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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Votes from the Fringe: Stacey Outpolls Marking

In the South Dakota U.S. House race, Independent B. Thomas Marking got 5.99% of the vote. That 5.99% of the vote had little to do with Mr. Marking's qualities as a person or candidate. Lori Stacey, Constitution Party candidate for Secretary of State, nuttiest person on the statewide ballot, got 6.60% of the vote. 832 votes more than Marking.

B. Thomas Marking didn't say much, but what policies and positions he did advocate were debatable yet reasonable. Lori Stacey spouted conspiracy theories and baseless threats and dwelt on minutiae of word choice as only a desperate paranoiac fringe candidate can. Her campaign finances were laughable even compared to Marking's paltry sums.

Yet she got more protest votes than B. Thomas Marking, who got to play referee (a good role for Indies—keep that in mind for future elections!) between Kristi Noem and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in the marquee race of 2010.

Maybe worth noting: Marking's third-best showing came in Hamlin County, Kristi Noem's home turf. Noem's own neighbors were among the folks most willing to vote for the third man. He drew 8.32% in Noem's backyard, even better than the 7.89% he pulled in his home county of Custer. Marking had his 17th-best showing in Brookings County, Herseth Sandlin's current home county. He bombed in Herseth country up north, Brown County, where he got only 4.59% of the vote.


  1. I think Marking would have made a great representative for SD. No whining over this and that. No debating what's in the best interest of the people. Instead, take a vote on all the issues and whatever the majority says we want, that's what he fights for. Shouldn't that be how anyone would represent us?

  2. But then how would we get pork, Dave?

  3. If we would take Marking's approach, then there is no need for him (or any other human in the process downstream from the voters). All that is needed is a computer to capture and tabulate individual votes, then let the Speaker of the House know what the majority of those votes indicates.

    That would be a direct democracy--which by law we do not have.

  4. Michael, not necessarily. It's really no different from polling his constituency. He'll still be obliged to vote his conscience, especially of his poll shows a statistical tie.

    But his system DOES effectively rule out paid lobbyists or at least diminish their influence.

    What would be wrong with that?

  5. Corey,

    Do you even think before you write or do you just try to find something to spin to support your agenda?

    Your little Hamlin County example is absurd. You are talking about 220 people who voted for Marking. You tell me ANYBODY worth a crap who doesn't have 121 people who don't like them (what it would take for Hamlin to match SHS's number in Brown County). I could make the same case those 50 people who don't like KN personally also couldn't find themselves capable of voting for your candidate.

    Reaching broad conclusions with small numbers is a tactic of liars.

    P.S. I would never make this stupid argument/infantile attempt to make a point using your logic, but FYI:

    Kristi got a higher percentage in Brookings and Brown Counties (SHS's home counties) than SHS got in Hamlin.

  6. @Bill Fleming. I do believe Marking said that he would vote the majority--even if it went against conscience. That is not what I, nor apparently 94% of those who voted, wish to have in a Representative.

    Further, he did not say anything about statistical ties: just the majority, IIRC. I think you may be putting more flesh on the bones of his system then he did.

    Here's the bit from his own site: "I vow to follow your lead and advocate the majority opinion of my fellow South Dakotans, whatever that may be. I will offer my insights, but you will be expected to remain engaged by providing guidance on general policies and specific legislation."

  7. Michael, it's not really worth arguing about much (because the majority has spoken), but your read on Marking is pretty superficial. I'd be willing to bet that you spent very little time actually talking with him. I did.

    As for your dismissal of majority rule, I find it patently amusing that you present your argument that it doesn't matter by showing me who the majority of the people voted for.

    Hilarious in fact. Thanks for the fun. I needed a laugh this morning.

    Clearly, majority opinion matters. Clearly.

  8. Michael, I thought Marking might contribute more to the campaign than he did. I always hold out hope that the third party candidate will really break out, challenge the status quo, and make things interesting. Marking let me down. His position on following the majority did sound wishy washy, although if he could use his online voting system to promote political dialogue and citizen engagement, that would be a good thing. He didn't sound much more prepared to talk issues than, well, I or any other casual blogger. His national sales tax advocacy made no sense (he said lifting the tax on all the other things that drive the economy, like investments and income, ignored the fact that consumption drives the economy, too). Marking never came across as being sufficiently knowledgeable or dynamic to be the leader of a statewide political conversation. And heck, if he wanted civic engagement, where was his blog? He could have used the Internet much more to level the playing field and engage voters. His website had no Web 2.0 capability. No blog, no comment section, no user input other than a traditional email, no Facebook page or other interactive option. (Noem even had Facebook and allowed vigorous dissent from opponents on her wall.) Engaging the electorate with Web tools is a great idea; we need a Representative who puts the idea into practice.

    Troy, there is nothing absurd about data on voter turnout from the Secretary of State. Even more significant than Marking's average 6% (and more than that in home counties of both major candidates) is the 30%+ who found none of the candidates worth voting for. Hm....

    The Majority: fun exchange there. Government is hard. Show me an electorate with a vast number of people who spend more time than even we bloggers do studying the policy details Congress tackles, and I'll get more comfortable with the idea of direct Web-enabled democracy. Technologically, it may be doable! Practically, folks may be too busy working for millions of us to take on the job of full-time online Congressman. I'm comfortable with a representative making the case to the public that, "You know what, everyone? You're wrong, and here's why... and here's why I'm voting opposite to what the polls say." The people, of course, retain the right to vote that rebel out next time.

    I will am also eager to criticize the uninformed decisions Kristi Noem will make, no matter how many majorities of shotgun-toting equestrians ride up behind her and cheer.


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