If there was a word that describes this past election cycle, that word would be “hubris,” best defined as a personality quality of extreme or foolish pride, or dangerous overconfidence. We saw it in President-Elect Trump because, well, that’s just who he is. And we saw it in Hillary Clinton who deemed herself to be above the law when it came to putting top-secret documents on an unsecured server.
But the greatest example of hubris, bar none, was the news media, that small group of elites who seem to take it upon themselves to tell their fellow citizens what, when and how to think. The problem was – we weren’t listening. They told us what their polls said – we ignored them. They told us who to vote for – we voted just the opposite. They told us our policies were dangerous – we chose freedom over safety. And maybe, just maybe it appears, we might have begun to believe in ourselves again: to believe in a government of “we, the people,” rather than a government of small, nameless, faceless bureaucrats; to believe in a government guided by the moral code of our forefathers, rather than the amoral code of a small group of intellectuals that rule our college campuses; and finally, to believe that WE know what’s best for ourselves and our families, rather than believing the government knows best.
The best part of Tuesday’s election was watching the stunned looks of the faces of those in power as they watched that power slipping away, members of the news media who, for the first time, were at a loss for words. They could not believe that the people had not chosen their candidate. It would have been even more fun to watch the face of President Obama who said a Trump presidency would be a repudiation of his policies. Those policies WERE repudiated, and on a grand scale, and if President Trump is to be believed, they will soon be discarded, thrown on the ash heap of failed social policy. And there lies the rub: I’m convinced the people voted, not for Donald Trump, but for his policies. Neither Hillary Clinton, nor Donald Trump, are people of sterling character. So, we looked past the character flaws and focused on the policy. That explains why Christians came out in larger numbers for Donald Trump than for either George W. Bush or Mitt Romney. We weren’t voting for the man; we were voting for conservative appointments to the Federal courts and to the Supreme Court. We were voting for life and marriage and secure borders and less regulation and lower taxes and a strong defense and better jobs and religious freedom. Will we get it? Only time will tell.
Here in Montana, nothing much has changed. Although Republicans swept the state-wide offices, Steve Bullock is still the governor, and the House and Senate, although they have Republican majorities, are still controlled by enough liberal Republicans to join with the Democrats to give Governor Bullock his agenda.
Now that the elections are over, our focus turns to the Capitol and the run-up to the 2017 legislative session. On Monday, both Republicans and Democrats are meeting in their winter caucuses to choose their leaders. After that, we get the committee assignments and that determines, to a large degree, the final-outcome of the session. Your involvement had a HUGE impact on the elections, and it will on the legislative session as well. And we’ll be there to keep you informed every step of the way.