by Dr. Edwin Berry
My book “Montana’s Last Indian Water Compact” (now in paperback and Kindle) addresses the reason the Montana Republican Party is controlled by a right-wing fringe that represents only 20 percent of Montana Republicans and ten percent of Montana voters.
They are the “Very Conservative Evangelical” or VCE face of the Republican Party. (Not all Evangelicals are VCEs.)
They are the reason Montana had only one House vote to spare in 2015 to ratify the CSKT Water Compact.
They are also the reason a Democrat may beat the Republican candidate in the coming election to replace Ryan Zinke in Congress.
VCEs make bad decisions.
They are the reason for the “split” in the Republican Party.
My book Chapters 1 to 8 show why the VCE’s arguments against the CSKT Compact were invalid, irrational, and immoral. The debate was not even close. Democrats and true Republicans were right, and the VCEs were dead wrong.
New Chapters 9 to 12 explain how the VCEs’ thought patterns defy rational thinking. They are not conservatives. They are composed of Dominionists.
They follow the immoral Negative Voting Mantra (began by Jane Fonda) that is rejected by all major Christian churches. Their Mantra causes them to make bad decisions.
They believe the Earth is only 6000 years old. They believe “chemtrails” are a government conspiracy to poison them. They believed the CSKT Compact was an Agenda 21 government conspiracy. That is the real reason they opposed the Compact. Their inability to understand reality causes them to make bad decisions.
The CSKT Compact was a bipartisan issue. VCE’s don’t understand bipartisan issues. Led by Keith Regier, they think Republicans must always vote to oppose Democrats no matter what the issue.
We understand that Democrats and Republicans differ on partisan issues that are matters of opinion. But logical Democrats and Republicans will agree on bipartisan issues that can be decided on facts.
We agreed that the CSKT Water Compact was good for Montana. Now, we agree that the MTGOP may select a Republican candidate who will lose to the Democrat in the coming election to replace Congressman Ryan Zinke when he becomes Secretary of Interior.
VCEs are a danger to all Montanans, Democrats and Republicans. VCEs are far more politically active than the other 80 percent of Republicans, they dominate almost half of Montana’s legislature and control Montana’s Republican Central Committees.
As a group, they did not support Trump for President. Their contingent went to the Republican Convention hoping they could nominate Cruz rather than Trump.
VCE Matt Monforton wrote (on Twitter or Facebook) shortly before the November 2016 election that it was, to paraphrase, “too bad the Republicans nominated the only candidate who could not beat Hillary.”
Like Trump or not, any Republican who did not figure out by April 2016 that Trump would win the nomination and the election, does not understand politics. Monforton proved that he, like all VCEs, does not understand politics.
Ryan Zinke won decisively in 2016.
VCEs did not support Ryan Zinke in his successful election to Congress.
VCEs don’t understand why Tim Fox, Ryan Zinke, and Donald Trump won by such margins.
They don’t get it that VCEs Matt Rosendale and Elsie Arntzen won only because of Donald Trump’s coattails.
Attorney General Tim Fox strongly supported the CSKT Compact. Zinke supported the Compact and Donald Trump.
VCEs don’t understand why their VCE candidate Greg Gianforte lost significantly to Democrat Governor Steve Bullock in the governor’s race. Gianforte was the only Republican to lose a statewide race.
He lost to Governor Bullock by 19,818 votes. Many of the 28,037 Libertarian votes votes come from mainstream Republicans who do not like Gianforte.
Gianforte had several negatives, some caused by effective campaigning by the Democrats. But Gianforte also made his own mistakes.
In my opinion, Gianforte made two major mistakes. He did not support Donald Trump and he did not support the CSKT Compact. I believe if he had done those two things, he would have won with support from Trump’s coattails.
Gianforte was a VCE candidate. He chose VCE advisors who were very negative on Trump, right up to the final election. That did not help him.
Gianforte himself was not openly negative to Trump or to the Compact. He was neutral. He avoided any mention of Trump or the Compact. He did not attend the one rally Trump held in Montana, which I thought was a huge political mistake. Zinke attended Trump’s rally.
Gianforte’s well-known belief that the Earth is 6000 years old, and his financial support of a museum that promoted that belief, did not help him with many voters, myself included.
Who will replace Ryan Zinke in Congress?
Now that President Donald Trump has chosen Zinke to lead the Department of Interior, the Montana GOP is in a position to destroy Montana’s Republican dominance in the elections.
Since there will be no primary election, the MTGOP will choose the Republican candidate to run for Congress.
Will the MTGOP choose one of their own VCEs, like Gianforte or Miller, and risk losing Zinke’s congressional seat to a Democrat?
Or will they choose the only candidate who has a good chance to beat the Democrat, and who is not a VCE?
While I cannot predict the result of the coming election, I can estimate odds.
There is only one non-VCE candidate who the MTGOP can choose. That candidate is Ed Buttrey. Buttrey voted for the CSKT Compact. Buttrey is the candidate most like Zinke.
If the MTGOP chooses Ed Buttrey, Buttrey will very likely win.
If the MTGOP chooses any other candidate, all of whom are VCEs who did not support the CSKT Compact, then the Democrat is very likely to win.
I estimate Buttrey’s chance to win is ten times the chance that any other Republican candidate can win.
Ryan Zinke used a proven formula to win a statewide race. VCEs reject both Zinke and his proven formula to win. That is a bad decision.
At risk in the MTGOP decision is Montana’s lone seat in Congress and potentially the chance for Republicans to recapture Senator Tester’s seat in 2018.
Voter wake-up call
I repeat here the last section of my book:
The CSKT Water Compact is an example of how the far-right VCE Republicans make bad decisions. They did not represent the people of Montana. Their bad decision on the Compact almost destroyed Montana.
VCEs have no concept of opportunity cost. They voted to subject Montana to a generation of costly, unwinnable lawsuits, with no regard for the opportunity cost to Montana.
They don’t understand the value of money and time. They don’t understand how money and time, properly invested, can help Montana. They would rather piss away Montana’s future value just to satisfy their irrational VCE feelings.
In short, VCEs are dangerous to Montana because they make decisions that harm Montana.
In 2014, Montana voters did not know if the legislators they voted for would ratify or reject the CSKT Water Compact.
Montana voters elected too many VCEs in 2014 and repeated their mistake in 2016.
Montana Republicans must regain control of their central committees.
Democrats and true Republicans can help Montana. They can make votes on the CSKT Compact an issue in future elections. They can teach voters to understand the difference between true Republicans and VCEs.
We get what we vote for, on purpose or by accident.
I may be the only person who will tell you the real story behind the CSKT Compact and the radical fringe of the Republican Party.
My book “Montana’s Last Indian Water Compact: The Truth about the Compact and the Republican Party” explains what few people know about the Republican Party.