Here are my own biased, unsubstantiated, perhaps unsubstantiatable views on what put Jon Tester over the top in his race against Donald Trump and his Mini-Me. However, as many as 50.1% of those of you who voted in the race may agree with me.
(“Don’t be too sure,” you say.)
Jon Tester had some advantages:
*Real dirt farmer, the only one in Congress.
*Staff for him and the party of primarily young people with energy and a vision of an America that is good for all.
*Enough Montanans disgusted with our country’s downward spiral that they volunteered in record numbers to register voters, make calls, and knock on doors.
*Leaders on Montana’s reservations who helped turn out people to make sure their voices were heard.
*Campaign that galvanized youth, young adults, women and moderates.
(I hear you thinking out loud, “Boring, get down to the good stuff.”)
However, the president had YUGE advantages:
*Montana had elected Trump in a landslide, while Tester had never even achieved 50% of the vote in his two previous victories.
*Billionaires made sure there was unlimited money available to attack Tester.
*The local, state, and American taxpayers financed Trump, Pence, and their federally-paid surrogates for multiple campaign trips to Montana to the tune of millions.
*Then add in the reason why Jon Tester could not possibly win: In this election, Montanans voted for Republicans. We are talking one US representative, two Public Service Commissioners out of two, 14 state Senators out of 25, and 58 representatives out of 100. Add in the two ballot initiatives defeated by Big Tobacco and Big Mining. While there were enormous Democratic gains throughout the US, this was a Republican sweep election in Montana, except for one race.
(“And I suppose you’re going to tell me why,” you say with a decided lack of interest.)
Yes I am. Trump made it clear this was personal. Trump said a vote for Rosendale was a vote for Trump. He also said he was going to crush Tester because Jon kept Trump’s personal physician, Ronny Jackson, from heading up the VA. Tester allowed people who worked with Jackson to tell what he was really like. Then Trump committed unprecedented presidential, vice-presidential, family, cabinet, and party surrogate time and prestige to his personal vendetta against Jon.
(“That wasn’t a reason why he would lose, ” you point out with some logic. “Those were reasons he would win.)
Hang on, I reply. I believe that if Trump had only come once to Montana, Rosendale would have won. One trip energizes the Trump base. More trips do not get more Trump voter support. They only allowed him to make outrageous statements that tipped enough independent and moderate supporters to make the difference.
While Tester had a lot of great people actively working for him, the winning margin came down to this: Donald Trump lost what should have been a slam-dunk win, through bad decisions because of his own overwhelming ego.
I never thought I would thank God for Trump’s ego. I doubt I will again.
(“That’s it?” you say. “It’s a good thing I have an app that reads stuff like this for me and then shreds it so I don’t waste my time.”)