It appears that South Dakota has started to tilt its collective cowboy hat towards the enchanting allure of open primaries. Hold your horses, folks, because according to a recent South Dakota News Watch poll, almost 50% of the state’s registered voters are all in for a rodeo of a different sort. Open primaries, you say? Golly, that’s a barn-buster!
It turns out that South Dakota citizens are showing some early love for this ‘all-against-all’ battle royal style primary for electing their governors, Congress members, state legislators, and county officials. And why not? The more the merrier, right? This isn’t a schoolyard game of Red Rover, after all.
But before we all get as excited as a jackrabbit in spring, let’s look at the figures. A mere 16.6% of voters are sitting in the undecided corner, apparently twiddling their thumbs and waiting for a divine apparition or perhaps a well-placed campaign ad to sway them one way or the other. The good news? These folks represent a sizeable chunk of the electorate and could tip the scales, assuming this proposal indeed scores a coveted spot on the November 2024 ballot.
The basic gist of this new-fangled ‘top-two’ primary concept is simple – you toss all parties and candidates into a metaphorical tumble dryer, and the top two, regardless of their party affiliations, get to walk like runway models to face the showdown. Sounds fancy!
Predictably, there’s been some huffing and puffing from certain corners. Take Republican state Rep. Aaron Alyward, for instance, who seems as surprised as a cat in a dog show about the whole hullabaloo. According to him, if this goes through, South Dakota would end up with two general elections, a prospect he labels as “completely unnecessary.” But hey, every party needs a pooper, right?
So, the stage is set in South Dakota, and the players are waiting in the wings. Open primaries might be the new buzzword or end up as another political pipe dream, depending on how the winds of indecision blow. Brace yourself for a year of sweet nothings whispered in your ears because the campaign season has officially begun! Let the best cowboy or cowgirl win. Yeehaw!