When will they learn?

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.

14 Replies to “When will they learn?”

  1. eye.pea

    Stace Nelson loves the smell of napalm in the morning: that’s for sure. With luck (lauck?), Matt Varilek will emerge as a mere midget killer.

  2. SD Native

    If Democrats can convince Herseth Sandlin (Senate) and Brendan Johnson (HOUSE) to both run in ’14 the Democrats have a chance at getting back on track in SD. Otherwise they can forget it for a long long time.

  3. Clay Bill

    Bill Clay:
    Following this post is like trying to keep track of Mitt Romney’s latest campaign positions. Herseth Sandlin, you note, voted against Obamacare, and in the next sentence, you follow up on that observation by describing her as a left wing idealogue. Is there some other Herseth Sandlin you are a talking about? One that wasn’t a conservative Blue Dog Democrat??

    And you’ve also somehow been able to label Varilek as some sort of uber liberal, when all that anyone knows about him, including you, this early in the campaign is that he once worked for Sen. Johnson. Somehow that makes him glow with some toxic level of liberalism?? How???

    It’s clear that when you can’t defend your observations with a glimmer of truth that we can all grasp, you simply make stuff up to try to convince us you’re right. Suddenly there’s a Hildebrand wing and Corey wing and SHS wing of the Democratic Party in SD?? How many wings are there? Or are you unwilling to tell us that right now, in case you have to make up some more silly wings as you try to buffalo us with more of your silly observations?

    1. Anonymous

      Everyone knows Herseth voted against Obamacare because they had the votes in the House without her. It wasn’t that she was opposed to it. Herseth was a liar and easily mislead people for years. She didn’t count on a wave washing her out to sea with the rest of the posers.

      If she’d have been in the Senate there wouldn’t be a doubt how she’d have voted. Obama’s way.

      She might act moderate and ocassionally vote moderate but she’s a liberal through and through.

      The difference between her and the current Democratic party is that she hid her beliefs in sheeps clothing while the newbies run around as wolves.

      They aren’t smart enough yet to realize they need to lie in order to win.

      Cory, Hildebrand and Wieland are the liberal wing that pretends they can do whatever and still get elected. They are wrong.

      Herseth, Daschle and Johnson all have a more conservative demeanor. It helped them in elections.

      1. Anonymous

        clay bill,

        I also think you misread that paragraph because I took it to mean that Dems ran SHS out of town because she wasn’t openly a left wing idealogue willing to fall on her sword.

    1. William

      73*, your bank might need a bailout.

      WHY would she run in ’14? If Noem is the GOP Senate candidate, she might do it because she took her loss personally, but she’d still have a tough race, as Noem would essentially be an incumbent (even though she’d be running for Senate and not the House) and I doubt she would have a money advantage running against her.

      Who else might the GOP nominate for the Senate? Rounds, Jackley, Johnson, Michels, just to name a few off the top of my head? There are plenty of well known, popular GOP candidates that would have no trouble raising the money to be VERY competitive against SHS.

      She’s living in Georgetown, making lots of money and that was always the point of her political career anyway.

      1. anon

        Former Rounds Chief of Staff has given up his job at POET to be the “Chief of Staff” at Fischer Rounds and Associates in Pierre. I’d say Rounds is definately running in 2014.


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