May. 20th, 2017

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[personal profile] colorblue
There's currently a Special Election being held in Montana, to replace Ryan Zinke, who Trump tapped as Interior Secretary. The polls close on May 25th. The Democratic candidate, Rob Quist, is pretty awesome -- a folk singer who ends his rallies with songs he's written, with a career in public service, a staunch opponent of privatizing public lands, pro single payer health system (and very strongly so -- he went into debt because of a botched surgery that left him ineligible for affordable health insurance), and pro-choice.

The Democratic establishment was initially bent on ignoring him, considering the race a sure loss, while Republicans PACs poured millions to prop up their candidate, the cardboard cut-out plutocrat Gainforte. But Quist continued drawing huge crowds to his rallies, raised much more money via small donors than anyone expected him to, and the establishment and media finally started taking notice.

They're now calling this race a referendum on Trump's presidency and policies. I think they're right to characterize it this way. The GOP nominee Gainforte had previously run for governor in 2016. But at that time, he'd distanced himself from Trump, going so far as to refuse to attend Trump's rally. He lost the race for governor in a state that Trump won by 20 points. Now he's turned into a die-hard Trump booster, believing that no matter what happens, just like before, the majority of voters in his district will continue blindly supporting Trump, and tear down anyone who doesn't.

Strategists believe Gainforte holds a single-digit lead, but there have been no official polls done, and the margin of error going either way is high. A GOP loss could have a large impact on things such as the American Health Care Atrocity, Congress braking the country's slide to autocracy, etc. (It took a special election in 1974 to convince Washington that Nixon had become toxic.)

Anyway, I'm really hoping for a win, both because I think the candidate is amazing, and because of what it would mean.

You can donate to Quist's campaign here.

*

ETA: A group of 40 Montana writers distributed an insert in local Montana papers endorsing Quist. In their own words -- "In an unprecedented show of unity, more than forty of Montana’s best writers have gathered, in rapid response fashion, to write original essays and testimonials advocating for the protection of our public lands, and endorsing Democratic House of Representatives candidate Rob Quist’s position on this (literally) most common ground of issues."

Excerpt:
It’s possible, even useful, to think of these places instrumentally: wild lands make for clean water which makes for good fishing which is good for tourism, etc. There are sound practical reasons to preserve our wilderness. But these are not my reasons. I want to be touched by mystery, to walk in a place that surpasses my idea of it, to not be in charge for once. I want to touch something greater than myself. And this is where it is.
It's a brilliant collection.

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