The political climate this year is brutal, with both sides throwing mud and stones at their opponents, a “whatever might stick” mentality that has some questioning whether there’s a better way.
And that’s what a conference this weekend in Helena is all about.
Eric Austin, professor of political science at Montana State University, is organizing the event. He says its focus is changing political dynamics in both the presidential and local campaigns here in Montana.
“The divisiveness that we see from the federal level to the local level is certainly as bad as we’ve seen it in our lifetimes.”
Austin hopes the conference lays out a way forward for voters, and hopes to start a civil discourse from the ground up.
“This is the way that we improve the quality of life in our communities.. It’s critical, I would argue, for everybody.”
The conference is being put on by the Burton K. Wheeler Center. Speakers include former Montana Congressman Pat Williams, veteran political reporter Chuck Johnson and former state lawmaker Bob Brown.