Could South Dakota Democrats give the GOP a double-bye in 2020?

Are Democrats in danger of leaving one or both offices at the top of the ticket blank in 2020? Because as the clock is ticking down, it’s not looking good.

I was reading a comment thread on a friend’s facebook post today after he posed the existential question “Does anyone know who is running for Senate for the SD Dems in 2020?”  This person (a former Democrat candidate for office himself) had responses from Democrat insiders and activists ..and the ultimate answer was that there is no one running for US Senate on the Democrat side of the aisle, raising the specter of past their past performances in 2010 or 2016.

In the Congressional race, no one has expressed any interest on running on behalf of South Dakota Democrats, except for Ellee Spawn. And you know how that one looks. Arguably offering the worst candidacy that South Dakota has ever seen, Spawn has gone from starting a campaign, to going silent on social media as well as taking her campaign website offline.

If we’re to take this as a signal of her intentions, Spawn will not be running for anything, leaving the Congressional race as wide open for Democrats as the US Senate race is, with the clock quickly ticking down for an effective campaign for either office to be mounted.

When current Democrat Party chair Paula Hawks contemplated a run for Congress in 2015, Hawks was mentioning to the press she was looking at running as early as May of 2015.   When Tim Bjorkman announced for Congress, he wasn’t far behind her, announcing in July the year before the election in 2017.  If the only glimmer of a candidacy that South Dakota Democrats have is the Ellee Spawn dumpster fire that’s already shut down, it appears they may be done before they’re started.

There appears to be a real possibility that Democrats could give Republicans two open seats at the top of the ticket. Or at the least, leaving them in the unenviable position where they’re forced to dig up an unprepared or incompetent candidate as they did with Jay Williams in 2016.

The countdown is dangerously close for South Dakota Democrats to come up with marquee candidates to head their ticket in the next election. And it could set the stage for how their candidates perform the rest of the way down the ticket.

12 thoughts on “Could South Dakota Democrats give the GOP a double-bye in 2020?”

  1. Who cares about the Democrats. They’re on the fringe, almost defunct. Let’s talk about how Republicans, with our stranglehold on control of government, can work to IMPROVE the state.

  2. With so many leaving the state for better economic and educational opportunities it is hard to say.

  3. Some people leave SD for the reason you cite. Meanwhile, thousands more folks move here, every year, than move away. People are fleeing New York taxes. People are fleeing Chicago like it’s on fire. From 2010-2019, SD’s 10 fastest growing cities have been:

    Box Elder
    Sioux Falls
    Rapid City

    1. The growth is from SD small towns dying at an even faster rate with nursing homes closing, schools closing, a devastating trade war losing more farms and businesses in those towns along with the promotion by GOED of CAFOS which further kills those towns resulting in less family farms.

      The brain drain out of South Dakota is rampant and that includes Democrats, Independents and Republicans that move away for better opportunities and now contribute to the economies and quality of life in their new communities outside of South Dakota. Hey! If one keeps telling themselves they are all moving from Chicago & New York over and over then it must be true right?

      1. You raise a valid concern. Some small communities have suffered. That’s a serious problem, one we shouldn’t ignore. Many South Dakotans have departed struggling small towns and moved to our larger cities, especially SF. You’re correct that, each year, some of our best high school & college graduates leave home to seek fame and fortune. I’d like to keep more talent here, locally, but a few adventurous folks will leave no matter what policies SD enacts. It’s true: we need to help out farmers and we need to deal with flood damage. It sounds as though we agree on several key points — except you seem convinced that SD’s net migration is negative. That’s demonstrably false. More people are moving here than are moving away. Are you a population change denier? SD population growth has exceeded 8% since 2010. The state will reach 900,000 inhabitants in the 2020 census. We could reach 1 million before 2030. Where I live, each year brings more residents and more traffic. It’s frustrating sometimes, I’ll admit, but it offers new, exciting opportunities. More and more people arrive each season. You may dislike change, but I’m happy new restaurants and businesses are opening. I’m less thrilled housing prices (and property taxes) are increasing, and that schools are crowded, but in these ways growth is apparent. Have you moved away?

          1. From the Study:
            We define a highly-educated “leaver” as someone in the top third of the national education distribution.

            Having a college degree does not make you smart.

            There is also this:

            One weakness of our brain drain measures is that they do not take into account a state’s overall out-migration rates. Our measures do reflect the fact that even if a large number of people are leaving a state, that is only a problem of brain drain insofar as the people who leave a state are better educated than the people who stay in it. However, it is also true that if leavers are better educated than stayers (or entrants), that is only an important problem insofar as a large number of people are leaving the state (or a large number are leaving relative to the number entering the state). That distinction is missing from our brain drain measures.

            In addition, it may be less concerning for leavers to be better educated than stayers (or entrants) to the extent that stayers are also relatively highly educated. We address these nuances by displaying brain drain rates against outmigration rates and distinguishing between birth states with different education levels.

            1. That measure compares “leavers” with “stayers.” It ignores college educated, top quintile arrivals. You see that weakness, right?

              Next, you’ll claim these professionals don’t exist, that the federal census is a big government hoax, that the SD population is contracting, and that SD’s economy shrank in 2018. All proving you’re 100 percent correct about one thing: “having a college degree does not make you smart.”

              1. Let’s consider a hypothetical. Let’s imagine that, next year, 10,000 adult South Dakotans move away. At the same time, 14,000 adult Americans leave other states & move here. Net domestic migration +4000. So far, so good. The state is growing. But we want to examine the nuances.

                If 90% of the “leavers” are smart, but just 50% of new arrivals are smart, we have, in your terms, a “brain drain.” We lost 9000 brains and recouped just 7000. Egad! We’re on the path to becoming Vermont, your #1 brain drain state.

                Now, you might take issue with counting “adults.” But counting kids is tricky. Although kids go off to college, many return (often with smart spouses).

                Let’s imagine that Rapid City Central’s valedictorian, a national merit scholar, gets a full ride to Yale. She leaves for New Haven. Within 5 years, she’s earned a master’s degree. She moves back home, becoming the SD Democratic Party’s new Data Director.

                When she left, was it a brain drain? When she returned, did it just cancel out, or did SD benefit on the exchange? Was the educated 23 year old brain that came home with a Yale diploma more valuable, economically, than the gifted 18 year old brain that went off to college?

  4. It’s certainly not a brain drain if the majority of people leaving are Democrats.

    1. ok, that’s really fun – almost lost water out my nose on that one 🙂

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