Letter: The new 'Vermont Party of Trump'

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Editor of the Reformer,

Several Vermont media outlets have covered the recent announcement that national Republicans will now provide resources to the state Republicans to get more Republicans elected in Vermont. This new partnership is called the "Vermont Trump Victory Team." My question: will the candidates supported by this partnership be members of the GOP or members of the party of Trump?

Traditional Vermont Republicans seem to be getting the heave ho as Deb Billado, the state party chair, swears her own and the party's allegiance to all things Trump. Billado was unchallenged for her bid to chair the party, despite having been the chair in 2018 when the GOP experienced its worst showing in years. After 2018, many Republican office holders were unhappy, including Governor Scott whose spokesperson suggested Billado be replaced. Now, as the 2020 election approaches, most in the state GOP are making nice for the sake of the party. While Senator Randy Brock has said that he didn't want the "Trump Victory Team" to campaign in his county, Billado and others have firmly attached themselves to Trump. I can only ask: why? Trump said he would offer a plan to protect Americans from gun violence, achieve historic immigration reform, crack down on flavored e-cigarettes, hash out a path forward in Syria, and secure peace in the Middle East. Three years later, all we have is bluster, bravado, rhetoric and, sometimes, disaster.

Chet Greenwood, chair of the Orleans County Republican party, has claimed that Trump should be given credit for the current economy. My understanding is that Trump has simply managed not to tank the economy he inherited. Even that may eventually fail, as he toys with trade wars and tariffs, and faces a ballooning deficit. Trump's character makes all of this worse. Even former supporter and Fox analyst Andrew Napolitano questions Trump's fitness for office based upon his "apparent failure to follow the law, the constitution, or norms of procedure in the White House." Trump's demands for loyalty pledges are a step down the road to dictatorship. By willingly hitching her party's wagon to the Trump cult of personality, Billado confirms that the state GOP offers identity politics over idea politics. To paraphrase FDR, a weak democracy can allow a dictatorship to form. Trump has no shame and, apparently, neither do Deb Billado and the new Vermont Party of Trump.

Charlie Murphy

Bennington, Nov. 24

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