Montana Politics Ryan Zinke

Could Trump/Zinke lose Montana?

With our measly three electoral votes, pollsters aren’t clamoring to find out what Montanans are thinking.

The only poll I can find was conducted back in Spring 2015 and had Donald Trump beating Hillary Clinton by nine points. That was nearly 15 months ago. Since then, the site has gone from “strong GOP hold” to “moderate GOP hold.”

Trump took the Montana Republican primary with 73 percent of the vote, so he definitely has support, and Sanders beat Clinton in the Democratic primary 51-44 percent, so her base in Montana isn’t that great.

But that was a while ago, too.

It’s hard to admit when you’re wrong: Trump can’t do it and Zinke is bad at it, but one has to wonder if Zinke isn’t rethinking his relationship with Trump.

He wasn’t backtracking yesterday in Missoula, though. From the Missoulian:

“Mr. Trump has good policies,” said Rep. Ryan Zinke during a luncheon at the Hilton Garden Inn. “Sometimes a big mouth.”

Good policies? Well, at least Zinke got the mouth thing right. Zinke goes on to blame the media for Trump’s woes:

“The media is never going to be on his side,” Zinke said. “He’s gonna say the sky is blue and the media is going to call him racist because he didn’t mention red or white.”

(Someone should remind Zinke that “media” is a plural noun.) But of course, it’s all the media’s fault, certainly not Trump’s “big mouth.” The fact the election is probably “rigged” is also a Trump defense.

Zinke alluded to Trump’s assertion that the November election may be “rigged.” “If you see election fraud, then take a stand,” he told the crowd. “Don’t let it go.”

Yup, keep your eyes peeled for that oh-so-pervasive election fraud.

At Trump’s current rate of descent, he could actually lose Montana, and Zinke, by hitching his wagon to the Trump star, will have a harder time holding on to his congressional seat. One can see why they’re getting the corrupt media and rigged election message out in front of the people early and often.

Now Montanans are an independent lot and have been known to split a ticket — a Republican president, a Democratic governor, a Republican congressman, a Democratic senator. Also in play is Libertarian Gary Johnson, and potentially Jill Stein of the Green Party, although signatures are still being collected to get her on the ballot. What the disenfranchised Republican and Democratic voters will do remains a mystery.

It would be a surprise, but less-and-less of one, if Montana went Democratic in the 2016 presidential race. It would be the first time since 1992, when Bill Clinton beat George H. W. Bush (with the help of H. Ross Perot).

The potential is there for a Hillary Clinton/Denise Juneau win.



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  • I find it quite disturbing that you tied Denise Juneau to Clinton (the last Democrat to take Montana was the Clinton that deregulated the media and the banks, imposed NAFTA and shattered the safety net for vulnerable families with the help of his brilliant and ambitious wife). I do not believe that Denise would sacrifice the well being of others as Hillary and Zinke are inclined to do.
    There is more than a little fear in the Flathead about anything other than giving in to the hostage taking situation we know as Hillary. Bernie won in Montana, but Killary got more delegates because- why? WTF??? I am left questioning Montana Democrats commitment to democracy and human rights.

    Zinke and Clinton are two of a perfect pair- they both put survival, healthcare and education far below the enrichment of the military industrial complex. Contrast Zinke and Clinton with Denise Juneau who worked tirelessly to prove that graduation matters- even if it takes someone more than 18 years to get it done.

    Zinke claimed that we cannot afford to educate children beyond the age of eighteen , but advocates for more spending on military aggression (how clintonesque). Comparethat to what Denise Juneau did for Montana students and their communities.

    • Carla, the only way I tied Juneau to the Clintons was through voter trends. I posited low voter turnout for Trump, ergo low numbers for Zinke. That would help the Democratic candidates H. Clinton and Juneau. I’m not talking policy here at all.

      The gist of this post is Zinke is pimping for Trump, which could hurt Zinke and help the Democratic ticket.

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Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.

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