The Steve Bullock campaign

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock intrigues me. He got in to the presidential race about a week(?) ago, and is polling in the very low single digits right now, however he has hit the 1% threshold in 3 or more polls required to qualify for the debate stage, but his campaign hasn’t yet announced his fundraising numbers.

He’s not progressive by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s done pretty well for himself getting elected as a solid Dem in a solid Red state three times (two as governor, once as AG). I heard him on NPR today and he comes across as thoughtful and pragmatic (and when he talks he sounds a little like a cowboy!).

For those of us whose top priority in a candidate is an ability to win over those blue collar and suburban voters in the Industrial Midwest, he seems pretty appealing. Moderate white dude in his 50s who comes from a Republican and rural state.

Do I wish his track record on the environment was a little more in-step with my beliefs? Sure, but imo he did what he had to do to win and govern in a very red, coal-friendly state. I’m cautiously optimistic that he could evolve on the subject once he’s not sitting in the Montana governor’s mansion.

On healthcare, he seems more interested in shoring up Obamacare than coming out guns-ablazing on Medicare for All. And I’m okay with that, especially if it helps win over those voters in the Industrial Midwest who might be turned off by a more “socialistic” healthcare plan.

On education, he isn’t making the foolish (imo) plea for free college and/or student debt relief. Those stances are elitist. There are a lot of people in this country who don’t go to college, never went to college and don’t give a flying fig about free college. Bullock seems to be more interested in job training and apprenticeships.

He’s a big advocate for people living in rural communities. He’s a big supporter of getting money out of politics and of campaign finance reform. And he’s solid on LGBTQ rights and women’s reproductive rights.

(More info on some of his stances here.)

Anyway, I’d love to see him have a great couple of debate performances this summer and make a name for himself. [URL=“https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/18/politics/steve-bullock-2020-democrat-iowa-strategy/index.html”]

I’ve got my eye on this guy.

He could have been stronger on the environment. Yes, Montana is fairly red overall, and yes, the various extraction industries are fairly strong there, but there’s also a strong streak of environmentalism, stemming from the tourism industry and the fact that every single Montanan is outdoorsy.

Personally, I’d prefer to see his predecessor Schweitzer running, but he’s given the impression that he might possibly be somewhat disinclined to seeking national office.

Montana is much less red than Federal election results would suggest. In particular, the Butte/Anaconda area tends heavily blue (a holdover from the Miners Union days). Missoula and Bozeman are college towns — University of Montana and Montana State University, respectively — so they skew blue (particularly Missoula). Helena, the state capital, used to be reddish-purple but has gone the other way rather spectacularly: they removed a Confederate memorial after Charlottesville and elected a Liberian immigrant as mayor. The outlier among urban areas (or what passes for urban areas in Montana) is Billings, which is the commercial center for the fossil fuel region as well as for the eastern part of the state — and the eastern part of the state is so red that it would make a stereotypical “Injun” look like a paleface.

Bullock seems to be a pretty typical Montana Democrat: philosophically progressive, especially on social issues, but very sensitive to the state’s economy and quasi-libertarian outlook. While he’s nowhere near a “blue dog,” nobody will ever mistake him for Bernie Sanders.

Like Chronos, I’d like to see Schweitzer make a bid (his address to the 2008 Democratic convention was something of a barn burner). But at the moment he seems content on his ranch.

Clinton proved a Dem governor from a small state can win but 1992 seems like 100 years ago. And he was a top notch candidate.

My initial reaction to Bullock’s campaign was ‘shit, he should be running for Senate instead.’

My second reaction was ‘where the Hell is Brian Schweitzer and can he run for Senate instead?’

OttoDaFe, keep in mind in that analysis that most of Montana isn’t urban areas. And you don’t have to go far out of the cities for that to apply: Gallitin County, for instance (where Bozeman is) is red as a whole, despite having a blue college town in the middle of it.