What Does Republican Schism Politics Look Like In Missoula?

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.

left, David Bell, Republican King-Maker?

Or you can ask a Democrat who works at Montana State University and who likes books and bipartisanship.

David Parker

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.

Go Democracy!

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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5 Responses to What Does Republican Schism Politics Look Like In Missoula?

  1. webdoodle says:

    Many years ago I applied for a job as a SQL DBA for Alps. At the time, I was one of the most experienced SQL DBA’s in the state, and could easily have handled the job. After 2 rounds of interviews, I was told they decided to promote someone internally (whom I knew to not know a thing about databases, let alone SQL Server). To add insult to injury, Bell suggested I take an entry level position at minimum wage. I learned everything I needed to know about Alps and Bell in that moment: he had no respect for specialized skills/knowledge, expected servants not valued employee’s and was a penny pincher that would squeeze his employee’s dry so he could buy expensive toys for himself. I told him to get stuffed, and warned away anyone I knew from every working for him.

    I’m not surprised at all that he’s involved in that shitbag shill organization CFR, seems right up his asshole, I mean alley. Like other esteemed members of the CFR, I would be concerned that he himself is using his ‘local anti-trafficking’ efforts as a front to actually kidnapping and enslaving kids himself. As you likely know, the CFR is a Rockefeller propaganda organization that uses it’s influence to promote there eugenics and NWO efforts. The pedophile and pimp Jeffrey Epstein was a proud supporter of the CFR too. Perhaps David Bell was one of Epstein and Maxwell’s ‘Johns’ that have yet to even be arrested, yet alone prosecuted. Perhaps a new sheriff would look into it…

    • Pete Talbot says:

      Whackadoodle is more like it. Maybe you weren’t hired by ALPS because you’re an off-the-rails conspiracy theorist who doesn’t play well with others.

  2. John Kevin Hunt says:

    We must end the tyrannical two-party duopoly. The last thing we need is more Donkey/Elephant elite corporatist cooperation in the hallowed halls. A democratically elected President who gets it, is Colombia’s Urrego. Yake a listen to his UN address.

    Locally, there is some benegivial coimon ground between Rightiescand Lefties, atiding from their mutusl disdain for the neolibs running the city. The same guy who texted you thst Hess would be easier to beat. did the same to me and later said to me “I don’t care if it’s your camp or mine that wins as long as we get the neolibs out.”

    At last evening’s City Council meeting I advocated for labor organizer/union reformer/working class activist Derek Hitt’s advancement to interview phase of the selection ptocess for filling the Ward 2 Council vacancy created by the appointment of Jordan Hess as Interim Mayor. I noted that the Council in Committee of the Whole last Wednesday appointed Mike Nugent chair of the Land Use and Housing Committee, by unanimous vote with much gushing about how his MPA and extensive knowledge & experience in real estate and development would make ideal for spearheading pplicy to address the houding crisis. While not doubting the truth of that as far as it goes, I added that Nugent’s Berkeshire Hathaway Vice Presidency would likewise enhance his housing crisis credentials — entirely from the side of capital, which already dominates the Council and City policies. It is past time for those who make capital for the capitalists have a seat at the table and advicate for the employed and unemployed workung class for whom the housing crisis isn’t difficulty in finding an available $600K home, but rather is in keeping a rental roof over their heads. It’s capital and labor again. On the a national and state MAGA rank & file are right populist syncophants to a neofascist who paid for construction of a cult of personality around himself. Locally, their intelligensia are willing to collaborate with the Left against neoliberals.

    • John Kevin Hunt says:

      And yet again, my apologies for typos and omitted words, as always happens when I use my smartphone for this purpose.

  3. webdoodle says:

    Talbot Gaslighting me? The apple sure doesn’t fall far from the tree in your family does it? Rig any elections lately?

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