Sorting through the candidates for Congress

'It does us no good whatsoever to continue to believe in the value of representative government when the promise of that representation has never been realized'

NEWFANE — The candidates in the race for the U.S. House seat represent an surprising array of choices for Vermonters to sort through.

If you think that the U.S. Congress is doing a fine job and should just keep on doing what it always has, then Molly Gray, who is somehow perceived as an interloping carpetbagger while simultaneously being a native daughter of Vermont, is the choice for you. She is the darling of the Democratic establishment and will be a loyal footsoldier for the party leadership.

This is the same Democratic leadership that helped the anti-choice Henry Cuellar eke out a victory over pro-choice candidate Jessica Cisneros even as the news about the Supreme Court's reversal of Roe v. Wade was reverberating across the nation. Henry is also a good footsoldier, and that is what leadership wants.

If you want a candidate who still believes in the promise of representative government (regardless of so much evidence to the contrary) with loads of legislative experience and a willingness to compromise in order to get to the legislative finish line, then you can choose Becca Balint.

How she expects to get compromise that is anything more than rolling over to Republican demands is anybody's guess, but she is used to operating outside of the approval of the party leadership and will forge her own path through the morass of venality and incompetence that she is working so hard to enter.

If you want a candidate who will operate more on the margins, insisting that legislative efforts be seen through a restorative lens while focusing on those of us who have been marginalized by the nation's political and economic system, then you might like Sianay Chase-Clifford. She may find herself ignored and undermined by the party, but she likely would be a strong advocate for causes that the Congress does its best to ignore while indulging in a little lip service to soften the blow.

If you think that the Pentagon budget is just right, that we need more nuclear power plants (who cares about 100,000 years of toxic waste without a method to deal with it?), and you think that our representatives should always be elderly white men, then you will love Louis Meyers.

If, like many Americans, you think that Congress is a lost cause, then you may want to vote in the Republican primary.

Liam Madden tells us that the two-party system is broken and he will work (good luck, brother) to bring citizen-referendum-guided legislative action, aided by technology, to replace the current system of lawmaking.

If you prefer to chuck it all and give our governance over to the party that wants to usher in authoritarianism governing in the name of white supremacy, then you can choose either of the other two loyal Republican candidates, Ericka Bundy Redic or Anya Tynio.

If you want to support Vermont's Progressive Party, one of the few semi-successful third parties in the country, then you can vote for Barbara Nolfi, who has not yet broken the media's cone of indifference as she mounts her campaign.

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Some may view this analysis as an exercise in cynicism. But that would be to ignore the reality that the power of the monied and corporate interests have an iron grip on the political establishment and, with the help of a radical right-wing activist Supreme Court, are pulling all of the levers they can in order to maintain that power.

It does us no good whatsoever to continue to believe in the value of representative government when the promise of that representation has never been realized.

It doesn't take much imagination to be cynical with hypocrites like Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, and the like daily dosing us with lies and distractions while they go about dismantling the little bit of democracy that we have managed to establish while living under the thumbs of their monied masters.

We can do better, but can we break through a system that is bound and determined to remain a failure for everyone but the rich?

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