against big money which equals big government. Look at health care. I believe his solution of getting big insurance out of heath care is a much better idea than what we have now. The problem is, he gets called a commie or a socialist. Rick truly has the more conservative, practical approach. Why pay the middle man?

  15. tara volesky 2014.12.05

    Big money owns our government. Rick wants to get big money out of government.

  16. Steve Sibson 2014.12.05

    "Rick wants to get big money out of government."

    Then the solution is to reduce the size and scope of government so that there is nothing for Big Money to fight for. And Big Money will do whatever it can to stop any conservative movement from reducing the size and scope of government. Weiland is simply giving Big Money more of what they thrive on.

  17. Troy 2014.12.05

    25% and 29% wasn't a big enough 2x4 across the head. Ok. Give us a goal and we'll do our best to make it happen. Just don't tell us we have to knock you into the teens. Would seem kinda cruel.

  18. larry kurtz 2014.12.05

    Troy's comment ignores that his party paid Larry Pressler to run as a liberal.

  19. Steve Sibson 2014.12.05

    Troy, yes the Establishment probably could knock Weiland into the teens. The SDGOP huge success is due to money garnered from crony capitalist in thanks for setting up the system of legal corruption, or what you guys call economic development.

  20. larry kurtz 2014.12.05

    Sibby, it's not surprising that Troy is kept in the dark about his party's actions: he's just another low-level apparatchik who can't even afford to contribute to campaigns.

  21. tara volesky 2014.12.05

    I just believe if people were told the truth and would realized how much money they could save by paying into Medicare instead of big insurance, then they wouldn't be so afraid of talking about Medicare for all. I would think small businesses would love it, because they wouldn't have to worry about paying employees insurance premiums. Weiland and Myers were the only two candidates with a better alternative than the ACA.

  22. Bill Fleming 2014.12.05

    Troy knows what we all know. Weiland's numbers were low because:

    A. 25% of the Dems voted for Pressler
    B. The majority of Dems in some key districts didn't vote
    C. It was a non-presidential election year, and there was a corresponding anti-Obama Republican wave.
    D. All the "liberal" ballot issues won, all across the nation

    The fact is, the progressive line of reasoning is the correct one. Troy just wants us to stop using it, because the Repubs want to start claiming that territory with their rapidly deteriorating brand. It's their only hope in 2016. They either need to become more (gulp) "liberal" or fold up their tent. Watch for it. ;-)

  23. Roger Cornelius 2014.12.05

    In addition to the points you made about how Weiland lost this election is the really big one, South Dakotans believed Mike Rounds lies.

  24. Steve Sibson 2014.12.05

    "The fact is, the progressive line of reasoning is the correct one."

    No its not. It is not even the correct name for the ideology. Only the deceived would follow it, which seems to be the majority nowadays.

  25. larry kurtz 2014.12.05

    i prefer enlightened or reformist, actually.

  26. Troy 2014.12.05


    If ONLY 25% of Dem's abandoned Wieland for Pressler, you also have to accept that 100% of the Independents and 100% of the Republicans rejected Weiland and his progressive message. If you think you have a formula for victory with that kind of appeal, go for it. I'm not going to stop you.

    By the way, not appealing to any Independents or Republicans in legislative seats would drop your membership in the Legislature to eight from the current 20. While I'm not sure I want 97 of the 105 Legislators to be Republicans, if you think it is a good thing, I guess you are on the right track.

  27. Bill Fleming 2014.12.05

    LOL, when Troy starts nit picking one point and leaves the rest alone, you know you're onto something. :-)

  28. larry kurtz 2014.12.05

    If Pressler really wanted to be Senator he'd have run in the earth hater primary against Rounds.

  29. Bill Fleming 2014.12.05

    Larry, I think Mr. Pressler thought he had a shot at taking down the Republican juggernaut the same way Rick thought he did... by making it a 3 way or 4 way race, and perceiving Rounds to be a relatively weak candidate (which he was.). I also think Harry Reid wanted Pressler, and not Weiland to win. So, I'm not really buying that the Pressler candidacy was a Republican win strategy. Although it did indeed turn out that way.

  30. larry kurtz 2014.12.05

    That's sweet that you have such an idealistic view of American politics, Bill: but we all know that crap is king, especially in South Dakota.

  31. Bill Fleming 2014.12.05

    Roger, it's understandable, don't you think? People don't really want to believe their system is broken. Bottom line, we want to have faith in our government, and every election, the airways are full of reasons why we can't or shouldn't. It's really hard to take or even want to take any of that seriously. Especially if it's complicated (like EB-5 was.) Even so, compared to the other R candidates, there was a serious erosion of trust around Mr. Rounds. Compound that with the fact that voter turnout was lousy and you can easily hypothesize that people expressed their lack of confidence in the whole system by just not voting.

  32. Troy 2014.12.05


    OK. I'll move down the list. Wonder what was wrong with your slate of Weiland, Wismer, & Robinson that so many Democrats come not to vote? I'm sure it wasn't message. They must have been really bad people. Or are they good people with a really bad message.

    Regarding the GOP tsunami, so if it wasn't bad message and bad candidates, is it like the tides? Just happens regardless of message and bad candidates?

    Regarding the claim that all liberal agenda ballot initiatives passed is folly. While many were modernization initiatives like Constitutionally allowing some things to be done digitally vs. printed, there were 102 statewide ballot initiatives that passed across the nation and they included:

    Giving greater protection to right to carry guns, prohibiting an increase in the state income tax, repealing automatic tax increases due to inflation, prohibiting the institution of an income tax.

    In fact, a cursory look at the list of what passed and taking out the minimum wage increases that passed in many states, I'd bet that conservative positions won more than liberal. Bill, you really should do some research before you make assertions that are easily debunked.

  33. Bill Fleming 2014.12.05

    Kurtz, if you are right, then why bother?

  34. lesliengland 2014.12.05

    troy-name recognition of your three stooges is likely the answer.

    did you ever answer any of my other questions lately?

    if we shall be so lucky as to rounds two of the three indicted, I shall be happy to gloat as you seem to be enjoying.

  35. larry kurtz 2014.12.05

    Why bother, Bill? To prevent earth haters like Rounds and Thune from controlling the judiciary confirmation process.

  36. Bill Fleming 2014.12.05

    1. The vote was as depressed across the board, Troy. All over the nation.
    There is no evidence of any greater R participation than D that I know of.
    But of course, in a red state, there are more R's than D's.

    2. Yes it happens every non-presidential year with very few exceptions, just like the tides. But then you already know that. :-)

    3. Read this and get back to us, Troy:

  37. larry kurtz 2014.12.05

    Montgomery believes Wismer was a fantastic candidate with the skills to govern but she had no chance because she didn't have the cash resources to fight the battle on teevee.

  38. Bill Fleming 2014.12.05

    But Larry, that didn't happen. So I don't see your point. If, as you say "crap is king" in SD what does anything you are saying do to change that?

  39. larry kurtz 2014.12.05

    There's always next cycle, Bill: variable interval reinforcement is the strongest kind. We need to work harder but our listening to dipshits like Troy drives our people from running.

  40. Bill Fleming 2014.12.05

    Huh? It takes a lot of money and TV ads to win an election? Wow! Montgomery must be a genius! Puh-leeze. Monty is a legend in his own mind.

  41. Troy 2014.12.05

    I think you guys seem intent to your chosen path and who am I to suggest otherwise. It is your house.

    Leslie, I may have missed your question in other threads. Or, I decided no matter my answer wouldn't impact your thoughts so the answer didn't matter. Just put down, Yes, No, Probably in any order you want, as many times as necessary for yo to get answers and go with it. Works for me.

  42. Bill Fleming 2014.12.05

    Don't kid yourself, Larry. Our challenge is to get someone like Troy to vote for someone like you. LOL

  43. larry kurtz 2014.12.05

    Bill, we need to run progressives in every race and screw the reactionary wing of the GOP. Have you ever been a delegate?

  44. larry kurtz 2014.12.05

    The Montana GOP is suing to close their primaries to voters outside their party: i'm going to shove Jeff Barth into ending Democratic primaries and nominate our people at convention.

  45. larry kurtz 2014.12.05

    Right now i like Joe Biden for President.

    We should look at a DFL-type strategy, gang. The Democratic Party's in Montana and New Mexico are already formulating tactics and raising money so that we can recover.

  46. Bill Fleming 2014.12.05

    Nope, never been asked.

  47. larry kurtz 2014.12.05

    Minnehaha County is going to step up and own the party if county chairs don't fire up their delegates to go to the goddamned convention.

  48. Bill Fleming 2014.12.05

    Well it looks like we won't have Monty to kick around any more. LOL. I wish him all the best. He'll probably be good someday when he grows up.

  49. larry kurtz 2014.12.05

    i sensed it several weeks ago when on 100eyes i asked Lalley about Denise Ross.

  50. Jenny 2014.12.05

    Oh no, our Monty is leaving the Argus! He'll be an awesome journalist in St Paul. Many more opportunities in MN for him also. This is kind of a problem trend SD has, losing its best and brightest young people to MN. Darn you, libbies!

  51. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.05

    Troy, if you are right, then what are true believers like Bill Fleming, Rick Weiland, and me to do? Give up? Close our mouths? Run no candidates? Run Republican clones? Run wearing Reagan masks, trick our way into office, then go crazy passing liberal policies before you can stop us at the next election?

    Even if our message is not popular, do we have any choice other than to bring our message back again and again and keep working to convince a majority?

  52. mike from iowa 2014.12.05

    Troy,most of the lib initiatives passed,even in South Dahellhole. No one said only lib initiatives passed.

  53. Roger Cornelius 2014.12.05

    South Dakota Democrats need to follow in the Republicans footsteps and learn to lie like hell, indoctrinate low-information voters and kiss corporate asses.

  54. Jenny 2014.12.05

    So what's the real reason Weiland is not running for chair? Did the moderates tell him it probably wouldn't be a good idea? I just think there's more to the story.

  55. Bill Fleming 2014.12.05

    I'll bet dollars to donuts, the R's, over the next three years, are going to be embracing more and more "liberal" positions on any number of issues that five years ago they would have fought tooth and nail against. What's more, they're going to try to claim those old ideas of ours are their new ideas, and try to make us look bad for never having thought of them. That's why they call us "progressives." :-)

  56. Bill Fleming 2014.12.05

    It's already happening. Larry. Try reading DWC with a less jaundiced eye. Big sea change going on over there. Not with PP so much, but in the "peanut gallery."

  57. larry kurtz 2014.12.05

    LOL, Bill. That peanut gallery is PP using a panoply of aliases.

  58. Bill Dithmer 2014.12.05

    I like Rick. For what its worth he has great ideas and tries his best to get them in front of the people. But to think he is going to help the dems in SD make some kind of comeback is just short of delusional.

    The people of the state voted with a broom where Rick is concerned, isnt it time the demacratic party do the same?

    He lost by 20% in the general election and even managed to loose 25% of his own party to an independent. Now that's a recipe for failure if I've ever heard one. And yet the party continues to hope the election was lost due to every excuse except for the common denominator, Rick.

    Those 25% of the Democrats that voted for Pressler were making a statement. They didnt like something about Rick. Those people were trying to tell you that they didnt like the direction Rick and the party is headed, and yet you seem to want to go down the same road that lost the senate seat held by a Democrat.

    Mark my words, Rick Wieland will never hold a major political office in South Dakota! He would do his best work behind the candidates that the party picks for their new leaders, and unless they want to keep loosing, their new direction.

    In this day and age a candidate has to do more then wow their base, they have to find a way to get their message across to the rest of the voters. Rick has shown that he cant do that, several times. The message was fine, but the pesentation must have lost something when translated from Rick to Republican, or 25% of the Democrats for that matter.

    If you want the same in 16, just keep doing what your doing.

    I also see that most of you are living in the Mickey Rooney Judy Garlin "lets put on a show in the back yard and the whole neighborhood will come," place in time. Here it is a month after the election and the leaders aren't leading. Here it is a month after the election and your still trying to make excuses for the loss. It happened because of this, it happened because of that. Guess what, it happened because 20% fewer people liked Rick then the other major candidate.

    Politics is just like a ballgame, if you can't get out of the L column you need a new coach with some new plays. Expecting anything else is just plain delusional.

    The Blindman

  59. Bill Fleming 2014.12.05

    I know that's what you think Larry, but trust me, Pat can neither think nor write that well. We really need to work on our propensity to stereotype.

    Not infrequently there's no real difference between here and there as far as the participants presuming to know what the other is thinking and avoiding dialogue in favor of just making pronouncements and snap judgements. If what we really want is to work together to solve problems, it won't happen unless we're all willing to start doing it.

    Playing the insult game gets real tired after a while (except with Sibby... I'm addicted to insulting Sibby... trying to quit... ) :-)

  60. Bill Fleming 2014.12.05

    Too bad Dither moved out of State. Kurtz et al could draft him. I bet he'd give a helluva stump speech. One thing for sure, you'd know you just had a talkin' to. :-)

  61. Jenny 2014.12.05

    I second that, Blindman. Weiland supporters need to be told that, and told loud and clear. He's just not going to win in SD, maybe in a more progressive state, but in SD I don't even think you could even pay people to vote for him.
    The Weiland family are good people, met the whole clan years ago when I lived in Madison. Rick's mom was a total sweetheart.
    That being said, Rick needs to step back and let someone else at the plate.

  62. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.05

    Bill Dithmer: Do Weiland's three losses (1996, 2002, 2014) mean he offers no value to the party? Does his failure to win office disqualify him from advocating and educating? Am I useless as a messenger because I have lost two school board elections?

    I think I'm asking Bill D the same question I'm asking Troy: does defeat mean we just go home, be quiet, and let someone else run the polis?

  63. Jenny 2014.12.05

    The SD Dems need a new charismatic, goodlooking QB and more money than the 'Pubs. That seems to be what wins elections in SD. Intellect preferred but not required.

  64. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.05

    Jenny, you're spending too much time with us bloggers! :-) Why on earth would anyone think there's more to the story?

    Weiland doesn't give us a specific reason. "The timing isn't right," he says in his e-mail to supporters. "[T]he fight to quiet the voice of money, so that the voice of the people may be heard again... will be my fight for the remainder of my years. Not today as Chairman of our South Dakota Democratic Party. But instead as a citizen who will do everything in his power to assist the new Chairperson you will select, and to find the right role for himself in the fight we must carry on together."

    I have no knowledge, quotable or confidential, of the reasons behind that general statement. So let's speculate:

    (1) Stephanie told him she wants the job (!).
    (2) Rick wants a partner in the fight. He can crusade around the state on his own reputation and connections. Letting someone else chair puts another Dem in the spotlight, someone with whom he can tag team.
    (3) Rick thinks the SDDP chair will be so busy waging war internally that he has to stay out to focus on his policy advocacy.
    (4) Rick's going to work with South Dakota Progress.

    I welcome your rampant speculation.

  65. Bill Fleming 2014.12.05

    Okay, got it. So where were all these Prince Charmings and Cinderellas in the Dem primary?

    Rick was the only one who stepped up to the plate.

    Would you all have preferred Rounds ran unopposed, or taken your chances voting for Howie or Pressler?

    Come to think of it, how come the R's had a handful of candidates in their primary and two in the general and:

    We. Only. Had. One. Guy. Who. Said. He. Wanted. The. Job.?

    (Okay... I think I just figured something out...again... the problem with South Dakota Democrats is that they are South Dakota Democrats. I knew that. Why do I the thinking it might be different someday.)

  66. Jenny 2014.12.05

    You're right, Cory, I do spend too much time here. But, I don't do Facebook so I kind of consider your blog a sort of FB without the drama. Hope you don't mind. Don't worry, I have a check coming for you in the next few weeks.

  67. Bill Fleming 2014.12.05

    Sorry, ..."a handful of candidates in their primary and THREE in the general"...

    Rick ran against THREE Republicans in the general, one of whom kind of acted like a Democrat unless you listen to him closely.

  68. tara volesky 2014.12.05

    Weiland is the best thing for the Democrat party. He wasn't afraid of telling the truth. He ran to the issues instead of away from the issues. I hope he runs again. We don't need Republican lites, we need populous progressives. Just change the name to Democratic Independent Reform Party, or something like that.

  69. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.05

    Tara, if we could rename that third party the Democratic Independent Reform Team, we could call ourselves DIRT. Slogan possibilities abound.

  70. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.05

    Jenny, if Rick can't win in South Dakota, I can't win, ever. Should Rick and I both step back and let someone else lead the conversation?

    (Make no mistake, Jenny: I am grateful for every second you spend here and encourage you to keep coming. I just want you to be aware of the risks: heightened skepticism, a keen sense that there's more to a story than what we're being told, reinforced sympathy for hopeless underdogs... and cognitive viruses from Sibby! ;-) )

  71. Bill Dithmer 2014.12.05

    " Bill Dithmer: Do Weiland's three losses (1996, 2002, 2014) mean he offers no value to the party?"

    Of course not Cory. He has a vast wealth of knowledge when it comes to both politics, and liberal causes. If just telling the truth about life in general was enough I'd say Rick was your man.

    You need Rick Wieland to help form policy. Thats where he will make the biggest difference in SD. There has never been a question as to Ricks democratic authenticity in my mind. It has never been that he was wrong about anything. But I got to tell ya that this time, the Democratic messenger was shot before anyone other then the base got to hear what he said. And if you were to look, nobody else wanted to listen.

    BF, yup I moved but I still have a bunch of stuff going on there. Right now Carson House is taking up most of my time here in Mo. I think I'm in love with solar.

    " Jenny, if Rick can't win in South Dakota, I can't win, ever. Should Rick and I both step back and let someone else lead the conversation?"

    Stop that! It isnt the message and you know it. Even if you think the exact same way as Rick, the way that you present that same massage would be completely different. Who knows maybe your the fire in the engine that moves the train.

    My point is you find someone that everyone wants to listen to. Even if that means kissing a "blue dogs" butt for a couple of years to accomplish at least some of your goals. Nobody has ever won on an "all or nothing" platform. Somewhere along the line someone threw a bone.

    The Blindman

  72. Richard Schriever 2014.12.05

    The time-worn admonitions of "run for the middle ground" - which the likes of Troy and Sibson continue to promote and too many Dems have accepted as "a reasonable approach" have been - in my estimation - the downfall of Dems in SD. Their strategy is to create so little clear differential between the parties that the popular response of "both parties are the same" drives people to vote out of habit - to stick with what they "know" - the R list. If the perception is there is "really" no choice - no real difference - stick with the usual.

    The other tactic - as is oft repeated - is actually to tell the truth about one differentiation. Dems as "big government" and Repubs as "no government". In fact, the Repubs are NOT "governers" -nor do they wish to be - they prefer that they (and the rest of us) are governed by the sacrosanct "market forces". We must remember -ours is not a government of by and for the market. The "market forces" (big money) are subject to governance -carried out in service to the PEOPLE - ALL the people, not just those with wealth. Money is NOT a religion -despite Repubs reverence for it above all else.

  73. Richard Schriever 2014.12.05

    Dithmer - NOBODY has won without throwing a bone? When's the last time a SD Repub threw a bone to a Dem? Seriously. I did a little experiment last election term here in District 6. In 2012, I spent a lot of my own money, and time and effort for months. I took the advice of the state party apparatus and focused on the "swing voters", knocked 1000 + doors, sent mailers, avoided controversial issues, didn't respond to wing-group questionnaires, etc. and lost by approx. the same % as registered Rs to Ds in the district. In '14 - I didn't do much of anything exceptthe opposite of the expert advice. Lost by nearly identical percentage. Conventional wisdom of "off year", no money, etc. = Wiz Dumb, IMO. Something else is going on. And don't take this as a lead-in to some sort of conspiracy theory BS. That's not what I'm getting at.

  74. Robin Page 2014.12.06

    I believe that the problem with Democrats not winning is two fold: First, candidates have little or no support from the party; and Second, the majority of registered Democrats are totally disenfranchised from the party. Rick Weiland was not supported by the SDDP until after no one else decided to run against him in the Primary. The SDDP ignored Joe Lowe as a potentially much stronger candidate than Susan Wismer. I can't speak for East River legislative candidates, but I know that my campaign as well as other Pennington County candidates had virtually no support from the SDDP. It was the same in 2012. Our party makes little effort to reach out to registered Democrats and get them involved. We ignore the Independents who have left the SDDP. We have ignored the needs of our young people for so long they are leaving the state in droves. During the Primary I asked Democrats in my district for financial support. One man who sent me a check also wrote a note to tell me that no candidate had ever asked him for a contribution before. Democrats in this state cannot win until we make a concerted effort to show the voters why they should support us. We need leadership that is not afraid to rise above "party politics as usual". We must open the door and welcome young people, Native Americans and disenfranchised folks to the table and listen to their input and follow their advise. They are the voters we have lost. I became a Democrat because I believed we cared first about the rights and needs of PEOPLE. I think we have excluded the people from our party whom we have claimed to represent. It is time for big changes, or we will not be able to get Democrats elected. Maybe we should all change our voter registration to Republican so that we can at least vote against the really awful candidates that run in their primary.

  75. Bill Fleming 2014.12.06

    Robin, thank you. Exactly right.

  76. larry kurtz 2014.12.06

    Even though she wasn't there Robin's comment reinforces the need for nominees to be selected at convention.

  77. larry kurtz 2014.12.06

    If candidates want support from the party they should know what the goddamned platform is.

  78. larry kurtz 2014.12.06

    The PenDem blog hasn't been updated for nearly two years and chose not to nominate Mike Wilson for AG: Custer and Fall River Counties sent as many delegates as Pennington did.

  79. Tim 2014.12.06

    Larry, maybe it would help if the party knew what the goddamned platform was. I agree with Robin.

  80. larry kurtz 2014.12.06

    The platform is crafted at the convention by delegates who are frustrated that candidates like Joe Lowe completely ignored, Tim.

  81. Tim 2014.12.06

    Larry, I hear you preach here constantly about picking candidates at convention, how is that going to be any different than a primary when dems don't participate in convention any better than the ballot box? Maybe we need to do as Robin says and get people involved first.

  82. larry kurtz 2014.12.06

    If people don't want a Democratic party hierarchy they should run as unaffiliated candidates, Tim. Candidates dictating to the chair is Stace Nelson's running without Craig Lawrence's blessing: we all know how that went, init?

  83. larry kurtz 2014.12.06

    If West River Democrats want a separate party they should step up and create one.

  84. Tim 2014.12.06

    West river hasn't been included in what the SDDP does for years, redheaded stepchildren, that's what we are. Convention would be perfect I suppose, then Minnehaha county can decide everything.

  85. Tim 2014.12.06

    It's no wonder SD Democrats don't give a shit anymore, until the party figures out we are ALL in this together then it is what it will be.

  86. Bill Fleming 2014.12.06

    A candidate like Phil Jenson should not be in the South Dakota legislature. If that's not on the SD Dem party platform, the platform is useless. If the party won't act to win a critical race like that, the party is useless.

    Conversely, if Robin and her fellow Democrats had changed their party registration and voted in the Republican primary, Phil Jenson would have been defeated. It's extremely hard to imagine any more effective scenario for that district than the one Ms. Page has outlined here. Until the party cleans up it's act, Robin's seems to me to be the most currently workable scenario.

  87. larry kurtz 2014.12.06

    Stew in your own juices, idiots: i'm outta here.

  88. Tim 2014.12.06

    Bill, you might be shocked at how many of the state legislature are just like Jensen, the one difference, Jensen is openly a bigot, the rest closet bigots.

  89. Tim 2014.12.06

    Larry, enjoy the warmth of Arizona, maybe you have been gone too long to still understand SD.

  90. Tim 2014.12.06

    Or New Mexico, wherever you are residing these days.

  91. Bill Fleming 2014.12.06

    Tim, no, sorry to say, I wouldn't be shocked. I was born in Fall River County in 1950. My grandmother on my father's side belonged to the John Birch Society. :-)

  92. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.06

    Bill Dithmer, I appeciate that intelligent response. Thank you. We need to get everyone involved in building a good platform and good strategy. Then we need to dig through all the smart, passionate people involved and figure out which ones can best sell that platform and execute thst strategy as candidates.

  93. leslie 2014.12.06

    this is an important convo, but still clear as mud to me. sorry to lose larry's input which i value. b.f.-frightening, i had some interesting and horrific experiences down there in our high school years, as an rc kid:)

    oh, bf, bite me.

  94. Bill Fleming 2014.12.06

    leslie, you want me to bite you? (Blush) I hardly know you, brother. How 'bout just a fist bump? ;-)

  95. leslie 2014.12.06

    bf= barry freed. sorry:)

  96. Robin Page 2014.12.07

    Larry is right, I did not attend the party convention because I had no funds to do so. I made the decision to use the funds I had for my campaign. I still have not officially received notice of next weekends party event or the agenda for it. I went on the SDDP website and facebook and did not find that information there either. I wanted to share the official post with my FB friends (most of whom are Democrats). Even if they cannot vote, I believe they may want to attend. How are other Democrats supposed to know what the SDDP is doing, or what the platform and strategy is, if they don't even put it on their on-line sites. The overwhelming majority of Democrats in this state have no idea what the party is doing, or not doing. I hope that our new leadership will aggressively address some of the issues that we have all been discussing.

  97. Monty 2014.12.07

    The SDDP Executive Board meets 7-10 PM on Friday, Dec 12. The Central Committee meets 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM on Saturday, December 13, 2014. Both events take place at Cedar Shore Resort, 1500 Shoreline Dr., Oacoma, SD, 57365.

    Robin is correct. The SDDP does a poor job of advertising meetings. This past summer they cancelled a meeting for "lack of a quorum" before the meeting was held. This will be the first Central Committee meeting since the one held on conjunction with the June Convention.

  98. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.07

    Thanks for the details, Monty! For what it's worth, I don't see notice of the next big SDGOP meeting on their web calendar, either.

  99. Troy 2014.12.07


    The following quesiton is not meant to be snarky or insulting. While on the opposite side of the spectrum, do you recognize how similar your concept of "true believer" and no toleration of anything but the "most pure" (as you define "pure") and your implication that deviation makes them "DINO's" sounds like Sibby and Stace?

  100. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.07

    Troy, I recognize the parallel but challenge it. I wanted a more ideological pure SHS in 2010, but I still blogged supportively of her. I want Rick to advocate single-payer, but I still supported his Medicare-as-public-option plan. I want staunch defense of abortion rights, but I still welcomed Gerry Lange's efforts on behalf of the SDDP. Is my "true believerism" really as exclusive and destructive as Stace's or Sibby's?

  101. Robin Page 2014.12.07

    Thank you Monty for sharing the information. Who are the current members of the "Executive Committee"? Isn't the Friday meeting closed? How does the Saturday morning meeting work...I have been told that each county can convene together at some point to discuss how we want our delegates to vote. I apologize for not knowing how all of this works! Are non delegates welcome?

  102. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.07

    Robin, the Central Committee that will be voting for chair and other offices next weekend includes the county officers, listed here:

    According to SDDP Constitution, Article 6, Section 1, the Central Committee also includes the elected state officers and the Legislative District chairs. Our four state officers are listed here:

    I'm not sure who the Legislative District chairs are. Anyone know?

  103. Troy 2014.12.08


    I asked the question to stimulate a internal examination. Take the Senate race, one or maybe all of these are true:

    1) A majority of South Dakotans reject the progressive/liberal agenda. I guess alternatively, you could interpret the results that the Democrat agenda was insufficiently progressive/liberal but that would be a bit pollyannish considering the GOP voter registration advantage.

    2) Rounds was a superior candidate (rose to the top of his body in the Legislature, won twice state-wide by large margins), his tenure as Governor well-regarded (left the Governor office with high approval rating) and/or voters rejected the charge he is corrupt/complicit in the EB-5/NBP issue. Regarding the EB-5/NBP issue, in the end, it was the primary focus of the charge against Rounds. While nobody is perfect, this was an over-reach because even his political opponents who knew him refused to make this charge against him.

    3) Weiland was a poor candidate (lost twice previously), is unable to communicate effectively, didn't focus on issues that resonate with voters, or and/or ran a bad campaign.

    Winning elections begins with candidates who can realistically build a voting coalition that gets 50% plus one vote. Rounds did that in a four-person race that included a very conservative and moderate Republican and only one Democrat. That simple reality should cause Dems to most critically perform a internal self-examination from top to bottom. So far, I mostly see blaming the voters, blaming the media, and blaming Republicans.

  104. larry kurtz 2014.12.08

    Troy. Go fix your own shit.

  105. Steve Sibson 2014.12.08

    Larry, theirs is not broken. The crony capitalists have the money to buy elections. Truth to power does not work.

  106. larry kurtz 2014.12.08

    SDGOP is a criminal enterprise, Steve: Tara forwarded some letters that have completely floored me.

  107. jerry 2014.12.08

    Here is what you wrote Richard "The "market forces" (big money) are subject to governance -carried out in service to the PEOPLE - ALL the people, not just those with wealth. Money is NOT a religion -despite Repubs reverence for it above all else."

    Recent history proves otherwise. The sad fact is, our political system has been hijacked. There is really no such thing as Republicans any longer, they have been purchased in a silent takeover by the religion of money. Democracy, RIP.

  108. tara volesky 2014.12.08

    I have a lot more information Larry. lol.

  109. Robin Page 2014.12.08

    Thanks Cory for the information. Read the SDDP Constitution and learned a lot! Hope there will be a big turnout at the meetings next weekend!

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