The Democratic Party squandered a winnable election in Montana, progressives are screaming Friday after their guy Rob Quist lost to Republican Greg Gianforte. Gianforte’s last-minute scandal, when he reportedly body slammed an eager Guardian reporter Wednesday, gave Democrats a prime opportunity to take the House seat. Yet, the Democratic National Committee’s lackluster efforts helped secure a Republican win.
Liberal activist Shaun King was blunt in his disappointed response on Twitter and Young Turks correspondent Michael Tracy observed a frustrated Quist campaign headquarters. They all clearly had one target in mind.
The Huffington Post summarized the party’s apathy toward Montana.
The Democrats virtually ignored Quist until late April. Asked about the Montana special election, Rep Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the DCCC’s 2016 national mobilization chair, told HuffPost last month he “didn’t know about that.” But as the race heated up, the party began spending more money, tripling its initial investment to $600,000 earlier this month.
Blaming party leadership has been a favorite pastime of the left lately. After Democrat James Thompson’s loss in the Kansas special election in April, progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders criticized the Democratic Party for not dedicating enough resources to the race.
Republicans had a head start in the Montanan campaign, outspending Democrats more than two-to-one on television and radio.
What we have in this important special elections are echoes of the DNC's unity tour. In that failure of a campaign, voters booed and heckled DNC Chair Tom Perez and confused one another as to where they stand on key issues, emerging more divided than ever.