Gopher 2014: A Solid Week of Campaigning

It’s been just over one week since Melinda Gopher announced that she would not be running for the House this cycle.  Instead, she plans on challenging Sen. Baucus in 2016.  For someone who habitually changes political ambitions, it came as a shock to see that her plans have stayed intact for over a week.



Two and a half years is a long time and leaves plenty of time for someone like Melinda Gopher to decide they’d rather run for Governor or maybe the House, again.  Who knows?

As reported earlier, don’t hold your breath waiting for a Baucus v. Gopher showdown.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

Subscribe to our posts

About the author

M. Storin


Click here to post a comment

Please enter an e-mail address

  • what a nice, snarky post mocking a fellow Democrat. of course, coming from a blogger who celebrates Baucus' "hardball" antics, which stinks of extortion and corruption, it's certainly not surprising. keep it up, M. Storin.

  • Your words reek of contempt, Storin. Ever wonder why progressives don't fit in the Democratic Party? You guys want us to 1) vote for your right wing candidates, and otherwise 2) STFU.

  • All this hating on a Native American woman who is thinking about running for elected office is like, so, totally progressive.

    • That's nothing more than the worst kind of paternalism. Personally, I think women and Native Americans are more than capable of dealing with criticism and even responding to it.

        • Sorry. Let me know when I am allowed to weigh in on my own blog, okay?

          One thing is for damn sure: I don't assume that someone's gender or race precludes treating him/her as an equal.

          • I didn't ask about your capability to comment on your own blog. I asked how you felt about your fellow blogger's capability.

  • It's nice to see all the comments defining what a "progressive" is and avoiding the obvious entailed by the snark of the post. Gopher changes her mind about which "Democrat" she's going to challenge next like most of us change our clothes.

    Liz, a "fellow Democrat" after losing a primary does not post letters attacking Democrats in general, and specifically those who supported a fellow progressive. Gopher did. Her anger was mostly reserved for those who supported Tyler Gernant. Her message was fairly clear: you can't call yourself a progressive Democrat if you didn't vote Gopher. Well, okay then. The only things she's been consistent about since that time is that no Democratic candidates are as good as she is, and her revulsion at Max Baucus. The latter is actually something she shares with many Montana Democrats, but it certainly doesn't justify the former.

    Mark, see the above and STFU. Gopher earned contempt through her own efforts. She, like you, apparently hates the Democratic party. She blamed the party for her loss in the primary of 2010, and not for the first time. Before the primary even took place, she wrote that Democrats are (secretly) misogynists. She has consistently denigrated other Democratic candidates since. Yet she continues to run as a Democrat. I've asked before, quite honestly, why she doesn't run as an Independent. Your response, Tokarski, is that independents can't win. Fair enough. So let me ask this: why doesn't she run as a Republican? If Democrats are as bad as the two of you say (WORSE! than the Republicans), and no one can challenge as an independent, then her only hope of winning is as a Republican, right? Of course, if she did that, then she would be proving that she only wants to win, the same hypocritical accusation that the both of you already level at Democrats. Or, what is much more likely, Democrats do want to do the right thing, just as Gopher does and you don't, yet they deal with the reality of electoral politics. That is something neither you or Gopher will do.

    Koehler, the only one's who've even mentioned Gopher's heritage here are Melinda Gopher and you. Yet you throw out the race card as if anyone would or should give a crap about it. This post was not about her race. There were no dog-whistles here, despite the paranoid fantasies of others. She changes her mind quite frequently, and that is exactly what M. Storin pointed out. But please, by all means, continue with the race-baiting and paranoia. I'm not afraid to say with certainty that Gopher will.

    • The reality of electoral politics is that we get to choose between right wing Democrats and right wing Republicans and that both parties are far right of the public. So the reality of electoral politics is that electoral politics is spectator sport. It is interesting that right wing Democrats as you hold progressives as we three in contempt. It says more about you than us. Why the hostility?

      • Mark, if candidates are so "far right of the public", perhaps you can explain clearly why such far right candidates keep winning elections? And don't bother to tell me that it's all about money. Tester got outspent 3 to less than 2. You need a better schtick for your Democratic hate.

        • Regarding elections in general, the public is seldom well-informed in issues, as issues are not emphasized. Consequently you have the phenomenon of people voting against their own interest, as Frank describes in his writings. You have people voting for Reagan or Bush based on positions that are exactly opposite their own, but so befuddled are they by advertising that they haven't a clue.

          Regarding Tester being outspent 3:2, if I have to explain the nature of anecdotal evidence to you, I have neither the time nor inclination. And don 't forget that in that particular election, Burns was under the shadow of Abbramoff, so that voter awareness of his dishonesty was amplified. That's the equivalent of a whole lot of free advertising.

          Not that it mattered. We got Burns II in Tester.

    • Rob, I have no doubt Melinda has pissed people off, though I'm much more out of those loops than probably everyone else commenting here, so I have no idea if what you say about Melinda is accurate or not.

      but I think this new blogger here, this m. storin, doesn't "share with many Montana Democrats" the revulsion that Max inspires after his corporate marionette performance for the health care show, which is of course why I mentioned that sorry-ass post cheering on Max going hardball for Jon.

      it seems the struggle to stake out one's claim of the shrinking progressive terrain continues. m. storin represents the sensible center-right power play. I get that. but when it's under the guise of PROGRESSIVE POLITICS FROM THE BIG SKY it can be a tiny bit frustrating.

      we'll see if the gamble works for Jon. I'm still very undecided.

  • Again, Mark, candidates are not far to the right of the public, not here, and especially not on environmental issues. But I for one would love to see Gopher run against Baucus. Why not? A spirited primary couldn't hurt, and I do think that the more people here what she has to say, the will either 1) start to think seriously about it or 2) come to view Baucus as more moderate. If the alternative is Melinda Gopher, the shrill cries of socialism that are inevitable in the general election will seem a lot less credible. In the event that she pulled off a miracle and did win the primary, it's almost assured that she would lose, but I doubt the victor would be that much less conservative than Max.

    • The behavior of candidates during elections is largely governed by polling of various groups that are economically reachable via mass advertising and other techniques. Candidates merely parrot talking points to appeal to those groups. Democrats are allowed to talk like liberals and progressives during campaigns, as our attitudes about many issues resonate with voters. This process has no effect on public policy,.

      The behavior of candidates in office is determined by the force of money and influence behind them. Public opinion is ignored unless due to some significant event there is unusual focus in the public that forces an office holder underground. Generally, between election cycles, the public is clueless, distracted and unfocused.

      This is why Obama postponed approval of the Keystone Pipeline until after the election. He doesn't want a debate about a foregone conclusion. There will be a large propaganda campaign at that time, it will be approved, and the most interesting phenomenon will be your support for the pipeline solely because it is being approved by Obama. You will conform your opinion to his.

      That's all I ever point out to you – that your beliefs are malleable and can be transfigured into right wing beliefs depending on the people in office who espouse them. You literally self-indoctrinate.

      • "That's all I ever point out to you – that your beliefs are malleable and can be transfigured into right wing beliefs depending on the people in office who espouse them. You literally self-indoctrinate."

        Indeed, that's all you point out to me regardless of what I say. You've made a real breakthrough here – you could fool a Turing test, but in the wrong direction. Do you deny a single statement I made in my comment, or do you literally have a program that tracks my comments and posts the same asinine response to them?

        • the interesting thing is way back in 2008 we warned you about what was then called triangulation, but it's easier now to see that the phenomenon is far more than Democrats and Republicans working together to trick you. That's not even needed. You willingly walk into these situations. You really have your mind set in such a way that when the Democratic leadership leads, you follow without regard to political philosophy. Nasser makes an excellent point, that in lesser evil politics, there can never be limits – there is nothing you will not support in the name of lesser eveil, by definition.

  • Both PW and Rod, there's a good article about self-delusion here:

    Nasser writes about this phenomenon where if you don't have Republican/Democratic politics, you don't have a lens by which you can view politics at all. Consequently, when presented with candidates that are carrying out identical (right wing) policies, in your mind the candidate of your party is transformed and you attribute him/her with beliefs that are not shared. So when Tester carries on with the Burns agenda, Obama with Bush's, you really do not see it. It is delusional thinking on your part.

    No matter what the majority of the public thinks. PW, the public is rarely polled on issues that do not embrace D/R, the media views politics as D/R, so you'll always be presented with a world that is D/R. You have to dig out of it on your own, and my words will never make sense to you, you will think that I have delusions until you do.

    Start with Nasser's article.

    • Since nothing in this post was about "Republican/Democratic politics", and all about a specific person calling herself a Democrat while attacking the very banner she 'supports', perhaps you're mistaken about precisely where the "self-delusion" lies. If the "lens" you write of can only encompass "Republican/Democratic politics", then it appears you suffer the very failing you warn against. It seems that you're the only one discussing it. Do you understand politics, Mark? So, I ask again in slightly different form: If Gopher is worth having as a Representative, either in the House or the Senate, then why doesn't she run as an Independent?

      • Whoosh! why can she not run as a Democrat and be taken at face as an Intelligent person – if she were, say, a Kim Gillan,full of neoclassical economics and ready to be a de facto Republican, you would support her. It is the absence of Governing philosophy, how you call yourself "liberal" when you are merely Democrat, and that can mean anything, that is so weird to watch.

        But oddly, and I haven't addressed this before, winning elections is less important when the Democratic candidate is a progressive or true liberal. Then we get the attitude exhibited by Storey here – sneering contempt.

        So I retract. It is not always only about winning elections. There are two layers to you. But only two.

        Why should Gopher run as an independent? Why is your tent not big enough to hold a true progressive individual? You know as well as I that the system is rigged, so that the only thing a third party can do is perhaps tilt an election. That's a fun thing to do, watching the theater of absurdity when one of your right wing candidates loses with a progressive on the ballot. But it's otherwise futile, and you know it.

      • sorry Rob, this post was not "all about a specific person calling herself a Democrat while attacking the very banner she 'supports'."

        that's your spin, and it's not supported by the "substance" of this post. actually, implying there is any substance to this post to begin with is pretty generous.

  • Seems to me like this post was about one thing and one thing only: while Gopher may be a fierce activist – it's difficult to take her candidacies (plural) seriously. In less than a year, Gopher went from being a possible Democratic candidate for Senate to an announced candidate for the U.S. House to an announced candidate for the Senate in 2014. To me, there was nothing less and nothing more to this post. If Gopher is going to have herself taken seriously as a candidate, then she needs to be more focused, less scattered, and more committed (to which ever office she eventually decides to seek).

    • Interesting comment given that Democrats are about getting elected, period, issues be damned. You're saying that she should focus on which election she is in. As a Democrat, are issues of any concern to you? if she were to run pro-war, pro Obama-terror, but call herself a Dem, you're OK with that?

  • You're not going to get elected and your issues aren't going to get any attention unless you're focused. Pick a race and run for it. Plant your flag and go. Changing your mind about which office you're going to run for every three months doesn't help your cause or the issues you care about…

  • I pray to god that someone will primary Max Baucus. Melinda Gopher is not the one to do it and it breaks my heart to say so. I've met Melinda, heard her speak and have followed her campaigns. Nothing would make me happier than an Indian woman holding federal office (Denise Juneau for President!). But I'd like to see a more seasoned candidate than Ms. Gopher take on Max — maybe she could first run for the state legislature, a tier B seat, county commissioner …

    I like Melinda's passion and where she stands on the issues. Unfortunately, in her last congressional race, she alienated much of her base. Example: I pointed out in a blog that her electoral strategy needed better outreach and fundraising components. Well, she ripped me a new one, and while I'm used to that, I was trying to be supportive! I heard similar stories from other potential allies.

    IMHO she's going to need a broader constituency, a more savvy strategy and a thicker skin if she's going to make a run for the U.S. Senate.

Latest PostCast

Support Our Work!

Subscribe Via E-mail


Which Democratic Candidate for Governor Do You Support Today?

Send this to a friend