Why Vermont is Blue

Discussion in 'Political Science' started by kazenatsu, Dec 19, 2019.

  1. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I was looking at a map of the US divided up into red/blue counties, and noticed an anomaly. While almost every other state area appeared majority red, with blue areas concentrated into just one or a few counties in urban areas, Vermont appeared to be uniformly blue.
    (see map here) Even across all of the rural areas. What explains this? So I decided to start doing some research into it.

    Vermont is a puzzle in a way. It is the state with the lowest percentage of non-white minorities, and it is also the least religious state with the highest percentage of atheists. It is home to Socialist political candidate Bernie Sanders.

    The short answer, to summarize it quickly here, was a feedback cycle. Vermont begin tipping more progressive culturally and it began to attract more progressives, mainly from city areas in other more populated surrounding states. Vermont got a big influx of people from big cities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York in the 70s, people who brought their political and cultural ideologies with them.

    There were a few factors that helped. Vermont had some mountains with ski slopes, attracting a wealthier segment of the population from the cities. Vermont is also a bit colder, meaning its population is more concentrated into its major city Burlington rather than being more spread out into rural areas. Burlington is also only a 1 hour 45 minute drive away from Montreal across the border in Canada. And Vermont does not have much else going for it other than some farmland in the south of the state, which is kind of remote, away from any population area.


    Vermont and New Hampshire, geographic twins, cultural aliens
    The Harvard Gazette, by Corydon Ireland, November 2007

    Ever wonder about Vermont and New Hampshire?

    Just a few decades ago both were bedrock Republican states. But since the days of Calvin Coolidge, Vermont has taken a turn to the left as a haven for progressive politics.

    New Hampshire is still leaning to the right. It’s now even a celebrated haven for libertarians.

    The cultural and political divergence of these two neighboring states caught the eye of historical sociologist Jason Kaufman, Harvard’s John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences. What, he asked, explains the difference?

    He talked about his research Oct. 26 at Harvard’s Center for Government and International Studies. Joining him was project co-author Matthew Kaliner, a Harvard graduate student in sociology. (The lecture was sponsored by the Harvard Center for American Political Studies.)

    Said Kaufman, “The central empirical puzzle here is, ‘How the hell did it happen?’”

    There is no simple answer, but, he said, there were many wrong turns in a search for illuminating data, which had to span at least 50 to 100 years.

    Can demographics explain why the two states diverged? Nope. A century of census data on Vermont and New Hampshire shows that both states remain “extremely white” and largely Christian, said Kaufman.

    How about economics? Another false lead, Kaufman said. Vermont is somewhat more agricultural, though not enough so to explain the cultural divergence. And both states have a small manufacturing base.

    Educational profile? “Really no difference,” he said.

    Kaufman and Kaliner looked at trends in the political makeup of the Vermont and New Hampshire state houses. After 1950, the number of Republicans elected in Vermont, in contrast to its neighbor, went into steep decline. Still no smoking gun, said Kaufman.

    To help refine how the two states are different, he and his research partner this year used online research to track a list of “sociocultural indicators” that had cultural resonance.

    Included were the number of Birkenstock dealers (per capita, Vermont has twice as many); vegetarian restaurants and hemp product dealers (Vermont is ahead); Harley-Davidson dealerships (New Hampshire wins); and Dairy Queens (Vermont, the land of Ben & Jerry’s, has none).

    These quirky indicators helped sketch an outline of cultural differences. But they still failed to supply a reason why the states diverged so widely in just a few generations.

    To answer the question, Kaufman and Kaliner came up with what they call their major academic contribution to a debate among sociologists about why culture changes.

    Their concept, “idio-cultural migration,” avers that inter-state migrants move for cultural reasons, and not just for economic reasons, as commonly thought. And that this cultural migration has reinforced two diverging portraits — an upscale counterculture Vermont and a blue-collar New Hampshire.

    “At least part of the change has to be exogenous” — from outside the two states, said Kaufman. (Census migration data does exist, he added, but does not include the lifestyle reasons people move.)

    There are other forces behind why the states so recently diverged. For one, in the 1920s, Vermont began to market itself in specific ways — a deliberate re-branding to convey “a sense there must be something clean or pastoral about Vermont,” said Kaufman.

    At the same time, starting in 1927 after massive flooding, Vermont began to accept federal money — which helped demythologize the evils of big government.

    Vermont’s re-branding also frankly avowed progressive culture. Dorothy Canfield’s 1932 pamphlet “Vermont Summer Houses,” published by the state, was “full of cultural talk,” said Kaufman — intimations of an anti-modernist land where books were more important than cars and where writers, dancers, and artists were welcome.

    Around the same time, by contrast, one official New Hampshire state guidebook began by offering a welcome to manufacturers.

    There were other signs of the cultural divergence, said Kaufman, including Vermont’s Depression-era progressive colleges (Bennington opened in 1931, and Goddard in 1938 ). And the power of the 1954 classic “Living the Good Life,” by Helen and Scott Nearing, which told the story of their escape in 1932 from the city to a farm in Vermont. (They eventually moved to Maine.)

    New Hampshire held onto its tourist industry, which began in the 19th century with “carnival towns” for the working class. But it emphasized hunting and fishing over Vermont’s ski slopes and plush vacation homes.

    The media and other social forces took note of how the two states were different, said Kaufman, and helped with what sociologists call “stereotype aggrandizement and perpetuation.”

    Burlington — Vermont’s one major city — “became a sort of magnet for political radicals,” said Kaufman, and drew high-tech jobs and third-party political candidates.

    New Hampshire, with more cities, could maintain “urban party machines” that kept Republican dominance alive — in sociological terms, “boundary maintenance,” said Kaufman.

    Meanwhile, Vermont’s Republican machine withered, starting with a turnaround gubernatorial election in 1952 in which Democrats made their first strong showing. By 1958, the state had sent its first Democrat to Congress.

    In sum, Vermont engineered a new brand for itself — a hybrid culture of the old and the new. New Hampshire held on to a brand that was a variation of the old one.

    All this took “an unintentional concatenation of forces,” said Kaufman. “[But] Matt and I think the migration factor is the key.”
    https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/st...w-hampshire-geographic-twins-cultural-aliens/


    During the 1950s, Vermont's urban population centers increased by 6.2 percent, while its rural population actually fell. Similarly, during the same period, Chittenden County's population grew by 20.9 percent. The growing urbanization of Vermont did not help Republicans who traditionally relied on rural communities for their support. Furthermore, much of this population growth was driven by the "importation" of Vermont residents from outside the state. By 1970, one in four Vermont residents had been born elsewhere, according to Doyle, and many came from more liberal northeastern states, bringing their ideologies with them. The building of the interstate highway, I-89, likely contributed to this outcome.​

    Another article here: How Vermont turned from red to blue
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2019
  2. Quasar44

    Quasar44 Banned

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    Because of the huge influx of New Yorkers decades ago and the brain washing of folks like Bernie
     
  3. bomberfox

    bomberfox Active Member

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    You have evidence of this brainwashing?
     
  4. Quasar44

    Quasar44 Banned

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    Vermont was once a red state until the weasels and worms moved there from Marxist New “Soviet Union “ York
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  5. bomberfox

    bomberfox Active Member

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    So no evidence gotcha. New york is still largely privatized. Industry is owned by big business so no New York is hardly soviet like lol.
     
  6. Quasar44

    Quasar44 Banned

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    Oh really ??
    All the insane taxes , regulations and money grabs is all Big Bus ??
    Why do you think folks are fleeing the dirty rotten apple state
     
  7. Quasar44

    Quasar44 Banned

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    Of course the Big Comp have secret deals with the Fascist rulers who run the “fallen empire “ state
    Everyone else gets financially squashed
     
  8. bomberfox

    bomberfox Active Member

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    You tell me. You made the claim. Are the businesses property of private owners, the workers, or the state?
     
  9. Quasar44

    Quasar44 Banned

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    Workers lol
    These are private businesses but part of the NY Tammany Hall machine
     
  10. Quasar44

    Quasar44 Banned

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    NYC ..not a place I would ever visit again
    Giant sewer pipe
     
  11. bomberfox

    bomberfox Active Member

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    Umm workers as in people employed to do work. Is this going to be the level of discourse now? Has Jordan Peterson stuffed your brain with word salad or does it come naturally?
     
  12. Quasar44

    Quasar44 Banned

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    Massive influx of New Yorkers destroyed that state
    And no !! Most were not Jewish !!
     
  13. kazenatsu

    kazenatsu Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Oh, by the way, since that article in 2007 was written, New Hampshire has finally begun to tip blue also.
    In the state's 2016 Presidential election, Hillary won the state over Trump, but only by a tiny 0.4% margin.
    New Hampshire is, or it was 25 years ago, the most Red state in New England.


    If you want to see how New York City treats small businesses, see this thread:

    NYPD to Innocent Business Owners: Give Up Your Rights or Get Shut Down
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2020

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