Greg Gianforte got two welcomes last night in Helena: one, the money and praise he has come to expect from the fat-cat donors who have benefited from the budget-busting tax break he passed for the rich, the other the voice of the people who have had enough of politicians refusing to meet with ordinary citizens and refusing to listen to their concerns.
As Gianforte sneaked into the Montana Club last night, surrounded by sycophants and staffers, hiding under a hat, I wonder if for a moment he considered what those protesters had to say: that it’s cowardly to refuse to have public town halls, poor leadership to only listen to those who pay for the privilege of speaking, and unbecoming for someone who wants to be our governor to run away from the very people he’d be responsible for leading. I wonder if, just for a moment, the chants of the 100+ Helenans made him realize that a real candidate for governor owes it to the people of the state to at least act as if we matter.
Inside the Montana Club, where people had to pay at least $250 for the privilege of meeting the human embodiment of the dangers of nepotism and the woman he left his wife and mistress for, perhaps Gianforte could convince himself that he truly represented the people who matter: the people who can pay.
Perhaps as he listened to Donald Trump, Jr. unironically claim that protesters were easily “triggered” because they needed “safe spaces” as he literally hid in a safe space at the Montana Club, Gianforte could console himself with the fact that he at least had the unqualified support of the sleazy, amoral son of our criminal President.
But I think, even as he was taking checks from rich donors eager to meet Trump, Jr. and forcing the simulacrum of a smile on his face while he shook their hands, Gianforte was thinking about the one word that best captures his evening in Helena.
Because there’s no better word for someone running to be governor of our great state who is unwilling to be near the great people of our state.
And he should hear that word everywhere he goes until he loses another election for Governor.