I had to laugh when I saw this letter to the editor in the Grand Forks Herald today urging Democrats to vote for Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Burgum.
It’s long been clear that Burgum would likely need an influx of liberal voters crossing over to the Republican ticket on North Dakota’s open primary ballot in order to beat his opponent Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. But with the candidate investing millions in branding himself as a “conservative business leader” (to use a term from his almost ubiquitous advertising), a move to shake the perception of him as a downtown Fargo liberal, he can’t just come out and make an appeal to Democrats.
He’d probably lose two or three Republican voters for every Democrat he picks up. Because, let’s face it, there just aren’t that many Democrat voters in North Dakota these days.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]What are Republican voters, those who want to believe that Burgum is as conservative on fiscal issues as his campaign has led them to believe, supposed to think of liberal Democrats encouraging one another to get behind the Fargo businessman?[/mks_pullquote]
So what Burgum needs is for Democrats to ignore his multi-million dollar media campaign, and all that Obamacare bashing, and vote for him because they’ll assume that he’ll govern much differently than he has campaigned.
What Burgum doesn’t need is for people describing themselves as McGovern Democrats, as the letter writer does, encouraging other liberals to openly support him.
Burgum also probably didn’t need to hold a fundraiser with a prominent Democrat.
What are Republican voters, those who want to believe that Burgum is as conservative on fiscal issues as his campaign has led them to believe, supposed to think of liberal Democrats encouraging one another to get behind the Fargo businessman? Should they think that maybe these liberal voters know something they don’t?
Burgum has an impressive resume. He’s charismatic and likable. What’s holding him back, I think, is that a lot of voters simply do not feel that the campaign he’s been running is an authentic representation of who he is and how he’ll govern.
That liberal Democrats, who should be finding nothing in Burgum’s campaign worth voting for, would be thinking of giving him their votes tells us that maybe these feelings have merit.