Rick’s Opinion Blog

Getting Past the (R)

September 24, 2020

Since the late 70’s, South Dakota has been a predominately a Republican State. Although we did have Democrats representing us in Washington, DC and a few Democrats in the Legislature. 

While the balance of power was to the Republicans, we were moving forward with very little acrimony.  Then things changed. The Republican party shifted to the far right,  nationally and in state. With that shift came a different attitude. More “we vs. them.” Not the “us” we were used to experiencing. Battles rather than solutions. 

In 2016, I was involved in the effort to open primary elections to all voters. We almost won, garnering 47% of the vote. 

I learned something disappointing along the way. Many of my Republican friends admitted to me when they voted they voted for the (R) without knowing anything about the candidate. Stances on issues didn’t matter, voting records didn’t matter, if they were a (R) that’s all that mattered.  

That’s why they voted against opening the primary, they didn’t know who to vote for without the party label on the ballot. Sad. No research on candidates or issues, just vote for the (R). 

As we approach this election, I feel the need to point out to my Republican friends, this reality, many Republican legislators have voted against your best interest. 

Examples, in the past four years, the legislature has passed several laws restricting your ability to refer bad laws and initiate your own. These laws were passed under the guise of keeping outsiders out, but the reality is, they don’t like to be monitored or corrected by you and me, the people who hired them. 

While big issues such as education, job creation, agriculture development were up for discussion, the legislature spent too much time dealing with allowing themselves to carry guns in the Capitol, trying to limit early voting, and killing a bill which would have allowed you to change your voter registration online. In the current COVID environment their actions at the least were negligent and at worst a blatant act to prevent you from participating in the process. 

The leadership of the Republican party of 20, 15, even 10 years ago in our state has changed. In my opinion they have lost their way. 

I hope when you vote this year you will look past the (R) label. There are many people on the ballot across the state with great ideas to move us forward. I hope you will take the time before you mark the ballot to learn about them. 

We need to get past the (R).

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