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Who Do Vermont's Candidates Write Like? Mostly, H.P. Lovecraft


If you haven't found it yet, the website I Write Like is a very entertaining time-waster.

The site lets you insert a piece of writing (yours or someone else's) and then using what it claims is a "statistical analysis tool," it analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of famous writers.

Then it spits out an author's name, like Zoltar Speaks. (My recent piece about disgruntled Burlington chicken owners, it turns out, is a dead-ringer for David Foster Wallace.)

Being local politics junkies, we were curious who Vermont's statewide political candidates write like. So we copied their candidate statements from the Burlington Free Press "Comment & Debate" page and plugged them into I Write Like.

What did we learn? Either several candidates are sharing a single ghost-writer, or the program is a literary Magic 8-ball, with a set number of stock answers. Or it's totally legit and some of Vermont's wannabe leaders (or the staffers who helped write these pieces) write alike.

Four candidates — including two Democrats, a Republican and a Progressive — write like H.P. Lovecraft (pictured), the American horror and science fiction author associated with the subgenre "weird fiction." Indeed, politics at times can seem like a weird fiction.

Here's how rest came out:


Peter Shumlin (Democrat): David Foster Wallace

Brian Dubie (Republican): Arthur C. Clarke

Lt. Governor

Steve Howard (Democrat): Stephen King

Phil Scott (Republican): Jonathan Swift

Marjorie Power (Progressive): H.P. Lovecraft

Secretary of State

Jim Condos (Democrat): H.P. Lovecraft

Jason Gibbs (Republican): H.P. Lovecraft

Auditor of Accounts

Doug Hoffer (Democrat): Kurt Vonnegut

Tom Salmon (Republican): Kurt Vonnegut


Jeb Spaulding (Democrat): H.P. Lovecraft