Dirk Adams, who lost in the primary to John Walsh and then to Amanda Curtis in the special nominating convention this summer, recently mailed a five page screed to Montana Democrats, explaining why the election was lost, how it could have been won, and where Democrats have gone astray. I’ve obtained a copy.
In sum, Adams implies in this document that had he been the US Senate candidate, Democrats would have won.
Specifically, he says that Democrats’ failure to motivate voters was due to the fact that the party does not stand for anything; and, that there are important issues in Montana which the Democratic nominee should have spoken up about. Adams lists these issues: The need for more food scientists (“there is not a single one in Montana), cleaner water in the Berkeley Pit, (“No Democrat spoke to the Pit this cycle. Why not?”), and the need for fiber optic cable (“You want your children to stay in Montana? Give them fiber optic cable, not a coal shovel”).
Democrats, Adams says, should have campaigned on these matters because they are “real ideas” and not the “vacuous political jabberwocky and pablum” that we heard from candidates in 2014. Adams also blames the loss on what he calls the “Big Sky Buy-off,” a term actually coined by the GOP to refer to the choice of John Walsh by Bullock. Adams calls Walsh’s appointment “a shabby and selfish gimmick” paid for by “the DC guys.”
Adams’ letter, overall, has something of a sore loser’s tone. He’s not wrong to say that Democrats needed a better game in 2014 and that the two federal candidates might have honed a more penetrating message. But the blaming of Bullock for choosing Walsh is absurd. Walsh was an obvious choice and a strong one, for nobody could have foreseen the revelation about his plagiarism. Harry Reid had nothing to do with it.
And the idea that Adams, who got around 10% in the primary, could have been the answer to our problems because he would have campaigned on the importance of the Berkeley Pit, fiber optic cable and food scientists is equally bizarre. Ultimately, Adams is making the mistake of discounting the negative effect of the weight of Obama, whose dismal job approval in Montana dragged Democrats down irreparably. It’s why we got clobbered, and there’s not much we could have done about it. That’s reality.
You can read the letter here: dirkadamsletter