“What would it take for a Republican or self-identified independent to vote for a Democrat in local elections?”
This is a question the small, Democratic Party inner circle establishment, mostly from Whitefish, has posed to their membership after this author has pushed the question for many years. Understand this is not your typical political party, but rather a “social club” calling itself a “political party.” (If you want to see how a true political party functions, I refer you to the Republican Party.)
It is mostly a few wealthy residents who have hijacked the name “Flathead County Democratic Party” as if to claim they are representing the entire county. However, their focus is on electing Whitefish residents to Montana’s congressional seats and they pay little or no attention to electing Flathead County commissioners.
So, how to answer the question posed by the current Whitefish party leaders? They certainly won’t like, nor accept, my answer.
First of all, Republicans in Flathead County vote for a candidate who is tough-minded and ideological, not very tolerant of others since “compromise” is a dirty word, and is very much unified, dedicated, and focused on winning at all costs. While being really a social club, Democrats seem to attract the intelligentsia, are too tolerant of others to a fault and never find agreement as they are always looking for collaborative solutions, and are not very tough and will never appear as such to the 70 percent Republican majority in Flathead County.
Republicans tend to vote for candidates who are just like them, not necessarily for those who know how to govern and would serve their best interests. Issues and facts do not appear to matter much. Perception has become reality.
Secondly, as far as attempting to gather independents’ votes by offering to be the “lesser of two evils,” that is not proving to work as the environmentalist ex-wing of the Democratic Party isn’t buying into that anymore and they are sitting on their hands and not voting for either party. Independents are mostly environmentalists who want to defend wildlife and preserve their habitat, and protect the water we drink and air we breathe, conserve nature and the ecosystem, but cannot find representation in either party for that. (My attempts to have these principles added to the Democratic platform have been continually rebuffed … and, of course, there is no sense in even trying to convince the Republicans to do it. That leaves me, and others, disenfranchised since there is no such thing as an “Independent Party.” In fact, the only thing Republicans and Democrats can agree upon is to stamp out any attempts at founding a Third Party.)
So, I say to you Flathead Democrats: “Your cause will remain hopeless, as always, under your current regime.” Any effort to convince Republicans and independents to vote for your Whitefish party (social club) is futile, until/unless you make the sacrifice of turning the party over to a different group of individuals from the county to lead. That, in my estimation, is an unlikely event. Wielding power is too intoxicating to relinquish.
Bill Baum lives in Badrock Canyon.
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