FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

"Socialist" Wins Republican Nomination in Montana

When it comes to politics in Montana, anything can happen.

At least that’s the sentiment rolling out of the state this past week as a long shot candidate for U.S. Senate, Bob Kelleher, won the Republican nomination and will take on seasoned Democrat Max Baucus in next fall’s election. The odd thing about the whole ordeal is that Kelleher is pretty much a bona fide socialist. More so, than say, Senator Bernie Sanders at least. Not that that’s saying a whole lot, but Kelleher’s policies do tilt dramatically left of his Democratic opponent.

Kelleher brings the same spunky flare that he has brought to his politics for the past four decades, where he’s lost 15 of his 16 bids for public office. He’s run repeatedly as a Democrat and as a Green, so his allegiance to the Republican Party is nebulous at best. But that didn’t stop the 85-year-old Kelleher from winning by a margin of 10,000 votes last Tuesday, despite no cash and very little campaign organization.

The victory has left many veteran Montana election veterans scratching their heads in bewilderment. How did this guy win by running within the Republican Party? Ron Paul’s supporters came out in droves, but many don’t follow Kelleher’s socialist leanings. The most likely answer is two-fold. First, Kelleher’s name is well known, as his name has appeared on the ballot so many times. Second, it was a six-way race, splitting the votes among the rest of the right-wing and centrist pack, leaving Kelleher on the left, all alone.

Even so, it was still a substantial feat, and it just goes to show you can’t tell which way the winds are blowing the Big Sky state.

Kelleher wants a “non-violent” revolution to essentially dismantle the government in Washington, doing away with the presidency, Senate and House, and replacing it with a parliamentary body, where citizens don’t vote for individuals, but for parties. He wants massive Keynesian-style work programs to eliminate poverty; he favors real socialized medicine, an end to neoliberal trade policies, and a revamping of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, to name a few of his positions.

Kelleher’s opponent, Max Baucus, has already refused to debate Kelleher, and has said assertively that he is “not running against anyone”. Nonetheless, Baucus certainly deserves the challenge. He’s supported the invasion of Iraq, trade policies that have hurt working Montanans, and an agenda that is shaped by corporate influence, which has helped him amass over $10 million for a campaign he has said he basically is not going to run.

Democrats like Baucus don’t embrace competition, they ignore it. In doing so, however, Baucus may hurt himself, as he will be ignoring the wishes of tens of thousands of Montana voters that have giving Kelleher the green light to challenge him.

Sadly, the Republican Party is also shunning Kelleher’s campaign, with state party officials saying they will not back their candidate for U.S. Senate, as he’s a long shot. They’ll focus on “winnable” elections instead. That’s certainly not going to stop Kelleher, however, who’s obviously not deterred by the impossible.

And Kelleher doesn’t give a damn about his own party rejecting him.

“The party has actually no legal significance,” he said. “The party platforms are unenforceable. It’s a lie to voters to give them an impression that any party stands for anything.”

But Kelleher sure as hell stands for something, and he will likely get crushed in November as a result.

Nevertheless remember, this is Montana, and when it comes to politics and elections, anything can happen.

JOSHUA FRANK is the author of Left Out! (Common Courage Press) and the co-editor, with Jeffrey St. Clair, of Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland (AK Press). Visit the new Red State Rebels website.

 

Your Ad Here
 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book, co-authored with Jeffrey St. Clair, is Big Heat: Earth on the Brink. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank

Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
Peter Crowley
Outsourcing Still Affects Us: This and AI Worker Displacement Need Not be Inevitable
Alycee Lane
Trump’s Federal Government Shutdown and Unpaid Dishwashers
Martha Rosenberg
New Questions About Ritual Slaughter as Belgium Bans the Practice
Wim Laven
The Annual Whitewashing of Martin Luther King Jr.
Nicky Reid
Panarchy as Full Spectrum Intersectionality
Jill Richardson
Hollywood’s Fat Shaming is Getting Old
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Wide Sphere of Influence Within Folklore and Social Practices
Richard Klin
Dial Israel: Amos Oz, 1939-2018
David Rovics
Of Triggers and Bullets
David Yearsley
Bass on Top: the Genius of Paul Chambers
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail