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Old 01-16-2015, 10:18 AM
Location: Pacific NW
300 posts, read 656,583 times
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I have never been to vermont but it looks like a liberal utopia (a good thing to me). I find my home state (Washington) to be very conservative in general attitude. Especially the general attitude people have toward the poor. Oregon was better that way. Is Vermont more liberal in general attitude or is there still a sizable population of tea party types? I know this country is polarized but is Vermont more polarized or more centrist in general. For example here people tend to be far left or far right. I think a place that is generally more centrist (as in less polarized) would be a more functional place for progressive ideals. Canada for instance is more liberal but there is also an absence of far right there. Is Vermont more like Canada or more like Washington state?
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Old 01-16-2015, 12:27 PM
Location: Vermont
10,310 posts, read 11,232,767 times
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Probably closer to Canada based on your descriptions of the two places.

Historically Vermont was consistently Republican for many years. The change started in the 1950's, when a group of liberal Republicans, referred to as the Young Turks, gained power at the state level, and it really advanced with the election of Phil Hoff to be governor in 1962. I like to say that he was to Vermont what people thought JFK was nationally.

Since then Vermont has been pretty liberal, although not universally so. I don't doubt that some more conservative members of the forum would say that the liberals here are extremists, but I would not agree. (Although I should note that I have friends in every part of the country who wish they had Bernie Sanders for their senator.)

Things are very different on the right end of the spectrum. The leading Republicans are decidedly more moderate than the Republican Party in many other places, especially in the South and wherever you find the Tea Party.
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Old 01-16-2015, 01:04 PM
Location: The Woods
16,960 posts, read 22,280,061 times
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VT is pretty divided. Some part are very liberal, to the left of liberal (Burlington and much of Chittenden County in general, quite a bit of Windham County, and scattered towns elsewhere like Norwich). Others are very much the opposite (i.e., the NEK, Rutland County). Shumlin got less than 50 percent of the vote. School and municipal budgets have been failing to pas in significant numbers as there's growing backlash against the taxes. Gun control activists funded by Bloomberg are trying to ram through gun control like WA state just passed now, which will show how divided VT is in coming weeks and months.
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Old 01-17-2015, 07:40 AM
Location: Central Maine
2,867 posts, read 2,989,232 times
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I have to agree with the above post that Vermont is divided in its political leanings. Bennington and Rutland counties and the NEK tend to be more conservative as the more "college towns" tend to be liberal and progressive(ie; Norwich, Plainfield, Burlington Area). Bennington seems to be the exception to this rule although Bennington College is not quite so liberal as it was when I worked there in the 1980s (I think President Liz Coleman had something to do with that) and not so big as to sway Bennington's overall leaning. As far as "Brooklyn Bernie" or "Bronx Bernie", whatever you want to call him, I remember him visiting Bennington College in the 1980s (as did "Straddling Madelyn Kunin") and the students excitedly flocking to him.
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Old 01-17-2015, 07:59 PM
221 posts, read 266,507 times
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The way I see it is like this; While most of Vermon't rep as a very liberal state comes from it being indeed extremely liberal socially, which, the libertarian in me does not think is a bad thing(and as others have said even the republicans are more socially liberal in this state), when it comes to progressive economics the state is more divided. While it is true that a majority is in favor of more spending, higher taxes etc, it is only a slight majority. There are many people with opposing views and more fiscally conservative, I have met many, many of those. But most of them are still socially very liberal.

So I think the notion that Vermont is THE most liberal state in the union is kind of a misconception. I'd say states like NY, NJ, RI, CA and a few others are probably overall even more liberal in some ways. Vermont has a pretty good balance IMO.

As far as VT being more republican once, I think it has to do not only with the state itself but also with political changes nationwide. It's important to remember that for instance VT was the first state to abolish slavery, even before it was actually a state, when at the time it was the Republicans who seeked that. So in a way VT was always liberal(in a good way), but the parties themselves have changed since then, too. Take a look at Texas - it was the exact opposite. They were angry with the republicans and voted mostly democrat, around the same time VT started voting for the democrats is when Texas made the shift back to republican.
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Old 01-18-2015, 11:04 AM
Location: Central Maine
2,867 posts, read 2,989,232 times
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In the 1960s and 1970s you had a lot of the hippy types fleeing to Vermont. That's a fact, I witnessed it myself as I lived there. Couple that with all of the well-heeled, liberally-educated city types flocking to Vermont for second homes and a slower pace of life. And add in Vermont's very liberal colleges like UVM, Bennington (the way it was back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s) and Goddard, just to name a few. And their graduates /staff/faculty/taking up residence there. It is not hard with all of those forces at work to politically overwhelm a state with just over a half-million people.

As far as Vermont being a liberal state, I will leave you with the title of former Governor Jim Douglas' book. He should know, and he says it well;


Former Vermont Governor Jim Douglas has penned a new memoir chronicling his youth, political career and what led him to the state's top job in 2002. It's called "The Vermont Way: A Republican Governor Leads America's Most Liberal State
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