It’s a night when they all get together and pat themselves on the back, praising their accomplishments.
Back in 2017 we know that 2,100 people attended the get-together at the acoustically-challenged Helena Fairgrounds event (1,000 attended in 2013).
I wrote a post about it called the Swine at Their Trough. Boy, I got a lot of shit for that one. The main opposition tactic was to paint me as anti-woman.
Fast forward two years later and I’m still here. Most of those making the attacks have moved on to work at other Dem HQ’s, other Dem campaigns.
Sometimes people wonder why Democrats just can’t win in American anymore.
Montana Democrats decided to get Arizona Senator Krysten Sinema to give the keynote address at the dinner.
On their website, the Dems talked-up her family’s struggles when she was young, even mentioning that she was homeless for a time.
Money is no longer an issue for Sinema - she raised $22 million to work at a job that pays $174,000 a year.
I guess the combination of being poor growing up and raising millions to get elected makes Sinema understand common, working Americans.
There was some disappointment on social media that not enough in-event updates were going out to the public.
I wasn’t surprised by this - Democrats in Montana don’t want to bring a lot of attention to things they might get called out on.
In this case it’s a bunch of well-off city dwellers that, for one night, pretend they understand the problems facing working Americans.
I always find it funny that the men and women that show up to these dinners in their fancy and expensive clothes think they understand my problems.
Anyways, Twitter’s #mtpol was empty of MM Dinner updates. There was a hashtag called #MansfieldMetcalf, and that’s where Bullock’s staffers focused their efforts.
Lots in attendance last night are probably wondering if Bullock is running for president. They’ll of course support him if he does.
On this site we’ll never take Bullock’s presidential ambitions seriously, for the main reason that he’s done such a bad job in Montana.
It’s not really that he’s done a bad job, it’s just that he hasn’t done anything.
And that’s what he’ll be running on. No one takes him seriously. In yesterday’s poll, just 1% of Iowa voters would vote for him compared to the 27% that want Uncle Joe and the 25% that want Bernie.
Anyone with any kind of political sense knows that Bullock is testing the waters so he can raise as much out-of-state PAC money as possible before he has to switch his focus to beating Daines.
Even if Bullock had four times as much money as Daines, I don’t think he could win. He doesn’t have any real policy accomplishments to point to.
Last year the Party had Uncle Joe at the dinner. That must have been uncomfortable for Bullock, what with his White House plans and all. The Montana Post had a glowing review:
“That seemed to be the thesis of Uncle Joe’s homily: longing for the good old days when you could ride a train to work, call people on a rotary phone and they’d answer, and courtesy, philosophy and your manners — and a handshake — counted for something. All of that has been upended, Uncle Joe said, and nothing means anything anymore, it seems.”
Aaahhh...the good ol’ days of rotary phones.
Is it any wonder that Dems can’t win in a world they just don’t understand?
Here in Montana the Dems typically trot out old war horse Pete Talbot to make a few remarks about the event, and I’m sure we’ll get his insight in a day or two.
Here’s a bit from his 2015 experience:
- “Keep an eye on Lieutenant Governor Angela McLean. I hadn’t seen her in action before but believe she could be headed for higher office.
- Lots of early support for Melissa Romano, candidate for superintendent of public instruction.
- One insider told me that the state party was already strongly backing Ms. Clinton. There was one young man going from table-to-table passing out Elizabeth Warren stickers. Good for him.”
In 2008, the main issue in regards to the MM Dinner was put forth quite succinctly by Don Pogreba:
- “While it was certainly gratifying to hear so many Montana political leaders talk about how proud they are to be Democrats last night, it was interesting to see how many of them minimized their party affiliation on their campaign signs. There were an awful lot of tiny donkeys and tiny font sizes on the banners at the event. In fact, some did not even note that the candidate was a Democrat at all.”
Now, about the cost of the MM Dinner. We won’t get the full picture of the dinner until a couple months from now.
Luckily for us, we know from the dinner two years ago how it works.
Here’s how it went in 2017:
- $30,000 for Chili O’Brien Catering
- $8,500 to Black Eagle’s Severson Productions for sound and staging
- $4,500 to Helena’s K & K Convention Services for decorations
- $5,000 to the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds for site rental
- $200 to Helena’s Alex Lee for entertainment
- $200 to Helena’s Anna Milburn for entertainment
- $200 to Helena’s Don Stone for entertainment
- $200 to Clancy’s Simon Valdez for entertainment
That comes out to just under $49,000.
The MM Dinner is a big thing for MT Dems, mostly social, though financial as well.
In 2017 - two months before the Quist/Gianforte special - the Dems spent $49,000 on the MM Dinner, and raised over $72,000.
None of that money benefited Quist in any way, but then the MM Dinner isn’t supposed to help candidates.
It’s supposed to help those at Dem HQ in Helena. They need a lot of help each month to raise enough money to pay their salaries and eat out (this January they spent $84,000 on salaries and nearly $7,000 eating out in restaurants).
The MM Dinner is a lot like the Williams Dinner here in Missoula - a big sham.
Both pretend that they help out common candidates. Nothing could be further from the truth.
For the past half-decade, the MM Dinner has been nothing more than a way for both Bullock to highlight ‘his accomplishments’ as well as ‘up-and-coming’ Democrats to highlight theirs.
I told you two years ago about Corey Booker and his shit, and now he’s running for president.
The people at this dinner are too concerned with improving their own lives to care about yours. I saw this firsthand when I attended the dinner in 2015.
We see it clearly each year in the election results.
Montana Democrats just can’t win in Montana anymore. No amount of dinners will change that.
That victory never materialized.
Fast forward two years later and that rallying cry has been forgotten, as well as that year's monumental losses.
Montana Democrats view themselves as winners.
Last night was their night, a night to reconfirm to themselves that they’re right and sound and all that’s good with the universe.
They went home from their dinner last night feeling like they accomplished something, that they’re winning. I’m sure the after party at Miller’s Crossing was full of high-fives and claps on the back for how well they’re doing.
They went home feeling the same way in years past.
And how did that work out for them?
- Well, in 2018 they lost the U.S. House race again and every seat on the PSC.
- In 2017 they lost a special election.
- In 2016 they lost five out of six statewide offices.
- In 2015 they had another terrible year in the legislature.
- And in 2014 they lost an open Senate seat and the House seat yet again.
We could go on, but what’s the point?
In 2008 ID put it like this:
“Were Mike Mansfield or Lee Metcalf ever embarrassed to be Democrats? I think not. Nor should we be.”
Over ten years later...would we say the same?
Personally, I think those that were Montana Democrats half a century ago would be aghast at what their Party has become.
One of the things we admire about Democrats is their zeal, their determination, and their focus on the working man (and woman).
Today’s Democrats have a lot of zeal and a lot of determination. They have little concern for the working man, however.
And why should they?
The working man doesn’t pay their campaign bills; they don’t grease the wheels that keep those candidates ‘in-money’ long after they’re no longer candidates (and maybe working on K Street).
It’s not the Party of the People. Hasn’t been in a long time. Young people wonder if it’s ever been.
But let’s stop kidding ourselves.
How many young people were at the MM Dinner last night? Probably not a lot.
It’s like most of the images the Dems send out on social media - nearly empty rooms, and the only people in them campaign staff and a smattering of local senior citizens.
There’s no excitement.
Hasn’t been any in a long time.
And that’s a big reason why Democrats can’t win in Montana.
In private and in their cups, Democrats point to a lot of reasons why no one cares about them.
Mostly, they’re just not exciting. Why should people care?
And then when you go and follow the money you find that these people take tons of money from questionable sources. You find that the people working in Dem HQ in Helena make obscene salaries.
The good news is that this won’t last forever.
A hundred years ago in Montana the Montana Democratic Party had lost its way as well. It’s why our progressive candidates back then were Republicans, not Democrats. The Democrats were the party of the rich, and in many ways, they still are today.
This changed, and by the 1930s those that had been cast out of the Montana Democratic Party in the 1910s were leading the Party. Miles Romney is the prime example of this.
We’ll see the same in the coming years here in Montana. A year from now Steve Bullock will no longer have any pull or power and the Party can begin to heal. Once Tester is gone the healing can go faster.
But I wonder if any true leaders will step up for the Montana Democrats once these charlatans and their out-of-state money backers leave the stage.
Is it too late for Dems in Montana?
In many ways I think so, but I also know that if dynamic personalities come along, that could all change.
Sadly, I think the Montana Democrats would rather keep losing than give up their high salaries and cushy positions as losers. Remember, even as a permanent minority party, the Democrats at the top are still making out like bandits.
It’s just that common working Montanans aren’t, and the Democrats are supposed to be the Party to change this.
Their dinner last night wasn’t about that, however. It was about them, and how good they’re doing and how bright their future is.
One day the Montana Democrats will come to their senses.