Nick Bata, the Libertarian fighting to become North Dakota's next insurance commissioner, is running an anti-establishment campaign making the argument that the government ruins everything it touches.
"You will never see any real change or progress by electing those who truly believe government to be an altruism," Bata recently told the Dakota Homestead. "There needs to be a rejuvenation of entrepreneurialism, free and competitive markets. Before this can happen individuals must have a change of mindset."
But Bata's really made a name for himself this election season not because of his official political platform, but for a questionable Facebook comment he left on a friend's wall insisting to her that rape culture isn't real.
Last month, Bata's (former) Facebook friend Jess Roscoe posted an article to her page explaining that a person's sexual consent, much like any physical object, is something that has to be given away explicitly. The first comment made to the posting was from Bata and stated simple that he believed "rape culture is a myth [social justice warriors] created.”
“Gender activists created the Duke lacrosse, UVA, and other false rape scandals. Making it harder for actual rape victims to be heard," Bata argued. "How hard is it for some men. Do you really think the US, men or college campuses are pro-rape or promote immunity for rape?”
Over the course of two weeks, Bata got into a number of disagreements with others about the validity of the article and whether rape culture was actually a real thing. Some people, like Juan Carlos Gomez, contended that Bata was being knowingly blind to the struggles that women face on a daily basis. In response, Bata shot back with a flippant comment meant to end the discussion: "make America rape again."
Soon after Bata's riff on the slogan popularized by Donald Trump, Ruth Buffalo, one of his opponents for insurance commissioner called Bata out and demanded a public apology.
“The people of North Dakota deserve an Insurance Commissioner who has an appropriate temperament for the office, and who is compassionate to victims of sexual assault," Buffalo said. "These comments are completely unacceptable."
Speaking to The Washington Post, Bata claimed that his comments about rape culture were made in a strictly personal capacity and didn't reflect his campaigns or the positions of the Libertarian party, but he did not, ultimately, apologize.
“I made that comment as an individual. This has nothing to do with the party,” Bata said. “I regret that we live in a society that is so worried about not offending anyone and less interested in intellectual inquiry and diversity of opinions.”