A week since Trump won the election, a week since Montana Democrats lost most of theirs.
In the days following those losses it was hoped that Democrats around the country could talk and figure out what to do.
The liberal media could have lead the way – though I don’t believe they should – but instead of doing that they told us of Trump protests and Trump’s transition team.
This week it’s all about Trump’s cabinet picks.
Lost in all that ruckus is the talk that desperately needs to be had, however, and that’s Democrats talking to themselves.
I dunno…maybe it happened and I missed it.
Looking at the Montana blogs, however, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
When I look at those I don’t really see much of anything in the way of a good hard talking to.
Instead I see old hands falling back onto the same old tired and worn tactics that helped create those monumental losses.
Over at Cowturd we’ve had the following since the election:
- A retired judge wondering what happened to Hillary.
- A dusting-off post that tried to find the positive amid a field of negative.
- A post-mortem post full of quotes and a poem, about all that could be dredged-up as the dusting-off wore off and the reality set in.
- Three days later a post congratulating themselves on Bullock’s win while giving a little lip service to the failed candidates (nothing about the failed message), plus some back-patting on keeping the Dem-vote-stealing Green Party out of play for another cycle.
- The next day we got two posts, the first focusing on racial and religious attacks while giving a bit of background on some old-time GOP legislators, the second reminding us of how much we should care about public lands, and how the GOP is intent upon taking these away.
- Today, Tuesday, was a real powerhouse day, however. Three posts appeared, the first a guest post by recently reelected Helena legislator Many Ann Dunwell which tried to ride the coattails of the earlier post-mortem post; the second an incoherent guest post by a Bitterroot musician that’d appeared on his own site six days earlier; the third a post chastising the newly-elected GOP legislative leadership, with a careful signaling out of Austin Knudsen.
So there you have it – business as usual is back.
I’m not sure who had control of the Cowturd rudder the day after the election, but it seemed it wasn’t the usual zealots.
They were back within 3 days, however, and by the Monday following the election they were back in full force.
Two attack posts appeared on Monday and then three disparate posts appeared on Tuesday.
Tuesday seems like a show of strength, but when you look at those posts you can see that behind the scenes, many are still scrambling around wondering what to do.
I know one of the guest posts was just a copy/paste job and I feel Dunwell probably wrote-up and sent her post days ago. The attack post on the GOP leadership was flaccid at best, and at worst a signal to the site’s regular viewers that things are still awry.
It’ll be a signal to the GOP as well.
Personally, I don’t think Cowturd’s approach – and hence the approach of the Montana Democratic Party that runs the site – is the right approach.
I feel this way because of the monumental losses Dems suffered just a week ago.
Maybe a different strategy is in order.
How about writing a letter to some of these GOP leaders telling them how you feel, perhaps congratulating them on their win and offering some hope for their – and the state’s – success?
Or maybe that’d just be seen as turncoat tactics, ‘Democrat in name only’ kind of stuff.
And I could be completely wrong on everything as well.
Maybe Montana Democrats should continue as they are. Hell, they won their top seat and managed to stay steady in the legislature, for the most part.
Perhaps this is a bench-building strategy, or just what you have to do when you’re a minority party.
Still, I can’t help but think that many Democrats around the state want to talk about this more, want to figure out what’s going on and what the course for the future will be.
Lots of people want a say in that, not just the elite and establishment of the Montana Democratic Party…the names of which you can’t even see anymore as the Dems took them down off their site.
I will remind you that here in Missoula, at least, the Dems should be getting together tonight at 7 or 8 at 147 W. Pine Street to have their regular meeting.
Perhaps they’ll discuss the election losses and what should be done going forward.
I will not be attending, both because I feel I wouldn’t be wanted there and because I’m working somewhere tonight.
Maybe Pete Talbot will head down there and put a post up on Intelligent Discontent.
Letting that site sit there dormant with the same two posts at the top for a month or more…well, I don’t see what that’s going to accomplish aside remind people of the election night losses.
But hey, to each their own.
Going back to Cowturd, we see that the post-mortem post got 66 comments, which shows us that a lot of people read that site and comment on it.
Alas, besides a governor’s race, most of those commenters can’t translate their comments into what they want.
That’s of course assuming that every commenter is a straight-down-the-ticket Dem voter that filled in the oval for all the statewide races and then some.
Perhaps some aren’t.
And even if that’s the case…wow, 66 commenters!
It takes a helluva lot more votes than that to get the people in office that you want and then keep them there.
So we can get a pretty fair idea of the strength and the reach of this site.
On the flickering screens of your computer or smartphone they have some power and some bite; in the real world, however, they do not.
Alright, let’s briefly touch upon a few things I’ve noticed.
- I see that Bullock is putting out his proposed spending plan or budget or something…though I can’t find a link to this yet.
- Chuck Johnson, the fired-IR reporter, is giving us that info because he’s working for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle now, or at least for the session.
- I see that Bullock wants to put a “consumption tax” on medical marijuana.
- State workers might get a 1% raise.
- 40 new state workers will be added, mostly lawyers.
- State spending will increase by $35 million over the next two years, or 1.4%.
- $292 million has been set aside for infrastructure, with both Romney Hall and a new Historical Society building in the bill.
- Early Edge Childcare funding has fallen from the desired $37 million last session to $12 million today.
- University students will no longer have a tuition freeze.
- There’s some kind of new tax credit for those making more than $500,000 a year.
So what does this all mean?
- Looks like students and pot smokers will be paying for continued government services and/or expansion.
- I think the GOP will scoff at any funding for early childhood education, the budget surplus being what it is.
- Bullock’s upper-income tax bracket move seems a way to get ahead of any GOP tax cuts to the rich by throwing them a bone first. I’m not sure they’ll bite.
- The medical marijuana consumption tax will be written into the base budget, creating a reliance upon marijuana taxes. In two years we’ll see a lot more talk about adding a legal marijuana tax to increase revenue further, and many on both sides of the aisle will listen with open ears.
- After the GF Trib gave us free election news last week, and after the Chronicle coup today, I feel that Lee Enterprises will give us some staff changes soon, perhaps even a paper closure.
Besides that, I don’t see the Montana Democratic Party changing.
That should have been clear yesterday when Helena legislator Jenny Eck, Butte legislator Jon Sesso, and Missoula legislators Shane Morigeau and Nate McConnell were chosen for leadership positions.
So guiding the legislative agenda for Dems are the bureaucratic center of the state, a dying mining town, and the Berkeley of the North.
I feel that the Dems should be making more overtures to the rural areas they lost, with the goal of making inroads there for 2018 and beyond.
That doesn’t seem to be the case. It’s sad.
I also feel that most of our lives won’t change and that what the legislature does will have no real effect on us.
Personally, I’m not too concerned about various construction projects, parents getting some free daycare, or state workers getting a few more dollars every two weeks.
Now, if those people get that…hey, great for them.
Again, there’ll be no changes in my life.
Most Montanans will say the same. Aside from some construction workers and their employers, some low-income parents, and workers centered in Helena, most people won’t see any changes.
And that’s why they’ll support the GOP agenda of cutting their taxes so they can keep a bit more of their money.
It’s quite simple – people care about themselves before they care about others.
It’s called survival, and even if many in the state are doing well-off right now, they’ll still want to keep a bit more of their money in their own pocket and out of the state coffers.
That’s what those GOP wins across the state last week meant.
Of course, this is just my opinion. Just one guy sitting in an apartment in Missoula waiting to go to work tonight.
Others think differently, and perhaps they’re right.
But you know what? I have a sneaking suspicion they’re not.