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Vermont-based rebellion gains traction during presidential campa - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vermont-based rebellion gains traction during presidential campaigns

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders began his current campaign calling for a revolution, one he argues will lead to sweeping political change within the United States House and Senate as he seeks the presidency.

But his candidacy and that of Republican front-runner Donald Trump are reviving discussion of a theoretical Vermont-based rebellion, an idea that's paraded through Vermont longer than Sanders has been in the Senate.

"I think Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are re-invigorating the conversation about Vermont Independence in some pretty interesting ways," said Rob Williams, Second Vermont Republic.

Williams is one of the leaders of the Second Vermont Republic.

In 2003, members first began calling for the state to break away from the United States and govern itself as a sovereign republic, as it did from 1777 to 1791.

Williams says the revolution is far from impossible.

"There's a real I think fear right now that the United States is moving in directions that we don't want to participate in," said Williams.

The idea first widely caught-on after President George W. Bush won re-election in 2004.

That time period also saw a then-record number of Vermonters Googling how to move to Canada. 

Super Tuesday set a record with many Burlington voters worried about the potential for a Trump victory.

"I have actually joked around saying we might move, but it's terrifying to think that somebody who has such little control emotionally would be president," said Kathy Larkin, Burlington resident.

In 2007, a University of Vermont survey suggested 13 percent of Vermonters would support secession.

"I think the Bush/Cheney regime was good for business. I think the election of Barack Obama in 2008 really sucked the oxygen out of the room," said Williams. 

But in 2010, 11 Vermonters ran under a secessionist banner, led at the top of the ticket by gubernatorial candidate Dennis Steele who took home less than 1 percent of the vote.

Williams still contends revolution is possible.

"Oh absolutely, I think history teaches us that all empires rise and fall, and often with stunning speed," said Williams.

"I'm wondering what are the conditions, how that would play out," said Christopher Pepperman, Burlington resident.

Even the most ardent anti-Trump Vermonters aren't convinced secession is the answer to ballot box woes.

Reporter Kyle Midura: I take it you're not pinning all your hopes and dreams on that possibility? 

Pepperman: No, not really.

But the idea of Sanders as Vermont's president appeals too many as evidenced by the Second Republic supporters' most-popular Facebook post, which calls for plan B.

Williams says he would also be supportive of a larger secession effort encompassing Maine, New Hampshire, upstate New York and even portions of Quebec.

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