Governor Kristi Noem caved to Amazon and the NCAA. I know her spokespeople have said otherwise, and she’s issued an executive order supposedly protecting women’s sports, but we need to face the facts.

If you haven’t been following the saga of the once-popular Republican South Dakota governor, Noem expressed support for a bill that would bar biological males from competing in women’s sports. Then, after intense pressure from the NCAA, Amazon, and the Chamber of Commerce, she reversed course. She effectively vetoed the bill and requested changes that would remove protections from college athletes and eliminate a women’s right to sue for retaliatory action.

Noem’s decision was incredibly disheartening to millions of Americans—both in South Dakota and around the country. The governor stood strong in the face of intense pressure to close schools and churches during the COVID-19 pandemic, and she never issued a statewide mask mandate. Liberty-loving Americans believed they had an ally in the halls of power, and many hoped she would set her sights on Washington.

Those hopes have been dashed.

Governor Noem claims the bill would open South Dakota colleges to legal action because the NCAA requires member schools to admit transgender athletes onto women’s teams.

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But as my friend and Convention of States co-founder Michael Farris pointed out, Noem’s claim is patently false. While the NCAA permits transgender athletes, it does not require them.

“Governor Noem was not forced to make this decision. She made it because she wanted to. Her excuses ring hollow. There is no 50-state policy—except this: every school and state gets to decide for itself,” he said.

Governor Noem was also likely under pressure from Amazon to veto the bill. The corporate giant has planned to open a fulfillment center in Sioux Falls, but lawmakers publicly worried that the company would back out if Noem signed the bill.

I’m sympathetic to Noem’s desire to protect the 1,000 jobs that would come with Amazon’s center. But while her decision might have saved those jobs, it puts South Dakotans at the mercy of woke corporations who seek to transform our country into their leftist utopia. Amazon is a bully, and the only way to make them stop imposing their will on We the People is to stand up to them.

“We don’t need leaders who lack the courage to stand up to the corporate bullies who want to turn our country into an amoral wasteland filled with compliant consumers,” Mike Farris said on social media. “South Dakota deserves better. All of America deserves better.”

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Mike now serves as the president and general counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, and he’s one of the smartest lawyers I know. More importantly, he’s one of the strongest patriots I know. He’s spent his life defending this country’s freedoms, and he knows that we can’t give an inch to the tyrants.

“For us to have any reasonable chance to prevail in these difficult circumstances, we need to stand strong,” he said. “It is simply unacceptable for elected officials who have promised to stand with us to cave in at the first sign of pressure from the political and economic forces aligned against traditional values.”

I echo Mike’s sentiments. There’s no room for weak-kneed politicians in the fight for liberty. Whether it’s standing up for traditional values or an Article V Convention of States, we need leaders who won’t back down in the face of pressure.

I’m encouraged by governors in Arkansas and Tennessee who responded to Noem’s decision by signing bills barring biological males from women’s sports. Hopefully, other governors will follow their example and not that of the once-popular governor of South Dakota.

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.