Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Phil Scott is helping Hillary Clinton run for President. It must be true: Newt Gingrich thinks so.
Gingrich : “You’re either for Hillary Clinton or you’re for Donald Trump.
If you’re not for Donald Trump, you are functionally helping Hillary Clinton. I think it’s just that straightforward.”
He can still frame an issue with the best of them, but it seems Gingrich lifted this concept from the Bush era war on terror refrain: you are either with us or against us.
Scott’s declared presidential choice, former Governor Jim Douglas, could prove problematic for those who agree with Gingrich. Bruce Lisman, Scott’s primary opponent, hasn’t jumped on the imaginary Douglas-for-president bandwagon, and significantly, he hasn’t ruled out supporting Trump.
Gingrich’s framing also leaves most of elected VTGOP leadership (who endorsed loser Marco Rubio) at odds with local Trump supporters — the biggest block of VT Republican primary voters.
Considering the GOP’s state of disarray it isn’t exactly farfetched that Vermont’s Trump Republicans may start snarling at Phil Scott’s ploy. After all it isn’t much more than a marginally clever dodge to avoid dealing with his party’s presumptive presidential nominee.
The big elephant in the room, at the end of May when the VTGOP convenes to choose delegates, will be Trump. Rightwing Republican star John “Tig” Tiegen will be the VTGOP’s featured guest. He is one of the “Heros”of Benghazi (depicted in the movie 13 Hours), a conservative rock star of sorts and an avid Trump supporter.
When he endorsed Trump for President, in February Tiegen said: “Americans want a strong leader, one who cares more about the safety and freedom of the American people than he does winning elections, or what the press might think.”
In the face of Republican cries for a strong leader, it may prove a delicate task for Scott to hide behind his Jim-Douglas-for-president ploy. And even more so when, as the general election heats up, like it or not, he will have to run the race for governor under the Trump flag.
But for now let’s adjust Gingrich’s remark specifically for Phil Scott: If you’re for Jim Douglas, you are functionally helping Hillary Clinton. I think it’s just that straightforward.