As you may have guessed from yesterday's teaser, I have long held a special place in my heart for the wackiest Members of Congress. I doubt anyone will ever replace former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) as the true love of my life, but now I'll have Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) to bring me some happiness, and that dude is fucking psycho! I'm so happy I could cry! Yes, that's the reason I'm crying.
Anyway, I've got actual scholarly research and shit here. Peer-reviewed and everything. You can download it here. The method I used doesn't work anymore because the fucking killjoys at Google changed their algorithm, but it was fun while it lasted. Have you ever played around with the auto-complete feature of Google's search? I did. I noticed that when you typed in names like "Michele Bachmann," you got a bunch of epithets. Why? When people did Google searches for Bachmann, it tended to be for things like "Michele Bachmann idiot," and sometimes, "Michele Bachmann batshit crazy!" Why? Because she's about one neuron short of a synapse. So, I put together a data set of the epithets that Google suggested for every Member of Congress. Then, I crunched the numbers. What were the predictors of Google suggesting a lot of epithets? What were the consequences? Basically, if you were an ideological extremist, Google suggested epithets, and those for whom Google suggested epithets were at a slight electoral disadvantage, both because they helped their opponents raise money, and because voters were put off by whatever got people doing those Google searches. It was a fun, little paper. When I presented it at the APSA, people had their computers out revealing all of the fun additional things Google suggested for people in Congress. Most fun I ever had at a conference. (What do you expect? I'm obsessed...)
What does this have to do with Greg Gianforte? Um... Do I have to say it? Dude's fuckin' nuts. Oh, by the way, does anyone remember Wes Cooley? How about Cynthia McKinney? Just sayin'... Anyway, Gianforte, like Bachmann, has no business being anywhere near the levers of power, but represents a constituency with a partisan balance that just favors him. Now, what if this incident had happened earlier so that people had time to digest and respond to it? I don't know. I can also pretty much guarantee that this isn't an isolated thing. Gianforte is going to be one of my favorites. That means he is going to say a whole lot of crazy shit, and Democrats are going to throw money at a challenger.
Now, you may notice that, in general, I am skeptical of the effects of money. Except for challengers. Here's the thing. Incumbents don't really need money. Their spending doesn't matter that much. Challengers need money, and their spending in congressional elections matters. A lot. Gianforte is going to be the best fundraiser that Montana Democrats could ever hope for.
That said, Montana is a Republican state. Party tends to overwhelm pretty much everything else. Even a batshit fucking crazy idiot who assaults a reporter for doing his job, to the point that even the Fox News people were unwilling to provide the guy with a sympathetic witness.
How long can Gianforte hold onto that seat? I'd give him a term or two. Timing plus party got him over the top, so to speak, but with that kind of temper, he'll probably self-destruct. The crazy people in Congress who manage to stay there are the ones who just spout off at the mouth, or better yet, let their party leaders keep them hidden, like a deformed sibling in the basement. Gianforte is more likely to Hulk-out on the House floor and beat the crap out of John Lewis yelling "WHITE POWER!" in a fit of 'roid-rage.
As a side-note, it is fun to look back at the "batshit-list" from my old paper, and see who made the list back then. Anthony Weiner made the list, as did Mike Pence (he was in the House at the time). Paul Ryan, as a young-'un, was way down on the list, but he was there. In the Senate, Beauregard Sessions was up there. Beyond that, oh, how I wish this method still worked to see what fun I could have with Trump...