Conservative, overwhelmingly rural Vermont seemed an unlikely state to buck this trend. Reagan easily carried the state, which in the 132-year period spanning 1856 to 1988 had voted for a Democrat for president a grand total of once. When Roosevelt first ran for reelection in 1936, Vermont was one of only two states to vote against him. It hadn’t even put a Democrat in the Senate until 1975.
But Vermont had been changing. Starting in the 1960s, the state saw a thirty-year influx of out-of-state migrants. By 1963, its people outnumbered its cows for the first time. Newcomers comprised nearly a third of Vermont’s growth that decade; by the 1970s they were responsible for 60 percent of it.
The first wave had been young professionals, who quickly made inroads into the state’s political and business ranks; the second was a countercultural wave, much of it from New York and Massachusetts: hippies, radicals, lefty activists, and others, fed up with the rot of city life and looking to go back to the land or engage in communal living. This influx, political scientist Garrison Nelson later said, became “the driving force” behind the state’s impending political transformation.
Suddenly, Vermont was teeming with “outsiders,” many of whom settled in Chittenden County, home to Burlington and already by far the largest county before out-of-towners came pouring in. From 1960 to 1980, the share of Vermonters born out of state jumped from less than 20 percent to more than 33 percent. In the next ten years, Chittenden County as a whole grew by 77 percent.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction