May 28, 2017

Quist, Gianforte and the DCCC

Everybody else has offered hot takes on the Montana House special election. Here's my slower simmer.

First, Greg Gianforte was not that bad of a candidate for the Republicans. He lost by slightly less than four percentage points to incumbent Steve Bullock in the 2016 gubernatorial election. The fishing hole issue was a hotter button issue then, and Bullock had an experienced political history, with a background as elected AG and a staffer inside the state AG's office before that.

Rob Quist, on the other hand, was a political novice who had never before even run for dogcatcher of Utopia. The fishing hole issue had died down and Quist wasn't skilled enough to exploit it anyway.

Given all of that and more, I can understand the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee NOT sending more money to Quist. And, if he's the best candidate former Gov. Brian Schweitzer could recruit, that says something about Schweitzer, the state Democratic Party, or both.

And, Quist showed his novicehood in his campaign. He ran behind previous Democratic markers for a statewide office. And, he couldn't beat an outright creationist in the West, the most secularized part of America. And, per The Hill, a candidate with a history of unpaid taxes in general is bad, but worse when running as a "progressive." You probably won't find that, but you will find turd-polishing about this race, at Down with Tyranny.

And, despite Quist being called a "progressive" (a term about as vacuous as "populist") he, like Bullock and Schweitzer, loves him some climate-threatening coal, even if he rebrands it as "clean coal." (At least, unlike Schweitzer, he wasn't promoting coal gasification.)

Things like that, in turn, show the perils and struggles of finding a broadly left-liberal balance without being totally single-issue "line of death." (Schweitzer is some degree of gun nut, on the one hand, but early on supported single-payer and has long been at least decent on American Indian rights.)

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