Stealth Conservatives: Election Truther Gets a Leg Up From Phil Scott

Say hello to Seth Adam Manley, Republican candidate for House in the Chittenden-22 district. Mr. Manley believes the oft-debunked claim that voting machines can be hacked, says global warming is just part of the natural cycles of the planet’s climate, thinks Ron Santis’ transport of immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard was an act of compassion, believes that crime has skyrocketed because we defunded the police, opposes abortion rights and whatever he thinks critical race theory is, and refers to transgender women as “biological males who identify as female.”

Oh, and he was appointed by Gov. Phil Scott to the Essex Junction Board of Civil Authority, which oversees elections.

Yep. Mr. Moderate picked an election truther to a body responsible for elections.

Scott also appointed former VTGOP chair Deb Billado, a hardcore Trumper, and election truther Brian Christie to the same board.

This summer, Scott had to appoint justices of the peace for Essex Junction after it became a city this year. His nominees will serve until city voters elect Justices of the Peace in November. But they’ve already kicked up a fuss or two at BCA meetings.

Why did Scott do this? I imagine he solicited nominees from the local party, which is a hotbed of hardcore Trumpers and election truthers. Its chair, Ron Lawrence, was one of the organizers of a bus trip to Washington, D.C. for the January 6 doings.

If that’s what Scott did, well, due diligence is a thing. He signed his name. No backsies.

Also, whether he intended to or not, his appointments are in line with the VTGOP’s effort to recruit election skeptics to run for justice of the peace. I’m sure it’s only coincidence, but maybe somebody could ask the governor about it sometime.

Manley is the only Republican on the ballot in Chittenden-22, a two-seat district with two Democratic incumbents, Karen Dolan and Lori Houghton. In 2020, when the district was named Chittenden 8-1, they beat two Republican challengers by better than two-to-one.

Manley uses all the usual stealth conservative talking points on his campaign website and hedges some of his loonier beliefs when speaking as a candidate. What’s at the top of his official agenda? The usual. Taxes, regulation, and bringing balance to Montpelier.

(Republicans have used “balance’ as a talking point for at least ten years in spite of the fact that it never works. Also, it’s a bit ironic for conservatives to seek the electoral equivalent of affirmative action: vote for me, not on the basis of merit but because there aren’t enough of me in Montpelier.)

But even as Manley temporizes as a candidate, his beliefs are not hard to find.

At the October 13 Board of Civil Authority meeting, Manley opposed early processing of ballots. He asserted that voting machines can be connected to the Internet, so “we cannot guarantee that a third party can’t hack into them somehow.”

His claim was dutifully debunked by Secretary of State Jim Condos, who told the Essex Reporter that the machines cannot be connected to the Internet by any means, nor can they even be networked with each other.

No surprise that Manley is tough on crime, but he had an original way of phrasing it: We need to get criminals off the streets to “make it safe for policemen.”

Alongside the faux-reasonable stuff on his campaign website is a truly extreme pair of essays about climate change. Obviously he denies that climate change is caused by human activity. But then he compares climate change mitigation efforts to the Mayans’ response to a severe drought: human sacrifices to appease the gods.

In the second essay, he acknowledges that the planet does seem to be warming, but puts that down to natural variation in climate. He denies that human activity can influence the climate in any way: “The climate will continue to do whatever it is going to do no matter what actions our civilization takes.”

VTGOP chair Paul Dame has called on fellow Republicans to take back legislative seats in Essex and Essex Junction, which used to be reliably Republican. Two problems with that: Both communities have gotten more liberal, while the party has gone right round the twist. If they hope to win in either community, they’ll have to recruit candidates who can appeal to the center. That definitely is not Seth Adam Manley.

Note: The photo above is a screenshot from a candidate interview by the Essex ReTorter. Happy?


8 thoughts on “Stealth Conservatives: Election Truther Gets a Leg Up From Phil Scott

    1. John S. Walters Post author

      It’s not a photo, it’s a screenshot of a YouTube video. I often use screenshots from media material. Media have asked me to credit or take down photographs if I use one of theirs, but they’ve never complained about screenshots. Do you claim copyright over every pixel?

      1. Essex ReTorter

        Yes we do. Every one of those pixels came out of our camera and posted to our YouTube channel for all to enjoy, but not copy. You could have at least copied them all including the ones with our logo on it. But you cropped those out.

        You might claim it’s fair use, and if your piece was about the ReTorter that might be true. But it’s not. You were just lazy, didn’t ask permission or even bother to say where you ripped it off from.

        Here’s a suggestion, use Town Meeting TV’s content. But still, give credit. It’s the right thing to do.

        We enjoy reading your blog. But, we’d never copy, screen clip or otherwise, post it not give you credit. Just asking for the same courtesy.

  1. Essex ReTorter LLC

    You see John when you take a photo, screenshot etc. from another media outlet – a reader that recognizes it might wonder if that other outlet gave you permission to use it and possibly supports your viewpoint. I don’t think our standards are tougher than any other outlet.

    Grab something from 7 days or VT Digger and let’s see if they have anything to say.

  2. Lorraine Zaloom

    i don’t know john, as an artist myself, i think credit takes a second and is the ethical thing to do as well. do you have any issue with at least providing credit or finding another picture given the publication would like credit?

    1. John S. Walters Post author

      As I’ve said repeatedly, I’ve never had another media outlet try to claim credit for a video screenshot. Actual photos, yes. Screenshots, no. But I have added a credit to the piece anyway.


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