The following commentary is by Paul Dame, chair of the Vermont GOP.
The Democrat Party that many remember from decades gone by doesn’t exist any more. I have often talked to people in Franklin County, a once reliable Democrat stronghold, who realize that the Democrats aren’t what they used to be. The only thing left of that party they used to know are what I call “Donut Democrats.”
What is the unique characteristic of a donut? There is no middle.
Nowhere is this clearer than in the recent gun control bill, S.30 that is headed to Governor Scott’s desk. Democrats took a bill that would have banned guns inside hospitals, and added more and more provisions to it to extract as much gun control as they could get away with.
During the debates it became abundantly clear that they had no intention of meeting in the middle. This came to a head when they added a new provision that would basically ban some people from buying or transferring a firearm. Currently if you are subject to a NICS background check and you are not denied within 3 days, then you are automatically approved. The Democrats in the legislature changed that to 30 days. This is significant because after 30 days the paperwork has expired, which means it had to be done all over again, and an additional fee collected.
Rep. Pat Brennan from Colchester was willing to meet them half way — in the middle — and so he offered an amendment to cut the waiting period from 30 days down to 15 days. When he appeared before the committee seeking compromise, they made a counter offer of 15 business days. While it wasn’t what Republicans wanted, it at least eliminated the infinite loop problem caused by the 30 day waiting period. But as Rep. Brennan indicated he could support the compromise, the next day the Donut Democrats who refused to meet in the middle went back to the 30 day period they started with. Now it is headed to Gov. Scott’s desk, where you can sign the petition to VETO this bill.
Democrats have been in power so long they don’t feel the need to compromise. And in recent years they have grown in their boldness to exert the privilege of nearly 20 years in power in both chambers. For good governance to happen, we need two sides negotiating in good faith. Democrats have lost that perspective and continue to push, push, push the most extreme elements of their party.
Look at the other examples of this extreme behavior due to decade of most unchecked power:
- Donut Democrats have refused even modest restrictions on abortions, like requiring parental consent before their minor child has an abortion. They can’t even agree that parents should be notified after the fact. Isn’t that a reasonable middle ground?
- Donut Democrats have refused to properly fund our police departments and have caused major national retailers to abandon downtown Burlington because of the rampant organized theft. Some police departments, like Hartford still have half a dozen vacancies with no few qualified applicants in sight.
- Donut Democrats are also abusing their power in the redistricting process where they are constantly taking the Town of Milton, the one Republican stronghold in Chittenden County, and trying to cut it into as many different pieces as legally possible. Meanwhile in other parts of the state, they water down the voice of smaller rural areas by lumping them into two member districts with larger liberal population centers.
Vermonters deserve the kind of good governance that comes with a more evenly balanced approach, where both sides are curtained by their extreme fringes because of a more equitable balance of power. Instead Democrats have lost their middle.
If you want to help the Republican Party in Vermont be that strong counter balance to the Donut Democrats, please consider getting involved in your local town or county committee. For those who are willing to make a more significant sacrifice to improve our state, lets us know that you want to talk about running for some of the nearly 120 House and Senate seats that are not held by Republicans. And for some of you, you may not have the time for either of those, but you may be able to begin or strengthen your commitment to our Republican Party by donating to help us turn the tide and keep the Democrats from abusing the power they have accumulated.