“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
– Morpheus, The Matrix
The Vermont Primary is coming up soon. Have you heard? Having a primary on August 9th is absurd, but we are stuck with it this year. For more thoughts see my VPR Commentary on the problems inherent in scheduling a primary during the Dog Days of Summer.
But a primary indeed and the most important thing that all of the campaigns are steadfastly working on right now is getting out the vote. So the question for you dear reader, is do you want to take the blue pill or the red pill. Are you OK with how Vermont Health Connect has been run? Do you think State government is running as it should? Has the speed of change and innovation been moving at an adequate pace for you? If so then take the blue pill. You’ll be fine. Sue Minter and Phil Scott are good people. But….
If you are looking for a change in the right direction, for a paradigm shift, you should take the red pill and vote for Matt Dunne in the Democratic Primary. Look, Matt is not perfect, I wish his attire wasn’t so squeaky clean (How many people wear brand new Carhartts? I mean jeez at least scuff them up a bit). And I certainly do not agree with him on every issue (of course I don’t agree with anyone on every issue except for myself and I’m not even always sure about that). For example I wish he committed to moving more rapidly to legalizing marijuana. But he’s right on most of the issues, for me anyway. And I like the fact that he has a blend of government administrative experience as the head of AmeriCorps*VISTA; legislative experience as a member of the Vermont House and Senate; and deep tech and innovative experience as an executive at Google. I like the fact that he is neither attached to, nor part of the Shumlin Administration.
On a personal side you couldn’t meet a nicer guy. In many ways Matt reminds me of another Vermont technocrat, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger (those of you who have read this blog before may remember a previous post entitled “Is Miro Neo” and I know I’m using The Matrix again). Despite the adversity he faced loosing his Dad as a teen and his Mom not to many years later, together with his wife Sarah, Matt has managed to carve out a balanced, but busy existence for himself and his family. Contrast that with the values embodied by Republican Party in holding out Donald Trump as their standard bearer.
He’s also managed to bring a heck of a lot of different factions together in a way that I have not seen done before in Vermont politics. And by this I mean that he has not only courted and received the endorsements from a panoply of Independent and Progressive leaders up and down Vermont, but he has done so while still maintaing his roots in the Democratic Party. And in this low-turnout primary, even more so then in 2010, every vote is going to count. Just look how close it was last time the Vermont Governor’s seat became vacant.
Less then 3000 votes separating the first place finisher and the fourth place finisher. And less then 200 votes between the first and second place finishers or .2% of the total vote. That’s POINT TWO PERCENT. Also take note how distant Susan Bartlett was in that election? Why was she even in to begin with? Some have theorized it was to take votes away from Deb Markowiz (my former boss and the person I unequivocally supported in 2010). Is Peter Galbraith going to have the same impact on this election? Why is he even in the race? Needless to say, every vote is going to count and its gonna be close, really, really close. And Matt may not have been ready for prime time in 2010, but after 6 more years at Google, he’s finally come into his own.
Neither I nor, anyone else … even the Oracle is going to be able to predict what happens on August 9th. But I can tell you this, if you do not get out and vote, your candidate won’t win. And I hope that you will vote for Matt when you go to the polls or early vote or request an absentee ballot. While you’re at it consider a vote for Kesha Ram for Lt. Governor. Kesha has been my State Representative since 2008 and I have been fortunate enough to see her grow from a neophyte … just barely out of college politician, to a sharp, talented and thoughtful Statesperson.
And finally for those of you voting in Chittenden 6-4 you couldn’t ask for a harder working and nicer public servant then Selene Colburn, who is doing her best to bring people together.
Matt and the other folks are going to continue the work that Bernie started … and Vermont will continue to lead. Bernie’s surrogates like Jeff Weaver and Ben and Jerry have already endorsed Matt. And maybe, hopefully soon, even Bernie will take the red pill and help usher Vermont to the next level….