Republicans cling to Trump agenda; Williams is honest

An Opinion By Brad Molnar
Thursday, August 23, 2018

Political Potpourri

This campaign season has had a few surprises (Kathleen Williams winning her primary) but mainly there has been a lack of surprise. A kinda-sorta surprise has been Governor Bullock’s announcement at the Iowa State Fair that he would support an “assault weapons ban.” Seven-hundred days ago, while running for Governor, he said he would NOT support an “assault weapons ban.” Apparently testing the waters for a Democratic presidential run has shown him the light. Of course, if Bullock actually gains traction his opponents will point out that you can’t believe a word he says. A word of advice, Steve, (may I call you Steve?), the next time you tour Montana you should avoid Roundup. They still have a hanging tree.

Show Me the Money

The first time Donald Trump Jr. came to Montana to stump for Gianforte I made the mistake of buying an admission ticket for my wife. I already had my press pass and she wanted to go so I coughed up the $25. I did not know they were calling people and giving away tickets; I figured I really needed to get on more lists. Mission accomplished, my wife is now on the donor list for Republican candidates across the nation. All emails are the same. They use blue and yellow to highlight points or requests for money. They all use blue for the insignia at the top of the page and donation boxes. All formats are identical. Plainly they are all produced by the same source. None offer a single new idea.

The discussion, regardless of candidate, is always “I support the Trump agenda,” and “My district is Ground Zero. If I lose Nancy Pelosi (or Chuck Schumer) will become the new Leader.” Yes, they would cause a major shift in policy but is this conversation necessary to make America great again? All messages are based on fear mongering, the need to raise money to defend themselves from scurrilous attacks / dark money, and “I’m about to miss my mid-month goal so rush me three dollars.”

All the King’s Men

Republicans are shunning local issues, ideals, and solutions tailored to their individual demographics. Instead they are embracing the parliamentarian model used across Europe. In that model the individual candidate is unimportant. The two things of importance are party leadership and unwavering support to the party platform. Republicans are substituting the Trump Agenda for Party Platform but that is the only difference. Waking up in Trump county Tester is running towards Trump while Trump is shooting at him and Williams has rejected Nancy Pelosi’s leadership while not saying who she would support for Speaker of the House.

Both parties use the initiatives model. In Montana we have seen the minimum wage initiative, the “anti-mining” initiative, and the Tobacco v Expanded Medicaid initiative used to bring out the Democratic base. Republicans used the Man / Woman marriage constitutional amendment to drive conservatives to the polls. At the national level confirmation hearings for Justice Kavanaugh are scheduled for September, just before absentee ballots go out in many states. A strict constructionist Supreme Court nominee is meat on the bone to conservative voters.

“Save the DACA kids and have your relatives come to America for a better life,” is meat on the bone for Democratic leadership as they combine minorities to form a majority. These issues are tailor made for Democrats to get the necessary senatorial votes to control the Supreme Court and elect the next president by energizing the Latin vote to pickup electoral votes in Border States. It would never do to squander these issues by resolving them prematurely.

All the Kids Are Doing It

For his part Greg Gianforte has released an unfounded attack ad claiming Kathleen Williams is weak on border security and immigration enforcement. Rosendale has pinned his hopes on making Tester seem sleazy because he bought a house. Tester has tried to rally his base by telling them his hair cuts cost only $12 (including tip!), blaming Rosendale for Obamacare insurance rate increases, and claiming that posting his office schedule on the internet is true political courage. He never mentions the $21T deficit, tax cuts, nor DACA.

So far, Kathleen Williams is the only one not running false attack ads. No, wait, she has run an internet ad featuring her dog’s strong points if Danni the Dog wanted to become a congressional candidate. The dog did not besmirch Gianforte’s character. But Kathleen could not resist a little body slam.

Eleven weeks to go.

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