Politics look bleak for South Dakota

Nathan Hopper

Nathan Hopper

Seeing as how all the bridges in South Dakota have been burned, it only makes sense that Gov. Janklow would take his torch to Washington D.C. in search of some tinder.

For those of you who don’t follow state politics, here’s the Short and Sweet: term limited, and all out of enemies, Janklow announced on March 6 that he will run for South Dakota’s sole congressional seat.

I do not doubt his veracity or resolve. But it is precisely the Janklow resolve that ought ring the alarm for any South Dakotan. Much like chislic and kuchen, I think some things are best left in South Dakota and best dealt with by South Dakotans. Cute analogies aside: the pickings are slim for the upcoming election season.

In his defense, Janklow is at least head and shoulders above his opponent, 22-year Washington scurf Larry Pressler – who manages to give just as bad name to the cadre of Rhode’s Scholars as former president Bill Clinton did.

Janklow’s ambitions leave the state with a bit of a power vacuum.

Aiming for the governor’s office are Attorney General Mark Barnett and Sioux Falls businessman Steve Kirby.

Though they claim to have wildly divergent political beliefs, one thing is certain: they’re both Republicans. As such, the cloth from which they’re cut is strikingly similar.

Long a bastion for All Things Conservative, the bleak choices we as voters are left with seldom seems to attract any attention. A Republican armada tightly controls all manners of state government. All Board of Regents members, judges, and a vicious faction of state representatives and senators are Republican, or Republican appointees.

The tight one-party grip has long handicapped our state. I don’t care if Things Get Done, as in laws get passed. The business of government is as much passing laws as it is blocking them. But a political monoculture does nothing to protect government from itself and nothing to protect people from the government.

It took Mexico nearly 70 years of horrible corrupt, amazingly heinous government before it could step free itself from the manacles of one-party rule. If Mexico can figure it out, why can’t South Dakotans?

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