Shouldn't there be fireworks? Or John Philip Sousa marches? After all, for the first time in the history of history, many North Dakota Republicans are concerned about the integrity of elections.

Dang! I should've made sure you were sitting. Medic! Someone's down! Yes, the one in Birkenstocks.

In fairness, Republicans have always been concerned about the vote — on reservations, where folks are so impoverished they can't even afford street addresses, and you know how poor people would vote if they weren't turned away on technicalities, don't you? Just like rich people. In their own self-interest. You know, for Democrats.

Now, some Republicans have their underwear in a twist because suspected-RINO Doug Burgum, having bought the governorship, is now trying to buy the Legislature. And Big Oil is screaming, “Hey, that's our job!”

But let's agree that most Republicans walk around like they have wedgies, anyway. Friends, I have three words for you: Duluth Trading Company.

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If you haven't noticed — and most of you haven't because you're too busy exercising your constitutional right to open-carry viruses — Burgum's put $195,000 from his petty cash drawer toward defeating the most extreme Republican legislators. By extreme, I mean those who vote against him. Topping the list is Rep. Scrooge McDelzer, R-Underwood, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, which I hear may someday actually appropriate.

Burgum's even stuck his nose into District 28 politics where he's targeting Rep. Jeff Magrum of Hazelton. I like Jeff, but he leans farther right than Quasimodo, and we disagree on everything, including the day of the week. It's March, isn't it? And who doesn't like prune kuchen?

If I had to guess, and I do, Burgum's taking the approach of his close personal friend and fellow member of the Barely a Billionaire Club, Donald Trump. What the hell does he have to lose? He could keep the adversarial Legislature he's got or just trade them in like Trump does with wives.

The thing is, Trump would love a guy like Magrum, who once disrupted Edgeley Republican Rep. Mike Brandenburg's speech at a public forum so vociferously, Emmons County deputies began hovering. However, Trump pays little attention to anything except ratings, so he doesn't know that back in North Dakota, Gov. Chameleon plays the part of hipster-genius tech guru to get the liberal vote while touting his conservative pro-life values (sure) to Republican voters who are easily swayed by colorful mailers.

As Fargo televangelist Chris Berg might say, Burgum's power play is turning us into a Gestapo state! The next thing you know, we'll have roundabouts.

Burgum schmoozed with Trump last week, along with Sen. John Hoeven, who went into isolation long before it became a trend. (Hoeven's a noted predictor of pandemics and stock market trends.) Notably absent was Hoeven's colleague, Sen. What's His Name, who apparently isn't wealthy enough for Trump to remember.

If I had to guess again, I'd say Burgum's angling for a cabinet post if the country goes certifiably insane and reelects Trump. After that? I suspect Burgum wakes up every morning humming "Hail to the Chief," and later, something by The Pretenders. He may be singing the blues next session, though, because his gambit to reinvent the Legislature could unite a fractious Republican Party against him.

Get your popcorn now.

Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column for Forum News Service.