Susan Good Geise, the Republican commissioner from Lewis and Clark County, announced on her Facebook page Monday that she is no longer a Republican. She says she’s been constructively evicted from the party.
She cited two problems that led to her “excommunication as persona non grata,” as she describes it: 1) That the party’s nominee for president is a “narcissistic charlatan,” and 2) that the state party is “being led on a state level by a person convicted by a jury of his peers as dishonest and afoul of the law,” by which she means Art Wittich.
What Good Geise is referring to is not only that Art Wittich is crazy and broke the law, but that he was just elected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention. That appointment happened after he was convicted of massive campaign finance violations, for which he has now been fined a record $68,000. Along with Wittich, Jennifer Fielder, a legislator from Sanders County, is also being sent to the convention. Fielder believes that federal lands should be eliminated, the map that is the very logo of her organization includes sovereign indian lands among those that would be taken over.
Geise’s Facebook post received a string of comments from fellow Republicans expressing wholehearted agreement with Good Geise’s decision, including one from Betti Hill, a long time national Republican representative from Montana and wife of former GOP Congressman Rick Hill. Hill’s comment is shocking. She seems to be declaring that she in full solidarity with Good Geise, that she, too, is no longer a Republican now that Trump and Wittich are the standardbearers.
Lincoln said “A House Divided Cannot Stand.” Someone else once said, “A House full of Nutcases Cannot Stand.” I do not believe that an organization can long survive, or win many big fights, when the rank and file are departing en masse. I expect that both Greg Gianforte and Donald Trump will be routed badly. It’s not just that a bunch of loons have insinuated themselves into leadership. The party activists spend their days calling for absurd things, as has been well documented here on the Cowgirl blog. If you want to make contraceptives illegal, demand all federal land be ceded into private or state ownership, give tax breaks to people with a billion dollars, deny climate change, and eliminate rules and regulations from such areas as the Wall Street financial industry, your party is based upon a series of fringe beliefs.
At the state level, the GOP has lost 13 of 15 statewide races dating back to 2000. Democrats keep a good sense of what voters care about, and they allow it to exert a pull, a force, on their thinking, their policies, their pronouncements, their speeches, their message. It’s one of the reasons that you rarely see internal divisions in the same extent as what you see among Republicans. Wittich having been convicted of a massive scheme to evade the law, it doesn’t matter. He is a true believer, and therefore welcome to be leader. Winter is coming for the GOP, and it’s going to be cold, dark and lonely.