Montana Politics Ryan Zinke Steve Bullock US Politics

We’ve gone mad

The first time I got to vote was 1972. I voted for George McGovern for President. He lost every state but Massachusetts. His opponent was Richard Nixon, the incumbent and Vietnam War enabler, who left the White House in disgrace 21 months later.

I’ve suffered other election disappointments since then but last night was the worst. It’s a nightmare come true.

There have been good elections – some national, some statewide, many local — but they’re getting fewer and farther between.

I have little to say about the Presidential election. I’m numb. I did have a friend call me to tell me he is scared shitless that his pre-existing health condition will mean no more insurance once Congress and Trump torpedo Obamacare.

Two other big heartbreakers for me were Denise Juneau’s loss to Ryan Zinke and Gail Gutsche’s PSC loss to Bob Lake. Denise’s race was another opportunity to make history and Gail would have brought forward-thinking to the all-Republican PSC.

Of course, the Tier B losses were deeply upsetting. Among other things, starting next year we can look forward to the Montana State Land Board auctioning off state trust lands to the highest bidder.

There were a few decent statewide and local wins: Sandefur won big over challenger Juras (by 13 points) and Bullock beat Gianforte (by four points). I haven’t delved too deeply into legislative races but maybe we picked up a seat or two. Wrong. Democrats lost three state senate seats and held steady in the house.

We passed the medical marijuana initiative, although for the life of me, I can’t understand how people could vote for that one and then turn around and vote for someone who’d gladly strip away a sick person’s right to smoke pot.

I, like Don, am going to take a blogging hiatus. Other projects deserve my attention — some political, some not. And maybe, like Don, I’ll get drawn back in when the 2017 Montana Legislature convenes.

Thanks, Don, for letting me contribute. It has been a privilege and I hope I added something to the political dialogue in my own, small way. And thank you, readers, for engaging with me over the years.

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.


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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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