Bob Mercer posted some interesting numbers this week regarding the migration of voters in South Dakota. While numbers of Republican voters remain steady, voters seem to be abandoning the Democrat party by the thousands:
Turning back the calendar two years, Republicans are down by 400-some, Democrats are down by 12,000-plus (yes, that number is correct), and independents / others are up by more than 11,000 (and yes, that number too is correct).
Whenever I read statistics such as that, I’m reminded of the 2014 election where former House Democrat Minority Leader Dale Hargens abandoned the Democrat party to run as a Republican for the state legislature, and made no bones about what prompted the switch:
Hargens was an interesting entry into the Republican primary because he is a legislator that already served for a number of years as Democrat; and he was a Democrat Minority Whip and Democrat Minority Leader during that time. Hargens said he felt the Democrat party moved away from him in its surge to the left. He said the Democrat Party had “Turned the lights out”.
When one of the recent Democrat party leaders decides that there’s no place for his views among the party faithful, it’s not surprising at all that they’re shedding voters at a mind-shattering pace. But it’s not just Hargens.
Former Democrat legislator Ryan Maher who served in the South Dakota State Senate from 2007-2014 discovered a conservative point of view wasn’t welcome in the Democrat Caucus, and found himself going GOP when he changed political party from Democrat to Republican in November 2010. As he noted in his statement at the time “since Jim Peterson and Julie Bartling have moved on, they made up the conservative wing of the Democrat party, there was really no reason for me to stay behind. ”
Senator Eldon Nygaard found himself in a similar position when he returned to the State Senate after election, with leadership that he found wasn’t aligned with mainstream South Dakota. One article described Nygaard as having “a pretty moderate to conservative voting record.” and as a business owner his “philosophy regarding government’s role in society is more in line with the Republican Party.”
What other examples are there regarding the Democratic Party’s hard left turn? Two words: Bernie Sanders:
Free college tuition. Doubling the minimum wage. A single-payer, universal health care system. Those are just a few of the campaign promises by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who does not try to hide that he embraces a form of socialism.
Despite his self-described socialist views, Sanders is experiencing an unexpected wave of popularity, and is drawing some of the largest, most electric crowds of any presidential candidate so far.
20 years ago… possibly even 10 years ago, no one could have predicted that there was a real possibility a registered socialist could top the Democrat ticket for President.
When a self-described socialist is surging among Democrat voters, it’s a sure sign that business-owners and those with conservative views are going to continue to find the environment within the Democrat party less and less hospitable of a place to reside.
It’s evidenced by the continuing trend of impossibly strong Republican showings in elections, and it’s evidenced by the trend of people choosing to be independent, rather than put a D behind their names on that voter registration card.