MINOT, N.D. — For the past several weeks, as local district chapters of the North Dakota Republican Party have held their reorganizing conventions, the Bastiat Caucus of Donald Trump-aligned lawmakers and activists have been attempting a takeover with what former Gov. Ed Schafer has described as “ruthless” and “inappropriate” tactics.
If you control the district chairs, you control the state party. The Bastiats have been showing up to try to shout and bully their way to power.
As I write this, all but one of the legislative districts have re-organized (District 30 will hold their event this evening, May 11). It has not gone swimmingly for the Bastiats despite a deeply coordinated effort by Minot-based activist Jared Hendrix, who has used social media and a website registered by his private consulting business to drive turnout at the conventions even as the Bastiats have, dishonestly, attempted to claim there was no coordination.
Despite this, the Coalition of the Normals — the name I’m giving to the mainstream Republicans whose pragmatism and generally sound governance have contributed to the NDGOP’s dominance of state politics for nearly 30 years — not only held back the insurgency but actually managed to gain ground.