MINOT N.D.—If Senator Heidi Heitkamp could have walked out on the stage with President Donald Trump in Fargo she would have. I can say this because I pay attention to her campaign. Her almost ubiquitous campaign ads claim endlessly that she votes with President Trump "most of the time." Heitkamp's staff was even on Twitter during the address touting an Associated Press fact check which found that claim about a pro-Trump voting record accurate.
A consistent tactic North Dakota Democrats and their various allies like to use in election years is to charge their opponents with ethics violations, even going so far as to file lawsuits and complaints which are usually dismissed after election day. Because the point of these charges isn’t so much to uncover ethical lapses as to generate negative headlines for political enemies.
Breaking news this afternoon is that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy will be stepping down from his position later this year. This, of course, will give President Donald Trump the opportunity to appoint another judge to the nation’s highest court. It also creates one one North Dakota political observer just described as a “nightmare scenario” for Senator Heidi Heitkamp.
MINOT, N.D.—This probably won't be President Donald Trump's only rally in North Dakota this election year. Reliable sources tell me he'll be in the state again before Election Day, probably in the Bismarck area. It is his first visit since election season began in earnest, and there are a couple of things he needs to accomplish. First, he needs to deflate North Dakota U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp's attempts to portray herself as a moderate Democratic ally of his agenda.
In a column for Real Clear Politics former North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan bemoans the atrophy Democrats have suffered in elected office across the country, particularly out here in the flyover states. “Democrats Must Show Up to Win Back Heartland Voters,” reads the headline. Click here to continue reading the post.
A ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana in North Dakota, and to expunge past convictions for that activity, is currently being circulated for signatures by a group calling themselves LegalizeND ( read it here ).
MINOT, N.D.—Sen. Heidi Heitkamp wins elections by inspiring hate for her opponents. That's what she did in 2012 when her surrogates branded her opponent Rick Berg as a "slumlord" while the national Democratic apparatus ran ads which suggested he "attacks women." Heitkamp is attempting the same with her opponent in 2018, Congressman Kevin Cramer, and one aspect of that hate campaign is so acutely hypocritical it needs to be highlighted.
One element of the political posturing around the issue of President Donald Trump’s new zero tolerance policy at the southern border, which has resulted in the side effect of separating families in accordance with past court decisions, is that some Governors are withdrawing their state’s National Guard troops from border duty and vowing not to send any if asked by the Trump administration. This article from CNN sums up the stunt:
Earlier this year Duane Sand, who ran for both the U.S. House and Senate on behalf of the NDGOP in previous cycles, challenged two incumbent Republican lawmakers in District 47. I’m a believer in that sort of intra-party competition. It’s healthy for incumbents, particularly incumbents who have been in office for a while, to be challenged. And it’s pretty clear that, in most of North Dakota, Democrats aren’t providing much of a challenge.
Criticize North Dakota's initiated measure laws, the process whereby citizens can collect signatures and enact policy directly through a vote, and you'll be targeted for scorn and personal attacks. There are many in North Dakota and beyond who believe that initiated measures are a purer form of democracy than what we get from the Legislature where evil lobbyists and well-monied interests hold sway. This is a fairy tale.