Republicans are already running scared. The first real poll in the race between Governor Steve Bullock and Senator Steve Daines shows the governor with a seven-point lead, and the D.C. swamp is already so spooked that they announced today that they plan to invest $10.1 million to shore up Steve Daines’s flagging chances of holding on to a seat he doesn’t deserve.
There’s little surprising, perhaps, to the news that the writers of The Montana Post enthusiastically endorse Steve Bullock in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate, but this seems like an excellent opportunity to lay out the case for his election and explain just why Republicans are so terrified they are going to lose this seat.
Governor Bullock has demonstrated the kind of leadership we need to see more of in Washington. While Senator Daines has used his time in the Senate to enrich himself by carving out special tax breaks for himself and abased himself before Donald Trump, Governor Bullock has used his time in Helena to fight for the people of our state, prioritizing getting healthcare to as many people as possible, keeping college tuition affordable, and protecting public lands for the public.
He saw as early as anyone the danger that dark money posed to our elections and has led the fight to keep Montana’s elections free of the idea that corporations are people. Imagine his voice in the Senate demanding real reform and a real restoration of the power of the people.
Governor Bullock understands that our LGBTQ friends deserve equal protection under the law and that women should be paid the same amount for the same work. He understands that our kids deserve an excellent public education from pre-school through college and that older Montanans deserve not to worry about their income or ability to pay for healthcare.
During his two terms in office, Bullock has remained a steadfast champion of middle- and working-class Montanans. He understands that the economic future of our state and the people in it depend on shoring up public education, protecting the rights of workers, and building infrastructure projects in our communities and at our world-class universities.
And Governor Bullock has been a leader in every sense of the word. Faced with often hostile Republican majorities in the Legislature, Bullock pushed, prodded, cajoled, and negotiated to make sure that Medicaid Expansion became a reality for over 100,000 Montanans. When those same Republicans wanted to put guns in our schools, politicians in our doctor’s offices, and coal waste in our streams, Bullock vetoed those measures because he understands that Montanans are not the extremists the far-right in the Legislature believes they are.
Faced with the enormous challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bullock took decisive action and saved lives. While neighboring states refused to take the necessary steps to slow the spread of the disease, Bullock listened to public health experts and reduced the spread of the disease. His leadership—both in terms of pragmatic policy and moral authority—helped Montanans understand the need to sacrifice to help our friends and neighbors.
We’re going to have months to contrast Governor Bullock’s record with that of Steve Daines, and this endorsement piece is perhaps not the place to do it. Still, that contrast is precisely why we endorse Bullock so enthusiastically. In many ways, our country is at a dangerous crossroads. We have a President increasingly incapable of coherent policy and speech, one who has abused his office for his personal enrichment, one who is tearing at the very norms that keep our Republic functioning.
And, despite the corruption, the incompetence, the needless deaths, Steve Daines, ever the errand boy, has refused to criticize or check President Trump, refused to stand for decency or democracy.
Governor Bullock, though, has kept the ship of our state steady and moving forward, despite the turbulent waters Donald Trump and Steve Daines have stirred up. He’s maintained his faith with the people of our state, the values of our state constitution, and the hope that good policy can still improve the lives of ordinary people.
We’ve been fortunate to have Governor Bullock leading our state for the past eight years. We—and the nation as a whole—will be better places when he lends his voice to the debate in Washington while we work to restore this country to what it can be at its best.
Updated to reflect that this piece is the consensus opinion of The Montana Post staff.