It has been tradition in Vermont that the candidate for Governor who receives the most amount of votes is overwhelmingly supported by the General Assembly (who decides on the Governor race if and when any one candidate fails to win 50% +1). But is that the best way for such a decision to be made? I would argue that no, one instead should look at the total combined votes from all the candidates who make up the broad notion of the center-left (and far left), in relation to those that make up the center-right. If the political will of the people is to be better represented, whichever camp ends up with a higher percentage (combined) should have one of their own (their top vote getter) put in office. After all, an election should not be about a specific personality, but it should be about political ideals and values. Perhaps this should be the thinking of Legislators when they are compelled to cast a ballot for our next Governor. So in this tight race, if we were to apply this logic, who should be our next Governor?
If one were to consider the center-right candidates:
And if one were to consider the center-left (and far left) candidates:
*Diamondstone-VT Liberty Union (0.93%);
*Peters (a former rank and file union member)-Independent (0.75%);
And if one were to attribute the last place Cris Ericson vote (0.56%–1,045 votes) simply to the ‘Crazy’ category (neither right nor left)… Who (left or right) won this election?
With the Vermont Secretary of State having 249 of 275 precincts reporting, the center-left won a plurality of 49.83% of the vote, compared to the center-right’s 49.27%; the vote difference being 1,020 (with the left on top). With such numbers, one also needs to consider that there were only 667 write-in votes, representing 0.36%. Therefore the write-ins, regardless of if they leaned overwhelmingly left or right, do not have the mathematical ability to change the ideological outcome. So yes, in the low turnout midterm election, it was very close indeed. But at the end of the day, it appears to be a slim plurality for the left. Thus, if the General Assembly agreed with the logic stated above, it would be reasonable for it to elect Peter Shumlin as the top finisher from amoung a left leaning plurality.
This election may be over, and applying this logic or not will, in all probability, not change who our Governor is for the next two years. But, as we move into a period where the splitting of the left leaning vote between Democrat, Progressive, and Liberty Union becomes increasingly common, and where the right leaning vote, perhaps, becomes further split between the Republicans and Libertarians, it is a logic worth considering. The important thing is that the will of the people is reflected by the General Assembly when it is called on to seat our Governor. And as a Progressive, I retain confidence that if we, together, work towards real change that betters the lives of working class people, we will continue to win elections.