NPR is reporting this week that the GOP is trying up it’s digital game. Republicans are taking heat because their anti-science platform and failure to embrace technology is repelling young voters.
But Montana Republicans could change the game this week at a Holiday Inn in Bozeman.
First, local repubs announced by modern email technology that former State Senator Joe Balyeat “will deliver a powerful power point presentation” this week on “Economic Freedom.” This is exciting stuff, and a major leap forward for the Montana GOP. Sure, the first emails were sent in the 1960’s, but PowerPoint first came into being as recently as 1987–and will certainly appeal to the many GOP’s who are young enough to have qualified for AARP cards in the last decade.
Senator Balyeat (pictured), though not a young person himself, was once a college student and is a “former editor of The Montana Companion,” which sounds like something a lot of young people have surely heard of. The GOP email states that Balyeat’s “list of accomplishments and awards is too long to catalogue here”–but we can at least try. He looks like a confederate general and wrote a book about how gays, the UN, and non-christians are leading America toward an armageddon.
With such an exciting, relevant speaker, a hip venue and a fascinating topic you can see that this event will be packed with youths, and not just with older men, angry and on the fringe-of society, conspiracy-theory minded, gun-wearing, Sasquatch hunters.
In all seriousness, technology isn’t the only roadblock preventing the Montana GOP from attracting young people and women. Who can forget the famous incident in Whitefish in 2010, when a burly guy with long white hair, tattoos and a mullet showed up at a female voter’s house with a gun on his belt and holding a clipboard. The woman called the police. The guy left. It was later discovered that the guy meant no harm. He was simply a canvasser, canvassing for the GOP.
That small incident in Whitefish has also played out on a much bigger stage in Montana. The Koch brothers have repeatedly failed to find a normal person, an organizer, to lead the Montana chapter of their national group, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), to go around keynoting GOP events in Montana. The current guy is the Colonel Sanders wannabe. The previous leader of AFP is worse. He had been a senior member of a cult that built a $30 million underground bunker to prepare for the end of the world, which they believed would occur on April 23, 1990.
The state Tea Party hasn’t done much better than the Kochs. One of the many leaders they’ve cycled through was showing up to legislative hearings dressed in a pirate hat, jeans and a leather jacket, and posted violent rhetoric against gays on his Facebook page. And Republican lawmakers haven’t done much better than the TEA Party. Montana legislative leader Jason Priest was forced to apologize for anti-gay remarks he made on his Facebook page too, the Billings Gazette reported.
Ultimately, even embracing advanced 1990s technology isn’t going to help Republicans. They need to realize that their party is packed with lawmakers whose vision is morally bankrupt and that bigotry isn’t a viable ideology. If they can’t do this, they’re going to continue to repulse young people, women, and minorities and they will continue to shrivel and shrink.
The first step of course is getting rid of Montana’s law that makes being gay an imprisonable crime. Tom Facey has a bill that would to strike the offensive language from our statutes finally passed the senate. by passing SB 107 has yet to be voted on in the House, though it will be any day now.
It’s time to contact the lawmakers in the House of Representatives, which you can do via this online form. FYI, you can always use the back button after submitting your message, which allows you to skip retyping all your info when you contact multiple legislators. Or you can cut and paste this list of House GOP legislators.
Only four states in the U.S. have a law this ridiculous, and Montana is still one of them. The others are Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. That’s right, even Mississippi and Alabama don’t have this garbage in state law.