MINOT, N.D. — To call the spat in the North Dakota Republican Party between the moderate-minded majority, whose competent governance is primarily responsible for the party’s dominance over the decades, and the Trumpy Bastiat Caucus, which has risen to the status of a noisy minority in recent years, a “civil war” would be overstating the case.
Still, there is an intraparty conflict going on, and it is hugely consequential for the power balance in state politics.
This dispute is taking place in the Legislature, where the obnoxious behavior of Bastiat-aligned lawmakers has alienated just about everybody else, and it’s playing out in local district conventions, where the Bastiats are pushing to get their people into important leadership positions.
That happened recently in District 40, a Minot-area jurisdiction where the Bastiats were able to seat a chairman who immediately moved (unsuccessfully, so far) to censure House Majority Leader Chet Pollert because of the expulsion of disgraced lawmaker Luke Simons over charges of sexual harassment.
Rep. Randy Schobinger, who represents District 40 in the state House of Representatives, told me he’s not even going to be talking to his new district chair.
Yet the Bastiats just got swept out of power there.