MINOT, N.D. — A faction of hardcore Donald Trump supporters, a group aligned with the North Dakota Legislature's Bastiat Caucus and organized by Minot-based activist Jared Hendrix, spent the spring organizing takeovers of local North Dakota Republican Party district committees.
They aimed to ultimately take control of the state party, the leadership of which is elected by the leaders of the local district committees.
Their spring campaign, which featured belligerent Trumpists shouting and name-calling and making completely unsubstantiated accusations of cheating (it's like a theme with these people), didn't go so well. They actually lost ground in district-level leadership positions.
So it follows that when the NDGOP reorganized this weekend at their Republican Roundup meeting in Medora, the Trumpists lost, with the more traditional Republican "normies," as I call them, winning big.
Incumbent party chair Rick Berg, the former congressman, didn't run for another term. By a decisive vote 35 - 19, taking his place is Mandan-based businesses Perrie Schafer and not prolific Facebook crank and anti-vaccination activist Robert Wheeler.
That was the big loss for the Bastiats/Trumpists, but the entire day went poorly for them.
District 10 chairman Paul Henderson lost his seat on the executive committee when he was replaced as the Region II chair. District 25 chairman Erik Nygren also lost his regional chairman slot.
Incumbent Carma Hanson held on as second vice-chairman despite a challenge from the Trumpists/Bastiats.
John Odermann took over as first vice-chairman, beating incumbent John Trandem.
A Hendrix-backed resolution on vote fraud was gutted to the point where it only states opposition to H.R. 1 in the U.S. Congress.
Several bylaw changes touted by Hendrix and the Trumpists/Bastiats were tabled.
An attempt by Hendrix and the Trumpists/Bastiats to seat the leadership of the North Dakota College Republicans, which is in doubt thanks to some underhanded skulduggery in their reorganization (more on that fiasco here) was rebuffed. The party ended up not seating anyone from the CR's.
At this point, the only vote the Trumpists/Bastiats have on the NDGOP executive committee is national committeewoman Lori Hinz, who likely only maintained her seat because it's not up for election until the statewide convention, which happens every four years.
In short, it was a terrible day for Hendrix and his movement of Facebook trolls and conspiracy enthusiasts.
What happens next?
The immediate aftermath of these losses will likely be more conspiracy-mongering about rule-breaking and cheating from the Trumpists/Bastiats because that's just what those people do.
Longer-term, the NDGOP (and the state's other political parties) will have to reorganize thanks to redistricting. Will the Trumpists/Bastiats try to do it all over again? There's less incentive this time, as it's only the local districts, and not the state party, that will have to reorganize.
Besides, all the time and money Hendrix and his movement put into their spring campaign left them with less influence in state politics than they had before. Attempting to ambush more district committees, again, even as the stakes are lowered, seems like a bad strategy for them.
But then, if these people were good at strategy, they might have a growing political movement and not a shrinking one.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.