Many years ago I read a book titled “The Nine Nations of North America”. It was a look at the various cultural, economic and political similarities and difference among the various states. It may have included Canada and Mexico but I don’t recall. At any rate, it pointed out the divisions based on geography that have existed and persist in the USA. There have been other books along similar themes since then.
Since 1980 the US has devolved into a greater degree of regionalism, in my opinion. The differences between regions have been hardened by politics. Perhaps it is time to change.
We live in a nation of 330,000,000 people. Too big to govern. Too many competing interests. But more importantly, because of the structure of the government we are in a place where minority rule dominates. Rural areas have more power than their population would demand if the system were truly democratic.
To illustrate, the 25 smallest states have somewhere between 11-12% of the population, yet they control 50% of the votes in the US Senate. This is just about equivalent to the population of California, which controls 2% of the Senate. If you include the filibuster into the mix you can see that states representing about 9% of the population can stop any law from proceeding. Untenable for a democracy.
Since a handful of small states hold virtual veto power over the national government this system will not change. It would take a Constitutional amendment, which these states can easily block. This system makes governing 330,000,000 impossible.
Time to break up the USA into 5 regional governments. Perhaps they could support a common military for defense purposes, but other than that they would be independent. Very similar to the original Articles of Confederation, which failed. But in today’s new world this may be the better system for all. It would end many of the regional disputes over immigration, abortion, socials programs, etc.
So, I propose 5 new nations, united weakly, similar to the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. A standard military and perhaps currency. But not much else.
What would these nations be?
The Northeast Union. Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland (with DC) and Delaware. Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, the St. Lawrence Seaway, Canada and Lake Erie.
The South Union.Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee. Bordered by the Ohio River, the Mississippi River and the Atlantic Ocean.
The Great Lakes Union. Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. Bordered by the Mississippi River, the Ohio river, the 5 Great Lakes and Canada.
The Central Union. Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Idaho and Montana. Bordered by the Mississippi River, various mountain ranges, the Great Basin, the Rio Grande, the Gulf of Mexico, Mexico and Canada.
The Pacific Union. California, Oregon and Washington. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, various mountain ranges, the Great Basin, Mexico and Canada.
All of these unions would have outlets for trade. Most have very similar majorities in terms of social, political and economic beliefs about the role of government. Would this be a perfect system? No. But compared to the current system it would be a vast improvement.
There is no doubt that the major issues confronting 330,000,000 people in the USA will never be settled. There will be a constant battle of philosophies. It is the failure of the “melting pot” concept. Because a “melting pot” and “democracy” both assume a certain degree of flexibility and tolerance. Forget it. Not going to happen. It is only going to get worse as political power swings back and forth, or the forces of authoritarianism become entrenched.
Just imagine living in a nation where every two years there is no ongoing battle of philosophies? Where there is majority consensus instead of minority obstruction? Wouldn’t that be better for all of us? We have to accept that the system designed for the 18th century no longer works. It demands a common belief in democracy. That belief no longer exists in many parts of the nation.
Breaking up is hard to do, but in the long term it is best for all parties concerned.