Remember we’re still more than a year from the primary, let alone the general election. Yes, it’s early. But when the stakes are this high that’s to be expected.
It was pretty much the same deal going into the great Senate Wars of 2002 and 2004, though maybe not this bad.
But the goal is the same, control of the U.S. Senate and by proxy, nothing short of control of the world. Sound over the top? Consider that as much power is granted to whoever is president of the United States, the Senate can stop pretty much anything from happening. It’s not that the House and the White House don’t have their tools, but that 60 vote mark remains a barrier to do anything.
Republicans see their chance to take back the Tim Johnson seat they lost way back in 1996. It’s the continuation of the methodical disassembling of the Democrat machine that ruled South Dakota on the federal level for a generation.
Can Rick Weiland be the second coming of Tom Daschle? That seems unlikely but at the same time, Rick has access to the team and the playbook so you never know.
The problem is, the game has changed. Democrats need a new electoral coalition to win statewide. What is the combination? What are the issues? Where can they appeal to the moderate, mainstream voter in a significant way? How can they walk the tightrope between what the White House does and what they perceive that South Dakotans want?
That’s a tough task but not an impossible one.
At it’s core, though, it has to be sincere. Yes, voters have priorities, they have practical constructs that guide their decisions, whether that’s taxes or education or even national security. But they also want to be represented by people who live the conviction of their principals. Most free people, South Dakotans included, understand we aren’t going to agree on every issue or problem. But they respect someone who understand the challenges they face day to day, that comes to the table with empathy and an open mind.
When you strip it down, I’ve always thought that elections were much more about that base level connection than 8-point policy papers. That’s not exactly revolutionary political theory, I understand.
Where do all the candidates lie on the gut-feeling spectrum?