Vermont Republicans have always followed a different path.
In 1860, Vermont's newly-dominant Republican voters gave anti-slavery candidate Abraham Lincoln the largest margin of victory of any state in the union.
In 1950, Vermont's U.S. Senator George Aiken was one of just seven Republican senators who spoke out against the tactics of fellow Republican Joseph McCarthy, warning against elements in the national party that sought "victory through the selfish political exploitation of fear, bigotry, ignorance and intolerance." McCarthy has been enshrined in American political history for his use of reckless and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as his relentless attacks on the character or patriotism of political opponents
In 1954, Aiken's fellow Vermont Republican US Senator Ralph Flanders introduced the resolution that brought McCarthy down. Flanders spoke of attending a Vermont Town Meeting where citizens expressed their outrage against McCarthy's tactics. "Race is set against race, party against party, religion against religion, neighbor against neighbor, and child against parent." Flanders decided that something had to be done to expose McCarthy. Comparing McCarthy to the cartoon character and juvenile mischief-maker "Dennis the Menace," Flanders delivered a scathing address in which he skewered McCarthy for dividing the nation. "In every country in which communism has taken over,' he reminded the Senate, 'the beginning has been a successful campaign of division and confusion.
Now in 2015, the time has come again for Vermont Republicans to speak out against a demagogue.
Many of my fellow Republicans have hoped, so far in vain, that the Donald Trump phenomena that has infected some elements of our national party would die out like a transient strain of Ebola. But Trump's escalating torrent of verbal bullying, incredibly, has coincided with an increase in his early-voting-state support. Today we see in a candidate for the Republican nomination for the presidency the same tone of demagoguery that so alarmed Aiken and Flanders more than a half century ago. Throughout this campaign season, I have made it clear that I agree with so many of my fellow Vermont Republicans who, like me, will not support a bully, a bigot and a buffoon for the highest office in the land.
National leadership demands competence, character and temperament. There is no place for racism, sexism, religious intolerance, xenophobia and economic incoherence. Our country desperately needs a new leader grounded in reality, not in realty-TV.
Randy Brock is a former Vermont State Auditor, two-term State Senator and 2012 Republic nominee for Governor. He is running in 2016 for Lieutenant Governor.