Political observers in Montana were surprised earlier this month as candidates for federal and state office played a game of musical chairs with this November's ballot. The Green Party was recently taken by surprise when they found out from other sources that they had candidates qualify for the 2020 election!

While ballot access is never an unhappy surprise for third parties, the Green party was perplexed, as they had not provided the resources to get candidates on the ballot in those races. Upon further investigation, it was revealed that the Montana GOP had paid petitioners to gather the signatures required to get the Greens on the ballot.

So why did the Montana Republican Party donate $100,000.00 to another political party that promotes progressive, environmentally focused policies? Because they believe a Green Party Candidate will split the Democratic vote.

This, unfortunately, is becoming normal behavior for Democrats and Republicans as they struggle to stay relevant while their principles fail them. Instead of finding new ways of expressing their ideas and providing real solutions, the bloated donkeys and elephants get more creative at using underhanded, unethical behavior to try and mudsling their way into office.

The Montana Libertarian Party is hoping to bring solutions, innovation, and ideas to the conversation. Debate real policy that improves the lives of Montanans, not finding new ways to game the system and stay in power. They change the rules to make it harder for other voices to compete, they smear and slander rather than care and deliberate.

As Montanans, we condemn the unethical way that these parties are conducting business. Our elections should be a fair and honest exchange of ideas, a debate on principles and platforms that have real impacts on the people we serve.

Voters can be sure that the Montana Libertarian Party will run elections based on real platforms that address the hopes and worries of the people of our state. With economic challenges on the horizon, we need real leadership that is interested in solutions and not games.

Our commitment is to present another option to voters. Our candidates will be on the campaign trail, despite the best efforts of GOP leaders, offering a real voice for fiscal responsibility, individual liberty, and an innovative future. We will stand on our principles and be true to our word.

This all reminds me of a saying my mother taught me growing up. “Never wrestle with a pig. You just get dirty and the pig enjoys it.”

Sid Daoud is the chair of the Montana Libertarian Party