Matt Forney
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Defensive Voting in Fracking Country


As adamant as I am that voting is a waste of time, I’ve heard some decent arguments for voting defensively—in other words, out of pure self-interest—in the past couple days.

Right now in Williston, folks are convinced that if Obama is reelected, he and the Democrats are going to take steps to either ban hydrofracking entirely or severely regulate it. The oil companies are convinced of this, to the point where many of them have instituted hiring freezes for roustabout positions, at least until the election is over. Should fracking come under scrutiny from the federal government, the boom days in the Bakken are as good as dead.

As a result, a lot of people are voting for Mitt Romney out of self-preservation.

Another sordid rumor going around that I’m trying to confirm is that the Saudis are funding anti-hydrofracking groups in a big way, in an attempt to keep America dependent on them for oil.

The environmentalists and socialists aren’t making any headway here. North Dakota is a red state that’s getting redder. Incumbent governor Jack Dalrymple is riding a billion-dollar surplus to reelection; the open Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Kent Conrad is all but certain to be taken by the GOP. And as I’ve told a few people already, since the Republicans are all but certain to keep control of the House, the likelihood that Obama will be able to kill fracking is nonexistent.

I’m still not voting on principle. But I don’t blame my fellow grinders here in the Bakken for looking out for themselves.

Read Next: Why I’m Not Voting Anymore