Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains-----
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If you drove around Aberdeen before the primary, you would notice that Isaac Latterell, the Republican winner of the primary for the District 3 Senate seat, had quite a few signs out. They were nearly always paired with a green “Vote Pro-Life” sign. Latterell’s anti-abortion stance is the only thing we know about his politics. If he is like most of the anti-abortion fanatics, it is probably the only issue he really cares about.
Not too many years ago, the term “pro-life” would have been derided into oblivion by educated people. People with educations had been given enough knowledge about rhetoric to know that the term “pro-life” is contrived on a false implication. And they know that “pro-life” is meant to avoid the negative connotations of being anti-abortion. The term is meant to avoid the message that anti-abortionists are against anything and to suggest that they are for something.
The false implication in “pro-life” is that the people who do not so identify themselves are pro-death. The only pro-death people we are aware of are a few serial killers and Al Qaida. They are members of cults that literally live to bring death to other people. The anti-abortion people are not content to state their opposition to abortion. They want to suggest that anyone who does not fully endorse their position is pro-death.
When the Democratic Party had students canvassing neighborhoods in Sioux Falls during the 2002 election to see if anyone needed a ride to the polls, they were followed by other young people who yelled “baby-killers” at them. The scene was recorded by a national news organization. That is the point when we realized that the anti-abortion people had crossed the line from rational debate and objection to mindless name-calling. The contradiction is that people who claim to protect life have a malicious and destructive attitude toward the living.
Most people do not approve of abortion, but think it is a medical procedure that is sometimes necessary and needs to be kept a personal matter between patients and their doctors. The anti-abortion people further reveal their despotic ambitions by their stances on contraception and sexual orientation. They unabashedly wish to dictate how private citizens should conduct themselves in their bedrooms. And the statements and attitudes they display reveal that they have totalitarian ambitions, and that abortion is a stalking horse for a larger program of repression and discrimination.
“Pro-life” is a phony euphemism for anti-choice, anti-liberty, and anti-self determination. The antis won an election in District 3 when their anti candidate, Isaac Latterell, won the primary over long-time Republican legislator Duane Sutton. Duane Sutton was part of the Main Stream Coalition, a group of lawmakers who wanted to break the mindless, lockstep march into extremism of the Republican Party, and therefore, the state legislature, and address the real issues of the state: taxes, education, health care, open government, and economic opportunity. The Republican anti forces vilified them. Members of the Mainstream Coalition lost to the anti forces in the Republican primary.
This loss has caused the regressive bloggers and commentators to announce that South Dakota is undergoing a conservative take-over. We say no. The election shows that the Republican Party is undergoing a takeover by its regressive faction. Nothing lights up the regressive eye like the prospect of imposing their will on and controlling even the most intimate aspects of life of other people. They have a dream. It is a dream of a totalitarian society.
A deep look into Duane Sutton’s loss to Isaac Latterell provides evidence that the regressive movement did a good job of getting out the vote and wagging the Republican Party. Here are the hard statistics on the primary race:
Duane Sutton won in Brown County by 17 votes. He had 500 votes to Latterell’s 483.
Duane Sutton lost in the three precincts of McPherson County. He had 66 votes to Laterell’s 130.
McPherson County, a center of regressive antis, won the election for Latterell. The total for District 3 was Sutton 566 votes, Latterell 613 votes, a difference of 47.
Brown County turned out only 11 percent of its registered voters. McPherson County turned out 20 percent. Democrats in both counties turned out 16 percent of their voters.
The evidence indicates that the anti-forces in McPherson County successfully rallied and determined the Republican primary in District 3.
Does this mean that a regressive take-over is imminent? Duane Sutton had 566 Republicans vote for him. But 1,632 Brown County Democrats went to the polls on Tuesday. McPherson got out 59 of its 364 registered Democrats.
With half the Republicans siding with the Mainstream Coalition candidate and three times that many Democrats voting, a takeover by the regressive anti faction does not seem like a very logical projection.
It seems like a good chance for the Democrats and the cross-party allies they can cultivate to become very serious players in state government.