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Democrats Lost Souls to Corporations? Progressives Better Off Breaking from Party?

Last I checked, South Dakota Progress is looking to play very, very nicely with the South Dakota Democratic Party.

Maybe they shouldn't. Bill Curry, a former Clinton White House advisor who has batted .333 in his own election efforts, says the Democratic Party got beat up nationwide this election year because, since the late 1970's, it has sold out to Wall Street and shut out its problem-solving progressive voices. Curry recommends liberals take charge, go their own way, and dare Democrats to follow:

They can do it but they’ll have to take a time-out from electoral politics. They must declare their independence from the Democratic Party, its ineffectual politics and its current, clueless leaders....

Democrats in Congress seem bent on mass suicide. After their landslide loss they reelected all their leaders without challenge. After the Senate confirmed two utterly unqualified Obama donors as foreign ambassadors, they caved on a budget that opened more sluices for the rich to pour money into politics and hollowed out Dodd/Frank to let Wall Street cover its bad bets with depositors’ money. In 2013 Obama said he wouldn’t “pay ransom” to pass a budget. In 2014 he did just that.

A Progressive Declaration of Independence is a risk, but it’s safer than idling about on deck as the Democrats’ ship goes down... [Bill Curry, "Let's Abandon the Democrats: Stop Blaming Fox News and Stop Hoping Elizabeth Warren Will Save Us," Salon, 2014.12.23].

Curry sounds much like William Greider, who wrote in November that the national Democratic Party has lost its soul and called for a "rump formation of dissenters" to break the spell corporate power has cast on Democrats.

Rick Weiland tried to flex independence from national Democrats and from Big Money in his Senate campaign this year. That didn't go so well, but he is still preaching that same message to South Dakota Democrats. I continue to think that's the right message for South Dakota Democrats and for anyone willing to help them.

I do not think Curry's analysis ports neatly from the national level to South Dakota. Our state Dems are not in Washington collaborating with Republicans to gild Wall Street's throne. Our state Dems aren't in Washington, period, now that Tim Johnson is out. Unlike national Democrats, South Dakota Dems responded to the midterm election by electing new leadership. South Dakota Democrats may be in as good a position to break with Washington and sound Curry's progressive populist bugle as a separate progressive group like South Dakota Progress.

But the question remains, for South Dakota Progress as well as for anyone else hoping to restore progressive fortunes in South Dakota: do we work within the machine, or do we build a new one?

Related Reading: WaPo Fix blogger Philip Bump wonders what would happen if both Republicans and Democrats cleaved into two parties.


  1. grudznick 2014.12.26

    Your answer may lie with that nice young Ms. Livermont lady. She had some great ideas, but somehow your gummed up party machine ran her off early and they ran her off hard. Golly did they jump on that poor young woman who was the future and hope of your party. And you have Ms. Volesky, who has gone insaner than most. My point is that the SDDP seems to be stomping and squishing and running off all of the sort of nice young people that it really needs. Why, Mr. H? Why? You are a party insider and you probably have the speaking points about this self immolation that the SDDP is doing. I know it angers my friend Mr. kurtz, and my good friend Bill rants about this frequently and is on the verge of going indy.

    What is happening, Mr. H? Break us some news.

  2. leslie 2014.12.26

    the real question is why you tore up Kathy Tyler after she exposed corruption in your gummed up party as it covered up all attempts to expose the raft of republican beneficiaries and elected our newest republican senator? you typically try to schmooze the women. we are gonna be paying big time for that new senator's damage, prior to indictment for the EB5 damage to all of us.

  3. Steve Sibson 2014.12.26

    "do we work within the machine, or do we build a new one?"

    Doesn't matter, progressive ideology is helping fuel corporatism by promoting big government.

  4. grudznick 2014.12.26

    Mr Sibson, I hear you sir. Everytime I out intellect Mr. H he gets enraged. I have proved my point as well as you have sir.

  5. larry kurtz 2014.12.26

    Bajun a mercenary? Say it ain't so, Cory.

  6. Bob Klein 2014.12.26

    Leslie "you tore up Kathy Tyler." Exactly who are you talking about in the SD Democratic Party who said anything nasty about Kathy Tyler's work on anything to do with EB-5?

    And who in the SD Democratic Party dissed Tasi Livermont? Didn't see it, didn't hear about it from Tasi? You making this up?

    Just because a thought appears on this blog doesn't make it the official word of the SDDP.

  7. grudznick 2014.12.26

    Ms. leslie, I for one, don't think Mr. H ever tore up that young Ms. Tyler lady. He was her biggest fan. Of what do you speak?

  8. Roger Cornelius 2014.12.26

    You have been reading Powers Dump Site about Tasi Livermont, you know the blog that is short on facts and long on lying.
    It has been made clear on several blogs on Madville why Tasi left South Dakota Progressive, I'll leave it up to you to find them.

  9. Roger Cornelius 2014.12.26

    The fact of the matter is that Rick Weiland lost the election, but he wasn't wrong on getting big money out of politics, Harry Reid and those louts proved that and were scared of Rick.
    South Dakota missed an opportunity to have a man in Washington that wasn't going to be beholden to big money and blew it. Rick's message was clear and Democrats and Republicans chose not to hear it in favor of the prostitute/felon Rounds.
    And now South Dakota has three like minded representatives that will sell us out for a candy bar.

  10. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.26

    The national Democratic Party has lost its way. I have been searching for a graph I saw that showed political contributions to Democrats and Republicans from big donors, big corporate money. The Democrats got more from such sources.

    Yes, Liberal or Progressive Democrats do need to create their own movement. No, they would not be like the tea baggers. The TBs support corporate Republicanism. The L/P Democrats truly are focused on the 99%.

  11. Tasiyagnunpa Livermont 2014.12.26

    Grudznick, To be brutally frank, since Powers has decided to pull all this into the limelight, well, and Cory for bringing to those of us who don't read Powers, the party machine didn't run me off. It would be more accurate to say it was the people who enjoy sucking up to the fairly imaginary party machine.

    I speak honestly and frankly, and while I'm told some of those in the upper echelons of the party weren't pleased with me, they still extended a welcoming hand to SDP.

    To be frank, while it is absolutely true I am the mother of a large and busy family of sons who now split time with their father at their family ranch and myself, as well as work full-time, I felt that SDP ought to draw a bright line by holding the SDDP accountable in many matters, including how accessible they are by the general Democratic voter or hopeful candidate. My fellow leadership, all young and not Old Guard, felt adamantly and passionately different than myself on that.

    I don't have time to fight losing battles, and I have no interest in ingratiating myself to whatever party apparatus might be there if I can't make sure I'm guaranteeing that same path of access to every South Dakotan out there, tribal members included.

    I have no ill will towards South Dakota Progress. I think we can all wait and see what happens with their work and there is a log of goal setting and details for them to yet work out.

    Thank you for the vote of confidence, though. :) Much appreciated. I'm just probably too much of a muckraker and main street professional, both, to be much involved in political planning. I look to volunteer in my precinct however my local county party sees fit, instead.

  12. Tasiyagnunpa Livermont 2014.12.26

    To the question on progressive politics:

    I still feel divided on whether we need a new machine. I am a Democrat again because I recognized Rick Weiland's progressive message and wanted to be a part, in whatever small way, with a fellow South Dakotan who understood progressive thinking.

    I am not a liberal.

    I do think the SD Democratic Party would be wise to embrace fully progressives in this state. Many Indies consider themselves progressive and Big City Liberalism is idiotic to stand by in rural, main street, rez South Dakota.

    Progressives are out of the box thinkers, though. That doesn't fit well into today's communications and political maneuvering, or well, it doesn't the way liberals and conservatives do it. I think we need to create a solid communication strategy and then let it rip. But we can't do that without solid leadership, true understanding of the lives of regular South Dakotans of all walks of life, and the guts to provide some strategies--guts enough to be wrong, but to have people who believe you would will keep going to the drawing board until we get it right.

    For progressives to stand strong, we really need local precinct-level organizing. That was the greatest part of the appeal in volunteering my time with SDP and that part hasn't changed. The reason for this level of organizing is not just to get out the vote, but because we need that sort of micro level solutions within the issues we take on. Progressives are the first to say that one size doesn't fit all, but we could be the only ones who try to practice what we preach.

    This is more than politics. This is true civic engagement in the governments and jurisdictions we belong to in the 21st century here.

    Is South Dakota ready for that?

    I believe so, but there will be no leadership until people are willing to get dirty and support each other in that effort.

  13. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.26

    Cory, I don't want to hijack this post by arguing about the difference between liberals and progressives. Perhaps you can write a post on that topic. I'm very curious to hear what various liberals and progressives have to say.

  14. 96Tears 2014.12.26

    There's a reason PP and the other losers are attacking Tasiyagnunpa Livermont. She knows what she's talking about and she has real leadership instincts. I don't know what kind of experience and training she's had, but she makes total sense.

  15. grudznick 2014.12.26

    Mr. Tears, I will not stand for Ms. Livermont being attacked. Not by Mr. PP who I don't think is attacking her or by other ilk like the Howites of yor. I think Ms. Livermont aquitted herself well by starting that upstart group and then when they started to go off the rails she jumped from the train and landed on her boots indeed. She is a swift minded young woman and won't be played as some libbie fool, for she is a progressive.

  16. jerry 2014.12.26

    You make perfect sense on this Mr. grudznick. Ms. Livermont also seems to me a very swift minded young woman and to me, is the kind of progressive that is needed for this dead carp of a SDDP that seems time warped into something that the newspaper around it needs changing. Her words about the lack of work and dealing with Natives has been lax for a very long time. I would be interested to see the direction she and Mr. Iron Eyes would set their sights on.

  17. 96Tears 2014.12.26

    Mr. nick, the easiest and most efficient way the crooks in Pierre stay in power is by strangling their opposition while it is still in its crib. Ms. Livermont may have too much on her plate in her personal life to extend herself to returning the state Democratic Party to competency. She strikes me as someone who understands the difference between strategy and tactic, and between being right and winning.

    Getting back to Cory's theme in this thread, the Democratic Party of George McGovern is dead in South Dakota. It will not come back. A new structure using the name SDDP will take its place. The question is "who is the next George McGovern?"

    I think Rick Weiland demonstrated that a brand of populism can work. It didn't work for Rick in the Red Wave of 2014. But Rick did succeed showing it can resonate. Of course, there were a lot of other factors at work in this last election in South Dakota both locally and nationally.

    What I like about T. Livermont's statements here is she seems to have a grasp of the job of turning it around both from the grassroots perspective and from the 8 miles high feet level. That's rare.

  18. tara volesky 2014.12.26

    Grudz, you are right, implying that I am insaner than most. Yes I am, because I don't fit the way of thinking of the Republican or Democrat party. I question everything which designates me as insane. I would rather be labeled insane than being popular.

  19. 96Tears 2014.12.26

    sorry ... "and from the 8 miles high level."

  20. grudznick 2014.12.26

    That's why I like you, Ms. Volesky.
    Please tell Ron hi from me.

  21. Jeff Barth 2014.12.27

    Tara and Tasi,
    Following is a quote from a Madville post from a few days ago... "I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don’t listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People — powerful people — listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule. They don’t criticize other insiders." [Elizabeth Warren, A Fighting Chance, New York: Henry Holt, p. 106]. It reminds me of you two.
    The SDDP needs to listen.

  22. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.27

    Deb, I may need a post on that topic, but for now I welcome the discussion here... because frankly, I thought "progressive" was just what we liberals were calling ourselves to get out from under the bad marketing buzz the Republicans have laid on that L-word. Are liberals and progressives distinct sets?

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.27

    Leslie, I second Bob's question. Who "tore up" Kathy Tyler?

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.27

    By the way, Tasi, thank you for your forthrightness. Whether liberals and progressives are different or not, I think we have the same ultimate goals. Please set me straight if we don't.

  25. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.27

    Cory, I thought liberals and progressives were much more similar than different too. It may be that the distortions conservatives have created regarding liberals have taken hold. Perhaps those extremes are now taken as an accurate definition of liberalism. Grudz is one who seems to believe that liberal=pejorative. I don't.

    Here is my personal definition of liberalism:

    It's a focus on equality, fair opportunities, concern for those with the greatest needs, broad-based government, high expectations and responsibilities for all and especially those with the most. I really believe that the best government and economy lifts all boats, that we really are all in this together. My social contract is not limited to certain groups based on income, ethnicity, skin color, language, religion, or anything else. My philosophy is very much based on morality and I don't think immorality should be rewarded. I'd say my guiding star is that we should "love our neighbors as ourselves," and if we can't find it in our hearts to love them all, we should fake it.

    You understand folks, that's all off the top of my head. I recognize that it's idealistic and that I am an idealist. I know I would never be an effective politician, but I'm a hell of an advocate.

    Fleshing out my liberal philosophy requires compromise and imperfection and I accept that. I aim for the perfect, but accept the best that can be achieved.

    Now, let the potshots, and serious analysis, begin!
    (I won't be back online till tomorrow afternoon.)

  26. leslie 2014.12.27

    my comments re: tyler were directed at grudz, his shifty vernacular and SDGOP.

  27. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.12.27

    Cory, You wrote, "Our state Dems are not in Washington collaborating with Republicans to gild Wall Street's throne. Our state Dems aren't in Washington, period, now that Tim Johnson is out."

    Surely, you jest. Tim Johnson was one of the leaders in the repeal of Glass Steagall. As a parting shot, he voted in lockstep with the other wall street defenders to gut Dodd/Frank and to take away the pension protections that Teamsters had garnered for themselves. He also voted a couple of years ago, against card check to allow workers to form a union without the bosses looking over their shoulder.

    To claim that any of the last three Dems that South Dakota sent to Washington, resembled anything similar to the Roosevelt Democrats that made that party relevant, is a laugh.

  28. larry kurtz 2014.12.27

    Liberals are fence-sitters. Progressives attempt to move the fence by addressing problems created by liberals who believe mending the fence built by earth haters makes good neighbors.

  29. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.27

    Larry: the fence-sitting distinction sounds like a B.S. insult adopted from the Powers crowd, with no connection to the real political philosophy the term is meat to describe. The Alternet distinction—liberals do spending, progressives do regulation—also seems lacking in practical guidance or electoral advantage, especially in South Dakota. Republicans will gleefully bash spenders and regulators with the same club. And from our side, we need solutions that rely on both smart spending and smart regulation. If that disctinction holds, then we're talking about vital organs, lungs and heart, in the same body: we can't win or govern without both, and there's no reason for liberal and progressive to separate, let alone view each other as opponents.

  30. larry kurtz 2014.12.27

    Progressives don't care what you think, Cory. You use words like 'homosexual' to describe a set of people who don't use that word.

  31. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.27

    Lanny, I'll roll with that assessment that our SD Dems in Congress have been closer to the sell-out leadership Curry describes that we prog/libs should prefer. But that's part of my point: When Tom, SHS, and Tim were in D.C., we had to play nicely with the leadership if we wanted any chance of their machines being able to tap the big D.C. machine to get SD Dems some gravy. Now we don't have to worry about our actions impacting Tim's chairmanship or his relationship with the national Dems. I'd still like to get Reid et al. to realize our seats are worth spending money on, but there may be plenty of other progressive groups willing to follow Curry's prescription and operate independently of the party.

    And now that the Reid-ership has shown it finds personal squabbles more important than helping South Dakota Democrats win a Senate seat, we should be all the more willing to flip them the bird and go our own passioante, unapologetic prog/lib route.

  32. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.27

    Thank you for that clarification, Leslie. I suspect the SDGOP and SD Right to Life would have come guns a-blazing to oust Kathy Tyler and install Fred Deutsch regardless of her EB-5 aggression, but I'll be happy to hold that attack over their heads as a sign of their willingness to protect corruption.

    Remember: attacking corruption is one of the two main things Curry says we lib/progs/whatever we are can and must focus on.

  33. larry kurtz 2014.12.27

    Progressives fight and liberals appease.

  34. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.27

    Larry, progressives had better care about working with all available allies more than about playing word games. Otherwise, like Harry Reid, they will lose seats.

  35. Greg 2014.12.27

    Cory, I think you are right about most people in SD having the same goals. I don't think our leaders in Pierre are representing the majority of the people. I think our state has a more progressive attitude than we think.

  36. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.27

    Lynn, if we must go a separate party, shall we go Green first? We'd have the liberty of creating a new party structure in the state. Plus the Greens have that fun little decentralization principle among their key values that we could use to appeal to our thinking conservative friends.

    But we should also consider that the theme Pressler and others played on this year was non-partisanship. Could progressives split from the Dems, organize enough to recruit candidates and promote action but remain just shy of party status?

  37. larry kurtz 2014.12.27

    Cory, your post suggest progressives should break away from SDDP because it's crippled by its membership. If Democrats make any gains it's because SDGOP throws it bones. Why bother?

  38. larry kurtz 2014.12.27

    I spend most of my day defending my party against progressives who have abandoned her because we haven't defended our ideals.

  39. Lynn 2014.12.27

    Greens are a national party or a distinctly South Dakota/Native party could be created as an alternative. Things need to drastically change whether it be within the SDDP or by another alternative. Even more work would be required with a new party to implement systems, fundraising and organization( nuts and bolts). We would not have the major national party infrastructure and possible resources to rely on. Either way it would require a long haul attitude.

    Looking to the future there is no way I could personally support for example Mike Huether if he were SDDP nominee for Governor or other state or national office. That would push me to either an independent or 3rd party membership probably for good. It would show desperation of the SDDP to win at all costs.

  40. Bill Fleming 2014.12.27

    Good sketch here. Couple of comments. The first 'progressive' movement was headed up by Teddy Roosevelt, and yes, there is a difference between 'liberals' and 'progressives.' Conservatives can be progressive. 'Regulation' has a lot to do with it, and the balancing of 'rights.'

  41. larry kurtz 2014.12.27

    After the overwhelming success of SDP why not break away using the Progress Party handle?

  42. Tasiyagnunpa Livermont 2014.12.27

    Greens are worse than any other option, because they will forever be seen as putting the planet before other humans. You can't have hippie heaven on earth and not lose people jobs.

    Progressives absolutely are hanging out in the conservative camps currently as well.

    Cory, I would say that liberals often want to do 'for' people, and progressives want to do 'with' people.

    Take the issue of child hunger. I would rather the liberal push for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, than gutting it because conservatives think women can just take on a third job to feed their offspring (nevermind if they just gave birth or have child care, etc., and then let's also criminalize the fathers through child support so that they never see their kids for working such long hours).

    I like to think progressives (you can't have a singular progressive, nothing will get done) would say, well let's have local foods in the schools and a backpack food program. We will pull in grants, start a school garden, identify the need for a food cooperative to keep costs down, allow families to work together in gardens and take nutrition and cooking classes in exchange for food credits in the cooperative or gardens, and provide an after school program free of charge to all families where kids can learn gardening and parents are able to keep their 8 to 5.

    Unfortunately, I don't think progressive politics is looked at or defined seriously by our academics and others, because we are so locked into a two party system. Those wikipedia articles sound like it is a thing of the past, yet the readership of Yes! Magazine would beg to differ. Regulation of big entities to protect the middle class is only part of the issue, but I think an economy focused platform would be huge.

    Larry, I don't know what overwhelming success you are talking about, the group is still in its infancy, but the last thing SDP will do is create a new party.

  43. Bill Fleming 2014.12.27

    There are, in my opinion, lots of political opportunities for a breakaway progressive party. But the distinction would have to be made crystal clear. it's can't just be the 'far left' first and foremost because (at least as I see it) that's not what it is. It is far more inclusive than that. Anyone who likes to think can participate. But it's uniquely well suited to the upcoming (and enormous) disenfranchised 'next generation' of potential voters, due to their unprecedented embrace of technology. It's no exaggeration to say that they are practically from another planet, and are actually creating social solutions to problems our political system seems almost hopelessly incapable of even beginning to address. Progress-ive. Not your grampa's Democratic party.

  44. larry kurtz 2014.12.27

    My sarcasm must have gotten lost on you, Tasi. It has been my point all along that SDP would drain resources from SDDP.

  45. Tasiyagnunpa Livermont 2014.12.27

    This guy says it better than me. File under progressive vs liberal:

    "The answer, in my opinion, is no - there is a fundamental difference when it comes to core economic issues. It seems to me that traditional "liberals" in our current parlance are those who focus on using taxpayer money to help better society. A "progressive" are those who focus on using government power to make large institutions play by a set of rules."

    So the crux for progressives seem to be using government to regulate fairer economic policies and not stomp on our basic human rights. To do that though takes a lot of creativity, which always seems in short supply in politics.

  46. Tasiyagnunpa Livermont 2014.12.27

    Yes, Larry, it did.

  47. Lynn 2014.12.27

    Tasi I just mentioned the Green Party as an example and there is a long list of partys on that Wiki page each with their strengths and weaknesses and as mentioned before there could be a party formed that would be outside the traditional two part system that seem to pigeon hole our arguments at times. A new distinctly South Dakota party would require an incredible effort more so than the SDDP would require and that is a lot! Economy focused platform as you mentioned is bread and butter. Messaging and communication is key.

  48. Bill Fleming 2014.12.27

    Tasi, I agree, today's progressive movement is not well defined because we who are in it and of it have yet to define it. But we need to, otherwise everyone else will happily (and almost certainly incorrectly) do it for us.

  49. Lynn 2014.12.27

    Good thread regarding differences between liberal and progressive

  50. Lynn 2014.12.27

    good to see you posting Tim

  51. Tim 2014.12.27

    Thanks Lynn, I decided I wasn't going to let a couple of people decide for me.

  52. Tim 2014.12.27

    That is a long article but a good read. I figure, even though I am from Rapid City, I might have something to offer.

  53. Tasiyagnunpa Livermont 2014.12.27

    Jeff Barth,

    I believe in criticizing in private and praising in public. I was partially raised by an older brother (by 20 years) who is a retired Marine. He taught me that.

    If that makes me an outsider to liberals, so freaking be it. That was also my point, some would rather I had left my comments on my own personal rants in public, which is the exact opposite of how I operate.

    PS Jeff, I still remember our conversation fondly, and as I told Tom Katus, as well, I am actually more certain that in the Democratic Party there are people who want to hear diverse opinions or who can at least tolerate it like adults, than I thought there was before I was involved with SD Progress or the election.

  54. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.27

    If we could get out from under the planet-worship perceptions of the Green Party, recapture some of South Dakota's socialist roots, and forge an alliance with Native interests, we could duct-tape together the perfect party for progressive action in South Dakota: The Red Green Party.

  55. Lynn 2014.12.27

    Hey the Independence Party from Minnesota has the Buffalo as their symbol which is pretty cool! lol

  56. Tasiyagnunpa Livermont 2014.12.27


    The discussion I recently heard was in regards to forming an alliance or some sort of non-party apparatus to build consensus, centering on Indian Country, and from there common goals and interests. The idea was that this was more broadly something the state's progressives would be interested in, as well.

    I haven't heard yet what might happen to further that.

    Bill, I think you're right. I think progressivism will look different in SoDak than other places. I noticed the food safety as an example. Local foods activists have gone back to the drawing board with the health department on issues like raw milk and value-added products from home kitchens. That is a progressive way of doing things, making government work in a positive manner. Letting producers know what they need to do to get into value-added products is a whole different animal than a list of don't's.

    So, right now, the preeminent organization showing progressive work in South Dakota is Dakota Rural Action.

  57. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.12.27

    I recently spoke to someone who had some connections to the Democratic party and thought that the party should be renamed here in SD to the DFL, the same as in Minnesota. THe only problem with that thinking is that ship has sailed. The farmers who would have been allied with labor, have been forced off the land by the larger and even corporate farmers, such as the CAFO dairy operations. Those larger farmers were able to get a freeze on property taxes, which of course helps the wealthy the most, and hurts renters and those of lesser means, because it shifts the tax burden to food and to those who have less. Renters keep seeing their rents go up, while property owners are actually able to take a chunk of their equity out of the value of their property and refinance at a lower interest rate. I keep beating this dead horse, but no one seems to care or is on the side with the taxes frozen.

  58. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.12.27

    To wit, I have seen many on here who recommend that we go along with the 1% sales tax increase during the summer months.

  59. larry kurtz 2014.12.27

    Lanny, that Dem heard the DFL proposal from me. The scary outcome from SDDP being GOP-lite is that the Libertarians are going to look like progressives and herd some of the cats into the LP. Delegates at the convention in Yankton talked about cannabis, labor, the environment, preserving Native languages then it got turned into sausage by the liberals in the party and is now the platform.

  60. Donald Pay 2014.12.27

    I understand the frustrations with the South Dakota Democratic Party. You have to realize this is nothing new. It's a problem that recycles every 10 to 15 years.

    My way of dealing with SDDP dysfunction and SDRP dominance was to become locally focused and/or issue oriented, and not worry too much about partisan politics. (Actually, that's the way I prefer to work anyway.)

    Yeah, I was a Democrat, but I wouldn't let that prevent me from bucking people in my party over issues. On the other hand, I wasn't a one issue person either. You gotta pick your battles, and you do have more influence if you're battling on the inside.

    Like it or not, the math of our political system (winner take all elections, rather than proportional voting), tends to favor the two party system. Splitting a minority party to make two smaller minority parties gets you exactly nowhere.

    One party dominance inevitably leads to serious mistakes in policy and governance. Find the right issues and the right locales, and get active, but don't do it from a partisan perspective. Your supporters and allies will likely include a good number of Republicans. People may vote for Republicans, but they really don't agree with everything they do in Pierre.

  61. Richard Schriever 2014.12.27

    Here's my take on the "liberal" vs. progressive labeling. In the founding, this nation was considered "liberal" in its philosophy - due to it's favoring the people being endowed with "liberty" (root word of liberal). Liberty connoting freedom to do - without restriction - without limitations, especially of "class", or station. The government being "of the people, and by the people", to be likewise "unrestricted" in its ability to act on behalf of those people exhibits those some LIBERAL (freeing the individual) values.

    The government must be "at liberty", or liberal, to regulate behaviors of those who would INFRINGE upon the EQUAL right to liberty of fellow citizens - ESPECIALLY those "unreal" persons known as corporations.

    Over the past several decades, through the application of persistent rhetoric and propaganda, the Republicans have distorted this original meaning of "liberalism" into a program that attempts to neuter government, and thereby the people, in favor of those institutional non-persons, or "restricted/limited" persons - the corporations - the theoretical persons.

    Their behavior has in fact been the opposite of what a traditional "conservative" philosophy would dictate, that the liberties of the people be reflected in a public government that was "at liberty" (liberal) to MAINTAIN private individual liberties and restrict private institutional behaviors. The so-called conservatives have indeed been nothing but agents for CHANGE in this regard, rather than conservators. They have succeeded at entirely inverting the meanings of the words conservative and liberal.

    IMO, thus was born the "progressive" label - as a means to avoid being mislabeled by the Republican machinery.

    We must remember at all times that the very idea of the United states - of a small d democratic government - is in reality one of a LIBERAL (permissive in nature) government. Whether we are labeled by our opposition as "liberal" or "progressive" isn't the point. The point is in liberating our government from the tyranny of institutionalized, corporatized privilege.

  62. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.27

    So, Donald, groups like SD Progress should carry on with their locally oriented efforts, but not form a new full-fledged party, not get in the way of SDDP statewide efforts?

    I do agree that splitting a minority party into two smaller parties seems nuts. That's why I registered Dem when I realized I wasn't a Rounds Republican instead of registering Indy or trying to found a new party.

  63. Winston 2014.12.27

    We must stick with the Party, but we must also be "willing, able, and capable" to challenge our Democratic candidates in '16 and '18 with the right questions, possible primary challenges, and a continued presence within our Party to assure we have a relevance and impact upon the future of the Democratic Party.

    A split Democratic Party is merely a gift to the Republicans. A Party which amicably debates the issues is the kinetic gift to our continued presence and relevance as both a Party and as particular ideologies found from within….

    The recent election of a pro-life Party chair for the SD Democratic Party speaks either to a Machiavellian "stunt" or mere indifference to the majority position of Party members do to philosophical laziness on the part of the Left. I will allow others to continue the debate on this one, but both theories speak to what we may have become, which necessitating those of us on the left to ask in '16 and '18 of our Democratic candidates "What is you position on a woman's reproductive rights?"

    Such questioning will be good for the Party over the next four years because it will set a trap for the Machiavellians amongst us, and it will strengthen our commitment to the majority views of our Democratic electorate on issues like a woman's reproductive rights.

    Now, some may say the ultimate trap is the one which the Machiavellians within our Party have set by allowing such questioning to position their candidates as appearing to be pro-life. Maybe, but do the leading candidates for the US House in '16 and the Statehouse in '18 really want to take the that position….?….. Only time will tell…..And some of us will be asking the questions or maybe running….

  64. larry kurtz 2014.12.27

    County chairs in Corson, Haakon, Jones, Todd, and Ziebach would do the work SDP only dreams about doing in Indian Country.

  65. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.27

    I believe it was Tasi who said, or quoted, "It seems to me that traditional "liberals" in our current parlance are those who focus on using taxpayer money to help better society. A "progressive" are those who focus on using government power to make large institutions play by a set of rules."

    I've followed the links y'all have so kindly included and have come to the conclusion that, according to those definitions, I am both Liberal and Progressive. I favor using government money to help the helpless and I favor using government power to regulate the abusive entities.

    I'm finding the definitions unhelpful. It's splitting hairs and splitting people who are best working together. I admit to surprise too. I was unaware that others on the political left viewed liberals with the scorn and/or contempt that I feel like I'm hearing.

  66. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.27

    I very much like the suggestion of altering the name of the SDDP. So DFL doesn't fit. Who cares? That's Minnesota, not SD. How about DFT? Democratic Farm and Town party? DFRR? Democratic Farm Rural and Reservation? The party would still have the Democratic label, but be differentiated from Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Isn't that the point? The name indicates a focus on SD and the issues of South Dakota's people?

  67. Tim 2014.12.27

    If we start changing names the republican propaganda machine will slice and dice us. Progressive or liberal, whatever, doesn't matter. What matters is providing voters with what we stand for and what we are going to do for the state and people that live here, along with what it will cost to do it and where we will get the money to do it. I think voters are truly tired of politicians constantly trying to BS them, only to go on with the same old same old after elected. It won't happen overnight, first the voters will have to be re-engaged into the process, as I think a lot of them have checked out.

  68. Tim 2014.12.27

    Another group that has to be re-engaged is the media, and I believe the only way to do that is create a few waves, as it has been pointed out several time before here, without headlines they won't pay much attention. I am of the opinion we missed a golden opportunity during the Oacoma meetings, a big splash is what we needed, we got something else.

  69. jerry 2014.12.27

    Good one Tim, a big splash indeed. What better of a place to accomplish that than in the big MO.

  70. Tim 2014.12.27

    Maybe a newsletter to all registered Democrats and Independents explaining the new Democrat Party, what we are going to try to do, how we plan to try to do it and how we plan to pay for it might be a place to start. Short term goals and long term goals as well would be explained. When the republican propaganda starts, and we all know it will, fight their lies and BS with facts, force them to answer to their crap line. After a while voters will look at it with a more balanced vision and see the truth, at that point the change back to a two party system will start.

  71. Tim 2014.12.27

    At the same time we need to start a grass root effort to get potential Democratic candidates in all districts up and running now, instead of waiting until March of 2016, we have a lot of learning to do between now and then.

  72. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.27

    Tim, a name alteration would create a sizable splash. In addition, Republicans will attack regardless of what Democrats do, other than limp along, meekly acquiescing all the way.

    A name alteration is a bold statement. SD Democrats ought to do it and not back down. No place has a DFL, except MN. No place would have a DFRR party except SD. The DFRR would be SD's alone.

  73. jerry 2014.12.27

    I kind of like that DFRR tone. Start new and start fresh in 2015 by getting rid of the old year and all in which it brought forth. Maybe there would be an interest at the county level as there really is not one there now. Sounds like something that could work.

  74. Tim 2014.12.27

    Deb, you may very well be right in your assessment. I would propose policy change and getting the info out first, so when the republicans do attack we can put them on their heels with the truth first, rather than allowing them the first salvo on the name change. Just my thoughts.

  75. Roger Cornelius 2014.12.27

    Like Cory and others, a breakaway party from the Democrats is the worst idea there is. We are a minority party in this state and a further fragmentation would be political suicide.
    The discussion we should be having here is about uniting the party and getting back to some basics of political organizing and not about who is and who is not a progressive or liberal Democrat, frankly I don't really care, as long as you are a Democrat and vote accordingly.
    South Dakota could be a Democratic state if two things happen:
    1. We do the work of voter education, voter registration, and getting people to the polls.
    2. We find a way to appeal to low information Republican voters that are disenfranchised by their own party and don't even realize it.
    #2 is and should be the greatest challenge Democrats in this state have.

  76. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.27

    Agreed Tim. Some setup would be wise.

    I agree with you too Roger. Splitting the Democrats is not a helpful situation.

  77. grudznick 2014.12.27

    Your answers are right in front of your nose.
    Put kurtz in charge.

  78. leslie 2014.12.27

    deb-grudz is the best example of "libbie" slander vernacular. i am pretty tired of him.

    rs-your point about republican success inverting meaning of conservative and liberal defines them (republicans) in a fundamental way.

    they might have a field day with a name change, but if the progressive/liberal/democrat discussion we are having now turns out that way, we can deal with it. it would be refreshing for people to be able trust what a party says is always accurate, un-spun, and meaningful.

    tim-i agree, now is the time to be selecting candidates.

    Roger-#2 is key, finding sleeping, disenfranchised (poor and blue-collar) republicans, i think, but so is #1, registration and voting. and winston and roger made good points about a party split, as does larry.

    Thanks Tasi, for making the splash. We are awake now.

  79. leslie 2014.12.27

    cool. you don't suppose the Pope and "mad dog" obama discussed this too? :) this anticipates the big paris climate accord coming up.

    other good (older) news-students protested naming the aggie admin. bldg at texas a&m after gov. rick.

  80. jerry 2014.12.27

    The fire breathing evangelicals will raise hell over this for sure. It disrupts them big time. For them to see the Catholics stepping up to the plate will drive them back to the 15th century. Let the Catholic bashing begin...5..4..3

  81. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.27

    Among Catholic folks, social justice has always been very important. Catholic Social Services does a great deal of good work. The religious orders do wonderful work too.

    It's the conservative side of the bureaucracy and some righty members who get upset whenever emphasis veers from anti-abortion and anti-homosexual rhetoric. BTW, those are also the people for whom Pope Francis had plenty to say just last week. He wasn't complimentary.

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