Editorial: Zuckerman’s entry adds vigor to Dem’s chances to oust Scott
Speculation that Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, a Progressive/Democrat, will run for governor of Vermont brings renewed vigor to the effort to defeat two-term Republican Gov. Phil Scott. That’s because Zuckerman has won two statewide campaigns as lieutenant governor, has good name recognition and a grassroots organization to help spread his message. Moreover, with former education secretary Rebecca Holcombe already in the Democratic race, the two will be able to generate a lot of free news coverage in their primary, which will be held next August — coverage that will help the public get to know both candidates, as they also focus on the shortcomings of Scott’s four years in office.
And Gov. Scott does have shortcomings, including:
• Vermont, like much of the rest of the nation, has also witnessed a growing inequality in wealth. Gov. Scott has opposed increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, and he’s opposed more generous family leave policies that would also close the gap on inequality and improve the welfare of low- and middle-income Vermonters.
• Both of the above issues — a livable wage and family leave — are tied to the flight of Vermont’s young adults to other states. That issue has been a top priority for Scott, but of which he has made little progress.
• While Scott has been supportive of climate change issues, the state has fallen behind on his goals to reduce its carbon footprint and, in fact, has taken steps backward. He’s vulnerable to the charge of being ‘all talk, and no action’ on an issue very close to a vocal and highly active segment of Vermont voters.
To be sure Gov. Scott will be the favored candidate as a moderate who is well liked by most Vermonters. But 2020 could also be a difficult environment for a Republican with President Trump running for re-election in a solidly Democratic state in which Trump’s negative numbers are high. Add Sen. Bernie Sanders’ support for either a Zuckerman or Holcombe candidacy, and the possibility that more ugliness will come from Trump’s campaign as the election nears, and one never knows what influences may affect voters on Election Day.
What can be assured, however, is that Americans will want a break from the sullied political environment Trump thrives on and that the Republican Party has all-too-readily embraced. At the end of the day, we don’t believe a majority of Americans will adopt as their credo: party above country — and that’s bad news for Republicans across the board, or for any Democrat who tries the same.
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