1. It’s Friday, May 26, 2017.
2. It’s the birthday of Miles Davis and Levon Helm.
Musically speaking, you’d have a hard time topping that duo. I’m trying to imagine a Miles arrangement of “The Weight” with Levon’s vocals – that would have been interesting.
3. It’s the gateway to the Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer.
4. It’s also about to be Ramadan.
This is another in a series of challenging Ramadans for Muslims in the Northern Hemisphere. The month begins tonight and ends June 24, which means it includes the summer solstice. And since Ramadan entails fasting during the day, those who celebrate can’t eat during the longest days of the year.
I imagined that this would be a real problem if you’re a Muslim in Alaska, where there is almost no night this time of year. But a Muslim colleague reassured me that, when that’s the situation, Muslims are allowed to go by the hours of Mecca’s day, which are more normal. This way, there’s no gorging at 1:30 a.m.
Wherever you are, if you celebrate, Ramadan kareem!
5. Some Democrats are in the dumps this morning after Republican Greg “The Slammer” Gianforte pulled out a 6-percentage-point win over Democrat Rob Quist in the Montana congressional election.
You would think getting arrested for assaulting a reporter the night before election day would be a problem for a candidate.
But Gianforte had a bunch of things going for him. One is that about 70% of Montanans voted before he broke Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs’ glasses on Wednesday night.
The second is that Gianforte had a lot of money to work with. His own – he’s a multi-millionaire – and that of the unbridled fountain that is the right-wing money machine.
By contrast, Quist was working with the modest resources given him by national Democrats and however much he’s made singing country songs.
So Gianforte won.
Democrats are torn. On the one hand, the 6-point margin is far narrower than the 20 points by which Trump won the state last November.
So it could be a sign that Republicans are in trouble – this is the fourth election since Trump’s inauguration that the GOP has underperformed. Perhaps 2018 can’t get here soon enough.
On the other hand, losing isn’t winning. It’s losing. That seat still belongs to the Republicans, and the size of their majority in the House remains intact.
6. But let me repeat something I tell fans of the team that loses the World Series every year: Yes, you can lose if you play. But you can’t win at all if you don’t.
For too long, Democrats have yielded these supposedly safe Republican seats. And not just in the House and Senate. In state legislatures and city councils and town councils. That’s why we’re in this mess – we didn’t compete, and we lost leverage when it came to such things as redistricting and setting local laws.
That’s gotta end. We need our voices heard every single time, whether we win big or lose 94-6.
It doesn’t feel great being on the short end of an election with a lowlife like Greg Gianforte. But at least Rob Quist tried. Maybe next time, people will remember that effort, and see how lousy things are with Republicans having a say.
And the outcome might be different.