Did Your Vote Count?

By Beacon Staff
By John Fuller

Democrats beware! The majority of Montanans rejected Democrats for most offices on the ballot this year.

Republicans won sizable majorities in both houses of the Montana Legislature, the U.S. House seat, the attorney general seat and, if it hadn’t been for the Libertarians, would have won both the governor’s office and the U.S. Senate seat.

And for the first time in almost 40 years, Republicans almost won the state superintendent of public instruction office; the incumbent hanging on thanks to significant provisional ballots on college campuses. Democrats do not have free rein.

Republicans beware! You fell short on the big two. Throughout American history, minor political parties have played important spoiler roles in crucial elections.

The usual reason has been that the two major parties have strayed from their roots and/or failed to hear the message of the minority. Libertarians are not big government, big tax and spend constituents.

They are not illegal alien amnesty-granters or pro-environmental-protecting pinheads. They are limited government, low tax, individual liberty-loving people who want less government in their daily lives, not more.

Republicans need to get eloquent, realistic conservatives that appeal to all freedom-loving Montanans. The Democrats can keep the statists. Then Republicans will sweep the slate.

By Joe Carbonari

Now we know the vote totals, but do we know why they were cast? Not with any certainty, but we can still say a bit.

I’ve heard that those who voted Libertarian wasted their votes, that they ended up helping those who they least favored. Perhaps.

If all their votes had gone to Republicans instead, it definitely would have been a near Republican sweep. Instead, most statewide offices went to Democrats. Was that their intent? Probably not.

Will Republicans now lean more to a libertarian line of thought and court their votes? In some primaries, perhaps, but not in many if they hope to win in the general election, where more moderates prevail.

Votes on principle and protest should be considered in their context, be they on the left or right. In close elections they can turn out to be a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

That doesn’t make much sense to me, and for those who got their backhanded benefit, saying thanks would seem to be gratuitous. Better to stay quiet and accept graciously.

The turnout of Native American votes looks to have been a more positive story. The majority clearly voted for those who benefited them the most and they won. It’s the American way.

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