Kingsbury Column: North Dakota Democrats Begin 2014 Campaign With Letter Writing


Its’ started. The North Dakota Democratic campaign for the 2014 election. Some think because there is no announced candidate yet for any of the major offices it is a peculiar campaign. After many names have been mentioned by the North Dakota writers who consider themselves the elite journalist of North Dakota politics, there are no announced candidates for the U.S. house.

So, how can I say the campaign has started. Because as they have done in the past couple of elections they are starting their campaign with free advertising. That is their letter writing campaign. Some will say that writing letters to the editor is a time honored tradition. That is certainly true, but it has also been a policy of papers in the past to limit the number of letters on a particular subject. They would say readers get bored after awhile, but not anymore. Papers have learned this is a cheap way to fill news print. Let the readers write the stories.

So, what is the campaign about? What will the issues be? If those are the questions you are asking the first mistake you are making is using the plural word issues. In fact, the campaign is about oil, only about oil. I cannot recall a single other subject of a political nature that has been raised.

The Democratic party in North Dakota has apparently decided that there is enough jealousy within North Dakota between those covered with oil and those far enough from oil that maybe, just maybe they can finally make some inroads in this election.

Let’s take that Tioga oil pipeline spill and see if we can get the electorate to place the blame on the Republicans Of course the initial report point out that the most likely cause was a lightning strike, but don’t worry about facts.

Let’s take that Casselton trains wreck and blame that on the oil the Republicans are allowing to be pumped in North Dakota. Of course Democrats in North Dakota have done everything they can to get the Obama administration to prevent pipelines from being built in order to create an issue for them in North Dakota. Of course the initial wreck was the grain train which was hit by the oil train, but don’t get too complicating here.

Let’s take some of the dissatisfaction developing between the pro-development residents of this state and the those who are for returning to that time ten years ago. By now the Democrats think many will have forgotten how all but six or so towns in this state and all the rural areas were facing a declining population. They will have forgotten how the state had fewer and fewer jobs as the new technologies and new marketing were taking over farming. Of course farming had always, like all surviving industries, been an industry of change, but never so much, never so fast as it has in the past fifteen or so years, and just as the Democrats were trying to make the Republicans responsible for that along came this oil boom in North Dakota.

Some of the letters or columns as they are called in some papers are full of falsehoods and false innuendoes. Some try to be cute when all they are is wrong and twist the facts. The writer in one letter says Republicans only find federal regulations useful when it saves their own political skins. The Republican philosophy has always been for reasonable effective legislation whether for safety or competitiveness. Democrats apparently still don’t understand that.

Of course with the few seats they currently hold Democrats should make some inroads unless the citizens of this state have finally given up on them and their lack of presenting any real alternative policies, on being able to talk about anything besides oil. It does work. Just ask Senator Heidi Heitkamp.