Donald Trump Jon Tester Montana Politics

An open letter to Sen. Jon Tester 

Since folks are writing letters these days to elected officials, I thought I’d get in on the action.

Our two Senators, Steve Daines and Jon Tester, have sent letters to President-elect Donald Trump. I critiqued Daines’ letter here. This is my response to Tester’s letter:

Dear Senator Tester,

Don’t roll over for the Republicans. It’s tempting, I suppose, after watching our state and the nation swing right. The Republican message worked, one might conclude. It’s what the people want.

It’s more the case of Democrats not having a message – no catchy sound bites like, “make America great again” — shallow but populist, simple, and effective.

Democrats need that kind of message and then, unlike Republicans, actually offer ways to help the working class, besides an anti-everything approach to governing. Sure, anti-immigrant, anti-regulation, anti-this-and-that messages resonate with some. But how about a pro-message, as in worker rights and income equality and innovation and small business support?

Don’t hook your wagon to this administration’s policies, Sen. Tester. They will fail. Trump is a huckster and the Republicans who advance his platform will fail, too (Rep. Ryan Zinke and Daines come to mind).

Trump says he’ll “drain the swamp” and then appoints a crony cabinet, continuing his anti-everything theme: an anti-labor secretary of labor, and anti-public education secretary of education, an anti-science head of the EPA, and what Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) calls “a three ‘G’ cabinet: Goldman (Sachs), generals and gazillionaires.”

It’s unsustainable and doomed to failure.

While the rhetoric of bipartisanship and “reaching across the aisle” has a nice ring to it, nothing being proposed by the new administration seems worthy of the effort.

Please, Senator, advance policies that put the working class before corporations. Strengthen the safety nets tied to employment, housing and health. Keep us out of senseless wars. Nurture our natural environment.

Progressive politics will prevail long after the fiasco of a retrograde Trump presidency and Republican controlled Congress have faded ingloriously into the past.


Pete Talbot






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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  • Actually, Pete, Hillary lost for one reason and one reason alone.

    The Dems need to run on REAL issues, not stupid side issues. I mean, just how many time do we need to hear about gay people?? The Dems are rightly characterized as the party of gays and anti-guns. Was it worth it? Not to me.

    OK, now go ahead and call me a bigot, which I’m not. But is fascism really worth it? Sometimes, doing the right thing isn’t the easy thing. Now, we have to whip fascism before we can get back to the gay thing.

  • Larry – I think you just touched on something the Dems don’t want to talk about – which is who their constituency really is.

    If Ryan Zinke goes to Washington as the Interior Secretary I’ll be curious as to who Gov. Bullock appoints to fill the seat until the special election. I’d wager money it will NOT be Denise Juneau.

  • Eric,I believe GOP has to give Bullock 3 names and he has to select one. Eassman already said will not submit names of people that would file for office. Just will be seat warmer. Unfortunately the mess Montana Democratic Party is in I sure don’t see any strong candidates. I think would be mistake to run Juneau or any of the people that got trumped in down ballot state offices. I guess we will see if old stale losing demos control things or if any new blood takes over

  • May I co-sign your letter, Pete? Just kidding, of course, but thanks for sending a heart-felt and well-considered plea to our one remaining refuge in a storm of back-looking, corporatist hucksterism.

  • Thanks for writing this, Pete. Jon Tester likes to weigh easy things a little too slowly sometimes. I think he needs to show leadership in pushing back against Trump, Bannon, Tillerson et al. We elected Jon Tester in a Representative Democracy for his leadership, not hemming and hawing on whether we push back on Nazi’s, white supremacists, climate change deniers, and those who wish to privatize every piece of effective policy that FDR and LBJ passed. EASY.

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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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