Tag Archives: Politico

Get on the bus

I have this crazy notion.

I see a luxury bus, decked out with signs and photos of the Democrats’ statewide candidates. I see it spending a long weekend barnstorming around Vermont, stopping in various towns and cities.

Inside the bus, I see Sue Minter, Pat Leahy, Peter Welch, and Bernie Sanders, plus David Zuckerman, TJ Donovan, Jim Condos, Beth Pearce, and Doug Hoffer*. Legislative candidates join them for rallies held within their districts.

*Random order. Please take no offense, Doug.  

The events draw substantial media coverage and energize the party faithful. They showcase liberal politicians united behind a single ticket — and, most crucially, a gubernatorial candidate in an uphill battle against a popular Republican.

What would it do for Sue Minter to have Vermont’s very popular heavyweights actively showing their support? It might just be the thing to put her over the top.

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The VTGOP’s convention dilemma

This coming weekend will feature the Democratic (Saturday Sunday in Barre) and Republican (Sunday Saturday in Burlington) state conventions. The Dems will be trying to accommodate the Bernie Sanders crowd enough to forestall any open warfare; and the four superdelegates who plan to support Hillary Clinton are girding themselves for a Bernie Bro onslaught.

But the real entertainment value is likely to come from the Republican gathering, where party leaders and potential candidates will have to deal with the unpleasant fact of Donald Trump at the top of their ticket.

And the national GOP is sending a clear message to state parties: Bow Down Before The Donald.

Republican activists chose party unity over “never Trump” resistance Saturday, with party leaders in one state after another pressuring their members to fall in line behind the presumptive nominee — and even punishing those who refused.

Eleven states held annual Republican conventions or party leadership meetings Saturday, offering a platform for those who still object to Donald Trump… But at almost every turn, they slammed into state leaders who closed ranks around a candidate who many once said they’d never support.

Interesting moment for Phil Scott, the VTGOP’s shining star and likely gubernatorial nominee. If the convention falls in line with Trump, he’ll be an isolated, neutered figure in his own party.

Especially if his challenger Bruce Lisman chooses that moment to finally endorse Trump — which he’s almost certain to do sometime.

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Bernie Bucks found in archconservative pockets

Found a disturbing little factoid while trolling the Internet this evening.

I came across a Politico piece about Bernie Sanders’ campaign spending reports. Surprise, surprise: he spends a lot of money for those big hairy rallies, as well as the usual stuff of big-time campaigns — staff, consultants, polling, and…

… food.

Prepare yourself. Here comes the shocker.

One area where Sanders wasn’t very spendthrift was catering. His February campaign bill was only about $49,000 on catering, including about $620 on Chick-fil-A, $1,140 on Subway and $1088 on Panera Bread.

Wait wait wait. Did they just say… Chick-fil-A?

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“Maybe they’re going to put him on the ticket”

I’m sure this will earn me a fresh round of ire from the Sanderistas, but this time you’ll have to blame Bernie’s top campaign adviser Tad Devine. In a wide-ranging interview with Politico’s Glenn Thrush, he delivered a rather astonishingly frank overview of the state of the campaign. And it included some definite indicators that Bernie’s quest for the presidential nomination is coming close to its end.

Not his campaign, mind you. Devine remains committed to, in Bernie’s oft-repeated words, fighting all the way to the convention. As well he should. But Devine threw out some unmistakable hints that time is running out on a serious quest for the big prize.

Starting with the headline, in which Devine openly mulls the possibility of Bernie as the vice presidential nominee.

“I’m sure, of course, anyone would,” Devine says when I ask if he could see a scenario where Sanders would actually say yes. They haven’t talked about the possibility, Devine adds, and he says Sanders would never, ever consider it “unless you know, it was done in the right and proper way.” That’s a far cry from last year, when Sanders and Co. rebuffed the second-banana suggestion by countering with an offer to give Clinton the vice presidential slot on his ticket.

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A trip down Memory Lane (and a turn into Nightmare Alley)

Hey, remember when Donald Trump held a rally at the Flynn Center? And the Vermont Republican Party took pains to distance itself?

Just to refresh your memory, here’s the statement released before the Trump event by VTGOP Executive Directory Jeff Bartley:

We learned late today through media reports that Donald Trump will be making a brief campaign stop in Vermont The Vermont Republican Party did not invite Mr. Trump and has no role in his event. Like all presidential candidates, he is welcome to share his thoughts with Vermonters. We hope all candidates will articulate, in a responsible and respectful Vermont way, their ideas for helping to make our state and or nation more affordable and prosperous for working class families. And we look forward to the outcome of the primary campaign between our very diverse group of candidates.

I thought it’d be timely to revisit those words, now that The Donald shattered his “glass ceiling” in Nevada with 46 percent of the caucus vote. With each passing day, he looks more and more like the irresistible force, while the other candidates are decidedly movable objects.

Meanwhile, the obvious choice of Vermont Republicans, John Kasich, “won” 3.6 percent of the Nevada vote. Even before the results came in, he was the subject of a juicy headline Monday morning at Politico:

GOP to Kasich: Get out

A string of elected officials, GOP insiders and prominent donors officially threw their support behind Rubio on Monday, calling him their last chance to take down Donald Trump. Their statements had another common theme. Some explicitly called for Kasich to quit, while others sent the same message by saying the Ohio governor’s ongoing presence is holding Rubio back.

The story is especially poignant in these circles, since it came only two days after Vermont Republicans couldn’t stop grinning while they shared a stage with Kasich.

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Failing LiberPublican Settles for Vermont

Wow, what a get.

The Vermont Republican Party today announced that U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul will keynote a fundraiser on Monday, August 31, 2015.

Well, well. Acqua Buddha himself will grace our verdant land. Gosh, I hope he brings his chainsaw.

The VTGOP press release strangely promises “more details on the event… in the coming weeks.” Hey guys, you’ve got less than three weeks ’til go-time. Found a banquet hall yet?

Party Chair David Sunderland praised Senator Paul for coming to Vermont “even though we are not an early primary state.” Which, yeah, but that’s less about Paul’s graciousness and more about his desperation. After entering 2015 as a solid contender, the good Senator has faded badly. RealClearPolitics’ national polling average gives Paul less than six percent support. He’s not disappearing like Rick Perry, but he’s stuck in limbo behind Tea Party-oriented candidates like Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and of course Donald Trump.

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