Dan the No Longer Libertarian Man

(UPDATE: Per VTDigger, he’s joined the Republican Party. See below.)

Here’s a little piece of political news so shocking that I almost stifled a yawn.

Oooooookay, then. I imagine this will rattle around the Vermont political media for a few hours and then we’ll get back to stuff that actually matters.

Not to disparage the contributions of Mr. Feliciano. But we are talking about a guy who enjoyed a boatload of free publicity, including widespread speculation that he might outpoll Scott Milne, and in the end he barely managed to fend off the bottom-of-the-ballot Nutbar Brigade. He couldn’t even push the Libertarians into automatic ballot status for 2016.

I can see three possible implications. In order of likelihood:

— He’s had enough of politics and will turn his attention back to work and family. 10% chance; once bitten by the political bug, the fever usually persists beyond one election cycle.

— He doesn’t know what’s next, he’s on the outs with the Libertarians anyway, so he’s clearing the decks. 30% chance; it’s neat and clean, but I suspect he has an idea what he wants to do. Which is…

— He’s aiming to run for governor in 2016 as the darling of the right wing. 60% chance. The opening is there, unless Randy Brock re-emerges from the weeds. (Which I doubt.) The right needs a front man with some sort of credibility, and Feliciano was a perfectly cromulent candidate in 2014. He’s got some name recognition, he’s got a foothold in the Vermont political world. He impressed the likes of Darcie Johnston, even if he pretty much failed with the electorate.

There are problems with this scenario, obviously. His “proven appeal” amounts to 4% of the vote, even with all the publicity he got and all the troubles of his Republican counterpart. He’d be aiming to represent a wing of the VTGOP that’s clearly on the outs; if the 2014 election proved anything, it’s that a center-right position is much more appealing to voters than a hard-right stance.

Plus, in a hypothetical primary against Phil Scott, he’d get flattened.

Of course, the fact that the right wing is clearly on the outs makes them desperate enough to see Mr. Four Percent as their knight in fiscally conservative armor.

UPDATE: VTDigger’s Tom Brown reports that Feliciano has joined the Republican Party, saying its larger base would give him a better chance of winning a future campaign. That might be another run for governor; he might also pursue another office:

“It depends on what it is,” he said. “I have to be in a position where I can really influence things and get things done. I would not be good in the middle.”

I think we can all agree on that.

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One thought on “Dan the No Longer Libertarian Man

  1. Robert Maynard

    Hi John,

    If he took a cue from Bernie Sanders, he could try and revamp the conservsative/libertarian movement in Vermont. That would not necessarily mean winning the first few times out, but building a base. The only chance he woud have in the Vermont GOP Primary would be if Scott Milne squares off against Phil Scott. Given the recent comments by Scott Milne when Shumlin was re-elected, it is not too unlikely that Scott Milne will run again and Phil Scott is already ramping up to run. This could get interesting.

    Reply

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