In perhaps the strangest news from yesterday’s last-minute race to file for office before the deadline, a longtime Democrat office-holder and a progressive-leftist candidate has filed for the Republican primary for U.S. Senate to challenge Senator Steve Daines. Even stranger, the Democrat is primarying Daines in order to get President Trump out of office.
Some wondered if John Driscoll (above photo, right-side; Democrat Max Baucus, left-side) filed in the Republican primary on accident. But, no. His change of party was intentional and directed straight at the President of the United States.
Usually (but not always) when a Democrat files for office as a Republican it’s not with a long history of Democrat politics behind them. More times than not in the Big Sky State, someone with Democrat-leanings keeps their beliefs on the down-low so they can run on the Republican ticket without much alarm from party loyalists. John Driscoll, however, has served as a Democrat in both the Montana House (1973-1979) and as a Democrat in the Public Service Commission. And Driscoll couldn’t be clearer about why he’s running.
Driscoll said on Monday, “With this effort to be elected, I hope to help create the conditions for Republicans, working together, to be rid of the three wise guys.”
Driscoll was speaking of Montana Republicans Steve Daines, Matt Rosendale, and Greg Gianforte. Of chief concern to Driscoll was Daines not asking for witnesses in Donald Trump’s impeachment judgment in the U.S. Senate.
According to the United States Constitution, the U.S. House of Representatives is supposed to be responsible for placing a sitting president on trial for impeachment, which includes calling witnesses, collecting evidence, and prosecuting alleged high crimes and misdemeanors. The House of Representatives then votes on whether or not to impeach the president and sends the information it collected to the U.S. Senate who is then supposed to review the evidence and issue a verdict. Senate Republicans refused to call witnesses in Trump’s impeachment hearings in that chamber because it was the House’s responsibility to have called witnesses and collected evidence, not the Senate’s responsibility.
Nonetheless, John Driscoll still wants Trump removed from office and desires to be the man to make it happen.
On February 28, Driscoll posted on his Facebook wall an article from the Guardian about The Lincoln Project, a group of Republicans who have organized to oust President Trump from office. Driscoll stated, “I hope there are still Republicans in Montana who see the difference between our current Republican President and Abraham Lincoln. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.”
Complaining about a possible visit by Donald Trump to Montana on his Facebook page on February 14, Driscoll said, “Since Montana is now home to Daines the sycophant, Rosendale the anointed, Gianforte the body-slammer, and (possibly) Donald Trump, Jr., the Great White Gopher Hunter, all running for election (possibly) and re-election to our highest public offices, we may yet again get to experience a campaign visit by Air Force One, at a cost of $280,000 taxpayer dollars per hour. Oh, Joy!”
Driscoll also cast shade at Daines on February 8 for opposing Trump’s impeachment, saying, “That boy has money to burn and leaves me wondering if the Radical Left consists of all Americans sworn to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution, or just those of us not sworn to dishonest Donald with a higher personal loyalty.”
With a total of seven posts on his Facebook page in February dedicated to deriding the Republican president, Driscoll will prove to be an odd fit in a Republican primary in the state that voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump.
Driscoll seems to have thought Daines would have voted to convict Trump in the Senate, as he suggests in his December 30 Facebook post that reads, “It’s clear to me that for the common good of our country and our families, our United States Senate must convict and remove President Trump. Our Montana Senator Steve Daines is perfectly positioned inside to provide the necessary leadership. He has a beautiful family, vast financial resources and a political prognosis sufficient to serve as a big voice for us Montanans and other senators. In spite of this performance last year on behalf of President Trump, we all need to encourage him to find within himself the courage to lead other senators in this national crisis. If he proves to have the character, the quiet internal fortitude and mental toughness, he will be able to swing the 67 votes needed to convict and remove. “
These are strange times in Montana. Not only are there roughly twenty Republicans in the Montana House who caucus as Democrats, called the Solutions Caucus, some Democrats masquerade as Republicans with only a sliver of the typical camouflage.
Interestingly, Steve Daines is being challenged by a Democrat in the Republican primary and in the general election. The 2020 campaign season is shaping up to be a unique year.