Vt Elections: Progressive Party Candidate Anthony Pallina and a Look at the Conservative Backlash Against the Civil Union Laws

November 03, 2000

As the presidential election nears, many of the country’s liberals and progressives are engaged in heated debates about whether to follow the democratic party despite its abandonment of much of the progressive agenda over the past 12 years. The alternative in the presidential race is a vote for Ralph Nader and the Green Party, who will qualify for millions of dollars in federal matching funds for the next election cycle should they win 5% of the popular vote nationwide.

Interestingly, this same choice–along with much of the same hand wringing and arguing–is being played out in the race for Governor of the state of Vermont. By VT Standards, incumbent Governor Howard Dean is a centrist democrat, and he has come under criticism from many of the states progressive voters. Vermont, meanwhile, has a fairly strong and historically established 3rd party, the Progressive Party–the group from which independent Congressman Bernie Saunders emerged in the 1980s.

This year, in the wake of a bitterly divisive battle over gay marriage which ultimately led to the passage of 2 compromise civil unions laws, the Progressive Party decided to run a 3rd party candidate for governor, despite fears that electoral reprisal from the right was looming over the civil unions law.

In the wake of the civil union law we’re going to take a look at the backlash–who’s running, and where the money is coming from.


  • Anthony Pallina
  • David Goodman, freelance reporter who reported on "Not so Civil Union’s for Mother Jones magazine, and a resident of Vermont.