News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fire the staff of the South Dakota Democratic Party?

If the staff is fired,  who will they be replaced with?  The Democrats get mired down in the blame game.  And inevitably someone will say we should come up with better candidates.  In recent years,  we have had candidates in Rick Weiland, Paula Hawks, Jay Williams, Cory Heidelberger and many others who actually know something,  work industriously, and conduct admirable campaigns.  But they do so with the constant carping and dismissive predictions that become the only message that gets heard.  Review the comments on the political blogs.  It is hard to be a successful candidate when your own party demeans you.  

On the national level, we now confront the kind of politics that has possessed South Dakota for the last decade or so.  After a year and a half of seeing Donald Trump daily indulging in petty, malevolent, and insidious behavior,  the people voted for him, and thus those traits of character to represent them to the world and to history.  There are all manner of speculations about what somebody did wrong to make him president.  What very few people have had the courage to face is that the American character has changed.  We still like to think of ourselves in terms of the Greatest Generation,  but we have become what that Greatest Generation fought against.  The parallels between the ascensions of Hitler and Donald Trump are stunning.  As Dana Milbank put it in a Washington Post column,  Trump made it safe to hate again. The hate was already festering.

When Democrats criticize strategy or the lack of it,  it is always something that someone else should have been doing in their view.  But often it is what they are doing that is so discouraging,  and what they are doing is usually nothing but carping and looking for someone to blame.  Just as the Trumpists blame immigrants, Black Lives Matter, Hillary’s e-mails, etc., etc.  So, fire the staff and find someone new to blame.  

It is possible that if the protest movement can be kept going, it can have the effect on Trump’s regime that it had on Lyndon Johnson when he decided not to run for election.  If there is one thing that Trump taught us,  it is that words no longer matter.  If you can’t reason or  persuade with words, the alternative is some  kind of action.  Or perhaps a passive resistance in which people refuse to participate in the kind of government that Trump will try to impose.  Maybe that can work on the state level.  But it won’t change the collective character that is in charge.  

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States