The fawning and gushing from North Dakota’s Democrats over the visit by Senator Bernie Sanders, the septuagenarian socialist who is running for president, has been a bit much over the last few days. But cutting through the miasma of adoration, Sanders did force our state’s liberals to reveal something honest about themselves.
Every election cycle the Democrats, for electoral reasons, try to distance themselves from the far-left politics of their national counterparts. They tell us that they’re not out to get the oil and gas industry, for instance. That they’re just for moderate policy changes in this deeply Republican state.
Yet when Bernie Sanders stood on stage in Bismarck and called for a ban on fracking, something which would be devastating for our state’s economy, his crowd of North Dakota Democrats and liberals cheered:
BISMARCK — A call for a ban on hydraulic fracking Friday evening by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont drew a cheer during a rally in the nation’s second largest oil-producing state.
The brief comment drew a round of cheers as Sanders, 74, fired up a crowd of more than 500 in the Bismarck Depot parking lot following rallies in Fargo and Grand Forks earlier in the day.
“We’ve got to ban fracking,” Sanders said while discussing energy policy.
Elsewhere in his speech Sanders promised to soften the blow a fracking ban would deal to North Dakota’s economy with billions of dollars in government aid. Meaning that he’s aiming to destroy a self-sufficient industry, creating jobs and commerce by providing a much in-demand product, with government dependency.
That’s something to cheer for?
Meanwhile, sharing the stage with Sanders at the Bismarck event was Democratic gubernatorial hopeful, and state Representative, Marvin Nelson. On the stage with Sanders in Fargo was Auditor candidate, and state Senator, Tim Mathern. Do they support a ban on fracking?
Endorsing Sanders on Twitter was Democratic Senate candidate Eliot Glassheim:
— Eliot Glassheim (@Eliot4ND) May 13, 2016
Would he ban fracking?
I think you get the point. Democrats should have to answer these questions. Because, again, they often tell us that they’re not against oil and gas development. They just want more prudent regulation of it. They tell us that they’re more moderate than the extreme (by North Dakota standards) politics of national Democrats.
But when Sanders called for essentially banning oil production in North Dakota, when he attended events in North Dakota touting his socialist shtick, who was standing next to him?
UPDATE: A spokesman for Glassheim’s campaign clarifies that they haven’t endorsed Sanders yet. “In his statement and on Twitter, Eliot said that he will wholeheartedly support and endorse the Democratic nominee for president — not that he is endorsing Sanders. We feel it’s important to contrast Eliot’s wholehearted support for the Democratic nominee — whether it’s Sanders or Clinton — with Sen. Hoeven’s waffling support for Donald Trump,” Daniel Tick wrote to me in an email.
I’m not sure how Glassheim’s nuanced position is an improvement over Hoeven’s weak-kneed backing of Trump, but there you go.