by Paul Dame
I wasn’t even born the last time inflation was this high. Thus the economy is becoming the #1 issue for the November elections. At least 56% of Americans believe that Democrat Joe Biden’s policies are making things worse. Even among Democrat voters themselves, Biden gets more blame (27%) than credit (20%) for the state of the economy. Democrat policies don’t work.
And while regular Democrat voters are willing to talk about this to pollsters, on the campaign trail we see Democrats trying to push the focus back on to almost any other issue, which will surely affect an even smaller number of people.
This has left me (and perhaps you) incredibly frustrated as you’ve watched any of the primary debates. We are in for one of the worst cases of inflation, coupled with a shrinking workforce and supply chain disruptions – and yet there has been very little, and in some cases virtually no discussion of the economy among the candidates. Instead, much of the time has been filled by rehashing discussions of abortion, guns and Trump.
But we’re done complaining about it, and in two weeks we’re going to do something. The beautiful thing about today’s fractured media landscape is that it has created an opportunity for more of us to go directly to the people.
So the Vermont Republican Party is announcing today that it will be holding its own candidate forum focused exclusively on the economy. Monday night August 1st from 5-8pm we will host our candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. House and the Lt. Governor’s Race for a series of three candidate forums with a spotlight on the problems facing both the U.S. and the Vermont economy, and how our Republican candidates would address them once in office. Thanks to our friends at Northwest Access TV, our event will be broadcast live for local TV viewers in Franklin County, as well as being available statewide via YouTube.
As Republicans we have an opportunity this year to capitalize on our strengths. Voters routinely identity the economy as their top issue, and with that more voters, especially a growing number of independents are willing to trust Republicans with a turn at the helm after the disaster that Biden’s policies have been over the past two years. Unlike many other issues Democrats want to focus on, the economy is the one issue that literally affects all of us. From Senior citizens getting squeezed by inflation, to young people struggling to afford their first home or apartment, everybody cares about an improving and prosperous economy, and under Joe Biden and the Democrats things are worse now than they were 2 years ago for many people.
Here in Vermont we’ve had nearly 20 years of Democrat Party rule in both the House and the Senate. And while we have continued alternating the party of our Governor, in both cases Phil Scott and Jim Douglas have been handcuffed by an activist legislature where very few Democrats in power have the every day experience of making it work in the regular economy.
A long time ago, Democrats used to be known as the party of the working class. But I can’t think of a single “Blue Collar” Democrat in the Vermont legislature who had any kind of influence or power. Today’s Democrat party is largely made up or former or current employees of either state government or non-profits who receive a significant portion of their funding from the state. This means Democrats has consistently distanced themselves from so many people just trying to fill their gas tank, get to work, and buy groceries. They have lost touch with the private and for-profit sectors of the economy, and forgotten how to even talk to them, much less represent them.
As Democrats have distanced themselves from workers and the ground-level of this economy, it means that year by year their policies get even more distanced as well. Just a few months ago Vermont Democrats were pushing to raise the cost of home heating fuel, being narrowly stopped by the entire Republican caucus standing firm together to protect so many home owners from going cold this winter. The Vermont Republican Party has become the party for the average worker in Vermont. We know what a struggle it is to make ends meet. House Republicans were running on the issues of affordability 8 and 10 years ago! And while every September Democrats come out with some kind of lip service on the issue, the proof is in the policies – and nothing helpful ever gets done. In fact things seems to have been getting worse over time.
But 2022 could be the turning point our economy needs. With a growing number of Republicans getting elected to the House & Senate this year, we have a chance to put a more firm check on the Democrats and their reckless economy-shaking policies. This could be the perfect storm Vermont Republicans need to make important gains to turn the tables and shift the focus back where it needs to be.
But it doesn’t matter how much the electorate wants a change, they can’t get it if people don’t run. We still have a few dozen seats that are going uncontested where Democrats will sail to victory entirely unopposed. Would YOU consider running? If you want to learn more about running for office, contact us and we can still help you get on the General election ballot if we act quickly before August 9th, or even if we already have a candidate in your district, every one of them – especially our new candidates – could use a hand.
If 2022 is going to be a “Red Wave” year – it won’t be rode” the wave and waited for it to do everything for us. No, if we want this to be a Red Wave year, we have to be the ones to go out and MAKE the waves we need to see to create change in our economy and in the lives of so many Vermonters.
The author is an Essex Junction resident and chair of the Vermont Republican Party.