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It’s Hard to Have a National Referendum in a State With Only 585,000 People

Revenge politics: Kevin McCarthy exaggerates the importance of Wyoming without acknowledging its outsized power.

4 min readAug 17, 2022


House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was right. On Tuesday, August 16th, 2022, Liz Cheney lost the Republican primary for her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. That was easy to see coming given all the polling that showed Cheney behind her Trump-endorsed opponent, Harriet Hageman. But where McCarthy is wrong is to say that the outcome of that election is a referendum on the work of the January 6th Committee.

Wyoming has 585,000 people. In a nation of 330 million people, any election held in Wyoming is hardly a national referendum. What McCarthy means to say is that a state as small as Wyoming has far more power than it should have. If Wyoming were run by Democrats, that is.

It’s easy to see that the GOP has a pretty hard lock on the sparsely populated states in the middle. We can characterize those states. They have fewer people, so fewer jobs. Fewer opportunities for advancement. Greater opportunities for isolation. More time for Fox News.

And every study that has ever been done on humanity shows that humans need other humans around just to keep…