I look at the various movements to break off parts of states…

…and while I don’t exactly expect any of them to succeed any time soon (particularly the one that’s in Western Maryland) I do wonder: what is the optimal size for a US state, anyway? We have 314 million people in this country; our primary political divisions have populations that range from just under 600 thousand to 30 million.  It’s not actually ridiculous to contemplate the idea that maybe we need more states, or more proportional states, or both.

And yes, I’m committing a mild political heresy, here.  Seeing as I’m imagining a scenario where we have about 100 states at slightly over 3 million apiece, maybe it isn’t even a mild political heresy.  At any rate, I am not exactly in a position where my opinion on this matter.

Moe Lane

PS: No, I don’t know what a map of that would look like.  This is why we have computers, yes?

13 thoughts on “I look at the various movements to break off parts of states…”

  1. I see the “We need more than 435 US House Representatives” is coming through in this post Moe.
    For those whom are new here, Moe thinks one of the biggest problems of the federal government is that it doesn’t have enough corrupt politicians. There’s a movement to expand the House Of Representatives to roughly 1,050 members. I think that’s epic insanity. I can barely keep up the 535 (which includes the Senate) politicians as it stands now.

    1. I actually am okay with my state getting a few more representatives. For one it would increase my state’s very limited clout, and for another it would increase the likelihood of me becoming one of those “corrupt politicians”

    2. What’s wrong with a bigger sample size? More Representatives means any one Representative has less power and thus it’s harder to buy off enough of them to have influence.

      By the way, if it hadn’t been for a mistake in the text, we would have over 6000 Representatives, because the idea was to limit Congressional districts to 50,000 people.

      1. I’m personally of the opinion that the more Representatives we have, the harder it will be to keep up with them all. In the age of the low information voter, a smaller Congressional District isn’t going to make much of a difference. The only ones who will be effected, would be watchdog groups (both civilian and law enforcement) and political junkies like us (and not in a good way).
        Like I said, it is hard enough to keep track of the Representatives we have now, why multiply that effort?

        1. Disagree, Gator. The *counterpoint* is that a larger Congress will be even more likely to grind itself to gridlock.. and the States will become the engines of change.
          As this was what the founders had in mind – 13+n fully functioning laboratories of democracy – I find that I’m okay with it.
          Further, Mordor on the Potomac can only exist if politicians keep getting elected, and increasing the number of ’em decreases the money available to each .. making citizen-legislator challenges easier.

  2. I’m against arbitrarily redrawing state lines by population, though. For example: most such proposals I see end up glomming Nevada and Utah together; Nevada, where prostitution is legal in most of the state and Utah, where it’s hard to buy alcohol in many places. Yeah, those two states are separate states For A Reason.

    1. I rather like the idea of City-States.
      Separate NYC from NY, Baltimore from MD, Chicago from IL, Portland, from OR, Seattle from WA, etc. etc.

  3. The thing is, most of these proposals would not create more even sized states, most of them are rural areas wanting to break off the urban areas. You will be left with one sparsely populated state and one densely populated state. I think this whole movement flaring up again is a product of Red/Blue state issue, looking at the by county map, most of surface area voted GOP.

  4. As a current-Virginia resident, but born-and-raised Delawarean, I’m torn on this. Smaller states are more manageable; you can get things done easier, and you just have the raw resources to better manage.

    Big states like Virginia are naturally problematic [Arlington/Alexandria’s population centers vs. the rest of the state, for example.] I don’t know how to make them separate states though, especially by population [would that mean we’d have two or three states just around a major city, like New York?]

    1. Virginia isn’t all that unmanageable. Partly because the GOP has been managing it for quite some time. Maryland on the other hand is completely screwy in part because of Democrat incompetence and their unwillingness to let their one Republican Governor fix things for more than one term. If McAuliffe becomes Governor VA will become that much more like Maryland.
      Vote for Ken Cuccinelli!!!!

  5. There are a bunch of pieces to this puzzle.
    But the biggest one is that the Supreme Court under Warren overstepped its bounds in Reynolds v. Sims. The SC took it upon itself to declare that all legislative districts must be equal in population. (And it is the decision Warren was proudest of.) This destroyed the bicameral nature of state governments where one house was apportioned by population, and the other by county. As such, an urban center can easily dominate an entire state politically. And there’s not a damned thing that can legally be done about it.
    It is this, that’s driving the efforts to subdivide states. People are getting tired of being disenfranchised, especially as the Blue model continues to break down and impose unacceptable costs upon its subjects.

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