Election Day After Open Thread

by lizard

Ryan Zinke and Steve Daines will now represent Montana in DC. I first wrote Montanans, but that’s not accurate. Semantics aside, they won and that’s that.

Nationally, Republicans took the senate. What they will do with it remains to be seen, but it’s a good guess any legislative effort to fix any of the broken systems dragging this country down will be swiftly stomped out of existence.

Locally, I was glad to see Marie Anderson win. I also hope Joshua Clark will finally take the hint he didn’t win, and the Sheriff’s Department can start the process of moving forward.

On another positive note, Missoula residents can finally say adios to Fred Van Valkenburg. Kirsten Pabst will now take the lead of the Missoula County attorney’s office. There is still a lot of fixing that needs to happen in that office. I hope Pabst is up to the task.

Oh, and parks. Missoula loves it some parks. Systems may be in slow motion collapse, but at least we’ll have nice parks.


  1. So Obama got elected in 2008 and had 60 senators and 257 Dems in the house.

    Three elections later:

    60 Senators has dropped to 46, down 23%

    257 reps has dropped to 175, down 32%

    nice job Barry

  2. I have no opinion worth sharing. Just posting this to link to comments.

    • Opinionless and voteless.

  3. JC

    At least MT Dems are celebrating their losses:


  4. Steve W

    My cousin, a Democrat, got elected to his city counsel in Minnesota.

    Cannabis is legalized in two more states, Oregon and Alaska. Florida votes 58% in favor of medical cannabis as does Guam.

    Voters vote to raise the minimum wage:

    “In Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, voters passed binding referendums to raise state minimums above the $7.25 an hour wage level mandated by the federal government. In each of the conservative-leaning states, opposition to wage measures was muted, and victory margins were wide.

    In Illinois, voters approved a non-binding advisory question that calls on the state legislature to approve a $10 minimum wage.”

    When it comes to issues people are liberal.

  5. Turner

    The deck was definitely stacked in favor of Republicans this time. The outcome was no surprise. I wonder if it would’ve made any difference if Dems had embraced Obama instead of running away from him.

    • lizard19

      maybe if they accurately described why Obama is not worth supporting Dems would have more credibility with the electorate.

  6. evdebs

    Obama certainly did a crappy job of making appointments and pushing the ACA was a huge mistake. Nothing terribly useful (single payer) would have gotten by Max. But Obama should have learning from Clinton ’93, that taking on the insurance and pharmaceutical industries was bound to result in a disaster. We have the Kochs, who couldn’t give a rat’s ass if every American died of lung diseases connected to their illegal and dangerous refinery air and water discharges, attack the ACA via their “Center for Patient’s RIghts” hokum.

    His failure to hold Wall Street accountable for their prodigious crimes is wholly without any excuse, as is his similar failure to prosecute those criminal offenses that facilitated the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

    It’s truly ironic that the current mess in Syria is being laid at his feet, rather than deservedly at those of the Bush/Cheney cabal.

    • lizard19

      you think Obama is blameless regarding the current mess in Syria?

      you also left out some stuff, like Libya, killing US citizens with drone strikes, attacks against whistleblowers and journalists, escalating deportations and failing to protect US citizens from the NSA serially violating our constitutional rights.

      • The presumption is that the elected executive had an active role these matters. I seriously doubt it. His role, even though he is not as dumb as Reagan or Bush, is just to monopolize the cameras.

  7. Looks like the Montana mid-term election turnout was the lowest in modern history.

    It shouldn’t come as much of a shock that Montana Dems and young voters didn’t rally around the 30 somethings Lewis and Curtis who spouted nonsensical pro-KXL, pro-Coal and pro- mandated public lands logging rhetoric that sounded just like the GOP’s talking points.

    Let’s remember who runs some of the biggest MT Dem GOTV campaigns in this state….Montana Conservation Voters, Montana Wilderness Association, MT-PIRG and Forward MT. Perhaps the historically low voter turnout was because these groups were trying to turn out voters who don’t support KXL, don’t want the Coal Trains to China and don’t want more politically motivated logging of our public lands…yet they were being asked by these ‘progressive’ ‘environmental’ groups to rally around and support the two statewide Dems (and the statewide MT Dem Party) that seems to have turned their back on these types of core progressive or even Democrat issue.

    Honestly, how many more votes could MT Dems have picked up for Lewis and Curtis if they articulated a clear policy position that was anti-KXL, anti-Coal Trains to China, anti-fracking, anti-Oil (bomb) Trains through our communities and pro-Wilderness, while being anti-mandated logging?

    Thousands? Tens of Thousands more votes?

    Hard to say, but if anyone thinks for a second that Curtis and Lewis would’ve drawn even less than 40% of the vote if they would’ve been pro-enviornment and pro-sustainable energy is just crazy. There’s simply no way a pro-KXL, pro-Coal, pro-Logging voter votes for Curtis and Lewis, when they have better options with Daines and ZInke.

    But then again, the results of this latest election were basically foreshadowed, debated and prophesied on this blog, and on other political blogs in this state, for the past few years.

    Just think how often people like Lizard or JC and others were told they were wrong on not only these key environmental/energy/economic development issues, but on the political winds and strategy being pushed by Tester, Bullock, Walsh and their collaborators within MWA, MCV, et al.

    It’s beyond ironic that we were all scolded and warned that if we didn’t buck up and realize that MT Dems needed to support KXL, Coal Trains to China and politicians mandating more public lands logging that we’d be blamed for giving the election to the GOP.

    Yet what happened was that Tester and MWA’s ‘timber partners’ dropped Tester and MWA and the rest of the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act ‘collaborators’ like a bad habit and starred in one of Steve Daines most effective TV Ads. Who couldn’t have seen that one coming?

    If there’s a silver lining in this election for MT Dems it’s that their support for KXL, Coal Trains to China and politically mandated public lands logging might actually now be accomplished…by the GOP Congress. Nice work!

    • Monte

      As much as you would like the low turnout in MT’s midterm to be the result of candidates not aligning with your side of whatever pet issues you have, there is a simpler explanation.

      Midterm turnout decreased nearly nationwide in 2014, which lends itself to other explanations as opposed to those specific to Montana.


      So no, it probably has nothing to do with coal, the KXL, or mandated logging, regardless of how much you wish it would. There are a hell of a lot of real reasons why the dems got destroyed, but not going further to the left in a state that is moderate at best is not one of them.

      • I think it a bit presumptuous to speak for people who did not vote, as there is no hard polling data on them. Neither you nor Matt have a bead on them, Monte.

        But there has been, over the years, continuous polling of the American by the Council on Foreign Relations on major issues, and these polls tend to show that the two parties are far to the right of most voters. http://www.cfr.org/thinktank/iigg/pop/

        If Montana is like most of the country, and it probably is, it is highly likely that a Democrat could tap into progressive issues like working through UN and international courts, ending aggressive wars, raising minimum wage, making it easier to join a union, and a host of others … and win.

        It would be difficult, as the money behind the two parties effectively mesmerizes people at election time with TV ads and fake issues, but the potential is there.

        The job of the two parties is to keep populist issues out of political campaigns. The parties too often speak with one voice, and I’ve no doubt that this leads to absence of enthusiasm as seen in this election and so many before.

      • JC

        Well aren’t you special? As the article you linked posits, turnout was down because off-presidential election cycles always have lower turnout. Wow! Who woulda thunk it?

        If you were a real political analyst, you’d notice that in the chart at the bottom, if you look at Montana’s mid-term elections, that turnout spiked in 2006. Now what would have caused that? Oh yeah, a whole lot of democrats turned out to cast republicans out of congress because they and George Bush were viewed as the war party.

        Given a set of policies that excite democrats, they can be tricked into turning out — to the tune of an election with at least 8% higher turnout like in 2006 — and elect the likes of John Tester over corrupt three term incumbent Conrad Burns.

        So why don’t you just poke your nose back into the cadastral where it belongs and quit wasting taxpayer dollars office-chair politickin’?

        • That’s a whole lot of unfounded certitude there, JC. In the interest of honesty, however, it should be pointed out that 2006 was also the first year that allowed same-day registration and the GOTV effort was extreme, very much by the very organizations dissed earlier in these comments. But hey, correlation equals causation when you say it does, don’t it?

    • Just a guy

      The flip side to the argument that extreme anti-coal, anti-oil, anti-natural resource development stances would have inspired more left wing voters to go the polls is that doing so might have cost Curtis and Lewis the votes of moderate Democrats. It also may have inspired greater numbers of GOP votes to be frightened to the polls.

      Going further to the left on natural resource issues isn’t going to help Democrats win statewide races in Montana.

      • Your characterization using the words “extreme anti-coal, anti-oil, anti-natural resource development stances” is misleading, even dishonest, but has a PR ring to it in that you have lumped all opposition to corporate exploitation of Montana’s commons as political extremism.

        If you care to deal with the issues of resource exploitation without such rhetorical devices, I have a suspicion you would not do well.

        • Just a guy

          And your lumping together coal development and timber harvests as corporate exploitation of Montana’s commons is misleading, even dishonest.

          If you care to deal with the issues of natural resource development without your ideological goggles on, I have a suspicion you would not do well.

          • The word “exploitation” is non-pejorative. “Extremism” is extremely so, and one encouraged vp by industry PR specialists. Anyone who opposes them needs to be marginalized, and branding is the usual method.

            But you know, try me. I can fight fair, fight dirty, marshall facts, spin lies, even give credit where due. I am in the blog book.

            • Just a guy

              On what planet is “exploitation” not a pejorative term? It certainly was used that way in your statement above when you referred to “corporate exploitation.”

              You want to know why the Democrats lost and why Millenials didn’t save the day? People are sick of listening to sneering, whining, professional malcontents like you Mark. Condescension will get you and your ilk nowhere.

              • Exploit: make full use of and derive benefit from (a resource):
                “500 companies sprang up to exploit this new technology”
                synonyms: utilize · harness · use · make use of · turn/put to good use …

                I’ll be sure to pass your words along to my ilk.

                If you actually read posts and comments, you’d know I don’t give two shits that the Democrats lost.

          • Steve W

            Coal and timber corporations practice corporate exploitation of the commons. They pump C02 into the airshed, build roads on the public dime, clog roads, clog streams and denude the public lands.

            They always have and they always will, if we let them.

            They don’t when we don’t let them.

            I have a suspicion we would not do well if we let them.

    • Matthew, I really think you and Rachel have it all figured out.

  8. Glass half full? Or half empty?


    • Swede, I think the only thing that really changes as we rotate one party out and the other in is your perception of what follows, cast in a new light.

      You’ll now favor things you did not before, oppose things you did not before, and imagine that it would have been different with a different election outcome.

      It’s all between your ears.

      • What a joke. The ‘readers’ of this website get to ‘vote’ for comments. And here we are changing one meaningless vote for another, regardless of party and with no actual impact whatsoever. None. But you think Swede doesn’t suit your agenda and so it’s all about partay, right? You have nothing, Mark. You support nothing. Swede, stupid as he is, at least supports that much, limited as it is. This time around, Swede was right.

  9. Eric

    “it’s a good guess any legislative effort to fix any of the broken systems dragging this country down will be swiftly stomped out of existence.”

    I gotta ask Liz – if the GOP hadn’t stomped a mudhole into the Dems would the Dems have tried to change any of the broken systems? They’ve shown no such inclination, have they?

    • lizard19

      no, because for those at the tippy top, the system is working just fine.

  10. What I just said of Swede is true of every participant, including you. The only thing of American politics that is true is a relentless rightward push generated by money, and operating on both parties.

    Imagine a bigger warmonger and anti-civil liberties man than Obama, and then tell me I am wrong. Imagine FJRA pushed by Burns instead of Tester and tell me I am wrong. That bio, would easily have suited Burns.

    It is all perception management. Nothing more. Swede gets to imagine he won, the rest are crying in their beer, not knowing that their candidiates were backed by the same money.

    • Should have gone under Rob’s comment above,

    • Let’s just pretend there’s no money Mark.

      Somebody still has to run Bartertown.

      • Brilliant. Effing brilliant. I talk about how both parties are legally bribed and how the Same money owns them, and along comes Swede with a movie clip about a place where there is no money. Just brilliant!

        Yes Swede. That what I meant. Let’s do away with money. Got anything else?

        • The alternative? North Korea perhaps?

          A prime example of Bartertown.

          • Yes Swede, The only alternative is to be like North Korea.

            • The top ten least free countries all have one thing in common Mark.

              Little or no corporate influence.

              • Fookin’ A! When did Rush spin that one?

              • You tell me Mark.

                Does Chomsky spin all your crap?

              • Since you don’t even read what other commenters write if it is longer than two sentences, why would I take time to answer that bullshit accusation?

          • Steve W

            You are the living personage of North Korea. It’s in your soul and you are it’s reflection, Big Swede.

            Or should I say Big Kim Jong -un Johanson?

  11. Hello “Monte” and “Just a Guy”….

    The Great Falls Tribune’s John S. Adams (one of the top political reporters in the state) has an in-depth piece in today’s paper about the election results. You two should give it a read, as it appears to counter much of what you’re written above.

    Here are some chunky snips from Adams’ article (http://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/politics/2014/11/09/dispirited-democrats/18752711/):

    “Not since the 1928 presidential election have Democrats across the country suffered such massive defeats.

    It was a stark electoral contrast to just a few short elections ago, when Democrats in Montana and across the nation beat back Republican majorities in statehouses and in Washington, D.C., and made gains in traditionally red Western states such as Montana, Colorado and Wyoming….

    In 2006, Montana Democrats’ standard-bearer, Tester, ran a Senate campaign that called for withdrawing troops from Iraq. Tester said he didn’t want to weaken the Patriot Act, he wanted to repeal it. He called for raising the minimum wage, ending the “irresponsible” Bush-era tax cuts and forcing the federal government to negotiate Medicare prescription drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. Tester also touted renewable energy such as biofuels, wind and solar and publicly supported American involvement in the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement to reduce global warming greenhouse gas emissions.

    Tester found electoral success with those progressive messages, and so did his party.

    In 2008, Democrats across the nation campaigned on ending the war in Iraq, ending the Bush tax cuts, repealing the Patriot Act, and implementing cap-and-trade greenhouse gas legislation. The national party platform called for affordable health care for all, closing the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay, immigration reform, cutting military spending, reducing oil consumption and investing in renewable energy….

    So what happened to Democrats’ fortunes in 2014?

    Some liberal critics say the Democrats didn’t give their base a reason to show up.

    Despite ruling majorities in both houses of Congress, Obama and the Democrats failed to deliver on key promises: from immigration reform to universal health care to closing down Guantanamo Bay to capping greenhouse gas emissions.

    Democrats made little effort to overturn the Patriot Act, curb NSA spying, reduce military spending or roll back tax cuts for the rich….

    Some critics say it’s difficult to know what Democrats stand for when their campaigns blur the line between solidly Democratic principles and Republican principles on issues ranging from global warming and the environment to guns and taxes.

    Whereas Republicans have embraced their tea party base on the right, Democrats have shunned the left, wrote liberal activist William Rivers Pitt on Truth-Out.org.

    “Say what you will about the Republicans, but you cannot fault their tactics when it comes to winning,” Pitt wrote in an open letter to “Democratic Spammers” in early October. “They are a minority in the United States, by the numbers, but they are running the show both politically and economically, and for one reason: they fire up their base.”

    Longtime liberal columnist and former environmental lobbyist George Ochenski has been an ardent critic of Montana Democrats’ approach to governing over the 10 years, particularly as it pertains to the “all of the above” energy policies that ignore the threat of global climate change.

    “Keystone XL pipeline? They all support it. Mining more coal to ship to China? You bet. Cutting down more forests that actually take carbon dioxide out of the air? Oh yeah, let’s congressionally mandate even higher harvest levels. And of course more drilling and fracking garners universal applause from Republicans and Democrats,” Ochenski lamented in a column that appeared in the Missoulian the day before the election.

    Some say Democrats also failed to articulate what they stand for. In 2006 and 2008 the line between Democrats and Republicans was clear on issues ranging from war, to the environment, to the economy and jobs.

    “What is the Democratic economic platform for guaranteeing a chance at prosperity for everyone? Voters can’t articulate it. In the absence of that, you vote for change,” Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said in an interview with the Washington Post the day after the election.”

    • The job of Democratic branch of The Party is to stifle the Impulse for change by leading it down blind alleys. There’s nothing in Adams’ words that the Democrat leadership isn’t aware if. It’s their strategy. Tester is a Republican. When they close their doors and clink their glasses in DC, they are all Republicans.

      It is so easy to see. But the implications of one party rule are staggering, so people opt not to see it.

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