Transgender Bathroom Bill coming back to Pierre

From the Argus Leader, the Family Heritage Alliance has announced that they are championing a transgender bathroom bill for the 2017 legislative session, despite threats of a ballot measure:

The leader of a conservative state advocacy group Wednesday said he plans to bring another so-called transgender bathroom bill in 2017.

Dale Bartscher, executive director of the Family Heritage Alliance, said the conservative Christian group approved a draft of a bill last week that would bar transgender students from using the bathroom, locker room or shower room if it doesn’t match their biological gender at birth. The bill calls for schools to offer accommodations for “students with unique privacy needs, including transgender students.”

While details of the legislation, including which legislator would carry it, weren’t firm Wednesday, Bartscher said it was important to bring the debate back to the Legislature. He said he hopes it could be approved there sooner than at the ballot box, where voters could have a chance to weigh in on the issue in 2018.

“Quite frankly, we don’t want to see any initiated measure in 2018, we want to see the Legislature approve it and the governor sign it,” Bartscher told Argus Leader Media. “This issue is on the front burner for a lot of South Dakotans.”

Read it all here.

This is coming at the same time as North Carolina is preparing to debate whether or not to repeal their own measure similar to what’s being proposed:

The legislature meets Wednesday to consider repeal of HB2, a state law requiring transgender people to use the public bathroom associated with the sex listed on their birth certificate. The law has prompted companies such as PayPal Holdings Inc. to cancel investments and sports leagues, including the N.C.-based Atlantic Coast Conference, to cancel tournament games that were scheduled to be held in the state.

The liberal Charlotte council voted 7-2 in an emergency session to a full repeal of the city ordinance the council passed in February that prompted the Republican-led legislature to then pass HB2 in March. The council had met Monday on the same issue, in hopes of adhering to the terms of a behind-the-scenes deal with Democratic Governor-elect Roy Cooper and the GOP-led legislature.


The unexpected moves by the Democrat-dominated Charlotte city council, and countermoves by the Republican-dominated state legislature, come on the heels of last week’s special legislative session reducing the power of the incoming Democratic governor.

The well of political goodwill in the state “is very poisoned,” said J. Michael Bitzer, a politics professor at Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C. “It just seems like both sides are trying to make one another sweat as much as possible,” he said. North Carolina has had fierce partisan battles in the past, he said, but “this has taken it to a whole new level,” he added.

Read it all here.

The word is on the street in South Dakota that there may be pressure being placed upon some of South Dakota’s larger communities via their convention bureaus and chambers of commerce from outside groups intimating that they would bypass South Dakota for national conventions and tournaments should such a measure pass.

Will that influence legislators in the 2017 legislative session? We shall see.

AG issues explanation on Physician Assisted Suicide Ballot Measure

Attorney General Explanation Released for Initiated Measure Authorizing a Physician to Prescribe Life-Ending Drugs to Terminally Ill Patients

PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today an Attorney General Explanation for a proposed initiated measure has been filed with the Secretary of State. This statement will appear on petitions that will be circulated by   the sponsor of the measure. If the sponsor obtains a sufficient number of signatures    on the petitions by November 2017, as certified by the Secretary of State, the measure will be placed on the ballot for the November 2018 general election.

The measure is entitled “An initiated measure authorizing a South Dakota licensed physician to prescribe drugs that a terminally ill patient may take for the purpose of ending life.”

Under South Dakota law, the Attorney General is responsible for preparing explanations for proposed initiated measures, referred laws, and South Dakota Constitutional Amendments. Specifically, the explanation includes a title, an objective, clear and simple summary of the purpose and effect of the proposed measure and a description of the legal consequences. The Attorney General Explanation is not a statement either for or against the proposed measure.

To view the Attorney General Explanation for the measure, as well as the final form of the measure submitted to this office, please click on the   link.

Has Huether gone from a Democrat Leader to the form of their destroyer? Huether = Pressler

With regards to former Democrat Mayor Mike Huether, upon his abandonment of the Democrat brand that helped his rise to power in South Dakota’s Largest city; I had a thought last night.

If he’s going to shed the Democrat brand and go independent in his ambitions for higher office, as he declares himself a moderate in conservative South Dakota, where is he going to draw his votes from?

If I think of Mike Huether that way…. I can’t help but think of a Republican who went independent, Larry Pressler.

Pressler had been more conservative (in addition to having had a lot of people vote for him over the years), yet in his race as an independent, with far more statewide name ID, and a very long history of people voting for him, he could only place third in the US Senate Race. In fact, if you look at this chart from Ballotpedia…

Running as arguably the independent with the highest name ID in State history, Larry Pressler could not move past 20%. And more importantly, what he did do was steal votes from the Democrat in the race, Rick Weiland.  If Weiland could have had Pressler’s votes, he would have been within 10,000 votes of Rounds, instead of 60,000.

With Mike Huether, you have a lesser known candidate, with no statewide campaigning experience; now former Democratic Obama Delegate self-identifying as a moderate. I can’t envision a scenario where he steals votes from any well-defined Republican candidate in deep red-state South Dakota.

But what he does do – and we in the GOP should love this – is fracture the voting bloc of the opposition. Let’s say we have a race for Congress as follows…

Republican Dusty Johnson
Democrat Ryan Casey

Certainly, Republican advantage. Dem is generally an unknown quantity, but there is a generational component for Dem nostalgia, coming as the son of one of their prior candidates, so there could be some excitement generated in Dem circles.  The Dem Party (or it’s current empty shell) would get behind their candidate, and might even get excited about him… as opposed to the current crop of what they have to offer.

Now, throw Huether into the mix.

Republican Dusty Johnson
Democrat Ryan Casey
Independent Mike Huether

Mike Huether is not going to pull votes from the Republican.  In this, and almost any case, with Huether in the contest, I would argue that Huether causes the race to go from Republican advantage to Republican certainty. 

I argue that Huether splinters the vote enough that he becomes their ultimate spoiler. He isn’t conservative to draw off those who rail on about “the establishment” from the Republican candidate.  For Democrats, he’s about as establishment as they come, and may draw off the few remaining business oriented Democrats, and those Dems who otherwise reject the Bernie Sanders wing of the SDDP.

I don’t see any scenario where he can pull out a win. His only possible road forward is to act as the biggest spoiler that Democrats ever saw.  And (borrowing from Ghostbusters) he has become the “form of their destroyer.”

Agree? Disagree? Think he can somehow pull Republican votes running as a “Moderate former-Democrat?” The floor is yours.

SD Highest Ranking Elected Democrat Mike Huether abandons ship, and registers independent.

Well, that came out of the blue.  Tonight’s Argus Headline:

South Dakota Obama elector Mike Huether has taken a good hard look at his party…… and said “Bleaugh.”  Huether held a presser today to tell everyone he’s registering as an independent.

According to the twitter feed of Argus Reporter Patrick Anderson, Huether’s statement is that he’s taking inspiration from Donald Trump, and that while he claims is isn’t about party he notes that “Dems at national level aren’t responding to “hunger” for change.”

And laughably, “Mayor hasn’t told SD dems about his decision.”

The whole comparing himself to Donald Trump…  or moreso comparing Trump to him was probably the most notable barfbag statement.

Good Lord, Huether’s ego shows no boundaries.  All that’s left is for him to announce what office he’s running for in 2018.

The great Donald Trump South Dakota electoral college protest.

From KELOland:

A protest is scheduled in Pierre on Monday as the members of the Electoral College vote to make Donald Trump the 45th President of the United States.

Protesters are planning to be outside South Dakota’s State Capitol building beginning at 9 a.m. They’re urging members to “respect the will of the people and reject Trump to vote for the winner of the national popular vote.”

Read it here.

After reading this announcement, I sent a note to a friend, asking him to swing by to snap a photo for me just to see who has time for a fool’s errand this morning in Pierre.

So he goes over there (at about 5–10 minutes til 9), and instead of a picture of them organizing, I get a very pointed message regarding the favor I requested of him.  Specifically, he asked “Where the **** are they?

Um, I’m not thinking that this sounds like much of a protest.

He just sent the above at 5 minutes after the alleged 9AM protest start time. That doesn’t look like protesters unless protesting is social justice warrior code for clearing the snow off the front walk.

My correspondent did follow up, hanging around for a few minutes, and is telling me that there is absolutely nobody out there, and that the local station, KCCR radio, also drove by looking for these ‘alleged’ protesters.

So, more people cleaning snow off the steps than protesting. (And I owe my correspondent a favor for sending him on a fools errand when it’s as cold out as it is, because there’s absolutely no one there.)

So much for the great 2016 Donald Trump South Dakota electoral college protest.

Great read on how Trump won the (mid) West.

If you’re up for some more political reading this morning, Professor and Senator John Thune mainstay Jon Lauck has written a great piece on how President-elect Donald Trump captured the fancy of midwestern voters, how the Clinton Campaign was an exercise in electoral malpractice, and how the mainstream media seems fixated on the liberal elite, and not “real people.”

As demonstrated by the starkly different voting patterns between university counties and rural Midwestern counties, the election returns in 2016 exposed cultural divisions in the Midwest and the nation that are worthy of serious examination. Demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution called this a “cultural-generation gap” between rural Republican Trump voters and modern urban Democratic voters.

Long-time reporter, Midwestern analyst, and author Richard Longworth argued that it was “impossible to overstate the alienation between the two Americas, between global citizens and the global left-behinds, between the great cities that run the nation’s economy and media, and the hinterland that feels not only cheated but, worse, disrespected.”


Madison Avenue advertisers, ever responsive to cultural trends, adjusted to these cultural criticisms after the election – they announced that they would be reorienting their work away from “metro elite imagery” and more toward “Des Moines and Scranton.” When hiring workers, they decided a diversity hire “can be a farm girl from Indiana as much as a Cuban immigrant who lives in Pensacola.”

The narrow visions that limited the media and advertising worlds, some argued, also prevailed in the entertainment arena. One commentator noted how an “industry arose to cater to the smug style” of the “educated, the coastal, and the professional” in the form of the “Daily Show” and other programs which “advanced the idea that liberal orthodoxy was a kind of educated savvy and that its opponents were, before anything else, stupid.”

Great stuff. Read his entire analysis here.

We’re more if you add them….  Ann Tornburg math.

Well I learned something today. In South Dakota, Democrats hold an advantage. If they add independent voters to their rolls. And they can win if we follow Ann Tornburg math, named so after the South Dakota Democrat Chairwoman, who just ran the Democrat party into record low numbers of elected officials:

 ….voter registration with Independent voters and Democratic voters is still a significant majority, but it’s turning out everyone in both of those classifications of voter registrations, Democrats and Independents and convincing them to engage in down-ballot issues and that’s a problem that we definitely have.

Read that here.

Well, technically yes. If you add the 170,000 Democrats to the 120,000 Independents, you could try to claim more than the Republican party’s 253,000 voters. You could try if you’re a fool, or a simpleton.  

The fact is that just because Dem leader Ann Tornburg tries to claim Independents in public statements doesn’t mean that they claim her. In fact, imagine 120,000 people quietly sidling away from her at the cocktail party because she sounds ridiculous.

In reality, as opposed to where Ann lives, when they vote, Independents generally break along the same proportions of those who identify a party registration in their voting behavior. For example:

What’s interesting is when you break out those independents. As we noted in August, most independents lean toward one party or the other — and in 2012, the majority of those leaning independents voted for their preferred party’s presidential candidate. (According to the book “The Gamble,” 90 percent of Democratic-leaning independents backed Obama in 2012, and 78 percent of Republican-leaning ones backed Romney.)

Read that here.

This is not a secret thing taught to exclusively to political scientists. It’s Voter Behavior 101. Another example:

The result is a distorted picture of the nation’s political makeup, according to political scientist John Petrocik of the University of Missouri. In an analysis just published in the journal Electoral Studies, he argues that the definition of independent voters used by many pollsters is far too broad.

Americans, he noted, “prefer to think of themselves as independent-minded and inclined to judge candidates on their individual merit.” But, he finds, “Very few Americans lack a party preference.”

Although an increasing number of Americans are calling themselves independents, Petrocik argues this is “more a matter of self-presentation than an accurate statement about our approach to elections, candidates, the parties and politics in general.”


“While a disproportionate numbers of swing voters are independents, two-thirds of independent voters are not swing voters,” added Tom Jensen, communications director of Public Policy Polling.

“This idea of the sage citizen who eschews party affiliation, is unbiased and persuadable by reason and facts, is very much a myth,” said Scott Keeter, director of survey research for the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. “Most people are committed to a party.

“They may not like the label, so some call themselves independents. But there are very few people who fit the archetypes of the wise, centrist independent. People who don’t have a lot of opinions tend to be disengaged from politics and less likely to vote.”

Read that here.

In South Dakota, guess what? If we accept the premise that 2/3 are not truly independent (I think that’s a little low) Of those roughly 120k independents, maybe 40,000 are true swing voters.  Of the rest, 60% – or roughly 48,000 look at what the Dems have to offer and go “bleaugh,” and vote GOP. Around 32,000 of those independents should generally align with Democrats. 

Adding all that up should give us a generally consistent 60/40 voting split between the 2 major parties. But that’s not what has been happening. South Dakota Democrats are so awful they have been having difficulty getting 30%. And that’s symptomatic of a political party which has utterly abdicated pretending to be one. 

In other words, attempting to pretend that Democrats can carry even half of independents is an utter fantasy. Or Ann Tornburg math. You achieve equally silly results. People might declare themselves to be independent, but how they vote typically reflects society as a whole.  

And in South Dakota, our society has repudiated the Democrat party, and all that it represents.