Port: ...and that's why North Dakota will vote for Trump again

The Dakota Access Pipeline, pictured under construction on Friday, July 29, 2016, in northwest North Dakota. Eric Hylden / Forum News Service
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MINOT, N.D. — Not so long ago, I wrote a column in which I wondered if President Donald Trump was losing political favor here in North Dakota. A place which has been, since the dawn of his presidency, one of most ardent bastions of his political base.

Then a federal judge ordered the Dakota Access Pipeline emptied. As I watched Democrats on social media and elsewhere dance on the economic graves of thousands of North Dakotans, I realized what an idiot I was.

I believe it's accurate to say that a lot of North Dakota Republicans don't like Donald Trump very much. These are people who would be happy to support someone else for the White House this election cycle.

You can count this humble columnist in that group.

The problem we face is that the only alternative to Trump is Joe Biden and a Democratic party that seems organized around disdain for rural Americans and the issues important to them.


Like building pipelines.

Infrastructure that carries products, things like oil and natural gas, every single one of us uses every single day.

You'd think we could find some bipartisan consensus on pipelines. Some realization that, since we're all using the oil and the gas, we should have a very thorough but also very predictable process for building safe and reliable infrastructure to carry that oil.

We don't have that. What we have is chaos -- roadblocks ranging from violent protests to a byzantine regulatory and legal process that is anything but predictable.

Our Democratic friends seem very smug about all this.

Energy Transfer Partners first applied to the federal government for the permits to build DAPL in December of 2014 . Nearly six years later, we're still wrangling through the regulatory red tape. The pipeline has been operating without incident for about three years now, but, barring a successful appeal, it could very well be emptied of oil next month.

TransCanada first announced their plans to build the Keystone XL pipeline in July of 2008 . It's now July of 2020 - twelve years later - and what is the status of that pipeline? Yet another court injunction, stemming from yet another lawsuits, blocks it. That injunction was just recently narrowed by the U.S. Supreme Court so that it doesn't roadblock the construction of infrastructure across the nation , though that's cold comfort to TransCanada.

In Minnesota, with the Line 3 Replacement Project, Enbridge isn't even trying to build a new pipeline. They're trying to replace an old one. The Canadian portion of this project has already been completed. The part of the line that's in Wisconsin was finished too, way back in 2017 . But the Minnesota portion is still waylaid by protests and seemingly endless political and legal wrangling.


Earlier this month, Duke Energy and its partners chose to abandon their proposed $8 billion, 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Their reasoning? "Dominion Energy Inc. and Duke Energy Corp. are canceling the project because of continuing court delays likely to drive the price tag higher," the Charlotte Business Journal reported . That project was to be a gas line, and maybe you didn't know this, but America is using more natural gas than ever before. The largest and fastest-growing type of gas use is electrical generation .

The Atlantic Coast Line was, again, a piece of infrastructure intended to carry a commodity we're all using.

But it can't be built.

Politics is the problem.

Now ask yourselves, who is perpetrating the sort of politics that makes pipelines impossible to build?

It ain't Republicans.

Which is why North Dakotans will be voting for Donald Trump and Republicans again in 2020.

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Rob Port, founder of, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at .

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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