Today, without a doubt, Montana has its most watched election in history. And since Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte chose to body slam, choke, and punch a reporter from the Guardian, a British newspaper, the election is now even huge international news.

When I posted on this last night, I was surprise by how many Republicans came to Gianforte’s defense. Some screamed fake news and others said they didn’t care, as long as Gianforte defeated the liberal Democrat. Every Republican who posted demonstrated that they totally bought into the Donald Trump “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters” mentality.

I often get accused of painting Republicans with a broad brush, but it’s the Republicans, not me, who keep reinforcing the Trump-era Republican stereotype of hateful, bigoted party-before-country behavior.

As for today’s election, I still think there is a realistic chance that Greg Gianforte will defeat Democratic candidate Rob Quist. Republicans didn’t care that Donald Trump is a sexual assaulter and predator of teenage girls, so most of them won’t care that Gianforte is a violent assaulter of reporters and prairie dogs. Also, Montana makes it easy for people to early vote, so many people have already voted.

Here’s the bottom line: If Quist wins, Montana has sent a huge message that the Trump agenda is unacceptable (both Donald Trump Jr. and Mike Pence campaigned for Gianforte). If Gianforte wins, Trump-inspired violence stays in the national and international news.

Yes, no matter what happens with the vote count, the Democrats have already won! If I were a Republican, I would be praying for Gianforte to lose, as the story will go away in a few days. But if Gianforte wins, this story goes on for weeks and perhaps even months. Imagine how horrible it will look if Gianforte actually takes a seat in Congress. It will be just as bad for Republicans as the joyful party they had when they voted to take health care away from millions while giving themselves a tax break.

Sooner or later, casual, low-information voters will realize just how disgusting the Republican Party has become, and they’ll stop voting “R” out of habit.