I’d be remiss if I didn’t throw in my own pep talk now that John Oliver has everyone in a tizzy about our fair state. What are our state’s opposition parties to do, if there’s a groundswell of resentment surging?
First Strategy: Run as the NPL.
If North Dakotans can’t find anything to love about the party of Great Satan Barack Obama bin President, then it’s time to rebrand. Let’s be fair, as much as the carpetbaggers and consultants want to overlook the NPL dangling at the end of our League’s name, we need only look to Minnesota’s DFL to see that an alternate brand that has a distinct local agenda can have great success.
It’s also urgent; old-timers like Lloyd Omdahl are dejectedly declaring the death of the NPL during what should be its celebrated centennial. 2016 is the last realistic shot to rehabilitate the history-making Nonpartisan League into a modern and memorable political force.
Second Strategy: Let Doug Burgum win.
There’s a lot of talk about Doug Burgum wanting to be governor. He wouldn’t be the first businessman to buy the office, and he just might be responsible enough to clean house. Unless Wayne Stenehjem really wants to do his party a big favour, even the Republicans aren’t going to put up a decent fight for 2016. It’s not time for the League to do so either.
A “Democrat” might kick themselves for not running a candidate. But when you’ve returned your state organization to its NONPARTISAN roots, it becomes a lot easier to endorse or letter-of-support an independent candidate, yes?
Third Strategy: Libertarians running with the NPL for the Legislature
North Dakota’s long-suffering Libertarian Party gets about 4-5% of the vote. That’s enough to swing at least a couple districts. If the NPL reached out, I bet it could convince a few Libertarians to run on the League ticket for 2016, if the Libertarians won’t nominate a ticket in those races. If six or seven Libertarians get elected (along with twelve or fourteen Leaguers), that’ll put the Libertarians close to their natural level of support, and the kicker is it’d be great for democracy in North Dakota.
There will doubtless be some partisan challenges in the resulting chambers, but I’d take a new order over the current one any day.
Finally: Be Angry.
Republicans ruined this state and won’t punish criminals. It’s time to hammer that home all the time, every time, everybody, everywhere. Get on message and on the road, Leaguers. We’ll stick, we’ll win!