Montana’s only congressional seat opened-up earlier this year when Ryan Zinke, the Republican who won the seat in the 2016 election, left Congress to become President Donald Trump’s Secretary of the Interior.
In a normal year, the race to fill the vacancy wouldn’t be much of a story. The Republican party would simply produce its candidate for the deep-red state’s sole seat in the House, and that candidate would then coast in the special election against whatever opposition the Democrats coughed-up.
But in the Trump era, nothing is that simple.
With the President’s approval ratings in free-fall, and his impeachment seeming more likely by the day, Republican Greg Gianforte has found himself in the fight of his life against Democrat Rob Quist.
Polls are scarce, and the ones we do have range quite a bit, but taken collectively they seem to show an extremely tight race. Quist, though, has managed to raise over $5 million for the home stretch, and even Senator Bernie Sanders stumped for him in Montana.
Afraid they’re about to blow this lay-up of an election, set for this Thursday, the Republican party appears to be resorting to the shadiest of tricks – what the 1972 Nixon reelection campaign immortalized, and has been known ever since, as “rat-f*@uking.”
Liberal blogger “The Wonkette” is reporting that “rat-f*@uking” is alive and well in 2017:
“…my Montana-resident husband received a nice telephone call this week asking him whom he’d be supporting in the special Congressional election. “Rob Quist,” he said, because my husband is not an idiot. (And because nobody likes Greg Gianforte, who lost to a Democrat for governor just last fall, underperforming Donald Trump by 10 percent.)
“The young lady calling from the Idaho number thanked him and asked him to be sure to vote early! “Early voting would start at 8 p.m. on May 25,” she said, ever so helpfully! Please do not listen to that young lady, fellow Montanans. May 25 (Thursday, which is fucked up) is election day; early voting is NOW.”
The Wonkette contacted every state and federal agency she could think of to report the incident, but everyone kept passing the buck. With serious legislation on the horizon (not to mention a possible impeachment) and the Republican majority in the House already razor thin, it’s not surprising at all that they would resort to the time-honored tradition of “rat-f@*king.”
You can read The Wonkette’s entire enlightening blog post
Peter Mellado is a writer, producer, and a branding and messaging specialist with over 15 years experience. He studied history at San Jose State University, and resides in Los Angeles.