Greg Gianforte Montana Politics Rob Quist Steve Daines

Guest Post: Make America Great Again, A Do-Over

Written by Don Pogreba
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by Gaynell Terrell

I spoke today with a Democratic party staffer who said a lot is riding, nationally, on Montana’s special election. Two minutes later I spoke to a Montana voter who said Rob Quist was not her first choice for Congress and she wasn’t energized. That’s okay – this can still work for everyone.

That’s because the rollout of a new health care plan and the president’s budget are not good signs of things to come. A lot of people in Montana like having health care. They like Meals on Wheels and PBS and funding public schools. Montana voters don’t like threats to public lands, or polluted streams and lands and dirty air.

It’s apparent the GOP takes “red state Montana” for granted. Truth is, Montana values aren’t always Democrat or Republican – we cross party lines. (Hello, Democratic governor and Republican legislature.) Which brings us back to Rob Quist, who happens to be the Democratic nominee. He may not be your first choice, but what he stands for grows on you. He supports Social Security and Medicare, veterans’ programs, public schools, tax reform for small businesses, agriculture and trade. He would streamline student loans and cap interest rates. He would work to provide health care for everyone, not cut out older, poorer, rural Americans the way the current plan does.

He is against wholesale transfer or sale of public lands into private ownership.  He would work for paycheck equality. He believes in Native American tribal sovereignty. He’s not held an elective office, but has represented Montana for years as a cultural ambassador, fundraised for the Montana Food Network and served two terms on the Montana Arts Council.

Read the web page, go hear him talk. We can make this work.

Sen. Steve Daines has insulted Quist’s integrity and looked down on his musical accomplishments. Yes, Quist supported Sen. Bernie Sanders, who remains one of the most popular politicians in the nation, with a base in Montana. And music is a compelling force in Quist’s life and he’s right proud of entertaining us good folk. I’d think less of Daines if I knew he didn’t like music.

Back to my first phone call. There’s something in politics called momentum. If Montana sets an example by voting for values instead of political parties, it could set up the coming mid-term elections for other candidates who are value driven. People driven. And we’d have Meals on Wheels, which incidentally cost less than paying for security at the president’s private Florida club. Camp David has been used by every other president since FDR in 1942, but Trump called it “rustic,” which just goes to show he doesn’t get Montana values.

The presidential election was all about stirring the pot, helping a middle-class America that works hard but never gets ahead. The experiment didn’t quite work, but we can change that, too, and put value-driven candidates in place to speak for all of us. It all starts with voting Quist for Congress on May 25, right here in Montana. And we’ll build from there.

Gaynell Terrell lives southwest Montana.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

7 Comments

  • What’s to get energized about? Quist gamed the system. He went to four obscure counties in E. Montana, found four people willing to vote for him, formed central committees, and then used those votes to steal the election from Amanda! Sorry, but that’s about as underhanded as it gets.What is the Montana value Rob was exhibiting?

    A special election should be about the party leaders coming together to pick the best candidate from the existing field of politicians in the state, for they are supposedly the folks with the expertise.

    But energized? No. The party pulled a Tom Brady on us. They deflated the ball before the game even started! They decided to throw a Hail Mary pass. And then, they tried an end run around the electorate. Only little problem is that those 10,000 women who showed up in Helena never took their eye off the ball. They weren’t fooled And now, there are yellow flags all over the field and the party hacks can’t figure out why!

    Quist needs to do the right thing and just get out now. I’m sure that he has a computer. So Rob, come on here and tell me why I should vote for you after you stole the electiom from Amanda Curtis. If you can convicnce me that it was the right thing to do, maybe I’ll vote for you But you owe us that much. Buck buckaroo!

      • What would you call it, Don? Did the sytem work? If so, how? You’re the debate coach. Why would anyone “campaign” for a special election? Who are they trying to influence? Those four delegates in each of those seven counties? Apparently so.

        To me, that is NOT how the system should work. And I’m not alone.

      • Merv apparently has no idea how the local precinct system works. These votes were there the entire time, but since no one had pursued them they just sat there. Is it fair that these small counties with only a few people and even fewer Democrats have the same voting power as Yellowstone, Missoula, Gallatin or Flathead counties within the state party, no it is not, but that is how it is. If you do not like it, get it changed. As far as Amanda Curtis goes, had she been the nominee she would have gotten about 40% of the vote. During her senate run, she ignored huge swaths of the state as she did not even make an appearance in them. Amanda is a good state representative, but with her views on gun control and with her wingnut husband, she is not a good statewide candidate. And Merv, on a personal note, you really need to get some help with this schoolboy crush you have on Amanda, it looks really creepy from here.

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