Why Democrats Can’t Have Nice Things: The South Dakota Edition

One of the problems the Democratic Party faces is that its infrastructure and leadership are both…decrepit. Case in point–South Dakota (boldface mine):

The South Dakota Democratic Party will no longer have a physical presence in the state.

The state party is closing its offices in Sioux Falls and Rapid City at the end of September, and party staff will begin working remotely due to the party’s dwindling finances, according to SDDP Chair Paula Hawks. The party is also canceling a Black Hills fundraising event scheduled for next month. No layoffs related to the party’s financial situation have taken place, Hawks said.

To get itself out of financial straits, Hawks said the party is setting fundraising goals and talking with the party’s donors and Founders Club members…

The SDDP started the month of July, the most recent reporting period, with $31,267 in the bank and ended the month with $3,181, according to the Federal Elections Commission. The party’s finances have been on a downward trend this year from $88,127 in cash on hand at the start of the year. The party also receives at least $10,000 monthly from the Democratic National Party, according to FEC reports.

The party’s decreasing funds are due to “extreme mismanagement and lack of oversight,” Hawks said.

The SDDP’s July expenses included $2,400 on rent and about $14,000 on salaries, according to FEC reports.

Rent for the offices is the party’s largest operating expense, and based on the advice of the party’s accountant and attorney, the party is making “some difficult decisions to ensure we get back on track,” Hawks wrote to party leadership in an email on Thursday. They anticipate the office closures being a temporary move until the party is in a better financial situation.

South Dakota Republican Party Chair Dan Lederman said he doesn’t know why the financial problems are a “shock” to the Democratic Party because SDDP Treasurer Bill Nibbelink still retains his position, which he had held since 2000.

While not as dysfunctional (perhaps) as the Alabama Democratic Party, it’s still pretty bad–this shouldn’t have been a surprise. We’re also talking about a budget of around $250,000 per year–something that could be covered by the interest on a $5 million endowment. Instead, Democrats sink tens of millions on candidates like Jon Ossoff and other high-profile failures, instead of investing in party infrastructure, especially in rural-ish places, which the DNC abandoned during the Obama era.

It’s hard to win if you don’t even show up. Raising the flag matters. What’s more astonishing is that, until 2014, South Dakota had a Democratic Senator, and the 2018 gubernatorial race was very close (51-48). This is definitely a ‘getable’ state, especially at the state and local level. We need better professional Democrats.

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1 Response to Why Democrats Can’t Have Nice Things: The South Dakota Edition

  1. Zachary Smith says:

    *** It’s hard to win if you don’t even show up. ***
    For most of my life I’ve had the impression the Republicans and Democrats were a national party. Seems for one of them that’s not the case.

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