... Montana's election may be an unreliable arbiter of what's to come in races across the country. After all, the race here featured a banjo-playing, first-time Democratic candidate, and many of Montana's voters cast absentee ballots before the alleged assault even took place. The events that transpired here won't be easily replicated.
"All politics are local," said Art Wittich, a Gianforte supporter. "It comes down to two candidates."
Not only did the final hours of the campaign center around a bombshell assault allegation that took reporters to the sheriff's office rather than the polls, but throughout most of the campaign Quist and Gianforte weren't just talking about Trump.
Quist tried to make the health care debate in Washington a central component of his campaign, but Gianforte didn't fully embrace the Republican House-passed bill from the beginning, arguing it was rushed and not fully baked. His own campaign staff said Gianforte wouldn't have voted for it.
Many of the biggest issues in the Montana special were local.
Richard Wolffe at The Guardian:
You can trace back the decline in our politics to a single campaign and a single candidate, who riled up his crowds to turn on the press and hurl abuse in their direction.
That’s the same candidate who longed for the days when he could punch protesters in the face. Sure enough, his supporters ended up punching people in the face.
Fortunately the rule of law still endures in the courts, where a Kentucky judge recently denied the candidate’s claims that he was just exercising his rights to free speech and couldn’t be sued for inciting violence.
The candidate is of course now president of the United States, who calls the media “the enemy of the American people.”
This is not a small development in the long history of shocking Trumpisms.
You don’t need to take the Guardian’s word for it. Here’s the opinion of William McRaven, the former special ops commander and architect of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden: “This sentiment may be the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime,” he told journalism students at the University of Texas earlier this year.