Greg Gianforte’s Running Mate Supports the Right to Evictions and Foreclosures During the Coronavirus Pandemic

House with gavel and law books. Real estate law and house aucti
House with gavel and law books.

I was already astonished that Greg Gianforte chose Kristen Juras as his running mate for the 2020 election, given her almost cartoonish opposition to public access and equal rights. Still, I would have guessed that someone at the Gianforte campaign would have had the good sense to ask her to stop commenting on social media during the campaign.

They, it appears, did not, and this evening Juras declared that Governor Bullock had transformed the economy of Montana into a socialistic one because he ordered landlords not to remove people from their homes for eleven days during a global pandemic.

In a post about this news story which outlines Bullock’s executive order, Juras responded with the kind of reasoned thinking she’d bring to the office of the Lieutenant Governor:

Let us be clear about this.  While cases in Montana are snowballing and experts are predicting that as many as 240,000 Americans could die, Greg Gianforte’s running mate believes that Governor Bullock’s 11-day order that protects people from eviction, foreclosure, and utility disconnection amounts to lawless socialism that must be resisted.

Those eleven days (until April 10th) are likely enough time for people who have lost their jobs to receive their unemployment benefits. A few days after that and these most economically vulnerable people might even have their small $1,200 checks from the federal government to help cover their debts and pay their landlords and their mortgage holders.

Not sensible policy, according to the person Gianforte has chosen as his running mate, but virulent Marxist-Leninist subversion.

I mention those $1,200 checks for a reason, because Congressman Gianforte just voted for a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, noting that many Montanans are facing an economic crisis:

Montanans are concerned.

They’re concerned about the health of their families and communities.

They’re concerned about the fallout from this outbreak. They’re concerned they may have to shudder their businesses and lay off their workers. They’re concerned they may not have a job tomorrow or see their next paycheck.

Among the two trillion dollars in that package were $58 billion to prop up American airlines, $17 billion in loan relief for Small Business Administration loans, and roughly $500 billion in assistance to large corporations.

And although I have searched high and low, I can’t find one moment where Juras has referred to that massive taking and giving as “socialism” or one moment where she’s criticized Congressman Gianforte for taking $2 trillion from the American people to help our fellow Montanans who “may not have a job tomorrow or see their next paycheck.”

I certainly hope someone in the Montana press will ask her to explain.

Juras is not alone in her stunning callousness during this crisis. Representative Brad Tschida, who sat through the Legislative Leadership meeting today to discuss how Montana can spend the $1.25 billion it will receive in direct aid from the coronavirus relief bill, threatened to sue:

Governor Bullock issued a legal executive order rooted in the Montana Code, an order designed to keep people safe in their homes during an economic and health crisis that threatens the lives and jobs of thousands of Montanans. The response from the person Greg Gianforte chose to be his running and other Republican leaders lays bare their actual belief system: that human life is less important than making a few bucks.

It is hard not to recall the words of an actual socialist, Eugene Debs, who, during his 1918 Canton speech, called out the hyperbolic, performative patriotism of people like Juras and Tschida.

In passing I suggest that we stop a moment to think about the term “landlord.” “LANDLORD!” Lord of the Land! The lord of the land is indeed a superpatriot.

I’m confident that Juras, Tschida, and the rest feel entirely filled with patriotic fervor while they wave their pocket constitutions in the air and bray about “socialism,” but I’m even more confident that most Montanans understand that protecting people from homelessness during a pandemic trumps hypocritical posturing.

We know how Governor Bullock is handling this crisis: with decisive leadership that puts health and safety first. Given that his running mate believes it is “socialism” to ensure that a few Montanans have a couple of weeks to secure the money for rent and mortgage payments, don’t we deserve to know where Greg Gianforte stands? Don’t we deserve to know how he would lead and what values would guide him?

I certainly hope some enterprising reporter in the Montana press takes the time to ask.

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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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

13 Comments

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  • What do you think this means? MT Constitution Art II Section 2. Self-government. The people have the exclusive right of governing themselves as a free, sovereign, and independent state. They may alter or abolish the constitution and form of government whenever they deem it necessary.

    • It means that if the people of Montana want to write themselves a new constitution with a new form of government (as long as it doesn’t conflict with the US Constitution) they can.

      Did I pass?

      • Did you pass? Almost. I think the key word is “they”, referring to the people, who have the “exclusive”(another key word) right. Not the governor or some non-elected agency bureaucrat. But the people, through their legislative representatives.

          • No. It’s every elected official, no matter what their political flavor, who thinks that something in the Constitution gives them the sole power to suspend the Law of the Land.

              • Since when do “codes” trump the Constitution?

                /“Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it; and this I know, my lords: that where the law ends, tyranny begins.” -William Pitt/

                /“All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void.” (Marbury vs.Madison, 1803.) /

                /“Every law consistent with the Constitution will have been made in pursuance of the powers granted by it. Every usurpation or law repugnant to it cannot have been made in pursuance of its powers. The latter will be nugatory and void.” (/*/Thomas Jefferson/* /, Elliot, p. 4:187-88./

                /“…the laws of Congress are restricted to a certain sphere, and when they depart from this sphere, they are no longer supreme or binding. In the same manner, the states have certain independent power, in which their laws are supreme.” (/*/Alexander Hamilton/* /, Elliot, 2:362.)/

                /“This Constitution, as to the powers therein granted, is constantly to be the supreme law of the land.… It is not the supreme law in the exercise of a power not granted.”(/*/William Davie/* /, Pennsylvania, p. 277/

                /“It will not, I presume, have escaped observation that it expressly confines the supremacy to laws made pursuant to the Constitution” (/*/Alexander Hamilton/* /, concerning the supremacy clause The Federalist Papers, #33.) /

                /“There is no position which depends on clearer principles than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.” (/*/Alexander Hamilton/* /, The Federalist Papers, #78.) /

                • @lam – You take issue with Mr Pogreba’s recommendation that you read the Montana Code Annotated, which is an actual adjunct to the Constitution.

                  Then you proceed to blather on with cherry-picked quotes from the Federalist Papers, which have no standing or relevance to anything in law.

                  Imagine my surprise!

                • While I am struggling to understand how someone who seems not to understand what Montana law is has much to offer, could you please offer your keen legal insight explaining how the Constitution has been violated?

  • Mr Pogreba offers, “I certainly hope some enterprising reporter in the Montana press takes the time to ask.”

    I certainly hope some enterprising reporter GETS THE CHANCE TO ASK!! Gianforte appears to be maintaining his cowardly avoidance of any such opportunity. I’m not sure if that’s because he’s concerned that he might yield to the temptation to respond with physical violence, or because he realizes how egregiously out of sync he is with the overwhelming majority of Montanans. Maybe both??

  • We live in a nation where corporate risk is socialized (corporate bailouts, etc.) and corporate profit is privatized (little or no taxation). I commend Bullock’s decision.

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