Tips for mastering Magikarp Jump, the next Pokmon masterpiece

Nearly two decades after the release of the original Pokmon Red and Blue in the U.S., the Pokmon company has come out with another true masterpiece.

Its called Magikarp Jump, which came out for iOS and Android earlier today. Its about training Magikarp, the most beloved Pokmon in the universe, to jump as hard as it can and squash the hopes and dreams of its opponents. But Magikarp Jump can be a complicated beast to master, so here are some tips to get started:

Choose your pole carefully and be patient when fishing

Waiting for the best Magikarp is the first step to becoming a true Magikarp master.

Name it something original

Your Magikarp will eventually have a mid-life existential crisis. Make sure to nurture its individuality if you want to be a true Magikarp master.

Accept nuggets from strangers

Your Magikarp needs those nuggets and it cant Tweet. Give your Magikarp the gift of nuggets if you want to be a true Magikarp master.

Skip the commentary

Your Magikarp doesnt want to listen to the same announcer over and over, it wants to be a winner. Take your Magikarp straight to the ring if you want to be a true Magikarp master.

Demand a play review

Theres no harm in asking officials to review the jump. Youll need to learn the best strategies as a coach if you want to be a true Magikarp master.

Spend your coins on upgrades and stuff

You arent going to collect interest on those coins. Youll need to invest in your Magikarps future if you want to be a true Magikarp master.

Ignore the health risks of drinking soda

The internet wants to make you think that soda is bad. The truth is, your Magikarp loves soda, and you should feed it some if you want to be a true Magikarp master.

Be sure to give your Magikarp lots of praise

It wont always max out that jump counter, but if you want to be a Magikarp master youll have to treat it with respect.

Always accept your achievement rewards

Youll want to rake in that sweet, sweet cash after all if you want to be a Magikarp master.

Be sure to have your phone out when updating your computer

This is a good opportunity to train your Magikarp if you hope to be a Magikarp master.

Always grab the thing

No one wants a quitter; Magikarp masters take risks. Throw caution to the wind if you hope to be a Magikarp master.

Teach your Magikarp to respect its elders

You wouldnt be here if it werent for the Magikarp youve raised over the years. You must ensure that knowledge is passed to future generations if you want to be a true Magikarp master.

Buylots of friends

Your Magikarp might get lonely. Buy it some friends with cash like any good coach will do if you want to be a true Magikarp master.

Check in with other trainers

Youll want to know how your Magikarp is stacking up against other Magikarps. Learn from your peers if you want to be a true Magikarp master.

Let it do its thing

If your Magikarp wants some berries, let it have some berries. You need to trust its judgment if you want to be a true Magikarp master.

Dont have any regrets

Fish die all the time. Youll have to be ready to move on if you want to be a true Magikarp master.

Good luck, trainer!

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/25/tips-for-mastering-magikarp-jump/

GOP leaders move to break health care gridlock

(CNN)A day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he didn’t know how he was going to find 50 votes to pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, the No. 2 Senate Republican emerged from a key health care meeting saying he was suddenly “optimistic” about the negotiations over the thorny, high-stakes issue.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/25/politics/republican-health-care-gridlock/index.html

The Most Futile Fight In Washington: Authorizing Wars

WASHINGTON At a time when health care reform and Russia investigations are sucking all the oxygen out of Congress, two senators a Republican and a Democrat filed into a small press gallery on Thursday to try and shine a spotlight on another pressing matter: war.

Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force against the Islamic State, al Qaeda and the Taliban. It would give Congress new oversight over military action against those groups and over the countries in which U.S. bombings can take place. It would also repeal old AUMFs still in effect. The senators paired up on a similar bill in 2015, and it went nowhere. Theres no clear indication that this latest incarnation will have success, either.

Yet, the two senators insisted that times are different.

Flake enthusiastically said the Senate Foreign Relations Committee could take up their bill soon after the Memorial Day break. Kaine said he expects, now that theyve filed a bill, that Trump administration officials may start working with them on the specifics of a new AUMF. A White House spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Their problem isnt that they lack ambition, or are making a weak case. After all, many lawmakers dont like that the White House currently can use a sweeping 2001 AUMF to justify military action against al Qaeda or ISIS anywhere, anytime, without congressional oversight.

Their problem is, outside of a motley crew of rank-and-file lawmakers, nobody particularly cares.

Flake and Kaine unveiled their bill to a room of a dozen or so reporters, and as many empty seats. Their 2015 AUMF bill never got a Senate committee hearing, never mind a floor debate or vote. Similar AUMF proposals in the House havent gone anywhere, either. The two senators said they told their respective party leaders about their latest plan to push the AUMF issue again, and said neither had much of a reaction.

Hes not opposed to it or in favor it, Flake said of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

He knows its an obsession of mine, Kaine said of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). His attitude is well see what comes out of committee.

McConnell spokesman Don Stewart didnt say how McConnell feels generally about the need for an AUMF debate. But he noted the administration is in the middle of reviewing its strategy for fighting ISIS, and once thats done, President Donald Trump may need additional authorities to carry out his mission.

One could envision, in that scenario, that theyd ask for an AUMF that supported the strategy, said Stewart. But as that hasnt happened yet, I dont have any guidance on what the review will yield.

A Schumer aide did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Yuri Gripas / Reuters
Defense Secretary James Mattis has said he supports Congress passing a new war authorization for ISIS. But then again, so did President Barack Obama’s defense secretary, and it never happened.

The Constitution says that its the role of Congress to declare wars, and that the president has to get lawmakers approval for any sustained military action. But Congress ceded some of its power in 2001, when it hastily passed the broad AUMF allowing President George W. Bush to attack anyone connected to al Qaeda, anywhere, at any time. That AUMF never expired, and President Barack Obama stretched its limits to argue he could unilaterally take military action against the Islamic State, too, since the terror group is an offshoot of al Qaeda.

Today, that means Trump can use a 16-year-old war authorization to bomb people anywhere, at any time, without Congress signing off, so long as he can make the case that Islamic State or al Qaeda targets are there.

That makes some lawmakers uneasy. But for all their discomfort with how the 2001 AUMF is being used, most are simply afraid to take a war vote one that would shape the duration, scope or troop levels in forthcoming military actions that could come back to haunt them.

Kaine and Flake are holding out hope that responsibility will prevail over cowardice in Congress. They wont concede that this is a fruitless task.

Why do I have hope … began Kaine, relaying a story about his multiple failed attempts as a Richmond City Council member to move city elections from May to November.

It took me seven years, and now we have November elections, he said. I dont give up easy.

Flake rattled off his own reasons for optimism. More than half the members of Congress are new since their previous AUMF, he explained, which means fresh votes to recruit. Theres a new administration in the White House. And the new defense secretary has signaled support for a new AUMF. (Then again, so did the last one).

I believe they will want it because it strengthens their hand as they enter negotiations, or just diplomacy, Flake said of the Trump administration. We think that this bipartisan language does a good job.

But didnt his last AUMF bill have good language, too?

This is better, Flake said.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/congress-war-authorization-kaine-flak_us_59272c9ce4b06f608052ef9b

The US healthcare system is at a dramatic fork in the road | Adam Gaffney

The Congressional Budget Office has given the revised American Health Care Act a dismal score. Will we let this terrible plan define our healthcare future?

The US healthcare system and with it the health and welfare of millions is poised on the edge of a knife. Though the fetid dysfunction and entanglements of the Trump presidency dominate the airwaves, this is an issue that will have life and death consequences for countless Americans.

The Congressional Budget Offices (CBO) dismal scoring of the revised American Health Care Act (AHCA) on Wednesday made clear just how dire Americas healthcare prospects are under Trumps administration. But while the healthcare debate is often framed as a choice between Obamacare and the new Republican plan, there are actually three healthcare visions in competition today. These can be labelled healthcare past, healthcare present, and healthcare future.

Let us begin with healthcare past, for the dark past is precisely where Republicans are striving to take us with the AHCA. The bill narrowly passed by the House on 4 May is less a piece of healthcare reform than a dump truck sent barreling at high speed into the foundation of the healthcare safety net.

Wednesdays CBO score reflects the modifications made to the AHCA to pacify the hard-right Freedom Caucus, changes that allowed states to obtain waivers that would relieve health insurers of the requirement that they cover the full spectrum of essential healthcare benefits, or permit them to charge higher premiums to those guilty of the misdemeanor of sickness, all purportedly for the goal of lowering premiums.

In fairness, the CBO report did find that these waivers would bring down premiums for non-group plans. This, however, was not the result of some mysterious market magic, but simply because, as the CBO noted, covered benefits would be skimpier, while sicker and older people would be pushed out of the market.

In some states that obtained waivers, over time, less healthy individuals would be unable to purchase comprehensive coverage with premiums close to those under current law and might not be able to purchase coverage at all. Moreover, out-of-pocket costs would rise for many, for instance whenever people needed to use services that were no longer covered say mental health or maternity care.

Much else, however, stayed the same from the previous reports. Like the last AHCA, this one would cut more than $800bn in Medicaid spending over a decade, dollars it would pass into the bank accounts of the rich in the form of tax cuts, booting about 14 million individuals out of the program in the process. And overall, the new AHCA would eventually strip insurance from 23 million people, as compared to the previous estimate of 24 million.

Its worth noting here that Trumps budget released Tuesday proposed additional Medicaid cuts in addition of those of the AHCA, which amounted to a gargantuan $1.3tn over a decade, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The tax plan and budget best characterized as a battle plan for no-holds-barred top-down class warfare drawn up by apparently innumerate xenophobes would in effect transform the healthcare and food aid of the poor into bricks for a US-Mexico border wall, guns for an already swollen military, and more than anything a big fat payout to Trumps bloated billionaire and millionaire cronies.

What becomes of this violent agenda now depends on Congress and on the grassroots pressure that can be brought to bear upon its members.

But assuming the AHCA dies a much-deserved death quite possible given the headwinds it faces in the Senate we will still have to contend with healthcare present.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control released 2016 results from the National Health Interview Survey, giving us a fresh glimpse of where things stand today. And on the one hand, the news seemed good: the number of uninsured people fell from 48.6 to 28.6 million between 2010 and 2016.

On the other hand, it revealed utter stagnation: an identical number were uninsured in 2016 as compared with 2015, with about a quarter of those with low incomes uninsured last year (among non-elderly adults). It also suggested that the value of insurance is declining, with high-deductible health plans rapidly becoming the rule and not the exception: for the privately insured under age 65, 39.4% had a high-deductible in 2016, up from 25.3% in 2010.

Healthcare present, therefore, is an unstable status quo: an improvement from healthcare past, no doubt, but millions remain uninsured and out-of-pocket health costs continue to squeeze the insured.

Which takes us to the third vision, that of healthcare future. As it happens, another recent development provided a brief glimmer of hope for that vision. As the Hill reported, the Democratic congressman John Conyers held a press conference yesterday (Physicians for a National Health Program, in which I am active, participated) to announce that his universal healthcare bill the Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act had achieved 111 co-sponsors, amounting to a majority of the House Democratic Caucus and the most in the bills history.

This bill like other single-payer proposals is the precise antithesis of Paul Ryans AHCA. Rather than extract coverage from millions to provide tax breaks for the rich, it would use progressive taxation to provide first-dollar health coverage to all.

Which of these three visions will win out is uncertain, but the outcome of the contest will have a lasting impact on the country. We can only hope that the thuggish, rapacious vision championed by Trump and his administration does not prevail.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/25/us-healthcare-system-fork-road

Watch Mark Zuckerbergs Harvard commencement speech here

College dropout-turned-Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg finally got his degree today, and now hes about to give Harvards 366th commencement speech.

You can watch him speak here now, where well embed the Facebook Live broadcast on TechCrunch, and provide frequent updates on any news or insights he mentions.

For a deeper look at the substance of his talk, read our follow-up: Zuckerberg tells Harvard we need a new social contract of equal opportunity

Ill share what Ive learned about our generation and the world were all building together Zuckerberg writes. This is personally important to me and Ive been writing it for a while.

Live Updates From Zuckerbergs Speech

Zuckerberg began his speech by calling Harvard The greatest university in the world, and cracking a couple corny jokes like telling students You accomplished something I never could.

He described how he met Priscilla Chan at the going away party friends through Zuckerberg when the university threatened to kick him out for creating Facebook-predecessor FaceMash. In a touching moment, he says because it led him to meet his future wife, FaceMash is actually the most important thing he built at Harvard.

Then Zuckerberg got into the focus of his speech: Purpose. He described how through his travels around the country, people have told him theyre trying to fill a void in their lives as jobs and community become less important in modern society. And that Zuckerberg foreshadowed how these problems could worsen as technology replaces jobs.

His first strategy for the world to find purpose is for people to make the hard choice to get started on big projects. For example, it might be tough to start fighting climate change, but we can put people to work installing solar panels, or we can start ending disease by getting people to contribute their health data and genomes.

His second strategy revolves around equal opportunity. He believes its time for our generation to define a new social contract where we measure progress by everyone having a role and a purpose. Zuckerberg suggested universal basic income, affordable childcare, flexible healthcare, prison reform, and continuous education as the ways to provide this equal opportunity.

Finally, he believes that we need to build community, both locally with our neighbors, and between nations to unite the globe.

To learn how Zuckerberg plans to fix the worlds problems without just saying Facebook is the solution, read our follow-up:Zuckerberg tells Harvard we need a new social contract of equal opportunity.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/25/watch-mark-zuckerberg-speech/

What’s wrong with too many white men in one place?

(CNN)President Donald Trump helped the nation reach a rare moment of racial reconciliation, but hardly anyone noticed.

May 18: A man assaults a stranger for speaking Spanish: Hector Torres was talking to his mother on the phone at the Reno airport, when a man started yelling profanities and assaulted him.

May 19: New Orleans mayor delivers a remarkable speech on race. After his city removed a monument to a Confederate Civil War hero, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the Confederacy was on the “wrong side of history.”

May 20: A white Mississippi lawmaker calls for a lynching. State Rep. Karl Oliver made the comment on his Facebook page while denouncing the removal of Confederate monuments. He later apologized.

May 22: Video of a woman’s racist rant against a Latino shopper goes viral. The white woman in a Sprint store in Virginia calls the Latino shopper a “f#$$ sp#c.”

May 22: A Walmart shopper goes after two women of color. The white shopper in Arkansas told a Latino woman to “go back to Mexico” and called an African-American woman the N-word.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/25/us/too-many-white-men/index.html

Researcher Faces Jail For Sharing An Academic Thesis Online

Back in 2014, Diego Gomez, a masters student at the University of Quindo in Colombia, came across a thesis in a library that he decided to upload to a server that anyone could access. The author of the document discovered this and claimed that hisrights had been violated, and decided to sue.

Thanks to an agreement between the country and the US, Gomez isbeing prosecuted under US copyright law, and in his case, he faces a jail term of eight years. Hes been fighting against it in the courts ever since, and in the next few weeks, a verdict is due.

As reported by STAT News, Gomez, 29, said that he acted in good faith, in gratitude for all the support I had received from other researchers in Colombia and other countries, and voluntarily for academic purposes and non-profit. He told reporters that he had never imagined that this activity could be considered a crime.

The idea that sharing a thesis would result in economic damages to the author the basis on which the case was made against Gomez is obviously absurd. Theses are normally only ever read fully by their authors and two or three examiners very rarely do they set the world on fire, at least in this form.

Academic papers, of course, are uploaded online all the time outside of the paywalls that most academic journals possess. You have sites like ResearchGate and arXiv, where authors of the papers tend to upload pre-prints or even final copies of academic papers for others to have a peek at.

Its a fine line, though. Uploading even your own academic study to a freely accessible server is illegal if its already been accepted by a publishing house. That publisher now owns your work, and it seems ridiculous, but you often have to pay a fee to access it.

As horrific as Gomez case is, it reminds us that the debate over the publics access to scientific data and research is a complex one.

Few would disagree that science needs to be shared with the public more effectively, and institutions who can afford to pay the unbelievably high subscription costs for access to academic journals need to open up their treasure chests of papers to institutions that arent able to, particularly when it comes to medical research.

There is, however, a role for publishers, and simply doing away with their editorial services and the (albeit flawed) peer-reviewed system would be reckless. This problem requires evolution, not revolution.

Currently, journals that are open access meaning anyone can see their contents often require extortionate one-time fees in order for academics to make them open access in the first place. These fees could often be spent on more researchers and students, andoften the prestige of paywalled journals like Science and Nature prevail.

Theres also an argument about what papers to make open access and why. Unless youre scientifically literate, the public could read through academic papers and interpret them incorrectly a dangerous path to walk down when it comes to health research.

In any case, theres a middle ground out there somewhere, and hopefully academia manages to find it. In the meantime, threatening a researcher with jail time is not a good move not in the slightest.

The case has echoes ofthat of 26-year-old computer programmer Aaron Swartz, who back in 2011 logged in to the Massachusetts Institute of Technologys (MIT) servers and downloaded thousands of academic papers from publisher JSTOR, hopingto make them freely available on the Web.

He was arrested, and was told he would face a 35-year-long prison sentence on federal data-theft charges. Faced with this awful future, and struggling with long-term depression, he hanged himself.

[H/T: STAT News]

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/researcher-faces-jail-sharing-academic-thesis-online/

Cheryl Grimmer: Accused man gave evidence in 1971, court hears – BBC News

Image copyright NSW Police
Image caption Cheryl Grimmer disappeared when she was three years old

A man accused of killing a UK-born toddler in Australia in 1970 once gave information to police about her possible resting place, a court has heard.

Three-year-old Cheryl Grimmer went missing from a shower block at a New South Wales beach.

A 63-year-old man, originally from Britain, was arrested in March and charged with her abduction and murder.

A court heard the man confessed in 1971, but police had not believed him.

The man, who was 17 at the time, had also given details about the possible location of her remains, the Wollongong court heard on Wednesday.

Police initially discounted his information, believing it was inaccurate, but it had since been supported by other evidence, a magistrate was told.

The accused man cannot be named because he was a minor at the time.

Image copyright NSW Police
Image caption The toddler went missing from a beach in Wollongong in New South Wales

Police have said they do not believe Cheryl’s body will be found.

Defence lawyer Laura Fennell questioned whether the new evidence should be admissible because it was given by a minor who had been suffering mental health issues.

But the magistrate denied bail, saying the prosecution case appeared to be strong.

The man has not formally entered a plea.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-40024825

Trump’s Anti-Science Budget Contains A $2 Trillion Math Error

So Trumps new budget proposal is out, and as expected, its severely damaging to the sciences, healthcare, biomedical research, and the environment.

It probably wont pass Congress in 2018 if 2017s verdict is anything to go by, but this wont just be because its so draconian. Its also because it literally doesn’t add up. As pointed out by NYMag, there is a $2 trillion mathematical error in the document.

Wait, what?

The Trump administration plans to balance the budget over the next decade by cutting the national deficit. Mysteriously, the President has also promised the biggest tax cut in history at least for the wealthiest of Americans.

Tax reform hasnt made it through the House yet, so its not clear what the cuts will be, but if the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is anything to go by, it wont be for the poor, but the rich.

Either way, the budget as it stands expects these mythical tax cuts to increase economic growth to the tune of $2 trillion. Less tax will lead to less revenue, but will apparently lead to more investment into business, which will generate more growth thats the theory.

However, when you think about it, this means that they think that the tax cuts pay for themselves. This is purely hypothetical, self-evidently nonsensical, and in any case is not something you can just add to a concrete budget as if its factual. Its an assumption based on pixie dust, not actual testable information or modeling.

Theres been no evidence at all in recent American history to suggest that these massive upper-class tax cuts will pay for themselves, regardless of which American political party was in power at the time. So, in effect, this is a double-counting error, a basic accounting mistake that, presumably, the government hoped no one would notice.

So we wouldnt worry so much about this 2018 budget. Sure, it says a lot about the callousness of those that authored it, but it amounts to nothing less than witchcraft. Science will survive another day.

[H/T: NYMag]

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/trump-antiscience-budget-contains-2-trillion-math-error/

Montana Is About To Send Trump — And Democrats — A Big Message

Montana will vote Thursday to fill the U.S. House seat vacated in March by now-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Democrat Rob Quist, a populist progressive cowboy poet known for his career as a bluegrass singer, supports single-payer health care, legalizing marijuana and funding more arts programs in schools. Republican Greg Gianforte, a tech entrepreneur who moved to the state in 1995, is a hard-line social conservative who backs the deeply unpopular GOP bill to replace Obamacare and wants to turn over control of public lands to the state.

Gianforte, who narrowly lost a bid for governor last year, is favored to win the seat that Zinke handily won re-election to in November. But Gianfortes own strategists describe him as basically an unpopular incumbent trying to get re-elected.

The race for the states only House seat will likely be close. Gianforte had a 6-point lead over Quist in a poll released this month by a Democratic political action committee. But internal GOP polling has shifted against Gianforte amid proliferating scandals coming from the White House, conservative blogger and radio host Erick Erickson reported this month.

The election took an unexpected turn on Wednesday evening, when Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs accused Gianforte of body-slamming him. In audio that Jacobs recorded, the reporter asked Gianforte how he felt about the Republican health care bill in light of the analysis of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that came out earlier in the day. (Gianforte had previously claimed he would have voted against it, because without an updated CBO report, he lacked the data to assess its merits.)

The audio then cuts to the sound of a scuffle.

Im sick and tired of you guys, Gianforte says. The last time you came here you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here!

Jesus Christ, Jacobs said. You just body slammed me and broke my glasses.

Get the hell out of here, Gianforte says again.

If youd like me to get the hell out of here, Id also like to call the police, Jacobs says.

Gianfortes campaign blamed Jacobs for the altercation, saying the reporter had pushed a phone into his face.Jacobs grabbed Gregs wrist and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground, campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon said in a statement. Its unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene.

Gianforte was reportedly set to be interviewed by Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna when Jacobs interrupted. In a written account of what she witnessed, Acuna said Gianforte manhandled Jacobs, even though Jacobs did not show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte.

At that point, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him, Acuna wrote. She said the TV crew watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of Im sick and tired of this!

Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
Democratic U.S. House candidate Rob Quist with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) greet supporters at a campaign rally May 20 in Butte, Montana.

Its unclear how the election-eve violence may influence Thursdays vote. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wasted no time trying to capitalize on it, demanding that Gianforte immediately withdraw from the race.

The National Republican Campaign Committee did not respond independently, referring reporters to the Gianforte campaigns statement.

Regardless of the factors that determine the final outcome, a close tally would send a clear warning to both parties that even deploying political star power couldnt propel a mandate-sized victory. But a surprise win for Quist would signal not only a rejection of PresidentDonald Trumps policies but also of the long-held Democratic playbook for winning or, more often of late, losing much-needed seats in Congress.

In many ways, the Montana election plays out an alternative narrative of the 2016 presidential race. Trump carried the state by more than 20 points on Election Day and picked up nearly 74 percent of votes in the Republican primary last June. Gianforte is banking on the presidents popularity. Over the past month, he campaigned alongside Vice President Mike Pence and Donald Trump Jr., the presidents eldest son.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) won the states Democratic primary with 51.1 percent of votes to Hillary Clintons 44.6 percent. Quist backed Sanders at the time, and the Vermont senator has since returned the favor. Sanders endorsed Quist in April and appeared at packed campaign events with him last week.

Despite Clintons loss and the failure to recapture the Senate, Democratic Party stalwarts have spurned the progressive wing of the party. Party leaders picked Tom Perez, President Barack Obamas labor secretary, to lead the Democratic National Committee, even after progressive Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) secured endorsements from establishment torchbearers like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). That Perezs backers touted his progressive bona fides as being on par with Ellisons raised even more questions about why he should run at all, if not to prevent the so-called Berniecrat wing of the party from gaining power.

The Democrats virtually ignored Quist until late April. Asked about the Montana special election, Rep Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the DCCCs 2016 national mobilization chair, told HuffPost last month he didnt know about that. But as the race heated up, the party began spending more money, tripling its initial investment to $600,000 earlier this month.

It seems clear that Gianfortes massive edge in early funding allowed him to attack Quists character viciously before there were sufficient funds for Quist to respond to the vitriol, Jeff Hauser, a longtime Democratic operative and director of the Revolving Door Project, told HuffPost. If Quist should lose, the national Democrats who provided financial assistance after mail-in voting had already begun will have to question anew their initial reluctance to engage in the race in March and early April.

Quist attracted the enthusiastic backing of progressive activists because of his unabashed liberal stances, including support for single-payer health insurance and legalizing marijuana.

Winnie Wong, co-founder of the People for Bernie, an online group, credited Sanders followers forgetting involved in Quists campaign early andcorner[ing] the Democratic Party into following suit.

If Quist wins, Wong argued, the overwhelming message that will resonate across the country is that Berniecrats can win in red states. That will send a message to the corporate wing of the Democratic Party to move left.

Democrats have notched a few small victories. On Tuesday night, Democrats flipped two state legislature seats one in Long Island, New York, the other in New Hampshire in districts that voted for Trump. But the partys losing streak on the national level has yet to break.

William Campbell via Getty Images
Republican Greg Gianforte, left, shakes hands with Donald Trump Jr. at a campaign event in Bozeman, Montana, in April.

Two weeks ago, Democrat Heath Mello failed to unseat Republican Mayor Jean Stothert in Omaha, Nebraska. In April, left-leaning progressive James Thompson lost his bid for Kansass open House seat, despite coming unexpectedly close in a deep-red state.

The fight for Georgias 6th District, vacated this year by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, has become the highest profile race yet, in part due to the symbolic value of flipping a seat long held by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Democrat Jon Ossoff fell less than 2 points short of defeating Republican Karen Handel last month, and a runoff vote is scheduled for June 20. Democrats, to their credit, have poured millions into the race. And it may be paying off. Ossoff has taken a 7-point lead over Handel in a new poll commissioned by Georgias WXIA, a local NBC affiliate.

Still, while Democratic super PACs have lavished Ossoff with money and ads featuring celebrities, Quist has plugged along, raising more than $5 million in donations that average $25. Thats $2 lower than Sanders average. Quists fundraising skyrocketed this month, after Gianforte waffled on his support for the American Health Care Act, which could imperil more than 70,000 Montanans health insurance.

A Quist win is a wake-up call for Democrats to reconsider an approach to candidate recruitment based on maximizing the number of rich people a potential candidates knows well, Hauser said. Our populist moment is best suited to candidates who, like Quist, have personal stories that resonate with the partys increasingly populist platform.

Sprawling Montana, with a statewide population less than one-eighth of New York City, is far from a perfect microcosm of the country writ large. But its not the blanketly red state the 2016 election results would suggest. Montana voters elected Sen. Jon Tester (D) in 2006, unseating an incumbent Republican. Tester won re-election in 2012. Gov. Steve Bullock (D), who won re-election despite a well-funded and aggressive campaign by Gianforte, criticized Democrats for ignoring Western states like his, opting to remain in coastal liberal strongholds while right-wing donors flooded races in places dismissed as flyover states with money.

I remember a humorous episode from Bill Clintons presidency in which his advisers prevailed upon him, one summer before his re-election campaign, to spend his vacation in Montana and Wyoming instead of the usual Marthas Vineyard, Bullock wrote in a recent op-ed in The New York Times. The theory was that hed benefit from hanging out someplace a little more down to earth. He took the advice, and won re-election. Its a lesson Democrats should take to heart.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/montana-election-rob-quist_us_5925e764e4b0265790f4ad60