Wednesday, March 22, 2017

In May, Montana Voters Get A Chance To Send Trump A Message-- Either "Slow Down, Crazy Man" Or "Punch Us Again"


I've heard a lot of good stuff about Rob Quist from friends in Montana, where he's the Democratic candidate to replace the state's sole member of the House, Ryan Zinke, recently confirmed by a rubber stamp Senate as the Trump Regime Interior Secretary. His opponent is far, far right extremist Greg Gianforte, who was recently defeated when he ran for Montana governor. Although Trump won Montana that day by nearly 100,000 votes-- 274,120 (56.5%) to 174,521 (36.0%), Gianforte was defeated by the same voters, 250,846 (50.2%) to 232,080 (46.4%). Over 40,000 Trump voters just couldn't bring themselves to cast their ballots for Gianforte. (The ballot initiative to expand medical marijuana passed that day with more votes than either Trump or Gianforte-- 284,531 (57.6%). I sure hope Montana voters will reject him again in the May 25 special election.

That raises two questions: can a Democrat even win in a red state like Montana? And why hasn't Blue America endorsed Rob Quist? Montana is a pretty red state, but the voters elected Democratic governors the last 4 times they had the opportunity to and keep electing Democratic U.S. senators as well. So, yes, Rob can certainly win. So why no endorsement? I'd vote for him if I lived in Montana but Blue America has a pretty intense vetting process and Rob wasn't interested in an out-of-state liberal PAC getting involved with his race. That's understandable. And that's that. Kind of. We'd like to urge everyone to listen to the 20 minute interview up top to get a feel for Quist-- and the campaign song he wrote and sings below.

As we explained a few weeks ago, everybody in Montana knows Rob Quist, a local musician who plays every small town in the state. He's never run for office before. But last year he did have the good sense to endorse Bernie.
Quist said he supported Sen. Bernie Sanders’ bid to become the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee and was disappointed to see his loss to Hillary Clinton, saying that it had a depressing effect on young people.

“The Democratic National Committee sent him to the sidelines in favor of Hillary Clinton. They tried to control it from top down,” he said, noting that Republicans, through the tea party, had a grassroots network that helped them win elections.

“We know that the pendulum swings both ways and the reason I’m sitting here today is that I decided I wanted to be part of the movement that starts us back on the track to unity and respect for each other. We’ve lost that here in America,” he said.
He's seems good on every issue, even really tough ones for Montana Democrats-- pro-Choice, against religious intolerance towards Muslims, in favor of strengthening Social Security and Medicare, and this is what he said about the gun debate: "You register your car to drive, why not register guns. I know that’s a touchy subject for a lot of people, but I think we definitely have the right to bear arms and as I say I’ve been on many hunts myself where I’ve brought home an elk that fed our family and that’s an important thing for Montanans."

This is what Our Revolution said when the organization endorsed Quist:
Rob Quist won the Democratic nomination to fill the Montana Congressional seat left open by Ryan Zinke’s nomination for Secretary of the Interior. Quist is native of rural Montana, an award winning musician, and an avowed supporter of Bernie Sanders’ political revolution-- it was outspoken locals like him who helped Sanders win 51 percent of the vote in Montana. While Quist’s Montana values of hard work, family, and community inform his robust political platform. Quist is committed to standing up for ranchers and farmers who currently receive the lowest prices for their grain and stock, union workers who continue to fight for the middle class, teachers who continue to be underpaid, Native Peoples who deserve self-determination and sovereign land, small business owners who need streamlined tax codes, and the many Montanans who rely on Social Security and Medicare. Quist has also demonstrated a clear commitment to justice for women, the LGBTQ+ community, and the environment. Our Revolution, alongside Senator Jon Tester and former Governor Schweitzer, is honored to support him for Montana’s At-Large Congressional Seat.
Gianforte supports Paul Ryan's TrumpCare bill and Quist opposes it. If it's signed into law 96,317 Montanans will lose their health insurance. Ryan must be panic-stricken because his SuperPAC has already poured $700,000 into ads attacking Quist, who told Montanans after the CBO report came out delineating how catastrophic TrumpCare will be, especially in largely rural Montana that the report "confirms that the D.C. Republican’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act will take away health insurance from hard-working Montanans, to give tax breaks to millionaires like Greg Gianforte. Montanans deserve better." Gianforte, who wasted $5 million of his own money on the failed gubernatorial campaign, is expected to spend heavily on this race as well, but is trying to keep it secret. When questioned, all he would say is that he was faced with an awful lot of out-of-state, special interest money in that Governor’s race. I don’t think that’s what Montanans want." Gianforte and right-wing groups supporting him spent many times what Bullock spent and so far the only big out-of-state money sloshing around Montana is from Paul Ryan's SuperPAC. A friend of mine in Bozeman told me that everyone in the state knows Gianforte is "some crook from New Jersey who lies almost as much as Trump... The Republicans here made a big mistake selling him their nomination. They should be ashamed.

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