The Corrupt Political Process in Vermont Exposed

August 27, 2019

by Rob Roper

Rep. Zachariah Ralph (P-Hartland) just penned a remarkable Op-Ed, Behind the Scenes at the State House (everyone should read this!), exposing the grotesque practices of the majority party leadership, detailing how they place ideology and special interests above the interests of their constituents, twisting arms to get what they want. “The game is,” says Ralph, “that you [an elected Representative] are first loyal to your party and leadership, second to your committee, and only after these institutions are appeased, can you be loyal to the people that elected you.”

For those of us who have spent time in Montpelier, this is not a surprise. (For years the majority leader of the House would post a sign, Yes/No, on his or her desk during a vote telling their caucus how to vote. Woe betide anyone who crossed the sign, as Rep. Ralph illustrates in some powerful anecdotes.) The surprise is that an elected official has finally and baldly called Vermonters’ attention to this despicable practice. Good for Rep. Ralph!

But, when you dig into Ralph’s article, he is frustrated that party leadership thinks it knows what’s best regardless of what constituents might think or want, and places their own priorities, often driven by special interests, at the forefront. Other ideas and priorities, such as Ralph’s, are tossed into the waste bin as unworthy. What Ralph thinks though is that he, not they, knows best.

Neither is correct. We the people know best, and we should be left alone to make decisions and act on them free from corruptible influence of the process Ralph so eloquently describes.

Ralph’s article precisely illustrates why we should not give to government power and money in the first place. It is why the bedrock of our founding rests on limited government — because the really big decisions (as well as the small ones) in people’s lives should not be left to this inherently corruptible process.

Real democracy, the true will of the people, lies not in the political process. It exists most effectively in the free market where free people are able to make decisions for themselves – what kinds of cars to drive, what kind of energy to purchase, what kind of bags to carry our groceries in, etc. and so on. Government is, by its nature, always the instrument of special interests. Limit its power and scope, and you limit the power of special interests.

The collective actions of individuals pursuing happiness on their own and in association with like-minded citizens will far better reflect the true will and interests of the people and will lead to greater and broader prosperity.

So, while I am grateful to Rep. Ralph for his exposé, at the end of the day I don’t want him making decisions for me and my family any more than I want Mitzi Johnson, Tim Ashe, Jill Krowinski, Becca Balint or any of the lot making those decisions. If they truly want to put their constituents first, they will agree, and leave us alone.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.  

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Fred August 27, 2019 at 4:38 pm

I been saying that for years, we elect em, and once they’re in they could give two turds about what we feel, it’s “hurray for me and F##K the rest of you” Knowing this, it’s pretty easy to see where the Electoral College comes into play, We The People want this guy, but our elected official, of whom we have no control over what he thinks ( or we think he is like) votes the way HE thinks, and is better for the country,,,HIS way, not ours. Trust no one, and ask a lotta questions. “They” usta come to the house, “Hey I’m gonna stop by, wanna get your vote this year” until I said “Hey that’s GREAT ! But I have an affidavit I’d like you to sign,,,it’s a short promise that you’ll resign immediately publically if you ever vote against the National or State Constitutions”,,,,needless to say,,,they don’t come by any more 😉


H. Brooke Paige August 27, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Considering the interests of their constituents – what a quaint idea Rob !


JT Dodge August 28, 2019 at 1:07 am

I agree the people must come first. Ralph, is a carbon tax doofus, but he points at truth here.


Mary Daly August 28, 2019 at 12:18 pm

Remember history and what we fought for. Humans are by nature self seekers and will take their own advantage over others. We must remain vigilant. Thank you Ethan Allen Institute for being vigilant and reporting it.


charles Levin August 28, 2019 at 6:17 pm

It’s no wonder people are leaving VT and that VT is paying people to move here. I only live in VT part of the year and that will be ending soon


Bryan Cooke August 29, 2019 at 6:48 pm

Um, Hello this is the same in national politics. Once you are elected you have to kiss the party ring or you don’t get help/support to get good assignments, notoriety or re-elected. The only thing that will fix this is term limits, but you know that will never happen.

Charlie, don’t let the door smack you on the way out!

Remember, When they are robbing Peter to pay Paul, there is one thing you can count on, Paul’s support!


Mike August 31, 2019 at 12:53 pm

I’ve complained for years that these hacks get elected by promising all the good, common sense courses of action. Come January once they get to Montpelier, all bets are off. Let’s go back a couple of years. Tax relief was a hot topic. In January the first order of business was SAME SEX MARRIAGE!!. The following year was fiscal responsibility. First order of business? GLOBAL WARMING!! Sadly Mr. Ralph is right on.


Vermont Voter September 2, 2019 at 1:29 pm

Call the toll free number for the Federal Election Commission and select “publications” and ask them to mail you 2 free law books, 2019 editions, Title 52 U.S.C. and Title 11 Code of Federal Regulations, and read very carefully and find all the codes and statutes that give Federal jurisdiction over incidents in state and local elections and intimidating elected officials. Then go online to and search “file a complaint”.


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