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I just got an email from my Montana friend.  She is from the reddest county in all of Montana.  83% voted for Burns.  She was one of 98 people voting for Tester.

Being in touch with her, incidentally, isn't that simple.  She has a slow internet connection because it's cheap.  She doesn't log on every day.  Her house and ranch are several miles down a dirt road.  The nearest town is not much more than a gap in the road, but it's THE megalopolis for miles in every direction.

About a decade ago, my friend moved from San Diego, where she had been a lab manager for a pharmaceutical company, to Montana.  She wanted something different from a big city and lab work and so she bought the ranch and pulled up stakes and left.  She got interested in caring for the land, so she planted 1000 trees on the ranch.  She got to know the locals - they are nice people who help each other out with harvests, rescuing a truck from being stuck in the mud, fixing a roof, whatever. The locals are also mighty conservative, so she tends not to talk politics. She's a liberal person. She has heard many of them describe Bush as a "good Christian man."  

The worst thing is when I learned that she had stopped bothering to vote years ago.  She thought politicians were all slimy and didn't want anything to do with them.  She ignored them. I had many a talk with her when she visited me.  She may want to ignore the politicians, I told her, but they continue to have an effect on her life.  Gradually she came around.  I made some sort of bargain in 2003 - I forget what it was - that if I did a certain task, she would register to vote.  I did it, she registered.  We played the game a bit longer.  I had to complete some other task before she would vote.  I did it, and she voted for Kerry and Schweitzer.

When Tester came on the scene I talked him up like crazy.  (She does NOT go blogging online. Email... that's about it.)  I told her some points about Tester that she could share with the conservative folks in her area that I felt would appeal to them.

My friend lives very simply and has very little spare money.  She recycles, re-uses, puts up windmills, feeds electricity back into the grid, etc.  She says the local folks are environmentalists without realizing it because they really care for the land.  I said her duty is to help them understand that environmentalists are not freaky tree-huggers but people they share some goals with.  She says the locals hate having to depend on farm subsidies; I said that these people need to learn they are on welfare, just like poor people in big cities.  Sure, they work hard - so do most poor people.

Anyway....

In 2004, 45 people in her county voted for Kerry.

Yesterday, 98 people in her county voted for Tester.

A small step in the right direction!

Originally posted to Montague on Wed Nov 08, 2006 at 02:03 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I wonder what she would think of this... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Montague

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    I suspect she'd agree that even though the D's put out massive effort, they failed to penetrate her county. I think this same thing happened around the country and we've got 24 months to figure out how to do a better job.

    •  Plenty of work to do (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joynow

      My friend will never not vote again.  Watching Bush in action, she sees what is at stake.  And that it doesn't matter how far away you move, it's going to affect your life.

      Plus those folks in Montana really like her and will listen to her, bit by bit.

      A lot of politics is one-on-one.  My sister in Iowa has personally switched several independents to lifelong Democrats.  

  •  Doubling . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MarCat, Montague

    is nothing to sneeze at!  Way to go, getting those simple messages out.  We need more focused, clear, simple messages to the heartland.

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