by Travis Mateer
UPDATE: I received a message that I have conflated TWO separate David Bell’s. If true, I apologize for the mismate.
Donald Trump is an amazing weapon. The psychological wreckage this one individual has caused is without precedent. As just one example of this man’s impact, the daughter of Darth Cheney, Liz, is gonna do whatever it takes to keep him from the Republican nomination in 2024.
What does that mean? And how many other people in positions of power feel the same way?
To assess the political landscape, Americans really do need a functioning media, since they’re kinda busy surviving and stuff. Instead, they’re increasingly being treated to an openly biased crusade FROM the media claiming journalists should completely abandon the pretense of impartiality, like this suggestion from Washington Post columnist, Jennifer Rubin:
“The Kabuki dance in which Trump, his defenders and his supporters are treated as rational (clever even!) is what comes from a media establishment that refuses to discard its need for false balance that it has developed over the course of decades.”
Now, with that national noise in the background, let me try describing what schism Republican politics looks like in a liberal town that lost its Mayor and went through a VERY SLOPPY process of City Council selection for our NEW Mayor earlier this month.
Having watched the Mayoral selection in person, I took note that night when Mike Nugent got a supportive online comment from Adam Hertz, a former City Council member in Missoula and State Representative. I also took note that another young conservative, who shall remain nameless, texted me that Jordan Hess, the eventual winner, would be easier to beat in 15 months.
Now, let’s back up for a moment and ask ourselves this question: who are MAGA Republicans in Missoula? Are they well-intentioned working class church folk who back the blue? And are they big enough suckers to consider voting for a shitty Sheriff as Missoula’s next actually ELECTED Mayor?
I don’t know, maybe ask the guy to the left of our outgoing Sheriff, T.J. McDermott.
Or you can ask a Democrat who works at Montana State University and who likes books and bipartisanship.
If there is a scheme to run T.J. McDermott, it makes sense the guy who proudly helped host a reelection party for McDermott 4 years ago would have an inkling. From the link:
A group of high-profile Missoula Republicans on Thursday night hosted a re-election party for incumbent Missoula County Sheriff T.J. McDermott, a Democrat seeking his second term in office.
The event, which included some of the city’s top Republican king-makers, joined a handful of Democrats in promoting McDermott as the right candidate for the job, citing his experience and achievements in office.
But they also agreed on something else: The nation must move past the current rancor of public discourse and work more closely together in accepting differences of political opinion.
Yes, that rancor was an opportunity for Republican “king-makers” to back McDermott, a Democrat. Here’s more:
Both parties, they agreed, are often to blame for the dangerous tone in politics.
“Hopefully this county will emerge from this (election cycle) seeking unity more than an absolute position on policy,” said David Bell, a Republican who helped organize Thursday’s event. “Eventually, I hope that people will be more willing to concede on certain issues in the interest of finding middle ground, and making progress together rather than trying to find an absolute position.”
And most are looking for a reset and a change of discourse.
“This is what we need in our community these days, recognizing that it’s not about partisan politics in a lot of cases, but about the office and the leadership of the position,” said David Parker, a Democratic campaign manager. “We need to regain some of that civility that we’ve lost. It’s okay to have different opinions, but it’s not okay to be mean, and it’s not okay to cause harm and support violence.”
For more on the David who identifies as a “D”, there’s all kinds of impressive accolades you can read here about his essential services. I’m going to skip over some of that so you can hear how essential David Parker himself sees the services he provides:
Parker views his work as an essential service, not only to students but also to all Montanans. Moreover, his reputation as a trusted nonpartisan voice is crucial to his success, particularly in today’s polarized political landscape.
“I think it is incredibly important as a professor at a land-grant institution to help citizens understand the process of democracy and our institutions,” Parker said. “That’s part of the reason I became a professor to begin with. Without an informed citizenry, we’re lost as a democracy. So that’s why I take my role in the public realm as critically important, especially as a nonpartisan analyst.”
These two Davids are impressive. How do they have the time to do their day jobs AND engage in politics? Especially David Bell, with a pedigree like this?
Wow, presenting to the Council on Foreign Relations. That’s something. Along with the ALPS title and other stuff, no wonder this guy considers himself a kingmaker.
Another thing David Bell is involved in, if it’s the same Dave Bell, is local anti-trafficking efforts. Here’s an article about the Red Sands Project. From the link:
“Human trafficking has been in Missoula for years and a part of the country, indigenous persons were 10% of the population but we represent 40% of human trafficking victims,” said Beaumont.
That’s why the Volunteer Chairman with the Missoula Human Trafficking Task Force Dave Bell, says the county’s efforts to shine a light on this global issue will continue to be a part of their initiative within the Red Sand Project, providing awareness, education and resources to those who need them the most.
“We have a strong community that is dedicated to eliminating human trafficking, it’s a big task but we’re on it, 100% in,” said Bell.
Sure, Dave, and so are a bunch of other valiant warriors, like chaplain and LifeGuard Group head honcho, Lowell Hochhalter, AG, Austin Knudsen, and our proud Governor himself, Greg Gianforte.
Oh, did I forget to mention Gianforte lent his support to McDermott all the way back in 2018? Hmmm, that might be significant. From the link (emphasis mine):
Thursday night’s function included representatives from Sen. Steve Daines’ office, and former Missoula County Republican chairwoman and electoral college voter Thelma Baker. City Council member Jesse Ramos was there, and Rep. Greg Gianforte lent his support via a short statement.
I don’t know how the MAGA rubes fit into all of this. I guess if they can’t be used for votes, they can always be intimidated by the stand-up patriots at the FBI.