Montana has a long tradition of progressive politics, as we saw.
The terrible business climate that favors the rich and the media-drummed-up wars with Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Syria has people saying to hell with politics as usual.
Voters are abandoning the Republicans and Democrats in droves as populism once again rises up.
Populism and progressive political ideals are finding fertile ground in Montana today, and this was obvious with the massive turnout to see both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump when they came to the state this year.
Hillary Clinton chose not to come, though she did send her husband. The number of people that showed up to see him was abysmal in comparison to the more populist figures.
The death knell of American manufacturing with the passage of NAFTA in 1994 and then CAFTA in 2006 had spurred many people that might not otherwise have been politically active to seek redress for their grievances.
As with America and Montana’s earlier progressive movements, these people are often poor, uneducated, and feel left out of a country that they thought was supposed to care about them.
Many politicians rise up saying they care, but when elected, their policies speak differently.
So it is today that’ll we’ll reassess our political candidates, and with 91 days until the election, I hope other media sources do the same.
Steve Bullock vs. Greg Gianforte
Perhaps Bullock has a few ideas – equal pay for women, early childhood education, and probably a few I’m missing – but he rarely has the votes in the legislature to get those things out of the GOP-controlled committees.
You can be a progressive governor in Montana, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get anything done. Just ask Joe Dixon.
Of course, Dixon went over the legislature’s head and got his progressive tax measures – which targeted mining profits – through via the voter initiative.
Most of the time today we see the governor shy away from the initiative process, with common citizens carrying the torch. Rarely are those torch’s flames fanned by the administration.
So we get a pro-business Democrat advocating some progressive measures, knowing full-well they won’t go anywhere.
Lip-service is what comes to mind, and that’s what progressive policies in Montana are paid these days.
The progressive vote just doesn’t matter, for it’ll typically fall in line and vote the Democratic ticket.
What leverage does it have, therefore? None, absolutely none, for when the pro-business Democrats know that the progressives will come on board eventually, why cater to their desires at all?
That’s the situation we have with the Montana Democratic Party, and Steve Bullock is one of the strongest members of that Party currently.
He pays lip service to progressive ideals mainly because he thinks this will get him a few more votes.
When you’re running against a Gianforte – someone that doesn’t even try to appeal to the old progressive-Republican ideal – then you don’t have to pay very much.
That’s one of the main reasons I’ll likely vote for the Libertarian candidate, Ted Dunlap.
I’ll be glad when this damn governor’s race is over too, and I’ll be damn glad in 2020 when we can get some fresh faces.
The Democratic primary this go-round was a sham, with no progressive challenge whatsoever.
The pro-business Democratic establishment had effectively quashed whatever progressive movement there was in Montana and I don’t see it rising within the Party’s ranks as some claim could happen. There’s too much backlash.
I suspect most progressives will fall into line, and very few will do as I do, vote another way. Perhaps many will stay home. I see few going to Gianforte.
Yes, it’s quite the bum year.
Monica Lindeen vs. Corey Stapleton
After that she got out for awhile, ran for the U.S. House, got the auditor position, and now is going for Secretary of State.
Does that mean she’s progressive?
I figure she’s about as progressive as she can be under the pro-business hold that pro-business, National Democrats have on the Montana Democratic Party, as well as being as progressive as she needs to be to win a certain amount of voters without alienating too many more.
In other words, she’ll do what she needs to do to get elected.
I really didn’t see her challenge the insurance company tycoons, either, and that’s something I’d expect a progressive to do.
If you look at Lindeen’s August 1 campaign finance report you see that she has $73,000 in the bank.
Her opponent, Corey Stapleton, has $107,000 in the bank.
I see Lindeen is taking $2,000 from the Treasure State PAC, which is something I don’t agree with.
Stapleton is taking $600 from Cloud Peak Energy PAC, which is based out of Colorado.
Why he’s doing that is beyond me.
I’ll tell you right now that I don’t see any progressive lip service at all from Stapleton, which once again means Lindeen doesn’t really need to put much forth either.
Progressivism is like the gay population – they sure as hell ain’t going over to the Republicans so you don’t need to do much to appease them.
Once again, this is why those groups have no real leverage in the political process.
You’ll find an interview with Stapleton and Lindeen on Montana Public Radio.
In the primary 26,000 more Republicans voted than Democrats did in this race.
Jesse Laslovich vs. Matt Rosendale
Jesse Laslovich has a much better claim to that title, and if you look at his family’s history, I think that holds true.
I’m not familiar with the previous three generations of Laslovich’s and their story in Anaconda, but I’d love to hear it.
For Rosendale, you’d have to go back to Maryland to get a history of his family.
He was born in Baltimore and came to eastern Montana in the early-90s. He’s a fine example of East Coast transplants that wanted to get away from liberal agendas back East.
Once successfully transplanted in Montana – and having hoodwinked the local populace that they give a damn – transplants like Rosendale embark upon a legislative agenda that seeks to cut taxes for wealthy friends while nearly slashing services right out of existence when it comes to the poorest of Montanans.
Despite that, he has a good chance of winning.
I feel one of the main reasons is that Laslovich is a tad on the boring side.
The job he’s going for is boring. No one knows what it is or what it does. They don’t really care to know.
Matt Rosendale has about $45,000 in the bank right now compared to Jesse Laslovich’s $202,000.
One thing I don’t like is the $1,000 that Laslovich took from Enterprise Holdings PAC in St. Louis, the $2,300 he took from the IBEW PAC Voluntary Fund in D.C., and the $2,000 he took from the Treasure State PAC.
There’s more PAC fanaticism with Laslovich, and that’s now what I’d expect to see in a progressive. It is what I’d expect to see from a pro-business Democrat, however.
In the primary 29,000 more Republicans voted in this race than Democrats. So much for fundraising, huh?
With strong progressive candidate Bernie Sanders no longer pulling the progressive wing of Montana Democrats to the polls as happened in June, I feel Laslovich is at a huge disadvantage.
I might have been excited about voting for him if Bernie was the nominee, but I don’t really give a shit anymore.
Hundreds if not thousands of people feel exactly the same way I do.
Voting down-ticket sounded swell when Bernie was telling us about it. Now that Hillary’s browbeating us into it, however, I’d rather just stay home.
Screw my nose and fuck my face and can call it spite if you want to, but I and so many others like me just don’t give a shit.
We have a paper candidate in Larry Jent for AG and the House race is just two people that’ll do anything to go to D.C. so they can further their career.
The Supreme Court race has already been decided by big money on both sides, as this race – like so many others in Montana today – is simply a pay-to-play affair, both with those running and those that fund their runs. Voters have little to do with it.
Besides that there’s the OPI head and some PSC races.
No one gives a shit about those except a few departments of bureaucrats in Helena and the political hangers-on.
There’s no reason to give a shit – hardly anything distinguishes one candidate from the other aside from the corporate mailing address on their PACs.
What’s even worse for things like the PSC races is that we know for a fact that there’s no way in hell our power bills are going down in price for years if not decades.
Yes, the progressives take their finger off the ball – as happened from 1989 to 2005 – and things go straight to hell.
Montana Democrats should realize this, but instead they do everything they can to quash the progressive element within their party.
Progressives just aren’t pro-business enough, and in Montana’s pay-to-play political environment, money is all that matters.
So Montana progressives have been scattered to the wind once again, yet another in a long line of such.
They’ll be back, however, for they always are when Democrats and Republicans fuck things up so badly that even they run out of bullshit capable of convincing us they can ‘fix’ it.
That’s when the progressives come back, ready and able, as they’ve always been.
It’s getting close to that time in Montana again, it’s getting very close indeed.