Divisions between Progressives and Democrats

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This year’s race for governor illustrates one of the problems Progressives and Democrats face: when they run against each other in statewide elections they split the vote – a dynamic that helps their Republican opponents. We’ll talk about the relationship between the Democratic and Progressive parties in Vermont and the prospects for them to work together in future elections.(Listen) 

Also, five legislators have said they’re intersted in being the new Speaker of the House. We talk with former Speaker Stephan Morse about the qualities the position requires, and how the House will go about selecting their new leader. (Listen)


Listener comments:

It’s so exhausting having to hear people blame Progressives, Greens, etc., whatever your ‘third party’ is, for splitting votes. And honestly it takes its toll. (I just voted Democrat for president, when I didn’t really want to.) I constantly remind myself of whether or not I’d want to supposedly "split the vote" and bring in a Republican, or would I rather hope for the best: that bringing in a third party might actually work, eventually. I think to myself about whether I’d rather take the chance of a Republican being voted in, or a Democrat, but also realize that it’ll likely take a few years, decades, etc. of trying to get a third party in the system, into the vernacular, until it actually happens, right? I mean, how long did it take in other democracies until it actually went from the traditional two parties to three parties? Do we have any historical stories here to help us set an example? Don’t we have to say to ourselves that we may have to weather the storm before we get what we want: a third party in the system?

What this state needs to include all parties meaningfully is instant run-off voting so we can choose from the best candidates, not the lesser of two evils.

J in Burlington:
I wonder if there isn’t a way for the Progressives and Democrats to have a shared primary for large statewide offices like governor, and the let the voters on the left decide whom they want to represent their interests?

Perhaps I am biased because I voted for the first time in 2000, but I think the idea that "there is no such thing as a spoiler" is a ridiculous notion. I think that the left’s worst enemy has been the left, and splinter groups do take away from the established leftist party – the Democrats. That said, Pollina and Symington combined were not able to overtake Douglas. However, i think that the Progressive Party and the Democratic Party do need to come together. I believe the best way for this to happen is for the Progressive Party to return to the fold and work from within the party, but if that will not happen, then the parties should at the very least coordinate to avoid defeating each other by splitting the vote.

Chris in Norwich:
I don’t like hearing about all the discussions that are happening behind the scenes. How can we resolve this so that voters can chose, not a few party elders from each side chossing who will run unopposed in certain races? Isn’t a primary the answer, at least until IRV can be passed?

Sarah in Montpelier:
Can each of you talk about where the funding comes from for elections in your party and how that funding effects the agenda for the party and the candidates that run?

Ellen in South Burlington:
I’m listening to this program and I don’t hear anyone talking about working together. All I am hearing is defensiveness and "I’m right." Do you want to be "right" or represent the majority of Vermonters?

I watched with dismay at the way Anthony Pollina was attacked by the top of the Democratic Party in Vermont. I think many of the regular Democrats like him. I was shocked by Peter Shumlin’s comments and attacks on Anthony this morning. I belong to an organization called Democrats for Pollina and I was hoping that the Dems would not run anyone against him, like they do for Bernie Sanders. Maybe Gaye Symington was pushed into running and took one for her party. Shame on the Democrats. The same thing happened in our local races. There must be some way some of these decisions can be decided at the primary level in a straightforward way. The current write-in laws make you be secretive and sneaky, if I understand it properly. Why cant a person run in two parties in the primaries? We are all citizens and should treat each other with respect.



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