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Historian/columnist George Will invokes Vermont presidential election history

“As the Ethan Allen Institute goes, so goes Vermont,” Washington Post columnist visiting May 31 predicts

George Will’s wit and love of political history shines through in this promotional video for his May 31 visit to South Burlington

By Guy Page

Author, historian and Pulitzer-prize winning columnist George Will invoked a bit of Vermont presidential election history in his Facebook post promoting his May 31 visit to Vermont.

Will will be the honored guest at the 30th Anniversary Gala of the Ethan Allen Institute on Wednesday, May 31 at the Doubletree in South Burlington. Tickets can be reserved here

“After Franklin Roosevelt’s 1936 landslide win, where he carried 46 of 48 states, the saying was ‘as Maine goes so goes Vermont,’” Will said. “Well I have a better idea. My idea is as the Ethan Allen Institute goes, so goes Vermont. And then as Vermont goes, so goes the nation. I look forward to being with the Institute and with you in Vermont, where Vermont is going to become, even more than it is already, a laboratory of Liberty.”

Here’s the backstory on Will’s reference. 

According to Wikipedia, “As Maine goes, so goes the nation” was once a maxim in United States politics. The phrase described Maine’s reputation as a bellwether state for presidential elections. Maine’s September election of a governor predicted the party outcome of the November presidential election in 22 out of the 29 presidential election years from 1820 to 1932: namely 1820–1844, 1852, 1860–1880, 1888, 1896–1908 and 1920–1932; more importantly, as Maine was a generally Republican-leaning state, the margin of the September elections compared to expectations could predict national November results more than the identity of the winning party in Maine. A contest still won by the Republicans but with a narrower margin than usual would still predict good Democratic results nationally.

Then came the 1936 election, when Maine again went decisively Republican – and only Vermont, of the rest of the then 48 states, voted for Republican candidate Alf Landon. 

Landon had such a heavy defeat in the election that he did not even win his home state, Kansas.

James Farley, a leading Democratic strategist who managed FDR’s campaign, quipped “As Maine goes, so goes Vermont.” In fact, since the birth of the Republican Party, Vermont and Maine have voted for different presidential candidates in the same election only twice, Wikipedia said.

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7 replies »

  1. Kudos to those responsible for getting George Will to come to Vermont. Although not always in agreement, I have enjoyed reading George Will’s writings. His book on baseball, “Men at Work”, is a classic.

    I do, however, find it somewhat disingenuous that some Republicans, who voted against providing lunches for Vermont students, will think nothing of paying $125 for a meal.

    • “I do, however, find it somewhat disingenuous that some Republicans, who voted against providing lunches for Vermont students, will think nothing of paying $125 for a meal.” Is this comparison apples to apples … or just bananas.

      Lets see the $125 promotes a well known respected speaker and is a fund raiser. Lets hope the money goes to oust the representatives who keep voting for the social welfare programs.

      It is my understanding that free School lunches are paid for through our taxes and thus is a regressive type of tax which means that lower incomes Vermonters pay a higher percentage of their income into the program. People who can afford lunch for their children do not need and most will figure out that they do not want a free lunch because it will degrade into a high sugar, high card, and low nutrient slop as they cut corners.

  2. On January 11, 2023, George Will wrote:

    “Come April, in the Superior Court of Delaware, the Dominion voting machine company will argue that it has suffered substantial injuries (it is seeking $1.6 billion in damages) because of defamatory statements about the 2020 presidential election that were made, repeatedly, on Fox News. That the statements were false was obvious. That they were lies — known to be false by those who made them — cannot be reasonably doubted.”

    We all know that winning a Pulitzer is no guaranty of truthfulness. George Will’s Washington Post played along with the Russian Collusion Hoax for years, was awarded the Pulitzer, and it refuses to recant its opinions, even in light of the Durham investigation findings – conclusions noticeably absent from any discussion here.

    Riddle me this: If anyone was critical of Dominion voting systems, it was The Epoch Times, in its hour-long documentary – Who’s Stealing America. Watch it if you don’t believe me. It’s criticism of Dominion voting systems is extensive and compelling, to say the least.

    I’m not saying that everything The Epoch Times says is correct either. I can only account for my personal experience with Dominion machines – which was inconsistent vote tabulating, at best. But we’re not talking about anecdotal experiences. What I’m seeing now are typical false dichotomies.

    If Dominion’s suit against FOX was on the up and up, why didn’t Dominion sue The Epoch Times?

    In my opinion, George Will is the consummate ‘deep stater’. I don’t trust his opinion as far as I can spit. Caveat emptor.

  3. Nor do I. This guy is exactly what’s wrong in our country. He is the establishment mouthpiece for pontificating as to why certain people should not be picked by the people to run our country as president. I’ve listened to him for years as an elite ass making noise as if he were the voice of God himself. Guys like him would rather have the deep state establishment gang pick the candidates instead of the people. Why would he come to little Vermont to tell us all what’s wrong in our state? He here because he’s a has been former republican big shot who dissed President Trump and fell in behind those trying to disqualify or defeat him any way they could. His attachment to the Washington Post should tell you all you need to know about who he is.

  4. Correct me if I’m wrong, was it the Town of Eden that had a long-running streak of voting the winner of presidential elections until 2020? Which honestly, they still do have that record and one day will be proven to those who remain in deep denial or bamboozled with witchcraft. No disrespect to Mr. Will or his fanboys, but he is an establishment, well-compensated talking head and swamp insider. For the well-heeled and wealthiest on the “right” side of the fence, their visions of liberty and justice are not exactly meant for all. Being that the likes of John McCain, Mitt Romney, Lindsey Graham, the Bushes, the Cheneys, et. al. are as responsible for death and destruction here and abroad for several decades.

  5. Long ago I thought his writing was worth reading. But he’s now completely embedded with the Deep State. And maybe wisdom is settling in. Look up some of his recent videos besides this ridiculous clip. I did. I couldn’t get through more than 10 minutes of his selfsediuous pompous drivel. It’s sad that the Ethan Allen Institute is sponsoring someone so out of touch with the people. The EAI’s funding comes from one of the Koch brothers. Their mission in life is to keep us divided. One brother funds the left, the other funds the right.

  6. I wouldn’t stand in line for a free ticket with meal to listen to George Will. He’s long supported all that’s been going wrong in this country.