Mr. Epp makes a reasonable argument that contacting SHS to change her mind on health care reform (or lending reform, or climate change, or any of the other issues where SHS is undermining the Democratic agenda and the national welfare) is futile. He also labels a primary challenge a "fool's errand." I will certainly grant that a primary challenger would face an uphill battle, but given the critical mass of Dem discontent, it might not be as hard as Mr. Epp thinks to generate an electrifying primary race that would arouse a much-needed conversation in our party and state.
But let us grant Mr. Epp's position in toto. SHS not changing, primary hard... so what, we do nothing?
Let's look at some numbers:
- OpenSecrets.org tells me that in the 2008 election, SHS's campaign committee drew about $609K in contributions from individuals.
- So far this election cycle, individuals have up about $116K.
2010. One word: redistricting.
Now if any of you Dems are feeling queasy—oh, but if the Dems lose South Dakota's lone House seat, it'll be Newt Gingrich and the Contract on America all over again!—take a reality check. The glowering R. Blake Curd and radical conversation starter Thad Wasson (talk with Iran? wow!) won't beat SHS. The affable Chris Nelson might have a shot in the general election (especially if he brings back that mustache mojo), but the Tea Party agitators might throw him in the harbor in June for not being enough of a wingnut.
Congress will take care of itself. Sitting on the sidelines is a negative action that lets us snark on Stephanie but doesn't move the ball forward. Snark gives you wrinkles; action builds a party.
If you have money or volunteer time earmarked for SHS, don't let it go to waste. Don't send it to Washington, but do send it to your local Dems, your local legislative candidates, to the Dems who can make a difference for us here at home.