Midway to Midterms

Midterm elections routinely go against the party that controls the White House

By Mike Jopek

What’s a Republican to do? A year ago they won majorities in both chambers of Congress. Won the presidency. Owned the show. Then that first year of governing was a doozy.

In Congress, it takes a crisis to govern. Something big has to happen. The crisis for Republicans is midterm elections.

Midterm elections routinely go against the party that controls the White House. How many seats Democrats gains remains the question that will answer whether 2019 to 2020 holds any accountability to what many voters perceive as a run amok White House.

2017 was chaos. For whatever reason, many previously loyal staff members lost their White House jobs over the year. Plenty of weird stuff happened. Fake news and alternative facts took over.

In Montana, the reelection of Rep. Greg Gianforte tops the ticket of weird for Republicans. That’s a bigger challenge given Gianforte’s past Election Day troubles and subsequent notoriety. Democrats are hungry to retake the seat.

The Republican Senate primary frontrunners are Auditor Matt Rosendale, former district judge Russell Fagg, Troy Downing and local favorite state Sen. Al Olszewski. None hold much political appeal to moderate or independently minded voters looking for a crumb of accountability from the White House.

Come fall, some local Republican-leaning moderates won’t vote Republican. They might not say it publicly. Once staunch Republicans may just skip the polls. They won’t admit it.

Locals are uncomfortable with the way politics and government is headed. It’s pretty apparent to anyone who talks to anyone else that something is cockeyed.

Republicans controlling Congress have little choice. Govern, get stuff done, and seek bipartisanship. The margin is one vote in the Senate. It’s get-along time.

Some kooky policy will have to wait. Republicans in Congress need time to get sane stuff done. To show us how hard they’re working for us.

We’ll see how that plays out. After 2017’s performance, Republicans will have to give plenty for Democrats to play. And any giving is sure to upset the most ardent Republican activists.

Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester says he’ll work with Pres. Donald Trump when feasible but not by helping Republicans defund, dismantle or privatize programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Last week Tester met with the president to talk immigration and homeland security. The day prior Trump signed orders to expand high-speed internet to rural places.

Montana is rural and Tester knows it. A couple years ago, Tester brought then chairman of the FCC to Montana to see the obstacles facing high-speed Internet for our state.

Tester has a history of supporting digital advancements. In many places of rural Montana, services like high-speed 5G internet may prove a practical way for farmers and homeowners to access the speeds needed to do work in the evolving, video-intensive world wide web.

Many rural places have long phone lines. They yield bare minimum speeds, slow for today’s web. Cable may not be available.

Satellite Internet has usage caps that prohibit much video or business use. Unlimited 5G or just unrestricted and stable high-speed access onto the web will garner plenty of appeal from Montana.

Providers may now throttle speeds to favor paying content since new FCC rules took away net neutrality. Earlier Congress, with Tester in opposition, overturned privacy rules that prohibited providers from selling your digital tracking data to advertisers.

Blame net neutrality for technology like Facebook and Twitter. Those or other coders would struggle to market new technology without equal access to the web. In remote regions of America, places like the Flathead, technology matters greatly to entrepreneurs and educators.

Policies like high-speed Internet, net neutrality, and homeland security affect Montanans. We’re a rural state with rural issues. More Montanans deserve access to the internet at speeds found in Whitefish.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.