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The Missoulian's Gianforte endorsement? We beg to differ.

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We may be part of the Lee Enterprises family now, but you know who else is family? Your mean uncle who can't pull his head out of Fox News long enough to notice that his party has devolved into the shameless enabler of a tin-pot dictator.

On May 14 the Missoulian endorsed Greg Gianforte—"with some reservations"—in the May 25 special election for Montana's seat in the U.S. House. To which we can only reply, "Go home, Uncle Lee. You're drunk."

We're not impressed with Rob Quist the candidate. And we're way not impressed with the state Democratic Party that decided to run an affable and apparently unvetted cowboy hat. So we also have some reservations.

We presume that either Quist or Gianforte would be a faithful tool of his party. One of those parties already controls both chambers of Congress and the presidency. The other is the only prospect—however thin—of representative resistance to an out-of-control administration.

So while we don't generally advocate a preference for party over candidate, in this case we're doing just that.

A vote for Greg Gianforte aids and abets a toxic administration that is already aided and abetted by a Republican majority that repeatedly and unembarrassedly puts party before country.

Rob Quist can't change that, but a vote for Quist is the closest thing to a vote of resistance available to us. It's not an especially hopeful vote, and this endorsement comes with no guarantee even that everyone on our deeply conflicted staff will actually cast that ballot.

What we're conflicted about is whether it's worth voting at all. Whether maybe an unenthusiastic vote for Quist will just encourage an incompetent Democratic Party to offer more of the uninspired same next time. Whether a protest vote, as fruitless as protest votes are, might be the only genuinely defensible course of action.

But not one of us could make a case for Gianforte.

The Missoulian's case amounted to this: Greg Gianforte has exhibited effectiveness in his professional life, so we can expect him, most among the candidates, to be effective in the role of congressman. Here's what we say to that: Effectiveness in support of a toxic agenda is no virtue.

"Montana needs more than a 'no' vote," according to the Missoulian. We disagree. Montana needs precisely a no vote. So we recommend a vote for Quist, if only to send the signal. We desperately wish this race offered an opportunity to do more.

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