MINOT, N.D. — By any objective measure, the recent statewide caucuses held by the North Dakota Democrats were a roaring success.
I doubt the Dems want my praise — I am fairly described as one of their sharpest critics — but they have it anyway.
Turnout was strong, something like four times higher than their previous presidential caucuses held in 2016.
Democrats nearly matched with votes this last Tuesday the number of ballots cast for the Democratic slate in the June 2016 primary put on by the state.
That is impressive, even if the June 2016 primary vote totals were skewed by Democratic voters crossing over to vote in the NDGOP's gubernatorial primary between Doug Burgum and Wayne Stenehjem that year.
There are some reasonable critiques — in an editorial this week, the Grand Forks Herald notes parking issues at caucus sites and lines that were too long — but overall, the state Democratic party should be proud of themselves.
At times it has seemed as though the state party was slouching its way toward death by irrelevance. This past week they proved they still have an energetic and engaged core group of activists, even if their politics are pretty far to the left of the North Dakota mainstream.
Bernie Sanders? Really, Democrats?
Anyway, this success hasn't stopped the far-left wing from lashing out at the party.
Perhaps the most prominent of the critics on social media was Obama-era Attorney General Eric Holder. "This is a willful failure of government. Absurd," he wrote on Twitter in response to news of long wait times at the North Dakota caucus locations. "As citizens we have to put in office people who will prioritize the right to vote — all over the United States."
The tweet was representative of other social media criticism aimed at the Dems in that it was as ignorant as it was unfair.
For one thing, despite what online know-it-alls say, the state of North Dakota had nothing to do with the caucuses. Holder might have thought his shallow tweet was an attack on our state's majority Republican government, but the caucuses were run with private dollars by the state Democratic party.
What's more, it was the party's first crack at holding a caucus like this. Coordinating this sort of a vote, under heavy scrutiny from the public and the news media and random Twitter cranks, is no easy task.
If the worst of it was long lines and long wait times, that's not such a bad outcome given the circumstances. I'm sure the Democrats will take what they learned this year and apply it to future votes.
In the meantime, let's hope North Dakota's Democrats, smarting from unfair accusations of voter suppression, remember how it feels the next time they start lobbing similar accusations at, say, North Dakota's voter ID laws.
Partisan political attacks are easy.
Running a fair and honest election is much, much harder.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.