Political campaigns

Is it too much to ask that North Dakota political campaigns be about North Dakota?

MINOT, ND — During the 2020 election cycle, the race for treasurer between Republicans Dan Johnston and Thomas Beadle in the NDGOP primary, and then between Beadle and Democrat Mark Haugen in the general election, was oddly focused on the abortion.

Much has been made about who the “pro-life” candidate in the race is. It was weird because whoever holds the position of treasurer in the state of North Dakota (that’s Beadle, in case you missed the news) has nothing to do with abortion policy.

The question of abortion should not have arisen in this race. The debate should have focused on the kinds of things the Treasurer actually does, like serving on the State Board of Investment. Instead, because American politics has become the primary locus of our national culture war, we’ve talked about abortion.

The race for Treasurer of 2020 may have been a particularly glaring example of this phenomenon, but the tendency to make every political campaign, no matter how local, no matter how hot, hot national topics permeates the discourse. American politics.

North Dakota is not immune.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service and the host of the Plain Talk podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.