Last week was consequential for Greg Gianforte. Awfully.
The Republican businessman won the special election for Montana’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He also body-slammed a reporter. He now faces misdemeanor assault charges.
For which Gianforte apologized publicly . . . as he was declaring victory. Welcome to modern American politics.
Democrats claimed victory, nonetheless — with media cover to boot. “Republicans’ 7-point win in last night’s Montana election is great news for Democrats,” the progressive Vox headlined their report.
At Townhall.com on Sunday, I explained why that claim misses both the forest and the trees. Yes, Trump won Montana by 20 percentage points against Hillary Clinton’s mere 35.4 percent back in November, while Gianforte won last week by only 7 points. But Trump was lucky to be opposed by a very unpopular Hillary.
Moreover, at that same election wherein Trump trounced Secretary Clinton, Gianforte lost the governor’s race to a Democrat. Indeed, Gianforte performed 11 points better last week than back in November — winning, instead of losing.
How does that show Republican support slipping?
The message from the Montana special election is that early voting periods are far too long. Montana’s early voting began nearly four weeks before Election Day. The assault by Gianforte, with criminal charges, hardly mattered, because roughly two-thirds of Montanans had already voted when it occurred.*
Rather than a nearly month-long process, whereby a candidate can bank a majority of the vote before the campaign is over, let’s make Election Day a three or five-day period. Make it easy to vote, but let’s all vote together, with the same information.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
* This means not only that Gianforte may have “gotten away” with his violent outburst, but that those voters did not have time to adequately appraise Gianforte on information they would have possessed and been able to act upon, with a shorter voting period.