Montana has an open primary. I have never voted in the Republican primary before. Ever. Never even considered it. Ever. So why did I vote in the Republican primary this year? Well, lots of reasons.
This year is a really unusual one. Citizens United for one. I don't even want to get started on that democracy destroying piece of judicial activism. So I won't.
Then there is the usual hue and cry over voter fraud by the Republicans. This is a total red herring - its true aim is to disenfranchise huge numbers of mostly democratic voters - the elderly, the young - mostly college students, and the poor. All these demographic groups disproportionately vote Democratic. What nice targets they make since they also disproportionately don't have government-issued ID either. Various estimates I have seen have listed upwards of three million people who voted in 2008 may not be allowed to vote in 2012 because of these new laws. This is nuts. Lots of these people have voting cards from the last election indicating that they were valid voters! But that's not good enough now.
Here locally, we had another little thing. The local Democratic party ran an advertisement seeking people to fill its precinct captain slots. Several prominent Republicans signed up to run. When challenged about this - they all played dumb and tried to claim that they weren't really Republicans even though one of them was the GOP Party finance chair, and another had previously been a GOP statewide office holder. It was interesting though - the backlash got good Democratic candidates for all of the precinct captain positions out and running campaigns - especially in the precincts that had these Republican 'trojan horses' in them.
And of course, there was our last legislative session. Instead of being about "jobs jobs jobs", the Republican led legislature spent its (mercifully short) session trying to overturn voter initiatives that had been passed not once but twice banning cyanide leach heap mining in the state. Trying to overturn Missoula's anti-discrimination ordinance that prevented job and housing discrimination against gay and transgender individuals. Trying to overturn the voter initiative for medical marijuana. And on and on and on. It got so bad that our Democratic Governor went out and registered a brand - had branding irons made up, and staged a photo op at the end of the session where he "branded" vetos on all this ridiculous legislation they had passed. Oh, and they barely got the budget done at the last minute because they had spent so much time on all this other foolishness.
Sooooo.....,.,.,I was sitting here with my two ballots. (I always vote absentee - I like having the time to really think about who I am voting for, having the time to research the candidates, and I like my paper ballot) I looked at the Democratic one. Most of the candidates were running unopposed. Or the candidates I preferred were running way ahead in the polls if there was a contested race. Then I looked at the Republican ballot. Wow! Now there was an opportunity! There were seven candidates running for governor. Three for the open US Representative seat. Two for the US Senate Seat. Four for Secretary of State. Three for Attorney General. Aha! I could vote in this one and really make an influence here.
In the race for governor/lt governor, I made the choice to vote for one of the lesser candidates rather than the two guys who were leading in the polls. I figured that voting for one of the lesser candidates would just split the race further and make it harder for them to declare a winner. The Democratic candidate, Steve Bullock, is very popular and is our current Attorney General, and is very likely to beat whatever Republican emerges from this pack of idiots anyway.
In the race for attorney general, not much separated the three of them. They were almost carbon copies of each other, all spouting RNC talking points. Hmmm. Throw a dart?
For secretary of state, I chose the guy with the least amount of experience - and he was the only one of the four who DIDN'T want to overturn our same-day voter registration law. That must make the rest of them mad at him so that's why I chose him.
Now we get to the two national races. This is a horse of a different color. Montana is considered a "red" state, even though both of our Senators are Democrats (they are both blue dogs however), and our Governor and several of our other elected officials are as well. Our at-large US Representative, Dennis Rehberg is a Republican though, and he has been in office for 16 years. He is leaving the House to run against Senator Tester, a first-term Senator who beat out a Republican incumbent by only 3000 votes.
In the US Senate race, Denny Rehberg is being primaried by a guy who has no money and zero name recognition. In fact, I think he has literally stopped campaigning because he has run out of money. I voted for him anyway. Rehberg has a war chest of about $3.4 million - and is beholden to every special interest group out there. He is formidible - however he has made some serious gaffes out there which will hurt him - and are. Recent polling shows Tester with a 5-point lead for the first time. Yay!
In the US House race, 3 Republican candidates are running, and 6 Democrats are running in this primary. On the Democratic side, Kim Gillan, my preferred candidate is polling well, has a good amount of money, and has been campaigning hard all over the state so she has good name recognition - a difficult feat in this geographically huge state with its sparse population. I think she will do well. However, with the states normal conservative bent, I felt I needed to be a little more careful with my vote here.
Of the three Republican candidates here were my choices: A 57-year-old from Connecticut who thinks Star Wars is the answer to all of our problems. A former marine who is currently a student in Colorado who thinks that some combination of Grover Norquist/Ayn Rand/Ron Paul economics is just what we need. A businessman who has lived and built a business in Bozeman who wants to eliminate just about every form of tax there is and half of the cabinet positions and the IRS except for defense of course but with no plan to pay for any of that but was totally incoherent because he wanted to eliminate the income tax on the one hand but institute a flat tax on the other. Whuh?
Yeah. And faced with the real possibility that one of these nuts might just wind up being the actual US Representative from the great State of Montana, I thought, gee - I better choose well here. So, I chose the Star Wars guy. Because of all the nuts - he was the least nuts. Yeah I know he just moved here. But that guy from Bozeman is a freak six ways from breakfast. And that other guy isn't even here NOW!
There. I'm done. Now I need a big, stiff drink. I cannot believe I did that. I also need a bath in some decontamination stuff, brain bleach, and eyewash! Shudder!
It was fun!
Oh, I forgot - I got to choose which nutbag to vote for in the Presidential election too. I chose between Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and of course, Mitt Romney. At first, I wavered between Newt and Rick. But even though I really think that Ron Paul is really dangerous - I also like the idea that he has been collecting a huge amount of delegates behind everyones back and that although Mitt thinks he has the nomination sewed up, Ron Paul just might throw a hugh monkey wrench into that little scenario. The PTB will never let Ron Paul be the nominee. Jes' sayin'. So I voted for Ron Paul. Throw that monkey wrench!!!
There! Hope you all voted too. I know it's hard - but if you don't vote - you don't get to complain after!!
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