A reality based independent journal of observation & analysis, serving the Flathead Valley & Montana since 2006. © James Conner.

24 June 2017 — 1621 mdt

Saturday roundup

Government needs to investigate the Presbyterian camp deck collapse that injured 50. Four of the injured remain hospitalized, reports the Flathead Beacon. A friend faces serious surgeries and a long, difficult, recovery. That no one died is remarkable.

According to the Beacon, Lake County’s sheriff won’t open a criminal investigation into the accident. He’s leaving the sleuthing to the insurance companies. That’s a mistake. Someone screwed-up. Who made what mistakes, and why, needs to be determined. There needs to be a public accounting.

Even if no crime was committed, government needs to know whether a deficiency in the law contributed to this disaster. A case in point is the Grenfell Tower disaster in London, which the New York Times reports was in part the result of a massive regulatory breakdown.

I’ve been to the camp, more than once, and walked on the deck. It’s an imposing, comfortable, structure in a beautiful location. But I’ll never go there again.

Montana’s Democratic Party sends an orange jumpsuit to Rep. Greg Gianforte

I got a chuckle out of this example of merry pranksterism in the Dick Tuck tradition, but not everyone did. The stunt’s critics may fear it will be followed by never ending MDP sponsored street theatre focusing on Gianforte’s misadventure with the law. If they do, I’m with them. The MDP needs to concentrate on Gianforte’s votes, comments, and positions, on public policy. Illuminate the bad policy he makes, and his failures to support good policy. The highly visible radioactive glow of his stained character is self-illuminating, has a long, long, half-life, and needs no boost from the MDP.

Will Montana's Democrats break even in 2018's legislative elections?

Probably, concludes Edward R. Burrow at Logicosity. In the Flathead, he predicts that two open MT House seats, HD-8 (map) and HD-9 (map), now held by termed-out Republicans Steve Lavin and Randy Brodehl, will be filled by Republicans. I agree that’s a high probability.

ERB also takes the Montana Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee to task for its Quixotic goal of recruiting candidates in every one of the 125 house and senate districts that will be on 2018’s ballot. In principle, I share the MDLCC’s goal, but in real life I find it impracticable and an unwise allocation of limited resources. In some districts, HDs 4, 6, 10, and 11, in the Flathead, for example, the Republican candidate could be video recorded having unnatural relations with sheep during Kalispell’s Independence Day parade and still win. Having a Democrat on the ballot in those districts is nice, but not necessary.

What kind of Democrats should be recruited to run in these hopelessly Republican deep red districts? Only politically savvy men and women who enjoy campaigning for its own sake, who aren’t bothered by knowing they won’t win, and who will have great fun marching in parades, participating in debates and forums, and interacting with voters. It’s not enough to just meet the MDLCC’s test of being a warm body stamped with a D.

Political scientists say early voting does not automatically favor Democrats

It’s an article of faith among Democrats that early voting — both in person, and through mailed absentee ballots — favors Democrats. So strong is this faith that early voting is a major component of every Democratic campaign. Even Democrats who lose their election often win the early vote.

Democrats might consider toning down their enthusiasm, suggests Paul Gronke, head of the Early Voting Center at Reed College:

I’ve never been convinced by the conventional political wisdom that early voting always helps Democrats. That just doesn’t comport with the longstanding findings that Republicans use no-excuse balloting at higher rates than Independents or Democrats. The reasons for this are complex, including what I suspect is a historical legacy of the emergence of direct mail mobilization by Richard Viguerie in the late 1970s, tied to higher rates of absentee voting among older, more conservative, more Republican voters, and Reagan’s roots in California politics. [Highlighting added by Flathead Memo.]