19 January, 2010

What do Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts have in common?

Easy: they were three of the largest of the original 13 states. Smaller states like Rhode Island, Delaware, and New Hampshire so feared the power of a Congress that was purely representational that the writers of the Constitution created the Senate precisely so that smaller states could obstruct the ambitions of larger ones.

All three, moreover, have contributed important statemen and presidents to our nation. Between them, Virginia and Massachusetts have contributed almost a third of the men who have served in the land's highest office. New Jersey has sent only one man to the White House, Grover Cleveland. Unless you count Woodrow Wilson, who was no one to sneeze at, and in any case was born in Virginia.

These days, the three states aren't especially large. They have roughly the same number of Representatives in the House: 10 for MA, 11 for VA, and 13 for NJ. As such, statewide elections in these three states rarely attract national interest. Everyone knows that New York and California are where all the important stuff happens. After all, they have large populations and many more representatives, and the news media is concentrated in those two states, so it's not as if these three middling states should be of national interest, right?

…uhm, right?

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