The Mix

Populist John Tester scores huge win for the rest of us

The Montana candidate for US Senate stuck to his progressive guns and won the Democratic nomination in a landslide.
The winds of change -- they are a-blowin' hard out here in the heartland, no matter how much Washington, D.C. pretends they aren't. Yesterday, in a major upset, populist Democratic State Senate President Jon Tester crushed his primary opponents, becoming the Democratic nominee against vulnerable incumbent Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT). Tester, a farmer from Big Sandy, ran against the Washington Establishment, ignoring those who said he couldn't beat State Auditor John Morrison (D) -- the candidate that Democratic Party powerbrokers in Washington tried to anoint.

In fairness, I think both Tester and Morrison are good Democrats. But, as I saw when I was at Tester's announcement speech last year, and I learned in talking with Tester during the campaign, this is a guy who clearly and unabashedly represents the populist wing of his party (I tried as best as I could to publicly stay out of the primary out of deference to the state party that didn't want to further enflame the already divisive primary battle). His victory will likely send yet more shockwaves through the increasingly insulated and isolated Democratic Establishment in Washington.
David Sirota was the top spokesman for Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee. He is the author of the book Hostile Takeover, released in May of 2006. You can contact him at
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