Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Tester's in Trouble

Heh, if this guy loses Ima die laughing on election night.

At the New York Times, "Jon Tester Is a Big Guy in Big Sky Country. He Hopes That’s Enough":

BUTTE, Mont. — Jon Tester, the senator who looks least like a senator, sized up a crowd of dozens and got to talking about history.

He joined local veterans last week in a creaky hotel ballroom, with his $12 flattop haircut and scuffed black shoes, and spoke of the copper mines up the road, sustaining the nation in wartimes. He saluted Montana’s tradition of bipartisanship, recalling his work, as a Democrat, with President Trump. “The key word is ‘together,’” Mr. Tester said.

Mr. Trump, the president who behaves least like a president, stood hours later before a crowd of thousands in Missoula, Mont., and got to talking about himself.

He mocked Hillary Clinton’s 2016 slogan (“‘Come Together’ or something”). He commended a Montana congressman for having assaulted a reporter (“my kind of guy”). Occasionally, he drifted to the point.

“The Democrats have truly turned into an angry mob,” Mr. Trump thundered. “And your senator is one of them.”

Then came a shout from the audience. “You love my hair?” Mr. Trump called back, losing the thread again. “Thank you. She knows what to say.””

For decades, “all politics is local” has been the most overworked electoral cliché, well-worn mostly because it was so often true. But in critical Senate races across the country — with vulnerable Democratic incumbents in states that Mr. Trump won easily, like North Dakota, Indiana and this one — Republicans have made a different calculation: In an age of tribal fury and presidential ubiquity in the public consciousness, they believe, all politics is effectively national now. Even in a politically eccentric rural state with an abiding emphasis on local individualism and multigenerational credentials in its elected leaders.

Mr. Tester is a Montana lifer. His opponent, Matt Rosendale, the state auditor, is a former Maryland developer who moved here in 2002.

The result, two weeks before Election Day, has been the central strategic divide across several midterm battlegrounds: a Democrat keeping the focus local, hoping to dissociate from divisive national party figures like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi; and a Republican eager to make the race a referendum on Mr. Trump and the leftist “mob” opposing him, betting that the risk of a volatile and meandering executive messenger is worth the reward of an energized base.

Perhaps nowhere are the parties’ dueling instincts clearer than in Montana, where both sides acknowledge that Mr. Tester, once considered a solid favorite, is now genuinely at risk...
Still more.