Port: Is it stealing or pragmatism?


MINOT, N.D. — Follow politics in North Dakota long enough and you become accustomed to certain tropes and cliches. One from the Democratic-NPL and its supporters is germane to this column.

In the more than two decades I’ve been covering the political beat in this state, no legislative session has gone by without our liberal friends griping about Republicans swiping their ideas.

Sometimes you’ll hear certain demagogues grouse about this as if it were political plagiarism. And, in fairness, it has often been the practice that Republicans will take an idea from legislation backed by a Democrat, put it into a Republican bill, and then kill the former while passing the latter.

That’s partisan politics at work, I’m afraid. But then, if the idea is a good one, how much should we care about the petty intrigues that went into implementing it?

Partisan shenanigans aside, there is pragmatism at play in this practice. A pragmatism that, I would argue, has been central to the success of the North Dakota Republican Party, allowing its candidates to control state government for more than three decades.

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