Pollina from spoof to sponsored: Same day NH/VT Presidential Primary Day

Political cartoonist Jeff Danziger was joking around recently when he suggested that Vermont needs to piggy back on New Hampshire’s First in the Nation© Presidential Primary. In his opinion piece, Danziger cuts comically right to the heart of the matter:

It’s not only the money that the New Hampshire primary brings to that state. It’s the … well, OK, it’s the money. Their television stations will be rolling in dough, their restaurants will be crowded with journalists and hangers-on, and their merchants’ registers will jam.

 And now the idea has gone from spoof to legislation sponsored in Vermont by state Senator Anthony Pollina, who has put forward legislation almost duplicating Danziger’s same day as New Hampshire “proposal.” Like the humorist (but in more nuanced language) Senator Pollina also sees an “economic shot in the arm” and claims it would give Vermonters a greater role in choosing a president.

“There’s a lot of money generated during primary season, and there’s no reason why Vermont shouldn’t reap some of the benefits of the early primary,” Pollina said.

He notes that towns along the Connecticut River might benefit most from a once-every-four-years burst of border-town business for motels, restaurants and of course media buys: “This ad was paid for by friends of …”

And Pollina hopes more-liberal Vermont voices may help “shape the debate” or as Danziger put it, with all the false modesty he could muster:

We here in Vermont, who, God knows, are much better equipped to make an intelligent decision about the future of the country, are ignored wholesale. […] But actually it’s the money.

And how about the money? Well the dollars trickle down into the First in the Nation© Primary State in all kinds of ways. Jebbie Bush (the “smart one”), for example, who is expected to run for the Republican Presidential nomination, is handing out money in New Hampshire (and Iowa) through his PAC. Bush cash gifts include $10,000 to the New Hampshire Republican Committee and the legal limit $5,200 each to NH Congressman Frank Guinta and Senator Kelly Ayotte.

So yeah, about the money: it flows all kind of ways, and why do we assume Vermont’s liberal views will transform the debate? The reverse is possible — the primary debate could transform our political landscape. Imagine the extra thousands of dollars windfall the Vermont Republican Party or conservative Vermont candidates might receive.

Yup, we need some of that PAC money here in Vermont … Oh, and Danziger was just joking.

17 thoughts on “Pollina from spoof to sponsored: Same day NH/VT Presidential Primary Day

  1. I’m trying to figure out what you’re saying here: are you mocking the idea that more PAC money in Vermont will be a good thing, or are you supporting this proposal?

    I think the proposal is a small step in the right direction. I’ve written about this before because the sense of entitlement that New Hampshire and Iowa feel is their birthright is just offensive. There are two much better systems out there: a system of rotating regional primaries, with different regions going first in different years; and something called the American Plan, which front-loads the smaller states. Either one would be better than what we have now.

    Nevertheless, this step, which dilutes the power of New Hampshire, is an improvement.

    Here’s where you can read more about them: http://rationalresistance.blog

  2. but I think Vermont has a small enough population…and one that is notoriously suspicious of outside money…that there is every likelihood that huge PAC buys from the right might satisfyingly blow up in their faces.  

    I have more confidence in Vermonters and their progressive convictions.

    I really do think this is a way to nudge the entire country out of the  reactionary groove its stuck in, on its path to the more progressive tomorrow that non-push-polls seem to suggest it is seeking.

    Until we fix Citizens United, big money will inevitably track the earliest primary; but this may be our opportunity to subvert and redirect its impact.

  3. it’s a no. Biggest reason is this:


    -New Hampshire state law allows the Secretary of State to move the primary ahead of any other state. If Pollina’s bill became law, all we’d do is start a vicious circle with New Hampshire.

    And this:

    – Primary calendars are subject to approval by the two major parties, and neither is amenable to a change in the traditional opening – Iowa caucuses, then New Hampshire primary.

    Beyond the virtual certainty that this bill will die a quick death in committee, there are two massive obstacles in the way of an early primary …

    … Doesn’t matter if it makes any sense or not. Iowa and New Hampshire are clearly unrepresentative of the nation as a whole, and their results have been making less and less of a difference in recent campaigns. But their status is cemented in tradition, and nothing’s gonna change. Certainly not on Vermont’s say-so.

    Pollina’s bill is a bit of a sideshow, that’s all.


    I placed it safely in the ” huge distraction” category as it could seemingly turn into a slingshot match. Also have had my fill of sideshows, Senator Benning’s bill not one of them. And it turned to be an object lesson showcasing the continued ignorance of some of our fellow VTers and the fact that difference between the language — Latin, and Latino — a people, which then descended to racial slurs & an argument on illegal immigration. Classy! And thanks Senator for raising the bar.

    Wasn’t sure if his beaming prodigy was just smiling b/c it’s a by-product of a successful project well done, or still couldn’t shake of the fact that those much older and hopefully more educated have an abysmal knowledge of things that go w/o saying, and don’t know shit.

    A brouhaha last week or so re an MD in the legislature who wants to have VTers “opt out” of organ donations simply b/c organ donations are down and it is already taking place in Europe. Watching her try to walk it back purely as a ‘misunderstanding’ didn’t pass the straight-face or smell test.  

    In other foolishness, choosing a state dog was pretty stupid also all serve as demerits on the record of ‘doing the people’s business’. Sure NH’s conservatism is something I’m sure the lefty fringe of the left here in VT would love to see altered … but why? Because “we can” and don’t like them? I think they get that. Perhaps we should question how many more nutty things VT wishes to be known for.

    I’m sure I’m forgetting something but with the wreckage our state is becoming largely due to Shummy’s gross mismanagement, having lots of fun but not of to a good start.


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