By the numbers, the NDGOP can claim a super-majority in both chambers of the Legislature (as well as within the state government elected offices). The House claims 71 of 94 seats as Republican-controlled, with 33 of 47 in the Senate. They never hesitate to bring up the fact a super majority exists, and it does if you base fact on what letter is behind a name versus what actions are taken in office. Republicans do deserve credit for the efforts they have put in to elect so many of their party members. Owning the sheer numbers of offices they do takes a lot of hard work, even when the state is experiencing successful times in comparison to the rest of the nation.
But, getting elected is one thing. Following through is another. As we have seen this week, the results of the NDGOP’s efforts to elect their House and Senate members has not resulted in a state government rooted in the conservative values we discussed yesterday of respect for Life; protection, preservation and expansion of Liberty; the Pursuit of Happiness through limited government; and Responsible Government through reinforcing and improving accountability and transparency while decreasing expansion. These are not just conservative values. They are values that Republicans supposedly embrace, and commit to in their state party platform and resolutions.
The fact that too many state Republicans are less than conservative should come as no huge surprise to anyone who even passively follows North Dakota politics. The joke in many circles is the NDGOP is made up of many Democrats who knew they could not get elected as members of that party, so they put an R next to their name to get enough votes to get in. But, while the methods used in our study during crossover are not perfect, they do somewhat quantify what was previously evident mostly just on the surface. They also make painfully clear the Republican super majority is a myth, at least at this point in the session.
Lets look at some numbers. As stated previously, Republicans hold 71 seats to the Democrats 23 in the House. The Senate breaks down at 33 and 14. If you add in those in both chambers who, while calling themselves Republicans, clearly vote in an unconservative manner — that super majority vanishes. If we restrict the numbers to those NDGOP members with “F” and “D” grades at crossover, this is what the actual philosophical breakdown is:
The Senate is worse:
Now to be fair the Senate had less bills overall and thus less bills to be scored on. But even spotting the Republicans back their “D” graded members, it’s still pretty ugly:
Am I advocating every Republican have a 100% voting record? No, that isn’t possible, nor is it even probable. Each Legislator brings their own values to Bismarck during the session, and those values most definitely influence how they will vote. We as voters should also, after all, vote for the person and the values they hold instead of the party. But if a candidate for office calls themselves a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Socialist; the voters should be able to trust that candidate shares the majority (notice I said not all) of values incumbent with that party. When we see “D”s and “F”s in the case of so many Republicans in North Dakota, it’s pretty clear that trust should not be given anymore.
So what I am advocating is this — if an elected official is going to wear the Republican label, then they should back it up by acting like a conservative and vote in accordance with those values. That clearly isn’t happening now, but it can starting in the second half of this session. Redemption is still in reach.
If a Republican Legislator can’t in good conscience live up to those conservative values, that’s fine. But the right thing to do in that case is to become a member of the Democratic-NPL party. Don’t wait until the next election or even the end of the session. Be true to your colors, and truthful with the electorate, and join that party today. I’ll make it easy by providing a link here to do just that online. Then, rise on a point of personal privilege in floor session and announce you have made the switch so it is on the record for all to know.
If the Dem-NPL party isn’t a good fit either, then become an Independent. Either way, you will finally be able to be true to yourself and the voters you serve.