The Rural/Urban Divide

by William Skink

There is a growing sense that the divide in this country is more rural/urban than it is Republican/Democrat. That makes sense, and may be one of the factors that helped Adam Hertz squeak by with another close electoral victory for House District 96.

I was happy to see Hertz win because I think Missoula needs him to be part of our representation in Helena next year. There isn’t much patience for Missoula at the State Capitol when the legislature is in session, and with the recent gun ordinance and refugee relocation efforts, not to mention big losses in statewide races for Democrats, Missoula will be even more of a legislative pariah.

Hertz’s presence will provide balance to offset headline-grabbing political opportunists like Rep. Ellie Hill Smith, who is already chomping at the bit to take on America’s electoral college system.  From the link:

A Missoula lawmaker on Friday said she will introduce a bill to the state Legislature that would see Montana join Maryland in giving the state’s electoral votes for president to the winner of the national popular vote.

The bill, by Rep. Ellie Hill Smith, D-Missoula, came in response to Tuesday’s presidential election, in which Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College yet lost the popular vote.

“The Electoral College is a thing of the past,” said Smith. “We now have our second president who the majority of the people of the U.S. didn’t elect. It’s not equal representation. It gives more power to the rural areas.”

Ah, there’s the rub: gives more power to the rural areas. We can’t have that, now can we, because those rubes just blew up America with their Trump bomb and deprived HRC of her rightful place in the White House. So instead of preparing to actually work on Montana problems, which is what I assume her constituents would like her to do, Rep. Smith is going to waste time trying to take down the electoral college.

Here’s more from the link:

Smith believes the states are already equally represented by their appointments to the U.S. Senate. Each state has two senators, regardless of its population. With equal representation already established, the presidential race should depend on the popular national vote.

“Rural areas are weighted more than urban areas in the Electoral College, and that’s outrageous,” said Smith. “I put this out there just today, and it already has close to 300 likes and has been shared 93 times on Facebook.”

When asked if she would make the same push had Trump won the popular vote but lost the election, Smith said she would. She believes the time has come to balance the presidential race and not give rural areas of the county more say than the nation’s population centers.

“The reason that it happened is because the white rural areas that elected Trump in the Rust Belt and elsewhere, their electoral vote is more heavily weighted,” Smith said. “People worry about equal representation, but we already have it in the U.S. Senate. I don’t buy it that there’s not already checks and balances for rural representation.”

Like many Democrats, Rep. Smith is willfully refusing to learn any lessons from Trump’s victory, instead claiming the scales are “weighted” to those simple country folk, so let’s change the rules.

When Rep. Smith says she would be promoting this gambit if Hillary had been elected, I call bullshit. The entire rationale of this effort is to take away the alleged disproportionate power rural voters have in the electoral college. If Hillary had won, that would have meant more of the urban voters had made the effort to vote for her, and the rationale that rural votes are unfairly weighted wouldn’t exist.

On Facebook, which provides those quantitative likes that apparently this State Representative is using to guide her legislative decisions, Adam Hertz has already indicated how he would vote on any bill introduced along these lines:

I look forward to voting against it and reiterating the incredible foresight our Forefathers had when they created the electoral college system.

At a time when our state and our country is facing serious problems, along with a level of divisiveness that is currently spilling into acts of violence and intimidation from both sides, this effort by Rep. Smith is nothing more than a headline-grabbing publicity stunt, just like the opportunism displayed in Rep. Smith’s failed attempt to exploit the murder of the German exchange student to attack Montana’s version of the Castle Doctrine.

It’s too bad those who can’t handle the outcome of Tuesday’s election want to exacerbate the divide between rural voters and urban voters by launching a pointless effort to change the rules after those rules delivered a shocking defeat to HRC.

Instead of doing that, how about getting to work to solve Montana’s problem? Or is that too much to ask?

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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2 Responses to The Rural/Urban Divide

  1. steve kelly says:

    White colonialists never learn, never change, until they are defeated overwhelmingly.

  2. Pingback: Systemic Problems Guaranteed to Get Worse in 2017 As Montana Democrats Double-Down on Failure | Reptile Dysfunction

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