Will North Dakota Democrats Condemn #NoDAPL Violence?

State Rep. Kylie Oversen (D-Grand Forks Photo by TOM STROMME / Bismarck Tribune.

Back in March North Dakota’s Democrats were very concerned about violence at Trump rallies. State Rep. Kylie Oversen, the chairwoman of the North Dakota Democratic Party, condemned political violence and chastised Congressman Kevin Cramer for suggesting that “liberal Chicago thugs” were responsible violence at Trump rallies.

“Extremism of any form is unacceptable, and North Dakotans deserve representatives at all levels of government who stand up against hatred and denounce violence to bridge divides,” Oversen said in her statement. “Kevin Cramer should take a hard look in the mirror and pressure his preferred candidate to do the same.”

I, too, am discomfited by the support Trump has received from Republicans. But I wonder if Oversen is willing to hold violent, intransigent #NoDAPL protesters to that same standard?

On August 24 state Rep. Kylie Oversen, chairwoman of the North Dakota Democratic Party, declared solidarity with #NoDAPL protesters on her Facebook page.

Since then there are been many reports of violence and unlawful activities from the #NoDAPL protests, including a riot yesterday which saw one protester firing a gun at a police line and other protesters throwing homemade explosives.

Whatever your opinion on this pipeline or fossil fuel energy development, I think there’s no question that the #NoDAPL protesters – who have so far failed to make a compelling legal argument in the courts – have resorted to acts of political extremism as a means to getting their way.

Acts far more egregious and dangerous than anything we’ve seen at Trump rallies.

Numerous Republican leaders in the state – including both Cramer and Governor Jack Dalrymple – have condemned the #NoDAPL violence. Will Oversen and Democrats do the same? Especially after Oversen gave explicit endorsement to the movement?

I think it’s important that they do so. Because why we should allow an unlimited amount of space in our society for disagreement and political speech, we should give no quarter to violence or acts of extremism.

I hope Oversen speaks out soon lest the public get the idea that Democrats condone using trespass and fire, rocks and guns to make a political point.

UPDATE: Oversen responds.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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