The Montana GOP chairman yesterday told the last Last Best News that it’s no big deal to have a Republican Presidential elector (yes, of the electoral college) who says LBGT people should be beaten and strung up to die.
This Trump elector (one of three from Montana, the others being Nancy Ballance and Thelma Baker) is Dennis Scranton. Scranton said of LBGT people an interview last week: “I don’t like fruitcakes. I don’t like Democrats and I don’t like liberal lies. They didn’t have fruitcakes where I grew up. Hang ‘em on a fence. That’s what they need.”
Scranton has expressed similar views before. You may remember him from the ruckus that ensued back in 2011, when Scranton wrote on Facebook that he thought that the way in which Matthew Shepard was treated (Shepard was a young gay man in Wyoming was beaten and killed in Wyoming) would be an appropriate way to deal with LBGT people in Montana. The head of the Montana Tea Party at the time, Tim Ravndal, went on Facebook to heartily agree with Scranton, and was shortly thereafter fired by the Tea Party, no small accomplishment.
Scranton was made an elector at the Republican state convention this summer. When the state Republican Chairman Jeff Essmann was confronted this week with Scranton’s recent comments as well as those he made in 2011, Essmann responded by saying only that:
…when people reach a certain age, they tend to follow one of two paths—deciding that the things they cared about deeply when they were young don’t matter much anymore, or thinking, ‘I can say whatever the hell I want and the rest of the world be damned.’ I guess Mr. Scranton has followed the second path.
Essmann added that being a presidential elector “is strictly a ceremonial function, and I hope people remember that.” Don’t worry. We will.