July 27, 2017

The interior west is not unsolvable for the Democrats

If you check the the 17 states where Trump still has approval of 50% or more according to Gallup, you'll find that six of them are in the south, and nine of them are in the non-coastal west. The south would be a problem in the best of times but the west is another story. Though seen today as a difficult problem for Democrats here's what the Review pointed out back in 2015 about the governor of one of its states that is currently favoring Trump by 55% or higher.
Brian Schweitzer, the former governor of Montana whom David Weigel wrote about last year in Slate:
Democrats inside and outside of Montana loved Schweitzer. The liberal “netroots” held him up as a model for other candidates, a bolo-tied Neo who’d cracked the culture-war code. Schweitzer gave a rolling, mocking speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention that won more praise than the official keynote address. He won re-election with a vote margin that he can recite from memory.“Sixty-five-point-six percent,” says Schweitzer, talking on the phone this weekend before heading to Washington to appear on ABC’s This Week.
If Schweitzer could do it, so could other Democrats if they listened better to interior America. As Wikipedia described his governorship:
 The governor's dog, a Border Collie named Jag, regularly accompanied him on work days at the Capitol, as well as some other official occasions.

Schweitzer made news with his unconventional use of a branding iron to publicly veto several bills passed by the Republican-controlled legislature. He denounced them as "frivolous, unconstitutional and just bad ideas" that were "in direct contradiction to the expressed will of the people of Montana."

He has endorsed an expansion of wind, solar, and biofuel technologies as well as a plan to turn coal into diesel fuel. Schweitzer has pointed out that Montana has had the highest ending fund balances in the state’s history under his administration, with an average ending fund balance of $414 million. The average balance of the eighteen years prior was $54 million.

As governor, he supported and signed into law voluntary full-time kindergarten. Senate Bill 2, which passed during a special session of the legislature, created full-time kindergarten. Governor Schweitzer signed the bill May 17, 2007. Governor Schweitzer was instrumental in implementing, for the first time since the Constitutional Convention of 1972 called on the State to “recognize the distinct and unique cultural heritage of the American Indians”,

As one of his first endeavors, Schweitzer proposed and passed the “Best and Brightest” scholarship program. This scholarship has given the opportunity to more than 2700 students to study at any of Montana's 2-or 4-year public colleges and universities, including community and tribal colleges.

A report released in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Education showed Montana increasing the number of college graduates by 3.2% from 2009 to 2010 – more than double any other state. The national average was half a percent.

Montana's electrical generation capacity increased more during his term as Governor than the previous 16 years combined.

Following the suicide of Iraq war veteran Chris Dana in 2007, Governor Schweitzer started the Yellow Ribbon Program.Schweitzer testified in Washington D.C. saying, “the federal government does an excellent job at turning a civilian into a warrior, I think they have an equal responsibility in turning th at warrior back into a civilian.”More than 13% of adult Montanans are veterans.This program developed policies and procedures that each Montana guardsman would undergo to ensure that physical and mental health were documented before, during, and after deployment. Automatic enrollment into the Veterans Affairs system would also be required of guardsmen to ensure delivery of benefits entitled. Following its success in Montana, the Yellow Ribbon Program was implemented nationally, and is now a part of the National Defense Act.
 Picking issues that strike home to ordinary citizens is as much a matter of cultural understanding as it is of good politics and it's something badly missing from too many Democratic leaders.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Governors are a special case. Take Clinton who was a Dem but from the DLC versus Perpich who defended state sovereignty. But Perpich was attacked as Gov. Goofy, just as Dayton was once attacked in the senate as being the worst. Effictive, popular, Maverick Dems like Perpich and Dayton abandon national power in the long run, and the Money Dems prefer to run a regional party rather than permit a national revolt against their coastal power base.