Hearing about two states filing legislation to secede from the Union – Texas and New Hampshire – and polls showing a large percentage of Trump and Biden voters thinking the US should be broken into two nations because of the ideological schism fomented by those who don’t believe in America or its ideals, has gotten me to pondering just how such a ‘divorce’ might take place. (Disclaimer – I am not for such a split at this time. I think it would cause far more problems than it would solve. This is more of a thought experiment to ponder how it might take place and the aftermath of such a split.)
While some picture the nation splitting along state lines, I have seen suggestions and made some myself about one possible scenario that would preserve most of the United States without a scenario like the one envisioned by Kurt Schlicter in his People’s Republic series: let the Blue nation(s) split to become city-states.
First, we need to look at this, a map of the 2020 electoral results by county:
There are those blue areas surround by the sea of red, but there are only two states show blue from border to border - Massachusetts and Hawaii. Even true-blue Vermont didn’t go 100% blue during the 2020 elections. Now compare it to the map of 2020 electoral results by state:
The difference is startling. The blue country would be much larger, trapping many in the red counties in hostile territory and likely subject to persecution, privation, ‘re-education’ i.e. slavery , imprisonment, and/or execution.
Of the two, the first map seems fairer for division of the nation rather than the second. Or if they go by state, there would need to be a referendum in each state as to which nation to be part of. But there would still be those in opposing counties who would be trapped in a nation inimical to their political/ideological beliefs, so what would be done to accommodate them?
Would they be left under the power of a government with which they disagree and is hostile to them?
Would they be allowed to relocate to the nation that matches their beliefs?
Would there a be a ‘swap’ of properties?
How would an imbalance of the population swapping between the two nations be handled, assuming it was an issue? An example: If 5 million wanted to head to the Progressive City-States of America and 30 million wanted to head to the United States, how would the exchange be made? Would there be some kind of financial exchange to balance things out? After all, some folks might have to abandon property – homes, businesses, other real property, possessions – since it’s likely there would be no one to buy much of it, and if they did they’d offer cents on the dollar. Those cents would need to be converted to a new currency once they reach their destination. On the other side there might be people vying to purchase homes, businesses, other real property, and some personal possessions.
What about corporations? Would they be allowed to relocate or would they have to remain where they are? If they have divisions in multiple states, some in each nation, how would they be run? Would the corporations be required to divest operations in the other nation, or would such corporations be required to split into two separate corporations? Or would the new Progressive City-States of America simply seize the corporations as “Property of the State” and the possessions of those corporations outside the PCSA would become separate entities in the USA? Or would the PCSA demand all assets from those divisions located in the USA be surrendered to the PCSA? (This is likely...and they would refuse to relinquish the assets of corporations based in the USA. This is how socialists think.)
What about military assets? How would those be divided?
What about defense contractors? Would we want the PCSA selling military technology to our adversaries?
What about military alliances? Would agreements be made between the two nations to avoid certain alliances? After all I doubt the USA would want military forces from nations like China or Russia anywhere in North America. Somehow I doubt the PCSA would be inclined to sign any such agreement as they are ideological ‘brethren’ of the Chinese and Russians.
So let’s say the split takes place along the lines of what I described occurs. What happens in the aftermath?
Will there be free travel between the two much as we see between the US and Canada, or will entry be highly restricted in both directions like what existed between East and West Germany back in the bad old days of the Cold War? Will visas be required and will the number allowed to cross between the USA and PCSA be limited? How many will be allowed to cross the border on any particular day?
Security will certainly be a concern.
Since the PCSA will be made up of people who see everyone from the USA as unwoke deplorable KKK racist Jesus freaks, it is highly likely anyone visiting the PCSA from the USA will be under constant surveillance by their version of the KGB. Anyone visiting the USA from the PCSA would also likely be under surveillance as they could act as intelligence agents working to undermine the USA. It would be just like the bad old days of the Cold War, but with people who are delusional and not particularly rational. (At least the Soviets weren’t delusional, just paranoid.)
Since the PCSA will be based more on the city-state, they won’t have the a fraction of the land area of the USA. One has to wonder just what they’ll have in the way of natural resources and farmland.
Knowing the PCSA’s love of renewables and hatred of fossil fuels, how much of their electricity will have to be imported from the USA to meet their energy demands? Will they care where that ‘foreign’ electricity comes from, meaning hydro, nuclear, or natural gas? Or will they demand all such electricity come from green sources which will limit the electricity available for import? (This assumes they won’t consider nuclear as green energy.) Will they be hypocritical just like they are now and be more than happy to import ‘dirty’ energy, at least for their elite enclaves?
The same kind of questions will have to be asked about raw materials for manufacturing, about food, about fuel, about a whole host of goods that they may not be able to produce in enough quantities for themselves. California has been a agricultural powerhouse in the past, but they have been working hard to reduce the amount of land under cultivation, in most cases by reducing or eliminating the water supply to otherwise fertile farm land. Will that trend continue, with more water going to the cities?
What about the society? Will it continue to stratify as we’ve been seeing in metro California, portions of coastal Oregon, and northwestern Washington, with the middle class being destroyed, leaving only the wealthy and the poor? Will it devolve as foreseen by Kurt Schlicter? Will social credit ratings rule with all kinds of credits for ethnicity, gender, and a whole host of other social parameters which could mean white heterosexual Christian males would have the lowest social credit ratings...unless they are woke, wealthy, and connected? Would meritocracy be dead?
Then we have to ask the questions about USA and how it would fare after the divorce.
I would like to think many of the laws and regulations that have strangled the rights of people, municipalities, states, and businesses alike would be repealed. Government agencies that should never have come to be, like the Department of Education to name but one of many, should be abolished as they serve no useful purpose.
Since it is highly likely Washington DC would become a repurposed Blue city-state surrounded by many blue counties in Virginia, the USA would need a new capitol. I would like to think the USA would do something Donald Trump had started with his making the Bureau of Land Management move out of The Swamp and closer to the lands it managed – dispersing the national government across the nation. The reasons for the federal government to be clustered in one location no longer exists, particularly in light of modern telecommunications. It also has a side effect that it would severely weaken or even eliminate the so-called “Old Boy Network”, something that has been a thorn in the side of the people for a long time.
I can foresee some changes to the US Constitution, one of them being the repeal of the 17th Amendment with one change that would undo the reason the amendment came to be, that change being that state legislatures must elect their US Senators. There would be no wiggle room. As it is Senators today are beholden to those who helped them get elected and not to their home states. The change would remind them who it is they are supposed to represent.
Another change? An amendment that would overturn Reynolds vs. Sims and Baker vs. Carr, two SCOTUS decisions that allowed a tyranny of the majority to develop at state level. A perfect example of this tyranny is New York, where the Metro New York City area dominates the entire rest of the state, making those outside that area nothing but barely tolerated serfs. The two decisions have certainly contributed to the creation of schism in this nation. Many of the nominal Blue states would not have become Blue states if it hadn’t been for those two Supreme Court decisions.
Then there’s Congress. Today serving in Congress can be a career. Instead, it should be an honor, and a temporary one at that. I think term limits are a good idea. We already have them for the President. They exist for other elective offices at the state and local level, so why not at Congressional level?
What other changes should the USA make?
I’m thinking energy – gas, oil, hydro, and nuclear. Particularly nuclear.
I would like to think we would abandon the ‘renewables are the only acceptable means of generating electricity’ nonsense and focus on Generation III and IV nuclear power production without having to deal with emotion-driven anti-nuclear sentiments. I would also want the nation to build a hardened electrical grid, EMP and CME resistant and hack-proof. The same with a telecommunications network.
Drilling and fracking should continue, particularly for natural gas production. Oil will still be produced even if not for fuel…though I don’t see any viable alternatives for gas, diesel, jet fuel, etc. coming about any time soon. (Oil is used to create all kinds of non-fuel products that are not easily produced using other feed-stocks.)
What about transportation systems? Would we do the socialist thing and push mass transit of the type we know doesn’t work? Of course not. I would like to think we’d have learned the lessons of that past and not push people to live in big cities that would require mass transit of the types seen in our larger metropolitan areas.
Then there’s money. I believe the USA would not go down the path of doing away with cash, would not have our financial institutions tracking every transaction we make as Biden has been pushing and, I have no doubt, would be the case in the PCSA. Gold, silver, platinum, and copper coins would be legal tender as would bills.
Social Security would be different, with taxpayer payments going into actual retirement accounts. Whether it went into annuities, stocks, gold, silver, mutual funds, or some combination would be entirely up to the taxpayer. I don’t know if it would be mandatory, voluntary, or some combination where some small percentage would go to pay disability – SSDI – and the rest invested where the taxpayer wanted, be it just to Social Security or splitting it between there and private retirement/investment accounts. Or if they didn’t want to use Social Security as their retirement fund, they would still pay the SSDI portion and invest their money on their own. Today’s revenues would no longer be used to pay next year’s payouts as has been done for decades, a system that is dependent upon an ever increasing number of taxpayers paying into the system to support those collecting benefits, one that will collapse once that pool of taxpayers stops growing, or grows slower than the number of recipients.
One thing the USA would need to do is ensure the sanctity of the election process, require proper voter registration - no same-day registration, no motor-voter registration – and no ‘drive by’ registrations by campaign workers or out-of-state college students, meaning one must establish residency before they can register to vote. Oh, and voter ID would be required, the same ID required to cash checks, pick up prescriptions, open a bank account, or collect benefits.
These are just a few thoughts on how things might play out. They are by no means comprehensive, complete, or fully thought out as these were just off the top of my head conjectures. It’s merely a place to start, to think what might be if such a divorce were to take place.