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Monday, November 1, 2010

The South Dakota (and Lake County!) Anti-Establishment Voting Guide

In this period of great anti-establishment foment, it behooves the responsible blogger to offer to all those raging against the powers that be a voter's guide to throwing the bums out. If you consider yourself a true Tea Party patriot, if you truly want to take your America and your South Dakota back from the entrenched special interests and tyrants, here's how you should vote tomorrow. (Note: this is not necessarily how I'm voting tomorrow; we'll cover that later today.)

U.S. House of Representatives: Vote for B. Thomas Marking. Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and Republican State Represenative Kristi Noem are both much more beholden to their respective political parties than the Independent Mr. Marking. And in his appearance on the SDPB debate last Thursday, Marking made the interesting point that in a Congress that may be more evenly split between the two parties, and Independent might actually have some pull. If you want to upset the apple cart, Marking is your man.

South Dakota Governor and all statewide offices: Vote for Democrats. Look who controls the South Dakota executive and legislative branches. Republicans up and down, for decades, for really the entire 121-year history of our state, have dominated our state's politics. Republicans are responsible for our state budget deficits and everything else governmental that you anti-establishment folks don't like here. In South Dakota, Republicans are the establishment. Democrats are the anti-establishment. Fight the power: vote Heidepriem, Nesselhuf, Bartling, Pille, Karpen, Katus, and Volesky.

Exception: You have one third-party candidate for our Constitutional offices, Lori Stacey, Constitution Party candidate for Secretary of State. She's definitely anti-establishment. She even shares my and Dennis Kucinich's healthy skepticism of electronic voting machines and the Patriot Act. Alas, she's incapable of sustaining a rational argument, but hey! We're fighting The Man, not writing a paper for graduate school. Stacey is clearly the anti-establishment candidate for Secretary of State.

Amendment K: Vote No. This amendment is really about busting unions. Vote for it, and you challenge the establishment of union power. Vote against it, and you challenge the establishment of corporate/managerial power. Unions are a waning establishment; corporations are a growing establishment. The anti-establishment vote goes to the underdogs. To fight the power, vote No on K.

Amendment L: Vote No. This amendment seeks to protect the trust fund create by the sale of the state cement plant a few years ago. The downturn in the stock market has caused the fund to lose value. Amendment L would impose percentage limits on how much we withdraw from the fund for our state budget, with the intent of ensuring the fund remains solvent. Nuts to that! If you're anti-establishment, you want the state to have as few resources as possible. Vote No, let Pierre burn up that fund, and then drown government in a bathtub sooner than you hoped!

Referred Law 12: Vote. The South Dakota Legislature passed this law in 2009. The South Dakota alcohol and tobacco lobby referred it to a public vote. You have political and economic establishments tussling over this one. Either way you vote, you're supporting one entrneched power over another. Either way you vote, you support the oppression of one class or another (yes vote: smokers; no vote: restaurant workers). But at least by voting, you exercise your authority to have a say over what the Legislature does. Vote yes, vote no, but for Pete's sake, vote!

Initiated Measure 13: Vote Yeah, Man! Legalize medical marijuana? Absolutely anti-establishment. Voting yes on IM 13 takes government out from between you and your doctor. Voting yes on IM 13 takes power away from the corporate pharma power structure and gives you access to homegrown remedies for what ails you. Voting yes on IM 13 gives the police one less reason to harass decent citizens in public. IM 13 gives power to the people.

And now for the home crowd:

District 8 State Senate: Vote for Clark Schmidtke. Senator Russell Olson is a member of South Dakota's power elite, with connections to the big money donors of the Republican Party who ignored his criminal record as they recruited him into their ranks and shaped into their yes man. Olson embodies the Establishment. Clark Schmidtke has little wealth, little power. he is more inclined to speak truth to power.

District 8 State House:Vote for Gerry Lange and Patricia Stricherz. Gerry Lange has always been an original thinker, taking his cues from his independent sense of justice for the little guy, not from any central party doctrine or campaign strategy. His colleague in the State House, Mitch Fargen, is also a Democrat and has fought the establishment in Pierre, but his willingness to work bipartisanly and his connections with business and industry suggest he has just slightly more Establishment inclinations than a purist anti-establishmentarian might want. Patricia Stricherz has clearly shown herself to be an outsider to both parties; she lists herself as a Republican, but the state party only grudgingly acknowledges her. Jason Bjorklund has claimed to be an Independent, but he gets more support from the Republicans than Stricherz, suggesting the Republican machine sees Bjorklund as asomeone they can draw into their Establishment fold. Even if they can't, Bjorklund takes all his cues the machine of Glenn Beck/Big Media celebrity propaganda. If you want anti-establishment spirit, Lange and Stricherz are your best choices. If you need a back-up choice, go with Fargen as another Democrat well-equipped to fight the powers that be in Pierre.

Lake County Commission: Vote for Erickson and Johannsen. The establishment isn't very big in Lake County. Doug Erickson has no connection to any money or power. He has the Winfred vote, which is a total indicator of anti-establishment cred in Lake County. Craig Johannsen has been part of the establishment, serving on the county commission and numerous other boards, but he represents that healthy obstreperous rural vote that checks the power of town money and attitudes. Kelli Wollmann is a nice lady, but she has family connections to Madison Republican money that ought to make any anti-establishment purist suspicious (nothing personal, Kelli: I'm just trying to split hairs for my Tea Party friends!). And Scott Pedersen: current commissioner, established businessman, Lake Madison resident, effective public speaker—he's too good not to be a member of the Establishment!

Lake County Sheriff: Toss-up. One would think the obvious anti-establishment vote is to get rid of the current sheriff, Roger Hartman. But he doesn't seem to have any particular favor with the powers that be. Nor do either of the challengers, Madison policemen Dan Wyatt and Jason Lurz. I get the impression the Establishment looks at our local police as an annoyance that gets in the way of their drinking, speeding, and other behaviors. The challengers have both been members of hierarchical power structures (military and law enforcement at different levels). Take your pick!

Lake County Auditor: Vote for Gust. Bobbi Janke has served in the Lake County Auditor's office for 23 years. She is part of the Establishment. Shelli Gust has served in the Lake County States Attorney's office for three years. She is part of the Establishment. Gust just has a little less Establishment in her than Janke.

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