MINOT, N.D. — Based on public polling and voting trends, North Dakota is widely seen as one of the most pro-Donald Trump states in the union. Despite that, North Dakota's congressional delegation performed surprisingly well in a rating by a Republican anti-Trump group.
Or surprisingly bad, I suppose, depending on your point of view.
The group is the Republican Accountability Project (RAP), formerly known as Republican Voters Against Trump. Their recently-released scorecard seeks to hold Republican elected officials accountable for being too deferential to disgraced former President Donald Trump.
"Our Capitol was attacked by a mob that believed that the 2020 election was being stolen. They were encouraged by the lies and actions of President Trump and many Republican members of Congress. In the name of accountability, it’s vitally important we remember which Congressional Republicans stood with democracy and the Constitution, and which did not," the group states on its website.
There are currently 262 Republicans serving in the U.S. House and Senate. Of that total, more than 100 flunked RAP's scorecard.
Not one of them was from North Dakota.
The scorecard graded on four points questions:
Did the members of Congress sign on to the State of Texas lawsuit aimed at nullifying votes cast in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Georgia?
Did they object to the certification of any election outcomes from any of the states?
Did they make statements casting doubt on the legitimacy of the 2020 election?
Did they vote for Trump's impeachment or conviction?
None of North Dakota's delegation scored below a "C" grade based on those criteria.
I'll admit that I am.
Perhaps we shouldn't be.
Anecdotally, we have evidence that while North Dakotans overwhelmingly choose Trump when the alternative is Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, loyalty to him isn't a given. During the 2020 NDGOP primary, Trump endorsed Bastiat Caucus lawmaker Rep. Dan Johnston over Fargo lawmaker Thomas Beadle in the Treasurer race. Beadle won by a decisive margin and even took several western North Dakota counties where it's assumed that support for Trump is the most ardent.
Let that sink in for a moment. At the time, Donald Trump, the President of the United States, jumped into a primary race for Treasurer and couldn't put his guy over the top in what is, supposedly, one of the most pro-Trump states.
We have data, too. Trump won North Dakota both times he was on the national ballot by wide margins, but his approval polling was usually so lopsided. Morning Consult's tracking poll showed Trump's popularity declined by 14 points in North Dakota over the course of his term in office.
Again, when given a choice between Trump and a Democrat, North Dakotans chose Trump, but that binary choice isn't the same as enthusiasm for the guy.
Now we have the fact that North Dakota's congressional delegation — three people who have a lot of electoral incentive to keep tabs on political trends in the state — was far from being as Trump as their Republican colleagues from other states.
Not even Cramer, an outspoken Trump supporter to this day, at least in words, managed to fail a test from an anti-Trump group.
If Trump were on the ballot again in North Dakota opposite someone like Joe Biden, he'd win again, by a wide margin, even after the violent attack on the capitol building and the attempts to overturn the national election. Still, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that many North Dakotans would be happy for Republicans to move on from Trump, the person, if not necessarily his policies.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at email@example.com.