That Tom Lawrence article got me thinking about the rifts across the GOP and Democratic parties. Maybe the GOP has some rifts, and maybe they will cost us some seats in the legislature this November. My guess though is that any losses would have more to do with the fact that the GOP holds such a large number of seats that one would just naturally assume maintaining 30 of 35 senate seats is just unsustainable. And maybe I would reach a similar conclusion with the House.
Democrats should be concerned with the rift that began back during 2009 when Stephanie Herseth Sandlin voted against Obamacare. Ever since then there has been a sizable rift that has largely gone under discussed because the SD Democratic party essentially obliterated itself in the 2010 elections with self destructive personalities and policies.
We have to wonder at what point Democrats will begin to realize that left wing ideologues are not electable statewide in South Dakota?
My hunch is that when Noem destroys the Steve Hildebrand recruited Matt Varilek in November, the party will quickly remember fondly how Herseth Sandlin was able to win every county in 2008.
I’m not delusional enough to believe Herseth Sandlin is any less liberal than Senator Johnson has been in his later years or Varilek is on this campaign, but Herseth Sandlin, like all Democrats elected statewide the last 20 years, had a personal style that appealed to the average voter who wasn’t caught up in left vs right. Her electoral victories prove that. And just like Thune has an incredibly broad swath of support, Noem’s is growing as well. A candidate must appeal to more than the base in most election cycles.
We quickly saw Senator Johnson staffer Matt Varilek jump into the primary this year and receive several endorsements from prominent members of his party while being pushed by the Steve Hildebrand wing of the SDDP.
When Democrats decide they want to be competitive again, they will need to choose between the Steve Hildebrand/Cory Heidelberger wing of the party and the Herseth Sandlin wing. Standing by unyielding and unpopular principles carved in stone is only fun for so long. Eventually the Dems will decide they just want to have a glimmer of hope at victory.
Take it from Ronald Reagan. 80% is better than nothing.
After another cycle of getting trounced, I predict the Democrats will be trampling over Hildebrand to get to Herseth Sandlin with open arms begging her to run again.
Gordon Howie and Matt Varilek types will never win statewide races in South Dakota. Politics isn’t that hard. I don’t know why we have to make it seem that way.