One of the most interesting things to observe in North Dakota politics is just how far the state’s Democrats must journey away from the positions of the national counterparts in order to win elections here.
“I’d be honored to work with President Trump,” Mac Schneider, a former state lawmaker who lost re-election in 2016, said at the announcement of his U.S. House campaign today. Schneider also said he’s “not running against the president.”
This isn’t unusual rhetoric among North Dakota Democrats. “I’m not running against the president,” Ben Hanson, Schneider’s opponent for the House nomination who also lost his legislative job in 2016, said back in August.
When President Trump visited North Dakota last year, incumbent Senator Heidi Heitkamp welcomed him with open arms, flying to the state with him in Air Force One and even appearing on stage next to him at a rally in Mandan promoting tax reform.
Their left wing base may think Trump is the second coming of Hitler, factions of their national party may want the President impeached, but given that their candidate Hillary Clinton didn’t even get 30 percent of the vote in 2016 the North Dakota Democrats are obliged to strike a different tone.
At least the Democratic candidates hoping to get votes, anyway. The position of the North Dakota Democratic party is that Trump is vile and beholden of an “unmistakable lack of fitness to serve as President of the United States.”
To review, Democratic candidates in North Dakota say they’re not campaigning against Trump. One even says he’ll be honored to work with Trump. Meanwhile, the North Dakota Democratic party says Trump is vile and unfit to be President.
It seems like Democrats should have to explain that cognitive dissonance.
I’ve been plenty critical of President Trump. I think some of the things he’s said are, in fact, vile. I, too, have wondered about his fitness for office.
It’s not that I think the Democrats are necessarily wrong in their criticisms of Trump. It’s that they’re giving us two, contradictory messages about him and they shouldn’t be able to get away with that.