It started because people could file to run for office.
This is for our statewide races but mainly we’re talking about our 150-person legislature.
We’ll discuss that today, but first I’d like to point out my book Social Media Politics.
It’s sold more than 50 copies since I put it out last year.
Because it’s helpful.
The book tells you how to set up social media accounts, which can get your name out there.
You’ll learn about shaping your message and also screwing up the message of your opponent.
In the end you’ll have more ideas on reaching people online, especially that younger demographic that politicians always want to reach but never do.
Smart candidates will spend a few dollars to buy this book. People like that will succeed.
Alright, let’s get into this.
- First, I have to say that without the reporting of Jayme Fraser and Thom Bridge at the IR, I wouldn’t be able to give you these images, and much of this commentary.
- Second, why not skip my BS and just go see who filed for the Montana legislature?
It’s on the Secretary of State’s page and that way you can bypass the next 2,500 words or so.
Alright, for the rest of you…things got started early today in Helena.
Secretary of State Linda McCullough sent out a picture of these jokers standing in the Capitol hallway at 8 AM.
Alright, you’re eager…we get it.
Sadly, that eagerness never really translates into anything that helps my life.
Oh, here we go again – complaining.
Uh…yeah, that’s what I do. If you’re not doing you’re job, I’m going to complain about you, and to you, and to anyone else.
What have you done for me lately?
Yeah, there’s another one you probably didn’t want to hear.
I’m sorry, but for a moment I’m not talking to you political-types. I'm talking to regular citizens that work regular jobs and don’t go in for a lot of this political bullshit.
My, our lives have gotten worse, haven’t they?
Gas prices might be going down, but so are the hours we work. We have no extra money to spend.
The yahoos getting up in that hallway at 8 AM do, though. They have lots of money.
They’ll raise a lot more, from friends and family first, perhaps a bit from the Party if they’re lucky, and then all the hacks whose jobs depend on their political patronage.
Overwhelmingly, these are teachers, union bosses, state workers, and maybe some small business types for the Democrats.
For the GOP it's largely Chamber of Commerce business types and ranchers and farmers and extraction industry types.
If you’re a poor schmuck like me, limited skills and a useless degree, you know damn well that you’re life won’t get better no matter who files or who wins.
That service industry job won’t be paying any more, the hours won’t go up either
None of the clowns filing today can do a thing about that.
Oh, they’ll say they can. Hell, they’ll say whatever they think’ll get ‘em elected!
It’s a game, really, this merry-go-round we call politics. Like all games, there are winners and losers and rules.
And like all games, most of us aren’t playing. Many of us aren’t even watching.
The game has begun, however, and now campaigning can start. We’ll have lots of incumbents ready to share their knowledge (when they’re not busy fundraising, of course), and lots of new folks that don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground.
It’ll be fun watching ‘em, real fun.
So, who are some of these people? Let’s take a look.
Interesting Candidates Who Filed Today
This is good…for regular people. For the Montana Democratic Party apparatus and machine, however, it’s terrible.
These women care about people!
My God, how long can that continue? I guess it’ll probably go on for awhile – the Democrats do need to keep up appearances, after all.
Mainly, though, I worry the Party will tire of the populist-like message these two are pushing and turn on ‘em.
That’s my opinion, because we know that Democrats really only care about Wall Street. Here in Montana that’s the bankers associated with the commodities industry that Wall Street preys upon.
These women have good ideas for regular people. In politics today, that’s bad.
Who knows, maybe I'm just biased.
Anyways, I had some fun during a lull today to put together this infographic:
Moving along, Pan Noonan came in around 11:45 to file. He’s running for the PSC.
As some of you might know, I gave him $20 a few months back.
I doubt it. Nothing's going to get our power bills down. The corporations took that from us. They take a lot from us here in Montana.
By 1 PM or so we knew that we’d have two primaries on our hands – one in HD 80 between Republicans Becky Beard and Patrick Johnson and one in SD 40 for Democrats Hal Jacobson and Joshua Manning.
Things heated up a bit after 3 PM.
I say that because I wasn’t really following things for a couple hours while I did some real-life stuff.
At that point I realized we had a race in…
- SD 10 between Republicans Steve Fitzpatrick and J.C. Kantorowicz
- SD 15 between Harry Klock and Ryan Osmundson, both Republicans.
- One in SD 40 between Republicans Harry Klock and Ryan Osmundson.
- Also, in HD 17 there’s a primary between Republicans David Brownell and Ross Fitzgerald.
- In HD 33 Republicans Michael Burns and Casey Knudsen will have a primary.
- In HD 67 we have Republicans Tom Burnett and Mike Houghton going at it.
It’s clear that more Republicans will have primary fights than Democrats...7 in all.
What does that tell you about party unity?
Nothing – it’s two months from the filing deadline.
Get your head out of the clouds and come back with those thoughts on March 14, for I'm tellin' ya, there'll be a lot more Democratic primaries by then too.
The Helena Show
25 showed up.
I guess a lot of people are working, and it is dang early in the season.
- In this image you can see Chuck Hunter speaking. I think he looks a little tougher with the beard, what do you think?
- Amanda Curtis is easy to spot in the front row, one spot from the left. We all know she’s a shoe-in.
- I see Bryce Bennett right there behind Hunter. Maybe that means nothing went on in Missoula today…I dunno. I’m sure Bennett will have his whip position again, maybe more.
- I can see Joshua Manning right there with the bright red tie. He’s related to one of Bullock’s main advisers. He also worked for the CIA. Should be interesting.
Besides that I don’t recognize a lot of those people. I count 24 or 25 of ‘em there.
So it’s not the strongest showing, but I’m sure it’ll be better than the GOP in the Capitol at 3 PM.
Mainly, people just don’t care.
It’s that apathy you have to worry about. I ran in 2014 and was all excited to get started. I finally got my materials in March or so on started knocking on doors.
I quickly got burned out…and that was just in the primary.
Why did this happen?
For a few reasons:
- First, I work but still live in poverty. That means I have to balance knocking on doors and other campaign stuff with work…and I’m in a line of work where income isn’t assured. Retired people don't have this problem.
- Next, I ran in an off-year election where people are already tuned-out. This year should be easier, but still, people aren’t paying much attention, and they’re paying even less attention to local races. In the primary that’s doubly so.
- Then, going around and knocking on doors is hard. You can only do about 30 to 40 in a night…if you plan on talking to the people. One night I got about 60 because I just started dropping off flyers and didn’t knock. I don’t think that was very effective, though it was cheaper than mailings.
- Finally, my opponent got me down. He was better-organized and he also had the Party machine behind him more. Don’t forget endorsements, either. Here in Missoula if you don’t get the MEA-MFT endorsement, you’re pretty much fucked.
So if you’re a candidate, be careful and pace yourself and know which toes to avoid.
About an hour or so after the shindig the Montana Democrats put out the following photo:
I count 31 people.
So that’s 6 more than I thought.
Will it be enough?
During the 2015 Legislature we had the GOP in control of both houses, the Montana Senate by 29 to 21 and the House by 59 to 41.
I doubt that will change much, though “Democrats are saying they could pick up anywhere from five to eight seats," according to Mike Dennison.
Hm, maybe. That ain’t gonna cut it though.
As usual, the Democrats’ main problem is their lack of presence in rural areas. They can get tons of candidates in town, but out on those back roads, eh…not so much.
It probably doesn’t help when the governor has a cabinet full of Helena people.
Where was the governor today, anyways? I thought he’d be there showing his support.
I dunno – maybe that’d look improper, like it was violating the separation of powers.
Could also be that he’s just out of town raising money.
In town at 3 PM were the Montana Republicans. You can see them start to gather around that time:
House Speaker Austin Knudsen got them corralled and got things kicked off, pretty much challenging most of what the Democrats said that morning.
So about equal showings all around for the two delegations on their jaunts in Helena.
I did this two years ago.
It pretty much consists of 15 or so people standing up and talking to a dozen or so family and friends that have come to watch.
Yeah, talking to ourselves.
Two years ago the media didn’t show up and I doubt they did today. I thought about going down, but honestly…why?
I’m not sure anything went on down there, however. Maybe we’ll see a mention in the local press if it did.
Overall, though, I just don't feel like I belong with Democrats.
I'm too independent! And let's be honest - it’s pretty clear that the Democrats do not want me.
It’s not just that I talk about Bullock’s 'problems', either.
Ever since early-2014 I’ve been called a DINO by Montana Democrats.
I guess I have some ideas that would coincide with Democrat ideas, but not enough or I have too many conservative ideas too.
So when you read that, "it's not whether I'm a Democrat or a Republican, it's what I can do for Montana" shit, just shake your head and walk away.
So my inability to adhere to the Party line disqualifies me from the Montana Democratic Party.
It makes you angry. It makes you lash out.
It makes you think about the hypocrisy of it all, especially with a party that says it’s accepting to all.
I was pretty hardcore about supporting Democrats in 2014, especially when I was running for office.
Democrats, however, viewed me with suspicion.
That’s why I eventually announced that I wasn’t a Democrat any longer.
No one really cared. Still, it seemed like I could run for the legislature again. I chose HD 99 and filed a C-1.
That’s why I got a bit more on board with the Democrats starting in November or so.
Then Bullock’s 'problems' came and his trashing of McLean.
Wow, that turned me off.
I got more vocal, I made more enemies. It was pretty clear that Democrats, at least the current incarnation of Wall Street whores and the problematic kind in Helena, would never accept me again.
So here I am, a man without a party.
It’d take me 125 signatures to run for the House and about 225 to run for the Senate…if I wanted to run as an independent (one person is, in SD 18).
I don’t really want to do that.
Running as a Republican might make a lot more sense.
- First, Republicans in Missoula don’t have the problem with crowded districts like Democrats do. This also means there’s often no primary.
- Next, we’ve already established that Democrats despised me way back in 2014 when I was still wet behind the ears, knew nothing and no one, and decided to run for an open seat…one that just happened to be earmarked for another.
- Then, I just don’t care about a lot of the issues that Democrats push for, like gay rights, abortion, gun control, and a few other things that don’t really affect me. What I would like are better-paying jobs, and Republicans seem to be the only ones talking about this.
- Finally, why not?
What are the consequences of me running as a Republican?
There are none.
Democrats hate me already – it’s not like they’re going to hate me any more.
Anyways, these are things I’m thinking of.
Chances are good that I’ll file on March 14, or maybe a bit before then. I'll keep you updated.
What I should really do is forget about politics and focus on something else.
I mean, if I put as much effort into other stuff I could have some real money!
Anyways, besides that little spiel about me I managed to pay attention to the Missoula filings all day and a few things stood out to me.
For instance, Andrew Person in HD 96 will have a challenger in the General, Adam Hertz, former City Council member and son of HD 12’s Greg Hertz.
That race will be an interesting one, and I wonder why Hertz chose that district.
By the end of the day 124 candidates had filed across the state. Should be an interesting 5 months until the primary.
The Main Conundrum
It doesn’t really matter, though.
We all know that the legislature will be going to the Republicans, with Democrats hanging onto their urban pockets.
Clinging to them is more like it. Even those are being steadily chipped away at, as we saw with some Missoula races last year.
Damn they were close!
People are tired of the Democrats’ politics, I have to say.
It comes down to taxes.
Here in Missoula we property-tax you more than anywhere else in the state. People on fixed incomes can’t afford this, but then you have to realize, 42% of the people living in Missoula make more than $100,000 a year.
Democrats cater to those people now, not workers.
We see that in the coddling of Wall Street more than anything. Republicans do this too, and it’s the two-headed corporate front for the oligarchy that controls us.
When I talk like that, however, I get labeled a conspiracy nut.
All I can do when that happens is sigh, shake my head, and go back to my research.
I figure most others, the conversation now over, go back to their TV.
It’ll be the TV that’s used to win the governor’s race, but legislative candidates have to rely on mailers and shoe leather.
Democrats, clinging to their urban perches, will run in races that require them to get 1,000 votes or more sometimes.
Republicans, largely in rural areas and often running unopposed, will only need to win by half that, sometimes even a quarter.
So things are lopsided in voting, and that’s due to population. Because of the district gerrymandering over the years, this favors Republicans.
That’s why we know Republicans will hold the legislature again in 2017, there’s just nothing Democrats can do about this.
- First, they can hardly field any candidates in those rural areas. Often Eric Feaver is called up to pull a name from his union rolodex. These candidates do poorly.
- Next, rural voters don’t care about the Democrats’ message. Democrats could get around this by supporting candidates that have a different, or watered-down message, but their hatred of DINOs precludes them from taking the steps necessary to win. And remember, a DINO is just a moderate.
- Finally, Democrats don’t live in rural areas because they lack the skill set to survive there. That skill set often involves your hands, not a computer; knowledge of the land, not an office; and common sense and frugality, not guess-work and tax-and-spend.
When we saw Democratic candidates running against Obama in 2014, that wasn’t a mistake...it was a strategy.
Obama and those that support him are not popular with regular, work-the-land-style voters.
In fact, those kinds of people despise Democrats.
That’s just one reason why Montana will see another GOP legislature in 2017.