Montana Politics Senate Race 2018

Troy Downing to Try Drowning His Campaign

Political candidates whose campaigns lag behind in the polls often turn to some dramatic ruse to boost their sagging potential. Usually, this involves a bold policy announcement meant to bolster credibility with a certain targeted group or an up-the-sleeve endorsement saved for a rainy day. Sometimes a “hail mary” will work and new air comes into the campaign in the darkening days before an election.

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate “California” Troy Downing is trying such a pass. Unscientific internal polling released by his opponent, “Maryland” Matt Rosedale, shows that the state auditor has a strong lead over Downing and the other candidates who believe they can replace Jon Tester. Downing plans to throw the ball way down the field and hopes a traitor to the United States will salvage his flagging campaign. He wants to bring disgraced former Trump National Security Advisor Mike Flynn to Montana. And Downing is excited about it:

This is the same Downing who mocked Tester for being a music teacher. As if that is something to be ashamed of. But the game here is about who is more macho than the other guy. Downing–who can fly a plane, served in the military (though has very few photographs of his service and a lot of things do not add up–like how can an enlisted Airman be a “CSAR Aviator” if only officers get to fly?), and can purchase his own campaign–obviously has a lot of bravado to showcase. But it is overcompensation. Tester can fix his own tractors, butcher a cow, and stack his own hay. This has a lot more Montana value than Downing the real estate “tycoon” who has a house on the luxuriant Big Sky Resort and only knows about agriculture because he owns a California winery. My guess is that there is an endless supply of labor he takes advantage of to do the manual labor that Tester considers second nature.

It is no wonder then that Downing wants to bring Flynn here. Flynn, until he met the wrong end of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and US Department of Justice, also walked with a swagger that he could defeat the world. He was perfect for Trump for that reason: little consideration of ethics, laws, or ramifications. They can buy their way out of any problem. You know… real “man” stuff.

Flynn is on a “comeback tour” of his own, which is no doubt due to his staggering legal bills as he tries to avoid prison time for selling out American democracy to the highest foreign bidder. Mostly that was to the Kremlin, who helped get Trump elected, but also shady deals with Turkish politicians businessmen and even shadier deals with Persian Gulf princes. The most alarming one being a potential nuclear arms deal with Middle Eastern states that would create a new Cold War in the Middle East. If you have spent any time in the Middle East, you know there is no way this would be a tense standoff like the U.S. and Soviet Union. It would be a very, very Hot War. For those of us who worked under Flynn’s insane worldview at the Defense Intelligence Agency, none of this is a surprise. But what is amazing is how prominent a position he has attained in what has become a Bizarro World of American politics. And Downing wants to breathe new life into the flagging Flynn brand.

All of this is of no importance for Downing. He intends to embrace a warmonger and Islamaphobe. Downing will now host, in our state, a man who is well down the path to being revealed as a traitor to our country. He will help Flynn fund his comeback and afford his affluent lifestyle and attorneys. He will do all of this with the Montana Republicans funding and supporting it. This is the country and state we now live in.

I have become accustomed to a certain amount of craven cynicism and insidious idiocy from the Republican Party. For instance, Downing achieved early success with the support of another “real man,” Montana’s (*cough* California’s *cough*) own Ryan Zinke the Secretary of Interior now under several investigations for ethical lapses.

But this is beyond my limits. It should astound and worry Democrats and (sane) Republicans alike that a candidate will so openly and warmly embrace a clear and present danger to our country. It is a travesty that we are coming to accept this as the new normal. None of this is normal, it is a threat to the very way we live and govern ourselves. If people like Flynn and Downing pay no price for their acceptance of this then we are truly doomed.






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Josh Manning

Josh Manning is a combat veteran who lives in Helena. His writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Time and Newsweek and he has appeared on MSNBC and CNN. He was a primary researcher to the recently published New York Times bestseller "The Plot to Destroy Democracy" by MSNBC analyst Malcolm Nance. You can follow him on Twitter @joshuamanning23

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