Nations Breaking Up: Could It Happen Among American States?

We are living in a world where nation states have broken up, and where the potential for more such breakups is increasing.

Yugoslavia broke up into multiple nations in the 1990s, as did the old Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia.

Sudan broke up into two nations in 2011, and Iraq seems on the road to a similar breakup, sadly through religious revolution, fanaticism and loss of life.

There has been the threat in the past of Quebec breaking away from Canada, although that seems less likely now.

Scotland will decide whether to split from the United Kingdom in a referendum this September.

There are threats of the breakup of Belgium and Spain, where strong nationality groups wish for independence.

At the same time, there has been secessionist talk by right wing groups in Texas, and even outgoing Governor Rick Perry talked up the idea a few years back, and then abandoned such talk.

But seriously, without violence, not like the Civil War in the 1860s, there are ideas floating out on the political wilderness of the possible future breakup of eight states, and the theoretical creation of an additional 16 states as a result, requiring an additional 32 US Senators, making the total possibly 132, instead of the present 100, in the upper chamber, while not changing the number of members of the House of Representatives.

These possibilities are as follows:

California–six states instead of one—Jefferson (rural Northern California); North California (centered about Sacramento, the state capital); Silicon Valley (San Francisco and San Jose); Central California (Bakersfield, Fresno and Stockton); West California (Los Angeles and Santa Barbara); and South California (San Diego and Orange Counties).

Texas–five states instead of one—New Texas (Austin, the present state capital and College Station); Trinity (Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and Tyler); Gulfland (Houston, Corpus Christi, Galveston); Plainland (Lubbock, Amarillo, Waco, Abilene); and El Norte (San Antonio, El Paso, Brownsville).

New York–three states instead of one—Suburban counties of Southeast New York (Westchester, Rockland, Dutchess and Orange Counties) and Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk); New York City (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Bronx, Staten Island); and Upstate New York (including the rest of the state, including Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton).

Florida—two states instead of one—South Florida (the Keys, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach); and Northern Florida (the rest of the state).

Illinois–two states instead of one—Chicago and near suburbs; and the rest of the state.

Pennsylvania–two states instead of one—Philadelphia and near suburbs; and the rest of the state, including Pittsburgh and Harrisburg).

Virginia–two states instead of one—Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC; and the rest of the state.

Maryland–two states instead of one—Baltimore, Annapolis, and Washington DC suburban counties (including Montgomery and Prince George’s County) and three rural eastern shore counties; and Western Maryland.

Is any of this likely to happen? Probably not, but great food for thought. It would require revolutionary changes in the US Senate, and would create new issues of which party would benefit, the Democrats or the Republicans, since the major metropolitan areas would be separate from the more rural counties in these eight states, and it would create a new dynamic in American politics hard to predict long term!