With Bruce Lisman’s formal announcement that he will not run for Governor, the Vermont Republican Party is facing something of an existential crisis.
Wait, you may be saying. What could possibly be worse than 2012, when all the VTGOP’s statewide candidates except Phil Scott lost badly and the party was reduced to super-minority status in the Legislature?
Well, how about this. No candidate running for Governor*. Perhaps no candidate running for other statewide offices aside from Lieutenant Governor. Tea Partier Mark Donka dragging down the “ticket” with his second no-hope bid to unseat Congressman Peter Welch.
*Emily Peyton is running as a Republican, but the party has said it would disavow her if she wins the GOP primary. Which is starting to look like a real possibility.
Farfetched, you might say? Not so, my friend.
I’ve been told that Randy Brock has, sensibly, decided not to throw good money (and effort) after bad with another run for Governor. And with Heidi Scheuermann already out, and Lisman sidelining himself, the Party appears to be pinning all its hopes on businessman Scott Milne, who has said he will decide whether to run on June 12, which happens to be the filing deadline. (I’ve also been told there’s nobody waiting in the wings to run for Treasurer, Secretary of State, Auditor, or Attorney General. Seems unlikely, but then, it’s extremely late for anyone to begin a serious statewide campaign.)
If that’s really his plan, then he might as well withdraw right now. And if he does, the VTGOP might be left without a plausible candidate for Governor, and with more vacancies than candidates on the statewide ballot.
After the jump: Death knell for Phil Scott Republicanism?
Which then calls into question the “new, inclusive, Phil Scott VTGOP” narrative. If the party falls on its face this year, I have to think the Lindley/Johnston/Roper/McLaughry forces will be chomping at the bit, waiting to stage a counter-coup. After all, the Scott move will have been an utter failure, no?
Sad. Pathetic. Embarrassing. And, even if you’re a supporter of the Democratic Party, not good news for the health of our political system. In the absence of a credible VTGOP, the Dems stand every chance of getting fat, lazy, and corrupt. (Yes, I know some of you think they’re already there. Let’s say, for your sake, “even more fat, lazy, and corrupt.”)
We know how that endgame goes: sooner or later the voters sit up and take notice and throw the bums out, just like the post-Jean Chretien Liberals in Canada. (It wasn’t that long ago the Conservatives were hopelessly divided, the NDP was marginalized, and the Liberals looked unbeatable. Where are they now?)
This observation won’t keep me from tossing rotten tomatoes at the lifeboats abandoning the Good Ship VTGOP, but really, it’s a depressing development.