Pragmatism And Strategy The Mantra For Vermont Progressive Party

Vermont Public Radio has an excellent radio interview on the continued role of the Progressive Party in Vermont Politics. From the accompanying article:

One third of the Progressive Party’s legislative candidates are also running as Democrats this year. And Martha Abbott, the Party’s gubernatorial candidate, has dropped out of the race to help the Democrats.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel talks with Martha Abbot, State Senate candidate Anthony Pollina and St. Michael’s College Political Science Professor Bill Grover about whether the party is still relevant.

Listen to the interview here. Some of the topics covered include the motivations for Abbott’s withdrawal from the race, fusion Democratic/Progressive candidacies, and how the VPP can change the debate in state politics.

There has been something of a clash within the party on principle versus pragmatism. The party did feature one contested race in its recent primary, for Lieutenant Governor. There, Marjorie Power supported strategic withdrawal from races to prevent Republican victories, while Boots Wardinski sought to oppose both parties equally. In the end, Power won the nomination without significant difficulty and Wardinski carried on his campaign with the Liberty Union Party. In this interview, both Abbott and Pollina strongly advocate for cooperation with Democrats when it serves the interests of the party.

8 thoughts on “Pragmatism And Strategy The Mantra For Vermont Progressive Party

  1. Ross Levin

    I wonder if this is any more dramatic than what the Progressives have done in the past. I mean, Bernie Sanders won primarily because of a deal with the Democrats – they didn’t run anyone against him.

    If this IS more dramatic, then I’d tend to agree with Don Lake – that they’ll compromise themselves out of existence or into irrelevance – but we’ll have to see.

  2. Peter M.

    You’re right about the VPP’s previous strategy, which is why I’ve been sceptical of their independence from the Democrats from the very beginning. They have a bit more independence than, say, the Working Families Party, and I *think* that at least some legislators have been elected solely on the Progressive ballot line, but I see the difference in strategy between the VPP and the WFP to be mainly quantitative, not qualitative.

    That said, since the mechanics of Vermont’s fusion work differently than New York’s (Vermont doesn’t list candidates endorsed by multiple parties in multiple columns), so it’s difficult to measure what the voter breakdown between Democratic and Progressive voters in the elections would be.

  3. Deran

    VT “Progressive Party” = Democratic Party lap dogs. The VTPP has become the VT version of the Working Familes Party; flacks for the Democrats. The key point here is that when ever the Democrats come and whine abt the Republicans, the PP kisses the Dem’s feet and does what they are told. Look at Anthony Pollina last round. Complete sell-out.

    It is grammatically incorrect to speak of the VT Progressive Party in the present tense.

    Bernie Sanders is among the worse. From maverick socialist independent, to cherished palanquin carrier for the Democratic Party leadership.

    And look for the Greens to follow this model as they become more efective in various states.

    Bye=bye, Vermont Progressive Party, we hardly knew ya!

  4. Ross Levin

    I’m listening to this right now. It seems that the Progressives are pulling this off for now. However, I think that the Progressives need to be careful that they don’t become dependent on Democrats for electoral success (through cross-nomination). If that happens, they’ll probably lose most or all of their power.

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