I’m an Irish citizen now living in Montana, and I find the candidacy of Taylor Rose for the District 3 Montana House seat deeply disturbing, considering his enduring ties to far-right white nationalist movements – a fact that the Montana GOP has sought to paper over.
Despite this, the Montana Human Rights Network and the Southern Poverty Law Center have assiduously documented Rose’s close ties with the European far-right, US neo-confederate groups, and local Montana far-right organizations.
He has spoken and written extensively in his own publications, radical right-wing magazines, news outlets, and online; the evidence is public and extensive.
I’m not sure that many of my current neighbors understand the kind of damage having white nationalists and other far-right groups openly participating in the electoral process does to a nation’s democratic institutions. Far-right groups and individuals are not interested in nurturing democracy but in manipulating it and, eventually – through fear, verbal abuse, and violence – bringing it down.
When the quest for political influence demands dismissing serious concerns about a candidate’s open association with hate groups, something has gone seriously awry. Conservative Republicans can make their case without resorting to such tactics and associations. If they cannot, then American democracy is in trouble.
Coming from Europe to America, I can say that America is an example to the world; simply put, what America says and does matters. Who America elects – even locally – matters globally. I would urge the citizens of Montana to be aware of what is being courted and accepted into the Montana GOP in their name; it is the voters’ responsibility to make it known to GOP officials that they want it to stop.
If the Montana GOP leadership won’t ask hard the hard questions, ordinary voters should.
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