Imagine If

Via James Fallows, an effort to redraw the United States into jurisdictions with more-or-less equal populations that still reflects the ancestry of existing borders:


One interesting thing about this is that it would shake up some of our existing party/region alignments. Today, for example, the Pacific coast is a solid stack of three Democratic states. But there are actually a lot of conservative voters living in Oregon, Washington, and California, and I believe the expansion of Oregon into “Willamette” would produce a red state. But it would be a different kind of red state from our existing red regional blocs. Conversely, some of these new southern states would be considerably more liberal than any existing ones, but their Senators would still band together with southern conservatives on certain topics of regional interest.

In some ways, even the sparsely populated areas currently overrepresented in the Senate would benefit from this arrangement. Consolidating several big empty square states into a “high plains” unit would allow these areas to cut down on some inefficient duplication of effort. With just one state capitol, you’d have a wider population pool from which to recruit really good people to run your state agencies. And with only one capitol to cover, it’s much more likely that you’d have first-rate reporters figuring out what’s happening. You could focus on creating one really good flagship state university campus instead of struggling to maintain six middling ones.