After Jon Ossoff’s strong showing in the Atlanta suburbs Tuesday night, Democrats are hoping to make inroads in a very different part of red America — with a very different candidate.
While Ossoff sold himself as a principled, business-friendly technocrat to the affluent denizens of “Paneraland,” country-folk singing “Berniecrat” Rob Quist hopes to bring populism back to the Montana prairie. Quist has championed universal health care, trashed the GOP’s health-care bill as “another tax cut for the rich,” and painted his Republican rival for Montana’s only House seat, Greg Gianforte, as “a millionaire from New Jersey.” (Gianforte has lived in Bozeman for 24 years). This message has proven effective enough to earn the confidence of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which made a six-figure investment in the May 25 special election this week.
But while Quist’s populist appeals on health care and Social Security have gotten some traction, he may have run afoul of the electorate on a far more pressing matter: In January, Quist suggested he would be open to creating a national registry for automatic weapons.
Gianforte and the NRA seized on that remark and have been warning the good people of Montana that Quist wants to put the names of every handgun owner in the state into a “big government computer,” presumably so Nancy Pelosi knows where to direct the U.N.’s jackbooted thugs.
In response, Quist decided to prove, once and for all, that he supports the right to bear arms — by shooting a television screen with a gun.
Gianforte then endeavored to eloquently rebut Quist’s claim, by shooting a screen with a larger gun.
The state of our democracy is strong.