For a columnist and a president, it's the 'Best Of' times 

This year's Best of Missoula issue marks a historic victory for one of our town's most beloved institutions: me. Granted, I did not win the popular vote. I owe my victory to peculiarities in the Best of Missoula electoral college, which divides the ballots into geographic districts and then assigns each district to a raccoon. The raccoons race toward a ham sandwich, with the fastest going on to select the Best Journalist by biting him.

The winning raccoon bit the bejeezus out of me this year. That was lucky, since some other candidates technically got more votes than I did—including Derek, Alex, Erika and certain prolific users of the comments section. Still, I deserved to win. Because of the mainstream media's bias in favor of "reporters" who disseminate "facts" that are "accurate," the ballot system does not reflect the will of the people. Only the raccoon system can do that.

I have also heard from credible sources that many readers voted illegally. This fraud concerns me, since I am a fervent believer in the integrity of our Best of Missoula electoral system. Although my victory is huge and impressive, it would have been even bigger if 3 to 5 million ballots had not been cast by Missoulian readers, Californians and other aliens who are forbidden by law from voting in the Indy readers' poll.

Again, the raccoon thing is what matters. Readers, editors, emergency room physicians—they all agree it was stunning and historic how much I won that part. But I would have won the popular vote, too, if it weren't for fraud. As Missoula's best journalist, I'm calling for a thorough investigation into this year's poll to find instances of readers voting illegally. I already know about several million, of course, but they're secret. I want you to find them.

I was going to just take my rod and scepter and go home, but I decided to follow the example of that other historic winner and steward of secret facts, President Trump. Last week, his Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity asked states to supply data about voters in the 2016 election, including names, addresses, partial Social Security numbers, party affiliations and veteran status.

According to the White House, the commission will use that information to conduct a "thorough review of registration and voting issues in federal elections." This review will presumably find evidence proving that 3 to 5 million immigrants voted illegally in the presidential election, as Trump already said they did. It's a classic application of the scientific method. First, you tell the world what you know is true. Then you find evidence for it.

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As a journalist, I use this approach all the time. It's how I broke powerful, anonymously sourced stories about recent sightings of Bigfoot in Greenough Park, Mayor John Engen's connections to the Rothschild family and health code violations by a certain downtown restaurant my lawyers beg me to stop mentioning. All of these are real news stories the fake media doesn't want you to hear. When evidence for them finally emerges, everyone will agree I am the best journalist in town. They already agree with that, but soon they will agree even more, and my victory will be huger.

In the meantime, I must contend with naysayers. In this way, too, I resemble President Trump. Although he has already used the authority of his office to alert us to a level of voter fraud that is literally unheard of, haters and losers refuse to believe him. They say that he shouldn't make sweeping claims without "evidence," but then they won't even help him gather it.

More than two dozen states have declined to fully comply with the presidential commission's requests. Montana's own director of elections and voter services, Derek Oestreicher, has said his office will not release any confidential voter information. Although data like names and registrations are publicly available, the state's voter files do not include birth dates or Social Security numbers.

It's a frustrating turn of events. How is the president going to prove millions of people voted illegally when no evidence of that happening exists? It's another example of how the media, the states and available information are all against him. At times like these, President Trump must remain strong. I didn't get where I am today by waiting for evidence to support my public statements, and neither should he.

Now is the time to do something about voter fraud, both across the United States and in the Best of Missoula poll. If we wait until we can prove that fraud is happening, it will be too late. We must take action now, before the raccoon of democracy is returned to the cage of evidence-based reasoning. You won't hear me caterwauling about "proof." As a real American, I say we should let freedom bite.

Dan Brooks writes about people, politics, culture and unjust poll results at

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