Does Phil Scott’s future depend on Trump?

The Republican candidate for governor is famously not a fan of Donald Trump. Phil Scott plans to write in Jim Douglas for President, in an empty gesture of “leadership.”

But if Scott doesn’t want to vote for Trump, he might just find himself having to root for the man.

There’s a lot of talk in Republican circles these days about cutting their losses: concentrating resources in key areas, and making some necessary sacrifices in the process.

Trump’s at the top of that sacrificial hierarchy, but here’s something to ponder. How high on that list do you suppose Phil Scott is?

Scott has made some tentative moves to fundraise nationally for his own campaign, although he brags endlessly about how much of his warchest is authentic Vermont greenbacks. (We have our own currency, right?) You can spin that the other way, of course: maybe he’s tried to attract out-of-state money and failed.

Scott has received some tangible support from a SuperPAC operated by the Republican Governors Association. (Ironically named “A Stronger Vermont,” since it has no ties whatsoever to our state. It’s based in the RGA headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue, a hop and a skip from the White House.) A post-primary TV ad extolling Scott as a sunny figure of hope. A mailer that arrived in my mailbox late last week, echoing the themes and iconography of the TV spot.

(Which, by the way, does anything spell “waste of money” like a mailer sent just after the primary and nearly three months before the election? Aren’t mailers supposed to be memory-joggers for the closing days?)

This is obviously the opening gambit in an RGA effort . But what if their calculus is affected by Trump’s apparent collapse? Do they suddenly have to turn their attentions away from a relatively meaningless morale-booster in Vermont, and toward bigger governorships that might be in danger of going Democratic?

Bigger picture, if push comes to shove, conservative donors will focus on the biggest prize — defending Republican majorities in Congress. They may shift their money out of RGA activities and toward key races in the House and Senate.

Of course, the big donors have money to burn, and Vermont’s a cheap buy. But if Trump’s poll numbers continue to dwindle, the Republicans will face increasing pressure to circle the wagons.

And Phil Scott may be left on the outside, facing the savage hordes of Vermont liberalism all by his lonesome.


11 thoughts on “Does Phil Scott’s future depend on Trump?

  1. Brooke Paige

    Jim Douglas for President !

    Phil Scott certainly is not a conservative by any measure of the expression and in Vermont this along with his lack of interest in the “Donald” is consistent with his political worldview. This was a constant complaint of Lisman boosters in the primary, however I believe it will work to his benefit in the general election.

    Phil has three areas that he needs to attend to in order to placate the Republican right: First he must speak clearly on Industrial Wind and Solar siting, something he has already begun to address. Second, to move away from his former statements of support for a statewide school “district” directed by the AOE in Montpelier, Third to clearly explain how he intends to address the chaos of VHC and the GMCB- hopefully divesting “seafood” Al and his gang, applying for federal waivers to allow VT-BSBC to formally takeover the handful of “functions” that they are not taking care of already.

    Phil Scott may not be the idea candidate for the right (or the left) however Sue Minter, who still has a great command of her Olympic skater moves and gestures, has failed to demonstrate or identify those managerial and administrative skills that qualify her to become the CEO of the $6B operation that Vermont’s Governor is responsible for. Her eight months as the head of AOT, her tying up the loose ends for Neil Lunderville nor here helping Obama out with the climate change storyline are woefully insufficient experience to qualify her for the job !

    Regardless of the virtues of Donald Trump (or the lack thereof) Phil Scott is wise to distance himself from the performance – doing so will help moderate and conservative Democrats like myself to support him and what the heck are the Republican clan going to do ? Stay Home ? Vote for Suzie Chapstick ?

    For Phil Scott supporting Jim Douglas for President is actually a wise move with no downside !

    H. Brooke Paige
    Washington, Vermont

    1. Dave Katz

      Ha Ha. Hahaha. Hahahahahahaha.
      You “moderate” Republicans crack me up. Your party cheered madly and long for Dumbya and his adventures in crashing the United States of America, until–whoa!–the butcher’s bill started to emerge for the disastrous legacies of the Avignon Presidency.. Then the lot of you, to a man, ran as fast and as far as you could, whilst trying to cram the eight year Reign Of Error down the memory hole as hard as your little arsonist’s guilty hands would let you. Because it’s an article of faith with you guys that conservatism can never, ever, fail: It can only be failed. Voila! Bush-B-Gone! Stalin: “No man, no problem.” All fixed, right?

      Wrong. All the racist, sexist, homophobic, pro-corporate,”supply-side”, anti-government, anti-regulation, anti-tax, anti-social-safety net, anti-social-compact, anti-working-people destructive hogwash that’s been the staple ideology of your party since Saint Ronnie is Who. You. Are. That there IS your conservative credential, Mr. Paige.

      But here you are, doing it again, trying to make out like Phil Scott is the guy you want to have a beer with, never mind that Scott’s record is pure mainstream conservative, with nary a crack of daylight spied between his platform’s stated goals and that of the slightly less batshit-crazy wing of the Republican Party as it’s currently configured. It’ll never be the ideology that fails, because it can’t. It’ll only be that Scott Wasn’t Conservative Enough to compel the grudging Vermont Trumpies and thus win Scott the general election against Ms. Minter. “Suzie Chapstick”? The brilliant gift for witty repartee, it blinds.

      It’s the ideology, not just the candidate, that people are rejecting now. That’s why there’s no Democratic state that feels the need to engage in vote suppression tactics.The dumpster of history beckons, Paige, and the sanitary engineer at the controls is Donald Trump. Too bad.

      1. Brooke Paige


        Not sure how you extracted all of this “wisdom” from my brief repartee, all is was saying was that the “Trumpsters” have no choice but to vote for Scott as the alternates Suzie and the Spaceman will be far less palatable to their tastes. Minter represents the expansion of the philosophies of Putney Pete, something this state can ill afford to endure !

  2. chuck gregory

    The RGA is beholden to the Koch brothers. The Koch brothers are spending on the downticket candidates. They are quite likely to toss a few shekels Scott’s way, since Vermont Republicans come very cheap for someone spending on the scale of the Kochs. Therefore, we will see RGA money going to Scott in the next month or so; just not very much by Koch standards, maybe only a hundred thousand.

    1. Brooke Paige

      The Kock Brothers couldn’t give a “rat’s ass” about Vermont and fortunately wouldn’t waste a plug nickel on our election. While I don’t agree with their political philosophy, I do recognize that they are smart businessmen and are not prone to spending money foolishly on candidates that to not tow the party line !

      1. Dave Katz

        Oh, they’ll waste money in Vermont, all right. On John Maclaughrey, f’rinstance, who paid WDEV $72,000 out of Ethan Allen Institute coffers last year to air out his twice-daily wargasm against Teh Lie-bruls!(TM). And how exactly isn’t a GOP guv in VERMONT a total prize? The Birthplace Of The Bern, and the elephant’s graveyard of liberal ideas, minus, as these graveyards so often are, the backbone portion of the skeletons? Many extra helpings of high-fiving and self-generating snark on the reich-wing radio machine, for the Dave and Charley Show, pally. ‘Sides, it’s lunch money–hell, tip money from lunch money, let’s be real here– to buy all the mouthpieces they could want, here in Vermont. Including those proven performers who can coin such gems as “Putney Pete”….oh, and the shade of dear Miss Campbell, 6th grade English teacher, would never let me rest if I didn’t gotcha on “toe” the line, not “tow” the line.

      2. Brooke Paige

        David Katz,

        While I was taught ‘tow the line” and at least Cambridge University indicates that BOTH are correct, your terminology is just more archaic, however I will most probably comport to your verbiage (when writing; since when spoken, no one can discern the difference) as I like the history of the phrase and it will probably invite the unaware to attempt to correct me !


        to do what you are ordered or expected to do He might not like the rules but he’ll toe the line just to avoid trouble. Ministers who refused to toe the Party line were swiftly got rid of.
        See take the line of least resistance, cross the line, draw a line under, draw the line, draw the line at, drop a line, fall in line, feed a line, lay it on the line, step out of line.

        Other phrases which were once used in the early 1800s and have the same meaning were toe the mark and toe the plank.

        Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, 2nd ed. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2006

  3. Walter Carpenter

    “Third to clearly explain how he intends to address the chaos of VHC and the GMCB- hopefully divesting “seafood” Al and his gang.”

    I agree that VHC is a mess, but the GMCB is not a mess. In fact, it is doing a damned good job of regulating the stupid mess of Vermont’s health care non-system, and starting to tame the runaway costs that it incurs and afflicts on us. Just think of how high hospital rates would be or how many hundreds of dollars premium rates would jump up if the board was not there.

    “applying for federal waivers to allow VT-BSBC to formally takeover the handful of “functions” that they are not taking care of already.”

    This scares me as they would be able to control more and more of our health care and we already pay them too much.

    1. Brooke Paige

      GMCB is Powerless and BCBS is Already in Control !

      GMCB is allowing for the consolidation of hospital services between tow providers, while continuing to stifle competition by exercising its authority through Certificates of Need.
      If you believe that BSBC-VT doesn’t control the healthcare insurance market in Vermont you are just unaware of the current reality. Virtually all health insurance is under the supervision of BSBC in one way or another and GMCB has been totally ineffective in controlling expanding costs.
      In fact it is GBCB’s liberal expansion of Medicaid recipients has had the two prong effect of exploding the costs to the taxpayers and at the same time placing so great a financial burden on providers, especially individual practitioners that many are fleeing the state (or retiring) to avoid financial ruin.

      The Vermont Legislature has allowed BSBC-VT to virtually become the monopoly healthcare provider in Vermont. What is needed is more competition in both the insurance sector and more healthcare providers to drive down costs.

      This is not intended to be a comprehensive discussion, however suffice to say that the GMCB and VHC were intended from the start to fail to support the argument that the private sector had been given their chance and it was time to move on to single payer (universal care). Would Shumlin have put his restaurateur pal in charge if he was hoping to achieve success? Of course it is all a false narrative as we have never had real competition among healthcare insurers or healthcare providers.

      The point of John’s post was that Phil Scott doesn’t need the Trumpsters to win in Vermont and my comment was he doesn’t need to court them since they have nobody else to support.

      Enough (probably too much) Said!

  4. Faith Biggs King

    “What is needed is more competition in both the insurance sector and more healthcare providers to drive down costs.” Brooke, we don’t need a private health insurance industry – taking it’s slice outta the pie – at all. Never did. Don’t now. It’s a racket. And we certainly don’t need “more” of it. The fact that you suggest it shows a complete dearth of imagination. Oh, and if your gonna suggest Medicaid is driving doctors out of the State, you better come up with some convincing evidence for that sweeping assertion. (I know a local, young adult who recently tried moving to a southern state – for the work – but had to come back. Why? This young adult was seriously depressed and this southern state liked that restricted Medicaid you’re so fond of…so this adult had to come back to Vermont to get mental health care. Nice. Let’s have more of that.)

    1. Brooke Paige

      What we have now is the worst of both worlds – government regulated private sector monopoly care. As to Medicaid, I have no problem with a government program to assist the poor in getting healthcare, the problem is they refuse to provide adequate reimbursement to the doctors and other providers for the services rendered. This results in these patients being refused treatment by providers who do not wish to commit financial suicide.
      Many older doctors are choosing to retire instead of working for lower reimbursements and added paperwork demanded by the government programs.
      Vermont Health Connect and the GBCB have proven that this state does not have the ability to manage the care of its citizens – their brand of single payer will result in restrictive care and triaging of services by a decreasing pool of providers to an expanding number of patients.

      Wallethub just released its annual hospital rating and Vermont scored 45th best overall, 49th best for Competition and Opportunity and 13th for quality of care – the survey can be found at:
      some other relative stories at:


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