Let me give you just one example.
One thing that I saw today was an event downtown, one for our school bonds here in Missoula, you know, the ones that cost $158 million.
Democrats love to take your money and spend it on…things, and services, and people that work for the government. Many times, too many in fact, the money is not used properly and citizens are left with a bad taste in their mouths. This will cost Democrats, especially in Missoula, and it’s a shame they think this “liberal bastion” will protect them. It won’t.
That never happens, however, and maybe it’s because we have the wrong guys and gals in office, and running for office.
So…who are the right people, and where can we find them? Hell, how come so many of our 2016 Montana election races are still up for grabs?
For instance, who is going to run against Tim Fox for Attorney General in 2016? Right now not a single Democrat has filed for that race.
How about some of our bench warmers, our heavy hitters, our past winners?
Mike McGrath is a name that pops into my head. Could he at some point step down from the bench and jump into the political ring once again?
He was Attorney General from 2001 to 2009, after all. And there’s a lot of precedent for successful politicians to get off the Montana Supreme Court and get back into the political arena. That’s how they became successful.
But then, you know all about that, for you’ve bought my book Feds and Farmers, which covers Montana politics more in-depth than any other book from the 1930s onward (John Morrison’s book does a damn good job as well, though our former State Auditor needs to get on the horn to his publisher and tell them to get a better paperback cover).
That said, most of the folks profiled in the pages of my book are dead, all of them in fact. While I’m sure that wouldn’t have stopped “get out the vote” efforts in Butte back in the day, dead people won’t help us today. Their ideas might, but Montana Democrats have made it quite plain that ideas are the last thing that interests them anymore.
Fuck’s sake, why hasn’t anyone let it be known that they’re running for that seat?
Well, one person has, James Stgoddard, whom I bet the Montana Democratic Party is just hating. After all, he’s an Indian, and he hasn’t sold out to the corporations and banks back East like the top officials of our party have.
Hey, our top Democratic officials are always out of state raising money!
Looking at the Democratic Turnout Problem in 2014
In 2014 Ryan Zinke got into office with more than 203,000 votes compared to John Lewis’s 148,000 votes and change, or 55% to 40%. Libertarian Mike Fellows managed 4% of the turnout, or just over 15,000 votes. A total of 367,963 people voted in that race, or 55% of registered voters.
As I’ve said before, the primary numbers told us the real story. The GOP turned out 131,000 while the Democrats only excited 71,000 people enough to turn out. That’s the November election right there, in the turnout.
Again, let’s compare that House race to the Senate race. Steve Daines won with over 213,000 votes to Amanda Curtis’s 148,000, or 58% to 40%. Libertarian Roger Roots took 7,933 votes, or 2%.
In the primary in 2014 the GOP turned out 132,000 people while the Democrats managed to get about 76,000 to the polls. Again, turnout is the real killer more than anything, and Democrats need to figure out why Republicans can get more people to the polls.
For the primaries that year, 660,000 people were registered to vote and for the general election it was 674,000. That means for the House primary 60,000 more Republicans voted than Democrats (it was 57,000 for the Senate) and those numbers stayed relatively the same for the general that November.
Democrats have a turnout problem. They have an excitability problem, which is the root of the turnout problem. They’re boring, dull, antiquated and old. No one is interested in what they have to say.
Now the GOP, boy, people like what they have to say, they like it a lot! They like it so much that they turn out a Montana metropolis-worth of people more than the Democrats do. Wow, they’re on top of things!
So why aren’t Democrats? I don't know, but again, I think it comes down to that corporate leash they're on.
If we go back to 2012 and the races there, we see that the problem persists, and that in a presidential election year!
Looking at the Democratic Turnout Problem in 2012
Looking at the 2012 Montana Governor’s race, we see that Democrats managed to turn out 89,000 for the primary, compared to the 136,000 the Republicans turned out. That year in the general, however, voters got out and put the Democrats in office with 236,000 votes to 229,000, or 49% to 47%. The Libertarian candidates took 18,000 votes, or 3.8%.
For the 2012 Attorney General race in Montana, Democrats turned out 83,000 for the primary and the Republicans got 122,000 to the polls. That November the GOP took it, 253,000 votes to 218,000, or 54% to 46%. That means 6,000 fewer Democrats voted for this race compared to the other, or chose not to check that box on their ballot. Why?
For the 2012 Secretary of State election in Montana, Democrats didn’t hold a primary as Linda McCullough was unchallenged. The GOP did have a primary, however, and got 120,000 to the polls. That November the Democrats won it with 245,000 to 215,000, or 51% to 45%. The Libertarian took 17,000 votes, or 3.5%.
In the 2012 U.S. House race in Montana the Democrats turned out 81,000 for the primary, compared to the 116,000 the GOP turned out. Again, this is 8,000 fewer than the governor’s race and 2,000 fewer than the Attorney General race…why?
That year in the U.S. House general it was the GOP winning because they turned out 255,000 to the Democrats’ 205,000. The Libertarian that year got 19,000 votes, or 4%, showing once again that there are thousands of disaffected Montanans that would rather “throw their vote away” than give the two major parties the time of day.
There was no U.S. Senate primary in Montana in 2012 for the Democrats, as Tester was unchallenged. The GOP had one, however, and they turned out 139,000 people. In November the GOP had increased that turnout to 218,000, or by 79,000 people. Democrats managed to turnout 236,000 that year, however, and won it.
Party brass needs to bring this up at the convention. I’m sure they won’t because they don’t think it’s a problem. They’re in office in spite of low turnout, or because of it. Thankfully 2016 won’t be one of those off year low turnout years, so Democrats should be excited to get out…right?
I’m not so sure. We know Hillary doesn’t excite as much as turn off, and that could hurt swing voters, the kind of people that Democrats rely on. After all, it’s not Democrats we need to worry about, it’s the independent and stay-at-home voters that need to be convinced. Hillary is not convincing.
That will hurt the Montana Democratic candidates big time, and could cost some of them, especially when the big money is brought into play.
How could this be stopped? Easy, get people excited. You have to realize, however, that for many of these stiffs, getting people excited is tantamount to doing the impossible.
There’s nothing to get excited about when it comes to Montana Democrats!
How they’re going to change this, I have no idea…but I’ll throw a few out there:
- They could go after insurance companies, but they won’t;
- They could legalize marijuana, but they won’t;
- They could reduce taxes and offer rebate checks, but they won’t;
- They could focus on jobs and improving the lives for the majority as opposed to fringe minorities, but they won’t.
Are you seeing a pattern? Most of those “won’ts” are tied up in the Montana Democratic candidates getting money.
- We don’t want to offend insurance, because we need their donations.
- We don’t want to offend Big Pharma with legal marijuana, because we need their money.
- We don’t want to offend poor people and those with no jobs (even though they don’t vote), because those that pay property taxes should fork over their dough for more government waste and unaccountability.
- We don’t want to offend the unemployed, because if we get them jobs, our level of federal transfer payments and other dependency-stimulus could be cut back on. That means fewer crony-level jobs.
Montana Democrats can’t have any of that, so it’ll be low turnout numbers as always, and the thin sliver of a hope that we can get a few more percentage points than the other guy. The days of a double-digit win are over, for the people just can’t be excited enough to get out and give it to us.
Montana Democrats are boring, and they have no one to blame for this but themselves. It’s time to cut those corporate puppet strings and kick National in the balls – start talking about things that get people fired up, and please, do it in a fun and engaging way!
Let’s not boast and parade about when it comes to taking $158 million of the taxpayer money here in Missoula – let’s find ways to not take their money and use the money we’ve already taken to do some good. Talk about this!
You can talk about this if the party officials and local “leaders” don’t. There’s still hope, and you can still jerk the leash enough on the party before the convention that they might actually do something. Time’s a running out, however, so make these things happen now. Democrats can still win, they just have to want to. Right now I, and a whole lot of other Montanans, just aren’t seeing that. Please start talking about issues that matter to us…and see those turnout numbers go up as a result.