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Omdahl: What we learned from 2016 campaigns

By Staff | Nov 18, 2016

It has been said that experience is a hard teacher and we learn no other way. So we should take a little time for hindsight so we have more foresight in 2020.

In 2016, we learned that it is not wise to tally the electoral votes before the ballots have been counted.

In 2016, the Democrats learned that they should have fewer superdelegates so nonestablishment candidates have a chance at winning nominations.

In 2016, we learned that there is no good way to nominate candidates for president.

In 2016, I learned that I could never run for president because when I was 11 years old I joined a nighttime garden raiding party to steal Mr. Pachl’s carrots. (We intended to steal a watermelon, too, but got a citron by mistake.)

In 2016, we learned again that 12 states elect the president and those of us in North Dakota might as well stay home. Either that or vote in Minnesota.

In 2016, we learned that there are a lot of citizens who think they should have the government they don’t deserve.

In 2016, we learned that North Dakota issues are often decided in elections and the Legislature – on the basis of anecdotal information rather than researched truths.

In 2016, we learned that e-mail is not a good way to do business. Hilliary learned that better than the rest of us.

In 2016, we learned that politics in “one nation under God” is not such a Godly witness to the unbelieving world.

In 2016, we learned that North Dakota Democrats can’t win lotteries without buying tickets or elections without running candidates.

In 2016, we learned that groping, even for words, will get candidates in more trouble than it’s worth.

In 2016, we learned that ballot issues backed by the most money win without regard to the merits of the issues.

In 2016, we learned that medical marijuana was more popular with the people than with the representative legislative body so it would not be wise to stonewall implementation in the next legislative session.

In 2016, we learned that gender is not a reliable generator of political support.

A word to losing candidates and voters: Don’t fret. Our status quo governmental system is frustrating when it prevents the doing of good but it is a comfort when it prevents the doing of bad.

Omdahl is a former lieutenant governor and former political science professor at UND.

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