The Montana Green Party got off to a great start this week…and then had a few stumbles.
The great start came about because they got their 5,000 signatures and got on the ballot.
The stumbles came along after the media began to question some candidates.
You’ve likely heard about Tim Adams, who was on the GOP payroll. Even MSNBC had that story.
Tim’s seemed to weather that story, but other Green Party candidates have not weathered theirs.
I’m talking about John Gibney.
He’s running for HD 85 out of Hamilton.
Three other candidates are running for that seat: Laura Jackson, a Dem; Mary Toews, a Dem; and Theresa Manzella, a Republican.
Now, Manzella is the incumbent in that race. She first got the seat in 2014, winning with 68% of the vote. In 2016 she won it again, this time with 73% of the vote.
So the two Democrats have absolutely no chance in this district, and the Green Party candidate won’t be hurting them as they’ll never get within a few hundred votes of Manzella anyways.
Alas, the Montana Green Party is dead-set on denouncing John Gibney and his candidacy.
Personally, I have no idea who this man is or what he’s said or done in the past.
I guess the big uproar is that he went to some anti-immigrant rallies, and may have even called Obama “our black, Muslim president.”
Trust me: in my four years of writing on Montana politics, I’ve seen a lot worse.
I googled Gibney shortly after the Greens requested I write up a denunciation letter of some sort. I wasn’t able to find much on the guy, aside from a Billings Gazette article about him taking anti-immigrant signs to a pro-immigration rally.
Yeah, not the smartest thing to do…especially in a liberal bastion like Missoula.
I’d like to hear more on Gibney’s stance on this issue before I break out the pitchforks, however.
For instance, I’m not a fan of refugee relocation.
Simple – here in Missoula we have a 200-bed homeless shelter that can’t meet demand, and at least another 50 to 100 people living in the homeless camp under the Reserve Street Bridge.
We have hundreds more people that are couch surfing, sleeping in spare bedrooms, or using their cars. Last year alone, we had 600 kids that were homeless or in foster care.
Yet here in Missoula, so much attention is paid to non-citizen refugees, while we have veterans of our two never-ending wars sleeping on the street.
That’s shameful…especially when we know that national refugee relocation groups spend around $260 million a year on their own salaries, and just $20 million paying rent for refugees.
Follow the money.
Perhaps Gibney shares some of my ideas, and perhaps he also has a few more…the kind the Dems and Greens and other progressive groups don’t like.
I just dunno.
I listened to the Greens discuss this a bit on Facebook last night before tuning into the Griz basketball game and going to bed.
When I woke up this morning I thought on it more, and decided that I wouldn’t be denouncing anybody.
I’ve been denounced too many times myself. I know what it feels like to think you share a Party’s ideals, only to have that Party label you as a Republican or a racist or an anti-semitic or misogynist or any other epithet they can come up with after you say something they deem ‘bad.’
I find that Montana political Parties are great at throwing mud. Rarely do they put forth concrete ideas that will actually better my life.
My idea is to run a campaign that brings up ideas that voters probably care about…but which their main Party doesn’t talk about much.
I’ll probably inform lots of people about the Green Party platform and what they stand for.
And I’ll definitely try to tie-in a lot of the Green Party’s national ideas into Montana politics.
- Environment: Fire seasons were never this bad when I was a kid, but now every year they’re terrible. This is global warming, and here in Montana it means we have to take money away from sick and disabled and old people so we can use it to save rich people’s homes in the woods. Oftentimes these were rich people that moved here from out-of-state. They and their property are more important to our state government than citizens that worked here their whole life and now can’t even find a nursing home.
- Peace: We have 100,000 veterans in this state, and I wish to God we’d see that number go down. Mothers and fathers…please stop encouraging your sons and daughters to go die in the rich man’s war! How is this benefiting you? There have been no concrete gains in the Middle East in years – aside from those going to the multi-billion dollar arms industry – and too many of our soldiers come home with arms and legs gone, or maybe their mind. And for some reason we not only put up with this, but encourage our young people to take part. Shame on us.
- Income Inequality: Here in Montana 15% of our state lives in poverty and our per capita income is way below the national average. Many people have to work two or three part-time jobs just to get by. Few of these jobs have retirement or benefits, or even sick leave. We pay an $8.30 minimum wage, though if you’re a woman this is more like $5.80. While Democrats in the state constantly harp on this issue, nothing ever gets done to level the playing field.
I’d like to think those ideas align with the Green Party’s ideas, but maybe I’m wrong.
This week has been more about telling the media what the Green Party doesn’t stand for, not what they do stand for.
It’s sad that they’ve been put on the defensive so quickly, but not surprising. The first time entering the political fray is always a bit turbulent.
We’ll see how the coming days and weeks unfold.
Denouncements won’t have much affect on a candidate’s ability to appear on the ballot – their filing ensured that.
There are so few Green Party members in Hamilton, I’m guessing – and coupled with the Green Party’s limited ability to communicate with wide swaths of voters – I don’t think this denouncement is going to reach a lot of people.
Sure, the Ravalli Republic might comment on it…but it’s a long way to election time.
And this is a corporate paper, with corporate goals. I don’t put much faith in Lee Enterprises, myself.
People have short attention spans, and while the two Dems in the HD 85 race might make some fluff over this, they’ll be too busy trying to figure out how to win in a heavily Republican area to do much attacks on someone everyone knows isn’t going to win anyways.
But then the Green Party might be looking more long-term, and more at the idea of political purity.
It’s that last one that has me concerned. If a third-party is going to start rejecting members from the two major political parties…then where are they going to get their members?
Maybe it’s just that if you were in the Democrats, you’re alright. If you were a Republican, then they don’t want you.
I just don’t feel that’s the right strategy, but then…what do I know?
As I said, we’ll see how the coming days and weeks unfold.