The continued collapse of the Democrat party in North Dakota is getting to be such old news that it is easy to forget how remarkable it really is.
After falling all over each other to proclaim the Republican legislature “extreme” and “out of touch” in 2013 the Democrats failed to make any real dent in the Republican supermajority last year. They have just one officeholder among all the candidates who run on the statewide ballot and she won with a margin of less than half of a percentage point.
The Democrats have become so electorally weak that during the last cycle they were not even able to seriously challenge statewide candidates struggling through substance abuse and allegations of sexual discrimination. Both the current chair of the party and their congressional candidate from the last session have publicly acknowledged that they might not even be able to field a candidate for the governor’s race next fall.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”18″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]The Democrat party in this state cannot attract either voters or candidates because in the face of repeated defeat it has simply marched relentlessly further and further to the ideological left.[/mks_pullquote]
The most common excuse for the party’s disastrous condition is North Dakota’s fondness for incumbents. But this is hardly a suitable explanation for why they have recently lost two of the state’s three congressional seats and are just barely clinging to the third. The party bureaucracy would undoubtedly blame their problems on a lack of funding but the left has had no difficulty in this state raising millions of dollars for various left-wing causes.
The root cause of the problems for North Dakota Democrats was laid bare in the Bismarck Tribune yesterday:
“Clay Jenkinson, a Bismarck author, scholar and Thomas Jefferson impersonator, said he was contacted last week by a Dem-NPL official about a possible run. But he said he told them he must be far down their list of desirable candidates because he’s an independent and is “actually much more conservative than the party is at this point.”
The Democrat party in this state cannot attract either voters or candidates because in the face of repeated defeat it has simply marched relentlessly further and further to the ideological left.
There’s no room left in the Democrat party for those who support equal protection under the law for about-to-be-born children. There’s no room left in the party for those who are skeptical that man-made carbon emissions are causing severe harm to the planet. There’s no room left in the party for those who oppose Obamacare, support the state’s marriage amendment, or who believe the oil boom has been a net-benefit to our state.
These are all majority positions in North Dakota but publicly voicing any support for them will get you immediately and loudly labeled as an “extremist” by Dem-NPL mouthpieces and their fan base in the state media.
The candidates that are drawn to this mess are such truly out-of-touch radicals that neither scandal nor incompetence on the part of their opponents can make them appealing to North Dakota voters. However frustrated we may become with either voting records or the conduct of certain members of the GOP, North Dakotans know it would be dangerously irresponsible to allow these Dem-NPL candidates anywhere near the levers of power in Bismarck.
Trying to recruit candidates closer to the center is an essential first step for the Democrat party in this state if it ever wants to return to relevance. To succeed, however, they will have to head in that same direction with their platform, press releases, and administrative hiring decisions. That would be tough medicine to swallow for the party’s current leadership.