September 22, 2004

Progressive Party "clears the slate"

About half of the 794 people who voted in Vermont's Progressive Party primary wrote in the Progressive Party–recommended fake candidates (see earlier post) and successfully thwarted any progressives from appearing under their banner on the November ballot.

They wrote in "independent" Bernie Sanders for the U.S. House. He refuses to be listed as a Progressive. They wrote in Martha Abbott, the party's chairwoman, for governor. She will have her name removed as a favor to Democratic candidate Peter Clavelle. They wrote in Democrat Elizabeth Ready for auditor. She too refuses to be listed as a Progressive. And they wrote in Susan Davis for attorney general, who has decided to stay in the race (as a Progressive!).

Martha Abbott is quoted in a Sept. 21 Burlington Free Press article: "Having folks run under the Progressive Party label without being Progressives hurts our party's identity and ultimately is a disservice to voters." No, it's apparently better to support candidates that refuse to appear under your label or who promise to refuse the nomination. It's apparently better to mobilize against a slate of progressives who want to see actual candidates on the Progressive Party lines. It seems to me that if the nominee withdraws then the runner-up ought to take the place.

The Progressive Party acts as if Liberty Union (the people who stepped in with their candidates where the Progressives chose not to run) is their enemy. But the vote for the one candidate the Progressives actually ran -- Steve Hingtgen for lieutenant governor -- was nearly unanimous, more than the combined vote for Liberty Union candidates and Progressive-Party write-ins of any other race.

In other primary news, Republicans did not have candidates for secretary of state and treasurer, so Democrats wrote in their candidates, both of which won. So next time someone says the Dems and Repubs aren't just two faces of the same corporatist machine, just point to these races in Vermont, where the candidates will be listed as both Democrat and Republican! Aren't open primaries fun!

Meanwhile, the new Vermont Green Party held their convention. The steering committee had endorsed Ralph Nader instead of David Cobb for U.S. President, and the party as a whole chose not to pick either. Nader will be on the ballot anyway as an independent, and Cobb will not be there at all. There are Green-Party candidates for attorney general (James Marc Leas) and the U.S. Senate (Craig Hill) as well as several local races.

And the proudly socialist Liberty Union Party will still have its candidates on the ballot (but not as "Progressives"!): Peter Diamondstone for governor, Ben Mitchell (who ran in the Republican primary) for the U.S. Senate, Jane Newton for the U.S. House, Boots Wardinski for attorney general, and Peter Levy for auditor.