Greg Gianforte won the special election for the at-large House of Representatives seat in Montana last night. Rob Quist made it closer than expected, but ultimately fell short.
There’s many positive factors one can point to in light of this loss. The percentages for Democratic candidates are moving in such a direction that they have a chance to take back the House of Representatives. A deeply red state was competitive, although it’s got a history of elected a unique set of Democrats. Gianforte might still be vulnerable in 2018.
Nevertheless, I’m extremely disheartened, but not giving up.
Gianforte was cited for assault after slamming Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs to the ground the day before the election. Yes, a lot of votes were already turned in prior to that incident. But Gianforte got little more than a slap on the wrist from the national Republican leadership and the issue wasn’t a big deal with voters.
The electorate of Montana, for now, is ok with someone who allegedly dealt bodily harm to a journalist. They’re also ok with Gianforte’s support for and association with white supremacists. They’re willing to continue to support a party that would devastate their access to affordable health care in Montana.
There have been lots of postmortems on the 2016 election. The hypothesis is that the hack of the DNC played a large role in determining the outcome of the election, that the exposure of the lies of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party at-large in the primary process was a marker of their dishonesty. It was to some degree, but this analysis ignored the fact that voters had a choice between two bodies of liars.
They chose Trump because Trump took a cultural stand. Gianforte was selected for the same reasons. Trump has successfully linked the Democratic Party with the fire and wrath of racism. It’s been happening for years and the election of Gianforte will only serve to show how many voters are willing to overlook almost everything else because they perceive themselves to be attacked by diversity and equality.
What a sad, paranoid mindset. It’s one that will allow people to put their economic best interests last time and time again.