The American Pants-On-Fire Majority

Republicans have made much of their victories in the 2016 election.

Vermont Republicans have had to extend that to near-victories in order to get a similar bang for their buck, because Vermont remains solidly in Democratic hands.

That doesn’t stop the Vermont GOP from making wild claims about an imaginary mandate for their cuts-not-revenue agenda.  As has been repeatedly discussed on GMD, this is a dangerously mis-drawn conclusion, no matter who is doing the drawing.

Organizationally, they caught the Dems napping, as they themselves have been doing over the past few election cycles. I rather doubt that this will happen again in 2016.

It remains instructive, nonetheless, to look at the mechanisms by which the VGOP gathered itself for a much improved election performance this year.

Exhibit A in this case would be American Majority.

Established in 2008, the somewhat presumptuously titled American Majority is a right wing recruitment and training organization that gave the Tea Party its wings and aims to put a conservative in every political office from side judge to POTUS.  

AM is closely tied to the Koch brothers and steeped in special interest funding:

According to a 2010 article in AlterNet, and Ned Ryun himself, over 75% of the funding for American Majority comes from the Sam Adams Alliance. In 2008, the year in which American Majority was founded, 88% of the alliance’s money came from a single donation of $3.7 million.

‘Guess whose $3.7 mil that was.

Immediately after the election this year, American Majority trumpeted the headline:

17 TRAINED NEW LEADERS WIN IN VERMONT

I haven’t taken a count but I’d guess they’re claiming credit for every new Republican office holder in the state…and that is truly interesting!

said Matt Robbins, President of American Majority.”Since opening our Vermont office this year, we have trained 252 new leaders and activists. American Majority Vermont is helping to ensure that candidates who believe in smaller government have the tools to be successful in their campaigns. We are thrilled to see these strong results in Vermont.”

I wonder how many of our newly elected Vermont Republicans appreciate being tagged by the infamous Koch brothers?

Among the tips provided to candidates on the AM website is

How to “go negative” without getting nasty.

The last of the 10 rules provided in this section is the advice to never make reference to your opponent’s voting record or issue stances if you aren’t 100% certain of what they are.

At least one successful Republican candidate in Vermont seems to have gotten the negativity training, but decided to skip rule #10.

Running successfully for the Franklin 7 House seat, Larry Fiske relied heavily on negative campaigning against Democratic/Progressive incumbent Cindy Weed.

He told the voters that Weed was anti-gun, anti-property-tax-rebates, opposed to welfare reform and planning to tax people’s wells.

NONE OF WHICH WAS TRUE.

Thanks to American Majority, it would not surprise me to learn that  this scene played out in districts all over the state where Republicans unseated incumbents.

Unfortunately, there are no consequences associated with lying to the voting public.  If a candidate has the gall to say something untrue about his opponent, and is given the means to say it often enough; if media can’t be bothered to fact-check the claim, people will simply assume that it’s true.

So who really knows what the voters thought they were endorsing when they voted for Republican candidates this November?  

About Sue Prent

Artist/Writer/Activist living in St. Albans, Vermont with my husband since 1983. I was born in Chicago; moved to Montreal in 1969; lived there and in Berlin, W. Germany until we finally settled in St. Albans.

4 thoughts on “The American Pants-On-Fire Majority

  1. I forget who said this, but the republicans have learned from the propagandists that “A lie becomes a truth if repeated often enough.”  This is what that bastard, Larry Fiske, did to Cindy — this plus, several hundred thousand dollars.  

  2. It took bucket loads of outside PAC money to make small gains- outside training and advertising.

    As of October $242,759.00 was spent by Republican State Leadership Committee,PAC . The RSLC  paid big bucks for radio and mailings in support of these Senate candidates Peg Flory, Kevin Mullin,Brian Collamore, Dustin Degree and Norm McAllister, Robert Frenier, Pat McDonald.

    http://vtdigger.org/2014/10/16

    The RSLC’s major benefactors include tobacco giant American Reynolds and Koch Industries, run by brothers David and Charles Koch. What will the VTGOP do for their Koch money?

  3. VTGOP: “the election is over long live the election !”

    If you wonder what kind of partner the VTGOP will be when it comes to actually governing look no further than David Sunderland’s closing remark in his “post” election thank you to voters – The 2016 campaign is already underway!

    http://vtgop.org/thank-you-wil

  4. Wonder how many newly elected Republican legislators attended those “American Majority” trainings? How many were stealth candidates – the folks who (unlike Scott Shumski) didn’t get called out for their association with a national right wing group?

    Every newly elected Republican should be asked what their relationship to this group is.  Did they attend the candidate trainings the group put on? Did they receive coaching and support from Tayt Brooks and “American Majority”?  Do they want their constituents to know they are associated with a far right national group funded by the Koch brothers.

    The other unanswered question continues to be – who is funding American Majority to have an office and to do candidate recruitment and training in Vermont?  Who is paying them to hire Tayt Brooks running their operations here?  (Note that the American Majority website lists only two states where they have staff – Wisconsin and Vermont. Why would a national right wing group decide to invest money in Vermont – instead of an competitive or swing state – unless someone is giving them money to spend here?

    A very obvious answer would be Lenore Broughton. She hated all the public attention she previously got for her generous campaign contributions and PAC expenditures. (And the candidates who received her support found them to backfire – making her the issue.)  

    She seems to have figured out that the easy way around those disclosure requirements is to funnel her money through a 501c4 like “American Majority”. Those contributions are not reportable, so she can remain anonymous. And she can continue to pay her old PAC staffer Tayt Brooks to run her right wing political operations in the state – laundering her money through a national 501c4.

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