Politics VT served up an interesting Thanksgiving entree yesterday: an op-ed by putative candidate for Congress, Burlington Representative David Zuckerman. Why interesting? Well, if you remember my post of last week on this potential candidacy, I recounted a conversation with Zuckerman and my subsequent feeling that when all was said and done, it was a no-go.
Now, the title of the Thanksgiving op-ed seems clear: “Zuckerman Gives Case for US House Bid.” But when you read the piece, there’s an odd disconnect: Zuckerman makes almost no case for himself, but rather an extended argument that current Democratic candidate Peter Welch should be pressured (by the media and by potential voters) to adopt Instant Run-off Voting in the coming months of the Legislature.
In other words, as argued in the earlier post, Zuckerman is not running for Congress. He’s running as a means of influencing the Democratic majority through Welch’s candidacy, through the leverage he can generate as a potential third entrant into the race. He’s running to be the Progressive standard-bearer post-Pollina. And the moment he bows out of the US House race, those more realistic parallel efforts come to a halt.
So expect an increased media presence through January — with a flattering cover story in the Burlington Free Press long about the first week of the new year — and then a quick exit around Groundhog Day. So says VDB.
Reframed odds on Zuckerman actually mounting a challenge for the long-haul: now 7 to 1, which looks like easy money at this point.
Late Update: 11/27, 11:15 a.m.
One other point to consider. It’s one thing to be Anthony Pollina, and to have Democrats in Vermont grouse that you helped to seat Brian Dubie. But imagine that you’re Zuckerman and you jump into this race without Bernie’s endorsement, and you campaign against Bernie’s own choice for the seat, and that seat goes Republican.
Then you’re not talking about the ruffled feathers of a few Vermont Democrats. You’re talking about being the goat in a race that will matter a great deal to Democrats and Progressives nationwide. You’re talking about the great disapproving eye of the Center-Left half of the nation swiveling this way and singling you out as the Problem, rather than the Solution.
Read Zuckerman’s op-ed again with this in mind. Of course, he’d like IRV implemented ASAP; it’s the only thing that can open the box in which Welch has so effectively placed him. But there’s no reason to believe that this box will open anytime soon. And the odds on a Zuckerman run will get longer as the days grow shorter.