SD’s minor parties may be riding a wave of DC discordTwo new political parties are officially recognized in South Dakota, a development that tends to show that many are frustrated by continued discord in Washington, D.C.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
Two new political parties are officially recognized in South Dakota, a development that tends to show that many are frustrated by continued discord in Washington, D.C.
Last week, South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant announced that the Constitution Party and the Americans Elect Party are hereby recognized by the state. Backers of those parties needed to collect 7,928 signatures before they could qualify as “official.” The Americans Elect group collected about 15,500 signatures and the Constitution group collected about 8,900.
That’s quite a statement in a state that’s home to only 800,000 people. It also is a statement that people would put in that much effort to promote parties that generally have had limited success — or no history at all — in this state.
Does it mean more South Dakotans are distancing themselves from the sloppy mess that is today’s D.C. political landscape? We suspect that may have something to do with it.
During the Davison County Lincoln Day Dinner last week, Dusty Johnson lamented that the federal government is disorganized. Johnson, the chief of staff for Gov. Dennis Daugaard, noted that South Dakota “is growing jobs, 5,300 in the last 16 months. But it’s not because of the federal government. It’s in spite of it.”
This week, U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem visited the region and said Congress is ruled by chaos and that members pay no heed to debate, discussion and others’ opinions. She said she often hears that “Washington is broken.”
Both Noem and Johnson are Republicans, but disgust with the process in Washington isn’t necessarily limited to a single party or political viewpoint.
That may be playing into the recent success of the Constitution and Americans Elect parties here.
And although we don’t foresee much political success by these newly recognized groups, we do offer this reminder: Third- and fourth-party candidates have shown throughout history that they can influence big elections, even if they don’t win them.
In the 2002 Senate race, Libertarian Kurt Evans, now of Mitchell, received 3,070 votes. Meanwhile, incumbent Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson edged up-and-comer John Thune by only 524 votes.
Thune eventually was elected to the Senate two years later, but some say Evans’ presence on the ticket played a large role in Thune’s loss in 2002.
Either way, these minor parties may never win, but they can influence. They also tend to show that people are more fed up than ever.