As expected, some elected leaders in local government are hiking property taxes and passing the blame on to the Legislature. Lawmakers do deserve some blame. They chose to use a portion of budget surpluses driven by the oil and crop price boom of years past to buy down local property taxes. A politically deft maneuver in the short term — it let the politicians of both parties crow about all the "property tax relief" they were doling out — but it was poor long-term policy. The only way it works is if boom-time tax revenues last forever.
When the voter ID issue is brought up by Republicans the response from Democrats is usually a lot of dismissive sneering. Voter fraud isn’t really a problem, they tell us, pointing to the lack of criminal cases involving voter fraud. But is it that there’s no fraud? Or that we aren’t really doing anything to detect and address it?
To hear many Democrats tell it, including some high-profile progressive activists and left wing commentators right here in North Dakota, President Donald J. Trump is a fascist. He's a white supremacist. A bigot. An evil totalitarian. Something akin to an Adolf Hitler/David Duke love child. We've seen the President characterized that way by our left wing friends on social media. On the state's talk radio shows. In the regional newspapers.
North Dakota’s Senate race is heating up for Republicans. Congressman Kevin Cramer is considering a Senate run, and state Senator Tom Campbell of Grafton (who will be on my radio show this afternoon) is officially in the race and campaigning hard. Also considering Senate bids are state Rep. Rick Becker of Bismarck, former Congressman Rick Berg of Fargo, and State Board of Higher Education member Kathy Neset (who earned a lot of buzz at Trump’s speech yesterday).
President Donald Trump just wrapped up his tax reform speech in Mandan and, as I predicted , he used the opportunity to turn up the heat on Senator Heidi Heitkamp. Though he was uncharacteristically gentle about it.
President Donald Trump earned nearly 63 of the vote in North Dakota last year, and earlier this year a Gallup poll showed he was more popular in this state than any other not named West Virginia. Why do North Dakotans like Trump so much? I asked Governor Doug Burgum that question today on my radio show as the President flew toward the state to deliver an address on tax reform. “People in North Dakota are self-reliant,” he told me, adding that the people here appreciate Trump’s “straight talk” and that he’s “not overly reliant on being politically correct.”
Dear President Trump, I want to welcome you to North Dakota. The best state in the union, from my perspective, but I may be a bit biased. We like you here. You got nearly 63 percent of our statewide vote, and while your national ratings haven't been good, here in North Dakota 59 percent of us approve of the job you're doing according to a Gallup poll released earlier this year. That's the second highest level of approval in the nation according that poll.
President Donald Trump coming to North Dakota has present Senator Heidi Heitkamp with a political conundrum. On one hand is Senator Heitkamp’s state political party. The moderates have left the North Dakota Democratic-NPL party, leaving behind a relatively small organization of angry progressives who, among other things, hate President Donald Trump.
"Fifteen years ago, the internet was an escape from the real world," Bloomberg View columnist Noah Smith posted on Twitter recently. "Now, the real world is an escape from the internet." That statement hit home for me. It must have done so for a lot of other people, too, as it has been retweeted over 120,000 times as I write this column. There is a very large gap between how the real world around us looks to us, and how it looks when we view it through the distorting prism of the internet. And cable television. And the newspaper opinion page.
Earlier today I wrote that President Donald Trump would probably turn up the heat on Senator Heidi Heitkamp during his upcoming visit to North Dakota. Heitkamp is facing a tough re-election campaign in 2018, and you can expect Trump to make some political hay while he’s here.