Updated: Aug 9, 2021
South Dakota was never a legitimate state; it was created as a partisan effort by conservatives to increase their power in the U.S. Senate. The two Dakotas plus Wyoming have a population of 2,247,682 and, outrageously, 6 U.S. senators. They should be combined into one state with 2 senators-- with more people than New Mexico, Nebraska and Idaho but fewer than Kansas, Mississippi and Arkansas. The new state of Dakota would have fewer people than Houston... but more than Phoenix. I doubt the new state would contribute any more than they already do but, let's face it-- at least politically speaking, the U.S. would be far better off if the new state contributed less. The area is notorious for ignorance and bigotry-- the heart and soul of how Glenn Altschuler defined today's GOP: the 21st Century Know-Nothing Party. "Their eyes wide shut, fingers stuck in their ears," wrote Altschuler, "Congressional Republicans are certain all they need to know is which way the wind is blowing-- and that they shouldn’t do anything about the pandemic, the economy, voting rights or immigration because it might help Democrats."
The three components of Dakota voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2020, even after the previous 4 years exposed what he is to people with functioning brains. Among states, Wyoming was the #1 most Trumpist (69.94%), North Dakota the #4 worst (65.11%) and South Dakota in 9th place (61.77%). The biggest contribution any of them made to America last year was the country's biggest COVID-19 super spreader event, the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. That took place because crackpot South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is competing with Florida crackpot Governor Ron DeathSantis for the right to lead the Party of Death into the 2024 elections.
Last last week, the NY Times noted that the rally had just begun again-- and promises to spread COVID wide and far, just like it did in 2020. "This year’s rally, which began on Friday," wrote Mark Walker, "is expected to draw an even larger crowd [than the half million from last year], just as the infectious Delta variant is producing more new virus cases nationwide than this time last year." South Dakota has had the 3rd worst pandemic of any state when measured by number of cases per million residents-- 141,967 per million, just below North Dakota and Rhode Island. It also has a relatively low vaccination rate; 47% of the state's adults are fully vaccinated-- although better than the 2 other components of the proposed new state of Dakota-- North Dakota 40% vaccinated and Wyoming 37%... the Trumpier the state, the fewer people get vaccinated; makes complete sense.
Walker wrote that "Hundreds of new cases were linked to last year’s rally, but because infected bikers returned to their home states, it made contact tracing difficult and obscured the true tally. Sturgis officials emphasized that this year’s rally would offer coronavirus tests, free masks and hand sanitizer stations. For the first time, attendees will be allowed to carry alcoholic drinks outside without fear of being fined, in an effort to limit crowds inside bars. Those precautions are being accompanied with warnings. 'We are encouraging people who are in a high-risk category, whether it be age or because of comorbidities, that they come next year,' Dan Ainslie, Sturgis’s city manager, said."
Other large outdoor events have returned this summer, in part because of the availability of vaccines. Attendees at the recent Lollapalooza music festival, which packed people into downtown Chicago, had to either provide proof of vaccination or show a negative coronavirus test from the previous 72 hours.
The motorcycle rally in Sturgis will not have a similar screening process. Vaccines will be made available at the event, including the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot, but it takes time for them to strengthen immune systems.
Meade County, which includes Sturgis, has a 37 percent vaccination rate-- significantly lower than the half of Americans who are fully vaccinated-- and the six counties that border it have even lower vaccination rates.
Here we have the 7 counties' Trump vote and their vaccination rates
Meade Co.- 37% vaccinated (Trump- 72.2%)
Perkins Co- 21% vaccinated (Trump- 83.9%)
Ziebach Co.- 19% vaccinated (Trump- 44.6%)
Haakon Co.- 25% vaccinated (Trump- 90.2%)
Pennington Co.- 35% vaccinated (Trump- 61.0%)
Lawrence Co.- 36% vaccinated (Trump- 63.3%)
Butte Co,- 25% vaccinated (Trump- 77.7%)
At the end of June, there were virtually no new cases in the area but they started creeping up again a few weeks ago-- Delta variant meets unvaccinated morons. Thanks to the ambitious governor and a legislature filled with far right idiots, "South Dakota was among several states that did not put in place a lockdown or a mandatory mask requirement during the height of the pandemic." Now local leaders are trying to deal with an influx of hundreds of thousands of bikers-- many likely unvaccinated and many resistant to masks. One reason this health threat is permitted and even encouraged: "The state’s Department of Tourism has estimated that the annual festival, with big-name sponsors this year including Budweiser, Harley-Davidson and Coca-Cola, generates about $800 million in revenue... 'The Sturgis rally is about hopping on your bike and exploring this great country through our open roads,' the state’s governor, Kristi Noem, said in a statement. 'Bikers come here because they want to be here. And we love to see them! There’s a risk associated with everything that we do in life. Bikers get that better than anyone.'"
On Meet the Press this morning, Dr. Fauci told Chuck Todd that he expects the Noem Sturgis Rally to bring another surge in cases. "I mean, to me it's understandable that people want to do the kinds of things they want to do. They want their freedom to do that. But there comes a time when you're dealing with a public health crisis that could involve you, your family and everyone else, that something supersedes that need to do exactly what you want to do... Let's get this pandemic under control before we start acting like nothing's going on. I mean, something bad is going on. I mean we've got to realize that." Everything you could possibly want to know about Sturgis-- on European TV: