In the race to determine which Democratic candidate reigns supreme in the lead-up to the 2020 election, The Riveter has been thrilled to welcome a steady stream of Presidential hopefuls to our spaces. On a recent Monday, an intimate crowd of fans gathered to hear from Montana Governor Steve Bullock.
In a field packed with candidates, Bullock has faced an especially uphill battle from the beginning: He failed to qualify for the first primary debate, so most of America was introduced to him for the first time in July. But his values and approach resonated with many: His supporters are quick to point out his candidacy’s unique qualities, not least of which is that Bullock won re-election in 2016 in a state that voted for Trump by 20 points and has always had a Republican majority in the legislature.
Supporters of Bullock find this ability to win in a red state while standing up for issues such as reproductive rights, immigrant rights, and raising wages, to be one of his most compelling qualities. But the central issue of his campaign, and a hallmark of his executive tenure, is getting dark money out of politics. The governor spoke at length about how achieving that goal is the prerequisite to advancing most, if not all, of any progressive agenda: “Unless we are willing to address what has been holding us back in so many ways — the corrupting influence of dirty money in our system — everything else that Democrats are talking about is going to be that much harder to attain.” And he didn’t stop there.
On equal rights:
“We know that we’re at our best when all voices can be heard. We know that we’re our best when civility can replace hostility. And no matter who you are or who your parents are, you can actually have a shot at the American Dream.”
On President Trump:
“This is the most important election of my lifetime. That’s why I’m in it. And yeah, it’s about beating Donald Trump, but it’s really about preserving a 243-year experiment called Representative Democracy.”
On reproductive justice:
“Every time the legislature has tried to strip away a women’s right to make her own health care decisions, we’ve stopped that.”
On environmental protection:
“We’ve kept our public lands in public hands and stopped every effort to either privatize wildlife or draw back renewable energy solutions.”
During the Q&A that followed Bullock’s talk, his fans expressed frustration that candidates like him aren’t getting a fairer chance in the primaries due to the qualification process, and evinced excitement about his ability to win, his executive experience, and what they view as a more moderate platform than those put forward by some of the other candidates.
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