By Stu Lindberg
A powerful myth exists among the citizenry of Vermont. The myth is that the Republican party is the party of the rich and powerful and the Democrat Party is the party of the poor and downtrodden. Real statistics compiled by the watchdog organization OpenSecrets.org debunks this myth.
In the 2017-2018 political season, itemized contributions to Vermont parties and candidates so far total $2,268,885. Some $1,615,385, or 76.1 percent, of these contributions went to Democrats. In comparison, a paltry $345,123, or 16.3 percent, went to Republicans.
Career politician Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., a self proclaimed defender of working families, advocate for income redistribution and owner of three homes, has $8,013,016 to wage a campaign against Lawrence Zupan, his Republican challenger. Zupan has $6,438 dollars. About 96 percent of Bernie’s campaign contributions come from outside of Vermont, while barely 4 percent comes from Vermonters. How can Bernie possibly represent the interests of Vermonters when he has so much money coming from outside of Vermont?
Career politician and Vermont congressman Peter Welch, D-Vt., who accepts money from opiate pharmaceutical companies, has $2,101,534 in his campaign war chest. Much of this comes from big corporations and unions, and 62 percent of Welch’s contributions come from out of state. Again, the same question for Bernie should be asked of Peter Welch: If big money buys elections and power, how can Welch be working in the best interests of Vermonters?
I could not confirm through the state’s campaign finance reporting system how much Welch’s Republican opponent, Anya Tynio, has for political funds. My guess is that she has not filed a report because she has no money. Independent Cris Ericson, reliable defender of liberty, anti-corruption activist and marijuana legalization proponent, informed me that she has zero dollars to mount a campaign against Peter Welch.
Vermont Democrats very successfully shake the Vermont timbers with the rallying cry of “get money out of politics.” Will the absolute hypocrisy of this cry ever make a difference to the Vermont voter? Vermonters reading this would be better informed in their voting decisions if they were to follow the money. You can do this by using the state campaign finance website.
I am voting for candidates whose decision making is not swayed by outside special interest groups that have big money. I am going to continue to vote for the underdog.
Stu Lindberg writes occasional commentary for True North Reports. He lives in Cavendish, Vermont.