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Are the Dakotas Really That Bad?

For weeks we were treated to news items about how Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) was buttering up Donald Trump so she could trade in the state for a bucket of warm [insert liquid in bucket here]. When she proudly announced that she is one tough woman, as evidenced by her shooting her defenseless puppy in the head, Trump scratched her off the short list.

Now the other Dakota wants its 15 minutes of fame (or do states get 30 minutes?). Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND), who was a software nerd until he ran for governor in 2016, has recently become the Trumpiest guy in the whole state. He, too, dreams of that bucket. The once-moderate has now gone full-blown Trumpist. The only problem is that when he calls Joe Biden a "dictator," it is obvious he doesn't believe a word of what he is saying. But Trump doesn't care if the person talking to him believes what he is saying. He just likes to see people humiliate themselves in front of him.

We can't believe Burgum gives a hoot about being vice president. It's actually a step down from being a governor, even from being governor of a state with only three electoral votes. It's all about 2028, of course. He is betting that the country might have an appetite for a sane Republican after 4 more years of Trump, and he wants to position himself as the one. He is 67, so in 2028 he will be 71. By current presidential candidate standards, he would be a spring chicken then. If he has to prostrate himself before Trump for a few months, so be it. But all his actions lately show that he really wants to get out of North Dakota.

Many reports show that Burgum is indeed on the veep list, possibly near the top, along with Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH). Vance is another fake Trumpist (he attacked Trump bitterly in 2016), but this is how the game is played: You hit the golf ball into the lake intentionally to make Trump look good.

From Trump's point of view, Burgum has a couple of good qualities. First, he is an older straight white Christian man. The base likes that. Second, he became a billionaire as a result of selling his software company to Microsoft for $1.1 billion. Trump likes billionaires. This also means he could toss $100 million into the campaign if need be. Third, North Dakota has a lot of oil and Burgum knows a lot of oil company CEOs. He could be useful in getting them to toss in some campaign funds. Trump asked them to pony up $1 billion but so far they haven't done it. Maybe Burgum could seal the deal. Also, Trump is now aware that he can openly solicit and accept bribes from oil-company executives (or any other executives) for government contracts or other little favors and be immune to prosecution. Why bother even hiding that now? Burgum knows a lot of fat cats. There is real potential there. (V)

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