As the 2018 election mercifully comes to a close, Montana Republicans took one last opportunity to remind Montana voters that they endorse violence against the press. While riding on the bus to the Mike Pence event in Kalispell, Missoulian reporter Patrick Reilly got to experience GOP humor:
— Patrick Reilly (@PatrickfReilly) November 5, 2018
There is, of course, nothing isolated about this event. Every Montanan certainly knows that Congressman Gianforte assaulted a reporter last year the night before his election to Congress and has never come clean about his lies that night. Every Montanan knows that President Trump endorsed that violence against the press at a Rosendale rally. Every Montanan has seen the Montana GOP parrot the President’s line that the press is the “enemy of the people” because it has the temerity to occasionally write a critical piece about a Republican candidate or officeholder.
These threats are no laughing matter, and it’s telling that no Montana Republicans have spoken out against them. While Matt Rosendale got the vapors over a concert poster this summer, his campaign never denounced the President’s remarks, nor even articulated a strong defense of the press. Editorial boards have repeatedly given Congressman Gianforte the opportunity to denounce the President’s rhetoric and he has refused.
Threats against the press are what fascists do. While President Trump is sending the Border Patrol to harass Hispanic voters in Texas on Election Day and wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on military PR to “block” a group of ragged, tired migrants hundreds of miles away from the border, while the Georgia Secretary of State is using his office to suppress votes to make his win in a gubernatorial race more likely, while a sitting Congressman is running an openly anti-Semitic and racist campaign, and while children are still separated from their parents for the crime of seeing refuge in the US, I don’t raise the specter of fascism lightly.
The threat is real.
Republicans in this country have sold our Republic to a venal, corrupt wannabe tin pot dictator whose aspirations have only been checked by the incompetence of his administration and his personal weakness. Our institutions–from the press to the courts-are fraying under the strain of President Trump and the party that refuses to check one of their own.
Montana Republican leaders won’t stand up to Trump, won’t stand up against violence, but we can. If you haven’t voted yet, you still can.
If you haven’t registered yet, you still can, even though Republicans fear your right to vote so much they’ve tried to take this away.
Your vote is the best way to let them know that we don’t believe in threats against the press, against children, against voters. We can show them that we still believe in this democratic experiment and that we believe we can turn back from this darkness.