Mark Shepard
Back to the future political options
By Mark Shepard
February 26, 2016

While I am sure there are similar examples in every state, I would like to take you back to two elections in my native state of Vermont that I believe shed some light on likely outcomes in the presidential election, depending on the Republican nominee.

I assure you that we do not want our nation to go the way of Vermont, where businesses, youth and young families have vacated and finally after six years of trying to help redirect Vermont though the political arena, we finally left and moved our family and my engineering business to my wife's native state of Virginia.

In 2006 Rich Tarrant, a multi-millionaire businessman who had likely created more good jobs in Vermont than anyone in Vermont's history, challenged Bernie Sanders in the race for the open U.S. Senate seat. It turned out that Tarrant's business success fit right into Sanders socialist campaign against the productive and Tarrant was clobbered by Sanders who won with a 33% margin of victory! Tarrant had all the positives Trump has, without all the negatives.

Trump's long history of supporting liberals and liberal causes truly makes him no more acceptable than to millions of conservatives than Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. The number of conservatives that will not cast a vote for Trump will surely surpass that of the past two elections when MaCain and Romney both lost to Obama. Furthermore, if those conservative voters stay home on Election Day, Republican Congressional races will also take a huge hit. So if you are thinking of voting for Trump, think about what America will look like with either Democrat winning the presidency and a Democrat majority in Congress, because that is a very likely outcome.

Marco Rubio, who seemed like a promising option early in the race, now looks like a replay of the 2010 race for Vermont governor. Rubio is spending far too much energy playing the "Trump" card of disparaging those who challenge his record or ideas, rather than simply defending his record and ideas.

In that 2010 race, the Republican had served four terms as Lt. Governor and was a well-spoken, attractive father of four and clearly pro-life and embraced marriage as defined in the beginning. He also had the support of the four-term current governor. By contrast the Democrat had been voted the most ethically challenged member of the Vermont senate by his own Democrat colleagues. So on paper Republican Brian Dubie had a clear advantage over Democrat Peter Shumlin.

However in 2010 Brian shifted his campaign to a duck and hit style campaign as he came out of the gate ducking two core conservative issues by stating that "the issues of life and marriage were settled." Too bad the left never sees laws as settled. Then his campaign aimed at Shumlin's ethical shortcomings in every way possible, and with Shumlin there were lots of options. Yet on Election Day, Dubie's attack campaign on Shumlin's character did not win the day.

Perhaps Rubio is getting his political advice from the same people that wrongly advised Brian. Brian Dubie is a better person than his campaign showed and I would like to think Marco Rubio is also. But it is up to Marco to stand up and prove that.

Running a campaign that champions sound ideas and having a record to match is a much stronger recipe and that is why I believe Ted Cruz is best positioned to win a general election and truly bring the change that both Trump and Rubio supporters are looking for.

To paraphrase philosopher George Santayana, "If we do not learn from history, we are destined to repeat it."

© Mark Shepard


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Mark Shepard

Mark Shepard served two terms in the Vermont Senate (2003-2006) and ran for Congress in the 2006 Republican Primary. (Click here for more.)

For a number of reasons, not the least of which is its small size, Vermont has been targeted as a key beachhead by those desiring to move America away from its liberty-based birth – where the laws of nature and nature's God were supreme – and toward socialism, where the state (man's wisdom) is supreme. It was in that environment that Mark ran and served in elected politics... (more)


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