There is no Combat! blog today, due to the vagaries of events. While I continge, how about you read this fine report from the New Yorker on student activism at Oberlin, where good intentions intersect in peculiar ways. Meet back here tomorrow to talk about how Montana’s whole campaign finance system got torpedoed. I know you can’t get enough Montana.
Gary Johnson might be on the verge of becoming a household name. At the moment, he’s probably most often confused with that plumber who fixed your running toilet last month or your spouse’s weird friend from work who keeps calling the landline, but he’s neither — he’s the former governor of New Mexico, likely Libertarian candidate for president, and he’s polling at 10 percent in two recently released national polls against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Yes, Gary Johnson’s name is so ordinary as to thwart the expression “become a household name.” Maybe we should rewrite that sentence. Regardless, the takeaway here is that 10% of voters are now sophomore geography majors.
Who says Hillary Clinton isn’t the best candidate to address wealth inequality? Racists and bros, mostly—the rest of us know better. Here’s the presumptive Democratic nominee telling the New York Times that she’s open to considering Mark Cuban or another successful businessperson as her vice president:
“Businesspeople, especially successful businesspeople, who are really successful — as opposed to pretend successful — I think, have a lot to offer,” said Mrs. Clinton, whose campaign has begun taunting Mr. Trump with a #PoorDonald hashtag on Twitter, suggesting that he is not nearly as wealthy as he claims. Mr. Trump has cited an audit by the Internal Revenue Service as his reason for keeping his tax returns private.
Clinton supporters on Twitter have begun circulating the claim that Donald Trump is not a multi-billionaire, as he says, and that his net worth is actually less than $100 million. That would put him below the Clintons’ estimated worth of $110 million, nearly all of which they made after Bill became president. Surely, voters will flock to Hillary once they start thinking of her as the richer candidate.
The 1980s contributed so many dismissive catchphrases to our shared vocabulary: “get a life,” “don’t have a cow,” “peace through strength.” These were insurmountable arguments against anything someone else cared about. I remember when my cat died in seventh grade, and I was sad at school, and my classmate told me to get a life. What a burn! In that moment, my central concerns were unimportant—not merely misplaced but nonexistent, failing to even constitute a life. Yet for all his lordly dearth of empathy, the person who says “get a life” remains a third party to whatever problem he dismisses. The real boss move is to dismiss misery you yourself have caused. To that end, no catchphrase beats “so sue me.” It reduces your relation with your interlocutor to the law and whatever money they can extract from you. Today is Friday, and we owe one another no more consideration than that. Why don’t you do something about it with me?
You can’t hear it, but someone is lazily picking a banjo. The buffalo no longer roam, having decided one place is as good as another. The deer and the antelope play video games. Montana politics is sleepy, so sleepy. But then look what happens: a federal judge rules unconstitutional several elements of our campaign finance law. Suddenly, the dog sits up. As of Tuesday afternoon—three weeks before the primaries—political parties can contribute unlimited amounts to individual candidates. Judge Charles Lovell’s ruling seems to indicate that limits on donations from individuals and corporations are lifted as well, but Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl believes he must only revert to the limits in place before the ones Lovell struck down, in 1994.
Anyway, the last time this law was briefly overturned—for nine days in 2012—Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Hill accepted a $500,000 donation. Our easy slumber may have just been broken. I, for one, welcome the impending rush of cash into Montana politics. The 2016 campaign needs a shot of adrenaline. Why, just this week in the Missoula Independent, I wrote about how Bullock versus Gianforte has been a clash of tepid negatives. But the potential for political action committees of all kinds to
spend unlimited amounts of money say unlimited amounts of speech ensures a vigorous exchange of ideas. So pander to me, boys. I’m all napped up.