If you believe in the value of a strong two-party political system, this will be sad news. Democrats fell farther behind in voter registration last month in South Dakota. The Democratic Party’s weakness in our state is becoming appalling. While some of their candidates complain about one-party government in Pierre, there’s no sign that the party’s leaders have a plan for getting out of the hole. It’s gone so far that Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin used only the word “independent” on her campaign web site and didn’t refer at all to her party except in one sentence about her father. And the Democratic candidate for governor, state Senate Democratic leader Scott Heidepriem, labels himself as an “independent Democrat.”
Here are the voter registration numbers as of Oct. 1. Republican registration was 235,906. That was a gain of 880 during September. Democratic registration was 193,304. That was a gain of 335 during September. Independent registration was 83,799. That was an increase of 822.
That means of every 10 voters who registered in the past month, less than two chose to register as Democrats. You have to wonder what it is going to take to turn the party around again.