In the July 16th VT Digger article, “State Political Control Will Come Down To A Few House Races”, the authors wrote that Phil Scott “is expected to easily win a second term.” The authors, as well as other media outlets in Vermont, write as though the November 2018 gubernatorial race has already been decided. Vermont lore says that governors serve two terms and both Democrats and Republicans seem to nod in agreement. At Indivisible Brattleboro, we disagree. We have looked at the data, crunched the numbers, and come to one conclusion: Scott’s only chance to hold on to the Governor’s seat is if Democrats and Progressives allow it. If Democrats and Progressives show up to the polls to oppose Phil Scott, he can and will be defeated.
There is an inherent danger in calling the gubernatorial race before a Democratic candidate has been chosen. It keeps voters from voting and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, all while giving Phil Scott a green light to continue his brazen politics. And make no mistake, Phil Scott’s policies and actions are a far cry from the moderate Republicans of Vermont’s past. Since December 2017 alone, Scott and his administration have done the following:
- Vetoed 13 pieces of legislation and 2 tripartisan budgets.
- Sided with industry over Vermonters on environmental issues including liability for toxic exposures and protecting children against environmental toxins.
- Denied Vermonters a fair and livable wage
- Denied Vermonters paid family leave
- Devalued the bipartisan Joint Fiscal Office when their numbers failed to support his flawed budget
- Scrubbed Vermont policies of climate change language
- Attempted to invite the private prison industry to Vermont (and faced a fierce backlash)
- Suggested that a person without education experience — a Betsy Devos equivalent? — would be appropriate for the role of Education Secretary
- Made end-of-session budget proposals with no time for dialogue, analysis, or debate, then refused to work with lawmakers on a solution
- Threatened the quality of Vermont’s public education with rigid staffing ratios and a deaf ear to democratically decided town budget and school board decisions.
Scott’s actions are accompanied with an unwillingness to discuss issues with lawmakers or even Vermont’s Lieutenant Governor and bear resemblance to the tactics of the Trump administration. To concede this election now is a disservice to the Vermonters who believe in the democratic process and in the cooperative, forward-thinking tradition of Vermont politics.
Indivisible Brattleboro urges the media and the voters of Vermont to treat the gubernatorial race as it is: a serious and important election that could have grave consequences for the future of Vermont. As importantly, we encourage the voters of Vermont to learn about Christine Hallquist, Scott’s democratic opponent, and to vote with the future of Vermont in mind. Phil Scott can be defeated, but only if we refuse the myth of his invincibility and vote against him.