Win Our Delegates

Democrats and Republicans are having an increasingly hard time picking nominees

By Mike Jopek

It’s more probable that the race to win enough state delegates to secure the party nominations will travel through places like Montana come June 7. Democrats and Republicans are having an increasingly hard time picking nominees for the fall’s general election.

Thought improbable, there’s movement indicating that neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders will win enough state delegates to secure a nomination without our establishment superdelegates voting at an open convention.

Even Clinton, who’s won hundreds more delegates than Sanders, won’t comfortably know until June if she wins without superdelegate votes. That’s when California, the delegate-richest state in the union, votes.

Montana, with our 27 Democratic delegates can’t compete with California’s 546, but Clinton and Sanders must visit our state and earn the vote like past candidates.

Clinton visited Butte in 2008 and her husband rallied thousands of people in Kalispell that summer. Clinton subsequently lost that Montana primary to President Barack Obama.

Sanders racked up many wins in western states like Utah, Alaska, Washington, and Colorado by big margins.

I’m hopeful Sanders and Clinton rally in Montana, preferably here in the Flathead. Sanders rallied in Wyoming, and they have fewer delegates than us.

Donald Trump sure upended the Republican establishment. It’s hard to fathom that the establishment found a person whom they politically fear more than Sen. Ted Cruz.

Many Republicans haven’t forgotten how Cruz filibustered the shutdown of government in a vain attempt to take away health insurance tax breaks from people.

Republican stewards gravely underappreciated the political appeal of a person like Trump. If Trump wins the Republican nomination, Democrats would be wise not to do the same.

But before their convention, any candidate winning enough delegates to secure the GOP nomination is uncertain. If no one wins, thousands of delegates throughout the nation will decide their rules and vote at the convention. That sounds messy.

It’s probable Trump or Cruz will rally in Montana to earn Republican’s winner-take-all 27 delegates. John Kasich may join them unless Cruz succeeds in bumping Kasich off the Montana ballot because of qualifying signatures.

Secretary of State Linda McCulloch said that Kasich would remain on the ballot unless a judge orders otherwise.

When visiting open primary states, presidential candidates greatly boost primary vote turnouts. That’s a big deal across the state where bitter legislative battles are pending, particularly in Republican primaries.

GOP hardliners are still blistering that their more moderate Republicans worked with Democrats in Helena to find home-style solutions to matters like healthcare, a balanced budget, and transparent elections.

In many districts, the ideological composition of the 2017 state Legislature will be set with June’s primary nearly as much as the fall’s general election.

In Whitefish, automobile dealer and former Mitt Romney delegate Don Kaltschmidt will face House Majority Leader Keith Regier. Both seek the GOP state senate nomination with the victor facing political-newcomer Melissa Hartman this fall. Hartman is a hardworker running in the newly formed swing district.

Regier led the 2015 opposition to compromise against Gov. Steve Bullock in the Legislature. Regier frequently found himself on the losing side of many parliamentary rules and votes as his more moderate Republican colleagues wanted to get some big stuff done for constituents back home and worked with Democrats in a divided government.

Over 600 of Democrat’s April delegates will be determined by closed primary states. Republicans were unsuccessful in convincing the U.S. Supreme Court that Montana primary elections should only be open to party faithful.

Many independents and Libertarians will join Montana’s Democrats and Republicans to select our best and brightest nominees to lead us toward fall elections.

All of the remaining five presidential candidates should visit the great state of Montana and earn our primary votes and win our convention delegates.