New York Times: A Race in Montana May Again Be Crucial to Senate Control

A few election cycles ago, before the recession, the debt crisis and the Tea Party movement redefined American politics, a species called “the New Western Democrat” emerged in places like Montana.

Identified by their moderate politics, their plumage — typically a cowboy hat and boots — and by the ability to spit with authenticity, these centrists gave hope to Democrats nationally that a traditionally conservative corner of the country might be won over.

Now, Senator Jon Tester, a big-bellied farmer and self-described populist Democrat seeking a second term, is staking his career — and with it, perhaps his party’s control of the Senate — on a bet that the West’s middle way is still viable. Extremism, Mr. Tester said again and again in a round of campaign stops across the state last week, is a direr threat to Montana than tough times, national debt or recession.

“Working together is what built this place when the homesteaders came here,” Mr. Tester told a radio audience last week in Billings. “Working together is a Montana way of life, it’s a Montana value and we need to take that back to Washington, D.C. Start working for proactive solutions instead of trying to find excuses to vote against stuff.”

Read the whole article >>