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Monday, March 11, 2013

Morning Read: New York Times on Vermont's Power Edge in the U.S. Senate

Posted By on Mon, Mar 11, 2013 at 12:30 PM


Fall asleep during high school civics class? 

Never fear. New York Times Supreme Court correspondent Adam Liptak has a solid thumbsucker in today's Grey Lady about the power disparity between large states and small in the U.S. Senate and the Electoral College.

Liptak's dateline? RutVegas, Vt. (Wait, sorry. I know I'm not supposed to use that term anymore.)

The roads in Rutland are paved in gold, Liptak writes, while just over the border in Washington County, N.Y., "the landscape abruptly turns from spiffy to scruffy."

Why's that? Cuz our 625,000 residents have two U.S. senators, while New York's 19 million also have, um, two senators. So we get way more federal pork per capita. Which is a major bummer for them. 

While the Great Compromise of 1787 isn't exactly breaking news, Liptak does a good job explaining how this intentionally unfair deal has only grown less fair for residents of large states and for the liberals who mostly live in them (crunchy Vermont being the exception). And the story includes a couple of tasty Vermont tidbits, such as these:

  • Vermonters have 30 times the voting power of New Yorkers in the U.S. Senate. That's the greatest disparity between neighboring states in the country. (The disparity between the most and least populated states, California and Wyoming, is twice that.)
  • "Among the nation's five smallest states, only Vermont tilts liberal, while Alaska, Wyoming and the Dakotas have each voted Republican in every presidential election since 1968," Liptak writes.
  • The feds have spent $2500 per person in Rutland since 2009, compared with $600 per person in Washington County, N.Y.

Also worth checking out: The Times's hilare-lare infographic with a photo montage of 62 senators who represent one-fourth of the nation's population (there's Sen. Bernie Sanders in the upper-left-hand corner appearing to be blowing out a bunch of hot air) and another six senators who also represent one-fourth of the population. Check it here

You can read Liptak's story in full here. Oh, and if any New Yorkers are reading this: Sorry, homies. 

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About The Author

Paul Heintz

Paul Heintz

Paul Heintz is a staff writer and political editor for Seven Days. He wrote the "Fair Game" political column from May 2012 through December 2016.


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