Join 3,411 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


50 Equal Sized States
January 31, 2010 9:48 PM   Subscribe

A proposal to redraw state lines so that there are 50 states with approximately equal population.
posted by Chocolate Pickle (143 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Of course, there's zero chance of it happening, but it's an interesting map.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:53 PM on January 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


On the face of it, seems like a fine idea.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:56 PM on January 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Disadvantages: Some county names are duplicated in new states."

Other than that, I think we're set!
posted by bicyclefish at 9:57 PM on January 31, 2010 [29 favorites]


The electoral college is a time-honored system that, has only broken down three times in over 200 years.

Comma creep, on the other hand, is, pandemic.
posted by lumensimus at 9:57 PM on January 31, 2010 [36 favorites]


Missouri.
posted by parhamr at 9:57 PM on January 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


The idea itself was crazy enough, but then I saw the names.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:58 PM on January 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


if state lines are redrawn i'd prefer the line that is drawn around oregon and washington be a nation line.
posted by rainperimeter at 9:59 PM on January 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


For some reason, it makes me a little sad to see that Tombigbee isn't adjacent to Big Smoky.
posted by lumensimus at 9:59 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Susquehanna needs to be renamed "Pennsyltucky."
posted by MegoSteve at 10:00 PM on January 31, 2010 [14 favorites]


Another map idea previously on Metafilter from fakeisthenewreal. He makes many good things!
posted by dreamyshade at 10:01 PM on January 31, 2010


I want to take this Federalist crap and flush it down the drain. This map implicitly assumes that we're all cattle, to be grouped and herded. We are a union of sovereign states, and the sooner we start acting like it any one or several could leave again, the sooner congress would actually have to deal with reality, and not just spending money they don't have the balls to take directly through taxes, but rather suck away silently through inflation.


But, I'm not bitter.
posted by MikeWarot at 10:02 PM on January 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


Meanwhile, somewhere in the former Arkansas...

"So what are we called now Dale? Brownia?"

Four minutes later, Civil War II broke out.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:03 PM on January 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


if state lines are redrawn i'd prefer the line that is drawn around oregon and washington be a nation line

Yeah, um, I think there's more than a few white supremacists up that way who say the same thing. Bit of a problem, that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:06 PM on January 31, 2010


So apparently I'm still Texan despite not having lived there since I was 7, because the first thing I noticed when looking at this map was how Texas had been divided, and I felt a brief jolt of inexplicable anger that it wasn't big enough.
posted by Mizu at 10:06 PM on January 31, 2010 [11 favorites]


What do they mean when they say the electoral college has broken down three times?
posted by JenMarie at 10:07 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Yeah but you can't do that..."
"Why not?"
"Because it's freaking me out."
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:07 PM on January 31, 2010 [13 favorites]


So apparently I'm still Texan despite not having lived there since I was 7, because the first thing I noticed when looking at this map was how Texas had been divided, and I felt a brief jolt of inexplicable anger that it wasn't big enough.

They messed with Texas.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:09 PM on January 31, 2010 [7 favorites]


Something I often point out in discussions about the Electoral College is that 2000 was NOT a failure of the college. 2000 was a failure of counting. When all the recounts were done, Gore was the winner.

Not including 2000, there are only two presidential elections in which the winner of the popular vote lost the election, 1876 and 1888, both cases in which the system arguably protected the country from a strong strain of Southern separatism.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:10 PM on January 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


Frankly, I find all the names of all the "states" (areas?) I have lived in to be offensive, and I can only imagine that many people feel the same way about their current and former states.

For example, New York City gets New York, and the rest of the state gets Erie? Doesn't the person who created this map already know that New York means New York City?

It's obvious that reforms are needed.
posted by k8lin at 10:11 PM on January 31, 2010


I'm with you on that one, rainperimeter - viva Cascadia!
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:12 PM on January 31, 2010


if state lines are redrawn i'd prefer the line that is drawn around oregon and washington be a nation line.

Amen. Fuck this shit. New England gets to be its own country, except for most of Connecticut, which rightfully belongs to New York. Hey, Maritimes-- you in? You can come with us, and we'll acknowledge and cherish you, unlike Ottawa. But you have to accept some limits on lobster sizes. Sound good?
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:15 PM on January 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


JenMarie: “What do they mean when they say the electoral college has broken down three times?”

Good question. I thought at first that it must be referring to faithless electors, but there have been a hell of a lot more of those - 158, to be exact. Maybe it's a specific category of faithless elector.
posted by koeselitz at 10:17 PM on January 31, 2010


Yeah, um, I think there's more than a few white supremacists up that way who say the same thing. Bit of a problem, that.

there are hate groups everywhere. what's your point?
posted by rainperimeter at 10:18 PM on January 31, 2010


Advantages of this proposal: It still takes only four colors to draw this map.
posted by Tube at 10:18 PM on January 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm with you on that one, rainperimeter - viva Cascadia!

To me it always made sense for BC, Washington and Oregon to be one country. I'm fully on board with this. Identities/ideologies seem to run vertically, not horizontally.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:18 PM on January 31, 2010


There was another map that someone did that tried to do the same thing--make 50 new states with equal population and all-new names. That map was not as precise and had wavy lines, and my hometown in Virginia "relocated" to Appalachia, I think. Does anyone know where this map is?

Also, I loved the very low quality JPEGs on that site.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:19 PM on January 31, 2010


Ah. Popular vote vs. electoral college vote. Duh. Should've seen that right way.
posted by koeselitz at 10:19 PM on January 31, 2010


Costa Del Lex. Luthorville. Marina del Lex. Otisburg... Otisburg?
posted by RavinDave at 10:21 PM on January 31, 2010 [13 favorites]


Some time ago, I was looking at a book from the 1970's called The People's Almanac which had a similar map. Some of the points it made were that cities with populations "split" by state lines would now be whole - St Louis, Kansas City, and so on. Also, I think that map only had 38 states. The advantage of the map in this link would be a greater representation of liberals in the Senate, but it would also nullify the whole bicameral congress idea, since each state would pretty much have the same number of representatives. In any case, Americans are too dumb to actually go for an idea that would make this much sense.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 10:23 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


if state lines are redrawn i'd prefer the line that is drawn around oregon and washington be a nation line.
posted by rainperimeter at 9:59 PM on January 31 [+] [!]


Eponysterical.
posted by The Tensor at 10:26 PM on January 31, 2010 [13 favorites]


What a terrible idea. The political turmoil and economic costs resulting from this idea would far outweight any sort of improvement in "election fairness", however you define that.

In addition to the awful names, this would cause all sorts of practical problems. Access to essential natural resources for some of these states would be very problematic (e.g. water for southern California). Then you'd have to rework existing infrastructure to account for changes in ownership and usage. And does anyone think you could you expect build a reasonably functional state out of just the greater Detroit metropolitan area?

Sorry, but if you want to reform the electoral college, please stick with constitutional amendments.
posted by TBAcceptor at 10:27 PM on January 31, 2010


except for most of Connecticut, which rightfully belongs to New York.

That is the most frickin' retahded statement I have ever read. I may have very little love for my home state, but I still am a New Englander and anyone who claims otherwise is wicked high. True, there is a small part of the Southwestern portion of CT full of douchebag yankee fans, but even they are still influenced by the Puritan work ethic, and still have to get to the package store before it closes at 8.
posted by Jon_Evil at 10:29 PM on January 31, 2010 [7 favorites]


In my future (okay, the future of every distopian novel I've ever read), there are only three states. The east and west coasts are labeled "sprawl" and in between, a fog of war labeled "abandon all hope".

Certainly saves on all those different colored inks.
posted by bpm140 at 10:29 PM on January 31, 2010


Reminds me of the imagined cartography from the Tales of Alvin Maker series for some reason, only 150 years later.

Also: Ha ha Wisconsin! Minnesota's totally facehugging you!
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 10:30 PM on January 31, 2010


Long time ago I read a book called "The Nine Nations of North America" which was something of a cultural study, talking about how there were nine basic areas which distinctive cultures which crossed state and even national lines. The author's point was that British Columbia has more in common with Oregon and Washington State than it does with Ontario. And for that matter, Portland OR has more in common with Vancouver than it does with Bend OR.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:31 PM on January 31, 2010


So, 50 equal sized states until people move? Or do we re-draw the map every year?
posted by sallybrown at 10:31 PM on January 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sohio is for stoners.
posted by AloneOssifer at 10:32 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I made one for Canada. posted by Throw away your common sense and get an afro! at 10:33 PM on January 31, 2010 [11 favorites]


Chicago being a different state from Gary, Indiana is a symptom of your design being poorly thought-out.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:37 PM on January 31, 2010


There was another map that someone did that tried to do the same thing--make 50 new states with equal population and all-new names. That map was not as precise and had wavy lines, and my hometown in Virginia "relocated" to Appalachia, I think. Does anyone know where this map is?

It's only 38 states, but this is what I immediately thought of. It's pretty goofy (2 states in Alaska?), but I guess if we ever decide we want all states to become shapeless blobs, we've got somewhere to start.
posted by Copronymus at 10:38 PM on January 31, 2010


One of the other cool things about this map is that the "states" are more uniform in a cultural/geographical sense. Mostly.
posted by Jon_Evil at 10:39 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


it would also nullify the whole bicameral congress idea, since each state would pretty much have the same number of representatives.

Exactly. If the point of equal population states is equal representation in the Senate, then you're simply duplicating the House of Representatives for no good purpose, and missing a more obvious solution than redrawing the maps, which is to simply make Senate representation proportionate to population.
posted by fatbird at 10:39 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah. Popular vote vs. electoral college vote. Duh. Should've seen that right way.

But are they saying it's a breakdown when the popular vote and electoral college votes don't line up? I thought that was kind of the function of the electoral college, otherwise why not just have a popular vote? Anyway, I guess it doesn't really matter. Interesting idea, if very pipedreamish.
posted by JenMarie at 10:40 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


if state lines are redrawn i'd prefer the line that is drawn around oregon and washington be a nation line.

Yeah, um, I think there's more than a few white supremacists up that way who say the same thing. Bit of a problem, that.

there are hate groups everywhere. what's your point?


My point would be that the main reason (as I see it) for any state or states to secede, with the intention of becoming an entirely new nation, would be that the people of that state or states shared enough of a signifigant, across-the-board ideology on some basic level. One which which was antithetical the the ideology of the nation they're seceding from. That would be precisely the reason for white supremacists to want to secede from the US, and in fact the region you mention is precisely the region envisioned by white supremacists as an Aryan nation or whatever they call it. Which is why I found your statement particularly ironic.

I hope I've answered you satisfactorily. And now, if I may ask you, what was your point when you said you'd prefer nationhood for Washington and Oregon?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:42 PM on January 31, 2010


Where's Oceania?
posted by The Deej at 10:42 PM on January 31, 2010


That is... "One which which was antithetical to the ideology of the nation..."
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:44 PM on January 31, 2010


an interesting thought, but it'll never happen. as it is now, the senate hands disproportionate power to sparsely populated areas. they wouldn't easily give it up.
posted by TrialByMedia at 10:45 PM on January 31, 2010


Where's Oceania?

We're at war with it. Haven't you heard?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:45 PM on January 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


and strike one "which"...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:46 PM on January 31, 2010


Chicago being a different state from Gary, Indiana is a symptom of your design being poorly thought-out.

I like it this way. We get to keep fighting over who's the murder capital of the country.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:46 PM on January 31, 2010


I'm not sure they understand the concept of a delta, seeing as the newly renamed state would be landlocked.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:49 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


We get to keep fighting over who's the murder capital of the country.
I thought it was St. Louis.
posted by TrialByMedia at 10:49 PM on January 31, 2010


Nice. Put half of Kansas in with Arkansas. That'll solve the whole pronounciation thing! Meanwhile, leave missouri mysteriously intact even though it has two major metro areas split along state lines (KC and STL).
posted by pwnguin at 10:49 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


This just begs the question, that any voter's most important demographic is residence, that is, geographical location.

This is true for some things, water rights being the most obvious. But given near--instantaneous communications and a complex economy, most people's particular interests are aligned much with their demographic than their neighbors.

In the US, after class division, the most salient factor is probably age, not location: essentially, all of us non-Baby Boomers are looking at supporting the Boomers and their follies for the next forty years.

And indeed, in recent elections, we've seen that youth turnout means Democratic wins; conversely, when Youth stays home, Republicans win.

Proportional representation, or representation by cohort or by affinity group, are possible solutions; moving around borders isn't a solution any more than it was in the Partition of India.
posted by orthogonality at 10:54 PM on January 31, 2010



"Yeah but you can't do that..."
"Why not?"
"Because it's freaking me out."


That is the only episode of West Wing I have watched all the way through!
posted by parmanparman at 11:03 PM on January 31, 2010


also, i can't tell--did they lump Staten Island in with Jersey? cause that needs to happen.
posted by TrialByMedia at 11:03 PM on January 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


All this talk of Oregon, Washington, and B.C. unifying because they have a common culture sounds suspiciously like Anschluss. *grumble*
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:05 PM on January 31, 2010


Oh good grief:

"Alaska and Hawaii are part of the states of Olympia and Coronado, respectively."
posted by heyforfour at 11:05 PM on January 31, 2010


This map is hilarious! I'm pretty sure I've never LOLd at a map before.

I note that Alaska (where I grew up) has been lumped in with Washington (where I've lived for the last 20 years). This strikes me as being exactly right. I shall call it Erikaland!

I'm fascinated by the way that Washington is almost entirely intact, except that Oregon (excuse me, Willamette) has nibbled away at the lower left-hand corner. But that's cool, because that's kind of a sucky part of the state.

Nibble away, Oregon! I mean, Willamette.
posted by ErikaB at 11:09 PM on January 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Would it be a more accurate reflection of reality than the Jesusland map?
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:11 PM on January 31, 2010


Is this where I come to complain?

Can Green Bay be Wisconsin since nobody is using it anyway? That way I don't have to get a new license.

Also, who gets to keep Feingold? I like him.
posted by Bonzai at 11:12 PM on January 31, 2010


Just remember: Willamette rhymes with Goddamnit.
posted by TrialByMedia at 11:12 PM on January 31, 2010


No way, man. I am not moving to Indiana Wabash.
posted by erniepan at 11:18 PM on January 31, 2010


No way, man. I am not moving to Indiana Wabash.

Aw, come on, it'll be great! They might even run the Cannonball again!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:23 PM on January 31, 2010


Northern California + Southern Oregon = State of Jefferson
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:23 PM on January 31, 2010


States must be rectangles.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:28 PM on January 31, 2010


What problem does this solve? What's the motivation?

Detroit as its own state? Hilarious, but I'd be willing to give it a try/
posted by BigSky at 11:29 PM on January 31, 2010


Alaska and Hawaii are part of the states of Olympia and Coronado, respectively.

I'm sure this idea will go over well with those folks.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:35 PM on January 31, 2010


To be honest, KokuRyu, if this map has one overriding benefit it's that it wouldn't go over well with anybody. Completely confusing everyone's geographical conceptions of the states they're supposed to love and hate for a generation would be kind of neat, I think.
posted by koeselitz at 11:38 PM on January 31, 2010


Am I the only one who thought Florida looked way more obscene than normal, verging on profane? Or is that just the Ambien kicking in?
posted by ohyouknow at 11:40 PM on January 31, 2010


The District of Columbia is preserved as it is.

Given that it's not on the map, I'm going to assume that sentence means just what it says, not "...and made it a state." Really, someone goes out of his way to chop the whole country into little pieces, and give it new names and everything, but he still can't be bothered to deal with DC? We really are fucked...
posted by naoko at 11:40 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


flapjax: the northwest has always seemed to me, even when i was a kid, though i couldn't have pinpointed it, to have a very strong sense of political and environmental regionalism. as i've gotten older and my political pov's have developed and i have become way too cranky way too young, i have decided that i'd like to distance myself from things that i dislike as much as possible. the northwest pays more in federal taxes than it receives, and i don't like that. i don't like paying for bullshit wars. i don't like when u.s. attorney generals try to revoke laws we have voted for and passed. i don't like when my state senators, looking to expand the size of our national forests here in oregon, get stopped by asshole senators from oklahoma because they think it will cost too much and is not worth the investment. etc.

all that probably reads like crap and not thought out. meh. it's not gonna happen so i don't need an eloquent answer for now.

or i could just say it's like when people would say that if bush was elected again, or if mccain was elected, they were gonna move to canada. but i don't want to move to canada. i like it here.
posted by rainperimeter at 11:48 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is an interesting idea that's been trotted out before a few times. The major issue with the electoral college is that it's semi-proportional and semi-not. Each state gets the name number of electors as its total Congressional delegation (plus 3 for DC), blending the proportional representation of the House of Reps with the equal representation of the Senate.

In theory this works OK - it means that you'd have to get a majority in more states and appeal to a wider geographical swathe of the electorate, not just rack up huge margins in areas favorable to your party. In practice there's two major types issues. When the electoral college doesn't work really work, as in disputed elections of 1876 and 1888, as pointed out by roll truck roll. Additionally, a candidate can win the electoral college but not a majority of the popular vote. In 1912 Woodrow Wilson (D) won the electoral college handily with 435 of the electoral college but only a plurality, 42%, of the popular vote, the Republican vote being split between Teddy Roosevelt and the incumbent Taft.

Equal representation in the Senate is an entirely different beast and dates to the Constitutional Convention. At the convention, bicameralism in the legislature was a universally popular idea, so the question was whether both houses would be proportionally represented. Madison, from Virginia, was a strong advocate for proportional representation in both houses. Ultimately, the Senate ended up having equal representation among the states. This was due to both a result of a desire to retain influence by the small states and a desire by Convention delegates to keep the Senate small and deliberate, more removed from the whims of the population. Proportional representation would have made the Senate larger than the delegates though was ideal.

Trouble is, equal representation in the Senate now gives about 14% of the population about 46 Senate seats, and the Senate isn't renowned for being a wise and deliberate body, more insulated from electoral pandering and hasty passions.

However, we can't make the Senate proportionally representational. Article V of the Constitution provides for the 2/3 consent of all states required to amend the Constitution, EXCEPT, "and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate."

I'm not sure of the origins of that clause during the Convention's debates; it is possible that it resulted from a fear of the small states that the big states would gang up on them afterward and dilute their voice in the Senate. What it means is that equal representation in the Senate is here to stay, as any shift would have to be unanimous.
posted by foodmapper at 12:15 AM on February 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Do you really think your "state" or "district" representative would more thoroughly represent your views if he resided 300+ miles away from where you lived?
posted by Balisong at 12:21 AM on February 1, 2010


That said, Wyoming, ND, SD, and Montana get way too much representation as it is.
posted by Balisong at 12:22 AM on February 1, 2010


That's pretty much it, foodmapper. In the 1700s the states were much more autonomous entities; not only had they been founded as separate entities that amalgamated together, travel and communication speeds were so slow that there really was a difference between, say, Rhode Island and Massachusetts beyond semi-arbitrary lines. So there was a debate over how to structure the legislature; the larger states wanted population-based represenation, while the smaller states wanted equal representation regardless of population. The bicameral compromise allowed the smaller states to get the Senate, while the larger states got the House, and everybody walked away feeling like they'd kind of got their way and kind of not.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:29 AM on February 1, 2010


Do you really think your "state" or "district" representative would more thoroughly represent your views if he resided 300+ miles away from where you lived?

Let's ask some Texans!
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:30 AM on February 1, 2010


I guess it's time to get people planning that Missouri-wide meetup a few of us were talking about a while back.

The rest of you have fun getting new driver's licenses.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:50 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


As an alternative to constitutional amendment it has a grandiose mad brilliance. I imagine elsewhere on his website is a plan to make the Channel Tunnel obsolete by towing England closer to France.
posted by athenian at 12:52 AM on February 1, 2010


Wait a minute. This was a serious proposal?

I saw it last week and thought that it was an interesting illustration of the difference between straight proportional representation and what we've got right now, but I didn't think anyone was really pushing it as a good idea.
posted by weston at 1:26 AM on February 1, 2010


I expect you Americans will get on this right after you've switched to the metric system, right?
posted by Harald74 at 1:27 AM on February 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


Wouldn't it be much easier to scrap the electoral college?
posted by molecicco at 1:36 AM on February 1, 2010


While I'm not sure about this particular map, I've always wondered if it's better than some states, like Washington, have completely disparate halves, which might promote checks and balances, or whether states would be better served by drawing lines around obvious common interests.

For example, western Washington and western Oregon in one state, and eastern Washington and eastern Oregon as another would be more logical than the boundaries they have now, if your goal is grouping common interests together. But when you do that, a lot of the wealth of the coastal areas is removed from the poorer inland areas, which would need to be addressed at the federal level.

I also wonder if bigger states serve their citizens better than smaller states, or vice versa. At the local level, it would seem that a smaller state could be more in-touch with their citizens (I mean, ideally, their local representatives wouldn't have to live in the capitol for any significant time if the whole state was only 100 miles wide). Is this true? Do residents of Connecticut feel closer to their reps than the residents of Texas feel to theirs?

Of course, at the federal level, having hundreds of small states would be a nightmare, I would imagine.
posted by maxwelton at 1:57 AM on February 1, 2010


Reminds me of the attempt years ago to divide California in half and create two distinct states. Sounded great. Till some folks realized that they lost their clout in the Congress representation. End of ideal
posted by Postroad at 3:51 AM on February 1, 2010


weston: “Wait a minute. This was a serious proposal?”

Err - who said it was? We're just talking loosely about representation; I don't see anybody here pushing for it, and I don't see the blog that published it pushing for it either.

“I saw it last week and thought that it was an interesting illustration of the difference between straight proportional representation and what we've got right now, but I didn't think anyone was really pushing it as a good idea.”

Kind of - but real proportional representation wouldn't look anything like this. Redrawing political lines to effect proportional representation makes no sense at all. It's like saying "we want every state to get exactly the same number of federal budget dollars, so we have to resize the states so they're equal." That's nuts. Real proportional representation would involve simply reshuffling the numbers on the electoral college - or scrapping it completely - so that those numbers reflect more exactly the population at large.
posted by koeselitz at 4:04 AM on February 1, 2010


(That's why it's kind of a whimsical expression of proportionality.)
posted by koeselitz at 4:05 AM on February 1, 2010


Why in the fuck would they call it "High Plains" and not Ogallala? That's just lazy.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:27 AM on February 1, 2010


orthogonality nailed the fact that age and urban/suburban/exurban/rural demographics tend to trump regionalism these days.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:34 AM on February 1, 2010


I know we're the most population dense, but the level of shrinkage Jersey faces is appalling.

Also, I say this with love, but I don't think Long Island could fend for itself.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:51 AM on February 1, 2010


I say we do it, just to piss off Texans.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:52 AM on February 1, 2010


I'm intrigued by Brownia. Is this area named in honor of John Brown, who made his abolitionist chops in the Kansas wars before he orchestrated the raid at Harper's Ferry?
posted by workerant at 5:00 AM on February 1, 2010


If it'll shut you fuckers up about Texas for good and all here on the blue, then I'm for it. One electoral vote per resident. I am my own state, district, county, suburb, and one-stop shop.
posted by WolfDaddy at 5:00 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anything that reduces the unfairly high influence of conservatives in the Senate is A-OK by me.
posted by DU at 5:39 AM on February 1, 2010


Dude, I love all of the Texas gripe in this thread.
How can you not think a state whose unofficial state motto is a thinly veiled threat is at least slightly more than kind of awesome?
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 5:47 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


A: by being from there.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 5:47 AM on February 1, 2010



In my future (okay, the future of every distopian novel I've ever read), there are only three states. The east and west coasts are labeled "sprawl" and in between, a fog of war labeled "abandon all hope".



Not in my dystopian novel that exists in my head! I'd never mess with the Heartland Collective, they have such nice hot dishes!
posted by The Whelk at 6:04 AM on February 1, 2010


How can you not think a state whose unofficial state motto is a thinly veiled threat is at least slightly more than kind of awesome?

The Texas state motto is "Friendship", which, unless you're a sociophobe, isn't much of a threat.
posted by vbfg at 6:18 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure they understand the concept of a delta, seeing as the newly renamed state would be landlocked.

That inland stretch of the Mississippi is called the Mississippi Delta even though it doesn't include the delta of the Mississippi River.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:26 AM on February 1, 2010


Wouldn't they just have to redraw those lines as the various economic situations in the US change over time? Population follows, to some extent, the money and jobs. And smart politicos would just continue to use that fact to game the electoral colleges.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:29 AM on February 1, 2010


Just think of all the stationery and business cards that would have to be redone.
posted by marxchivist at 6:37 AM on February 1, 2010


I'm for it, but only if the state of Okefenokee puts Pogo on their flag.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:41 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's with the attachment to the number fifty? Why not have 100 states, or 200. Kids would spend years memorizing their names, locations, capitals. Why not have thematic states with population limits? Virtual states we can join, and then we can live wherever we want?
posted by mareli at 6:42 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


> except for most of Connecticut, which rightfully belongs to New York.

That is the most frickin' retahded statement I have ever read. I may have very little love for my home state, but I still am a New Englander and anyone who claims otherwise is wicked high. True, there is a small part of the Southwestern portion of CT full of douchebag yankee fans, but even they are still influenced by the Puritan work ethic, and still have to get to the package store before it closes at 8.


I'd actually say that the dividing line between "Connecticut-as-New-York" and "Connecticut-as-New-England" is the Connecticut River, or New Haven and its meridian. I remember going to a Billy Joel concert in New Haven during the '86 World Series, and they occasionally gave updates on the game from the stage -- and no matter who they said was on top, the Sox or the Mets, there was an absolutely equal division of cheers and boos from the audience. There's more of the New York mindset than you'd think.

However, there's also more of the New England mindset than the OP implies as well.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:45 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Or you could just increase the number of representatives.
posted by electroboy at 6:47 AM on February 1, 2010


This is cute and all, but neglects the original intent of state lines; to carve up natural resources and access to waterways.

So messing with how population is represented in a republic is interesting, but kind of a non-starter once you start taking away coal mines, aquifers, gas/oil fields, arable farm lands and wind corridors.

Waterways may actually be less troublesome since populations naturally cluster around ports... thus "port cities". I wish the Mississippi was still on there, since it is hard to see when you abandon the existing state lines that run along it.
posted by butterstick at 7:04 AM on February 1, 2010


How can you not think a state whose unofficial state motto is a thinly veiled threat is at least slightly more than kind of awesome?

The only one that really works is "Live free or die." I love the ambiguity. Is it implied that the people not living free should fight (and potentially die) to live free? Or is it simply saying, "You lot! You that are not free. You should all DIE, you spineless cowards!"
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:11 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


What problem does this solve? What's the motivation?

james fallows explains it here, here and here (and, in elongated form, here ;)

Proportional representation, or representation by cohort or by affinity group, are possible solutions

non-territorial voting! "Suppose instead of election a man were qualified for office by petition signed by four thousand citizens. He would then represent those four thousand affirmatively, with no disgruntled minority, for what would have been a minority in a territorial consituency would all be free to start other petitions or join in them."

cheers!
posted by kliuless at 7:11 AM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


BRING BACK THE DAKOTA TERRITORIES!
posted by sararah at 7:21 AM on February 1, 2010


jimmythefish, I'm with you as long as you pony up for the Olympics. In exchange, you'll get the excess mascots :o)
posted by arcticseal at 7:23 AM on February 1, 2010


Balisong: That said, Wyoming, ND, SD, and Montana get way too much representation as it is.

So you are proposing we just get half a representative from here on out? Stephanie Herseth is not going to be happy about the chainsaw.
posted by sararah at 7:28 AM on February 1, 2010


Olympia, represent! Can we have British Columbia, too?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:37 AM on February 1, 2010


If we're gonna do this, let's at least have some sense about it.
posted by Servo5678 at 7:41 AM on February 1, 2010


If you wanted to take it a step further, you could look at how this map would affect campaigns for Senate or Governor. How expensive is it to buy television time, for example? A person running for "Governor of Mojave" might feel compelled to buy expensive Los Angeles TV spots. How much flying around in small planes would you have to do? That might not be a huge change, since someone running for Governor of Montana already has to do that.

Other countries actually do things sort of like this once in a while, although maybe on a smaller level, without the great empty distances involved. And with different sets of historical baggage.
posted by gimonca at 7:41 AM on February 1, 2010


Meanwhile, leave missouri mysteriously intact even though it has two major metro areas split along state lines (KC and STL).

Well, to be completely accurate, while there are two Kansas Cities, there is only one St. Louis. Sure, there are suburbs on the Illinois side of the river, but I'm not sure anybody in St. Louis, MO actually wants to incorporate East St. Louis, IL. Where would they put all the strip clubs?
posted by DiscourseMarker at 7:56 AM on February 1, 2010


Also, my read on politics here in TN is that the rest of the state would be very, very happy to give Memphis and west TN to Mississippi and Arkansas.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 7:57 AM on February 1, 2010


States could be redistricted after each census - just like house seats are distributed now.

Perfect, now in addition to non-stop election year bullshit, we can deal with five years of lawsuits over which piece of a state gets reassigned to some other state every ten years.
posted by chundo at 7:59 AM on February 1, 2010


Also, who gets to keep Feingold? I like him.

Feingold (and his garage door) will be forcibly relocated to Cascadia. For the sake of historical irony, he'll be moved to a camp on Bainbridge Island. In exchange, Seattle's proposed deep bore tunnel will be transferred to Wisconsin and installed in such a way as to allow Stoughton to be entirely bypassed. Zombie Gompers (say it three times fast) will be resurrected to take Feingold's seat.

Kitsap county's nuclear arsenal will remain in place so as to allow their cruel, cruel revenge upon Sir Mix-a-lot.

Bozeman, MT will be annexed by Missoula and Butte relocated to Boston. Rhode Island will be averaged with Alaska and, for maximal flat/lumpy juxtaposition, Kansas will be affixed to the side of Colorado.

Oh wait, that last bit doesn't make any sense, does it?
posted by stet at 7:59 AM on February 1, 2010


Whatever. I'm still voting for Kodos.
posted by kimota at 8:39 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


And does anyone think you could you expect build a reasonably functional state out of just the greater Detroit metropolitan area?

You know, it might make a nice province. Hint, hint.

(Mais c'est plus comme Détruit, n'est-ce pas?)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:41 AM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dear Mr. President,

There are too many states nowadays. Please eliminate three.

I am not a crackpot.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:52 AM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure they understand the concept of a delta, seeing as the newly renamed state would be landlocked.

Named after Delta Burke maybe?
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:54 AM on February 1, 2010


I’m sure BP would be unhappy with the naming of Southern Ohio so reminiscent of Standard Oil of Ohio, aka Sohio.
posted by vkxmai at 10:13 AM on February 1, 2010


I kinda want to make this a warfish map.
posted by painquale at 10:36 AM on February 1, 2010


I like it because it breaks Texas up.
posted by zzazazz at 11:00 AM on February 1, 2010


If they ever make a state called Bitterroot, I'm totally moving there. I don't care where it is.
posted by spilon at 12:06 PM on February 1, 2010


Interestingly, Texas has the option to split itself up: http://www.snopes.com/history/american/texas.asp
posted by aneel at 12:12 PM on February 1, 2010


Ghidorah wrote: "I'm not sure they understand the concept of a delta, seeing as the newly renamed state would be landlocked."

These rivers, the larger tributaries of the Mississippi, they have deltas. There are several in Arkansas and Mississippi. Thank you for your attention. That is all.
posted by wierdo at 12:25 PM on February 1, 2010


Interestingly, Texas has the option to split itself up:

No, that says that the federal government can, with the consent of Texas, split Texas up. This is no more true of Texas than it is of any other state.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:33 PM on February 1, 2010


-- except for most of Connecticut, which rightfully belongs to New York.

That is the most frickin' retahded statement I have ever read. I may have very little love for my home state, but I still am a New Englander and anyone who claims otherwise is wicked high. True, there is a small part of the Southwestern portion of CT full of douchebag yankee fans, but even they are still influenced by the Puritan work ethic, and still have to get to the package store before it closes at 8.

I beg your pardon, but I grew up in that small part of Southwestern CT and I am not a douchebag Yankee fan. I'm - like many people I grew up with - am a douchebag Mets fan. And now I live in Boston to be far, far far away from douchebag Yankees fans.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 12:35 PM on February 1, 2010


US out of Olympia!
posted by warbaby at 1:09 PM on February 1, 2010


Yawn.
posted by theCroft at 2:17 PM on February 1, 2010


james fallows explains it here, here and here (and, in elongated form, here ;)

I read the Fallows' pieces. There's only a problem if you begin with the assumption that we should move even more rapidly towards federalism. Other countries tend to have no interest in our Senate, because their constitutions do not provide for much regional autonomy. The relative political independence of our states is not some sort of kink to be worked our, but an aspect of our government to be strengthened and preserved.
posted by BigSky at 2:40 PM on February 1, 2010


Michiana? Michiana? *loads gun*
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:46 PM on February 1, 2010


I was fond of this map as soon as I saw it, because I was born in Tombigbee and raised in the Delta. It's only Mississippi (or the Ark-La-Miss) to anyone else, but the cultural differences are as apparent as the physical differences.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:10 PM on February 1, 2010


So Dallas would become a suburb of Houston? That sounds about right.
posted by zinfandel at 5:38 PM on February 1, 2010


Dee Xtrovert: the 38-state map you're thinking of is probably this map by C. Etzel Pearcy.
posted by madcaptenor at 7:44 PM on February 1, 2010


I grew up in South Bend, and we always referred to the area as "Michiana." Grouping St. Joseph and other northern Indiana counties with southwest Michigan makes perfect sense to me. Certainly they have more in common culturally with Kalamazoo than with Kokomo.
posted by nicepersonality at 7:37 AM on February 2, 2010


The relative political independence of our states is not some sort of kink to be worked out, but an aspect of our government to be strengthened and preserved.

that's the point of the "thought experiment," given increasing population differences between states since the framing of the constitution (and use of the filibuster) is there a way gov't can be better organised? for some, looking at a map of what regional proportional representation might look like, it may seem like a non-issue; states are states, so deal. others, however, running the same thought experiment might conclude differently, that american political institutions don't work very well, and that reforms (say in the senate) could make gov't work better. i tend toward the latter, else we could just start our own phyles :P

more fallows btw...
posted by kliuless at 7:42 AM on February 2, 2010


Yeah, I spent some of my childhood in Fort Wayne and the TV stations would always talk about "the Michiana" area. It sort of all goes to show just how silly the concept of borders is, imo.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:52 AM on February 2, 2010


What always struck me as odd about the US is how many cities straddle borders.

I guess it's just because the borders are so often marked by rivers, which is where the settlers settled, but then I look at northern Indiana's straight lines, and it's like, well, why is the border there and not there? Heck, why is there a border at all? And do you really need two Dakotas? It's as if someone felt the flag wasn't sufficiently spangled.

To America's credit, y'all did figure out the whole rivers-make-lousy-borders thing once you got the railroad with its bridges and its rushed planning and whatnot.

(And, of course, I'm from Canada, where the map contains some really quite silly shit.)
posted by Sys Rq at 11:05 AM on February 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I guess it's just because the borders are so often marked by rivers, which is where the settlers settled, but then I look at northern Indiana's straight lines, and it's like, well, why is the border there and not there?

I'm from South Dakota, and I've often thought that East and West Dakota would make more sense than North and South. Eastern South Dakota has more in common with Eastern North Dakota - economically, agriculturally, socially - than it does with Western South Dakota. But West Dakota would be tiny.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:13 AM on February 2, 2010


Certainly they have more in common culturally with Kalamazoo than with Kokomo.

But what about Bermuda, the Bahamas? Come on, pretty mama!
posted by Saxon Kane at 2:30 PM on February 2, 2010


The French revolution also created deliberately new political areas in the Departements, each of them named after a geographical feature, usually a river.
posted by athenian at 1:35 PM on February 12, 2010


« Older In May of 1940, "Mad Jack" Churchill became the on...  |  The Unreasonable Effectiveness... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments