Someone Feeling a Little Bit Grudgy?

The Democratic primary for U.S. Congress ended in a decisive victory for Becca Balint. She enjoyed a 23.6 percentage point margin of victory in what was expected to be a close contest. She cemented her status as a leading figure in the Vermont Democratic Party, and put herself in prime position to become the future leader.

There are a disgruntled few, however, who can’t seem to put the primary behind them. Meaning certain members of Team Molly Gray.

I hear this whenever I talk with anyone in Democratic circles or the state policy sphere. Malcontented Gray backers are, in the words of one advocate, “salting the earth.” They’re taking names and doling out threats as if they, um, actually run this joint. Which, having badly lost the primary, they decidedly don’t.

The tactics are pretty awful, especially at a moment when the VDP ought to be riding high. They’re getting their shit together organizationally and financially, they’ve got a ballot full of talented candidates, and the Republicans have absolutely nothing to offer besides Phil Scott, for those who like their oatmeal unsweetened.

Oh, the tactics. They’re bad-mouthing Balint supporters*, they’re trying to sow dissension in the ranks, they’re meddling in the affairs of advocacy groups, and they’re just generally acting like the star quarterback who can’t believe he lost the class election to that little nerd from the Chess Club.

*I’d call this “black-balling,” but that would require a position of authority.

I get it, kinda-sorta. Gray was The Next Big Thing, the Anointed One. She was the favorite in the primary. She was in with the in crowd, by which I mean the numerically and politically potent people in the orbit of St. Patrick Leahy. They had this thing wired. They had the connections, the big-dollar donors, the political muscle in Washington and Burlington and in the VDP itself. They knew Vermont politics better than anyone, and they knew they’d earned the permanent fealty of the electorate.

Yeah, well, they thought they knew. They took us all for granted and they got kicked in the ass for their trouble.

I’ve heard nothing to suggest that Gray herself is involved in this post-primary chicanery. She made the proper noises at the party’s unity rally, and otherwise seems to be keeping a low profile.

Which would be the smart thing to do. Gray has impressed a lot of people in her brief political career. She’s young enough, smart enough, and connected enough to have a bright political future despite her distant second-place finish. But she can’t do that if she bears a grudge, as some of her prominent supporters seem to be doing.

Problem is, they can’t undo the primary. They can cause trouble. They might, at most, be able to kneecap the party just as it ought to be cruising to victory. Not sure why they’d do that, unless they’re more attached to their own delusions of grandeur than to the party itself.

That would be a shame because these are experienced people who’ve been Democratic mainstays for years. There’s no reason they can’t continue to wield considerable influence in party circles. They’ve earned it.

But they’ll have to get over themselves and cut the crap. Otherwise they might find themselves permanently on the outside looking in. That would be a real shame for all concerned.


5 thoughts on “Someone Feeling a Little Bit Grudgy?

  1. Steven West

    I’ve encountered a few of Gray’s flying monkeys on social media, and they have a decidedly K-Hive vibe. Nasty, petty, and unable to articulate policy differences and simply going for ad hominem attacks and whining. Seems fitting for supporters of a candidate who presumed it was all to be fait acompli. Your quarterback v. nerd analogy is spot-on.

  2. Kip

    To sidestep the “sore loser” label she’s now risking,, Gray, by silencing the political trolls around her and taking the high road, can show herself a likable “good sport” who’s bigger than this campaign.

  3. David Ellenbogen

    How about naming names John? After reading today’s NYTimes on Russian trolling in 2017, this is exactly the sort of seeding of dissension that the republicans (and Trumpers and Putin) would love to see.

    1. Annette Smith

      Agreed. The information is interesting but whenever I encounter this sort of thing I want to know “who said it.” Otherwise it’s just gossip that shouldn’t be published.


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