Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Bacon Time, Pirate’s Cove and Whores and Ale for the Rule Five links as well as our pals over at The Daley Gator for their link to our commencement speech post! If I’ve missed your weekly linkback, let me know in the comments and I’ll add you to the roundup.
Now then: A bunch of Oregon counties have voted to leave Oregon and join Idaho. Excerpt:
Five eastern Oregon counties voted Tuesday in favor of considering becoming part of Idaho. Baker, Grant, Lake, Malheur and Sherman counties join Union and Jefferson, which voted last year to require county officials to study or promote joining Idaho.
Grant voted 1,471 to 895 for county officials “to meet and discuss relocating Idaho border.”
Lake voted 1,341 to 463 for the “relocation of Idaho border” to be taken up in “county board of commissioners meetings.”
Malheur voted 3,050 to 2,572 for “county court meetings regarding relocation of Oregon-Idaho border.”
Sherman voted 429 to 260 in favor of “promoting moving Oregon-Idaho border.”
Baker voted 3,064 to 2,307 for county commissioners “to meet three times per year to discuss a proposal to include 18 counties, including Baker, as part of Idaho,” the Baker City Herald reported. Baker County results are not yet available from the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office.
The grassroots group Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho wants to flip Oregon’s mostly rural eastern and southern counties — plus a few northern counties in California — into Idaho, believing they’d be better off in Idaho’s more conservative political environment. It’s hoping that political pressure from county initiative votes will lead to negotiations between Oregon and Idaho to move the border between the two states, putting up to 22 of Oregon’s 36 counties in Idaho.
While this may be a good idea for the affected counties – and while it fits in well with the principle of self-determination – this probably won’t happen. In addition to these votes described, it would also require the approval of all the relevant state legislatures and the U.S. Congress, which probably ain’t gonna happen. The blue state legislatures would surely erect an electoral Berlin Wall around the upstart red counties.
It sure seems to me, however, that we’re seeing more and more of these kinds of initiatives. There is the back-and-forth over secession, by either red or blue states depending on who is in the Imperial Mansion at the moment, but a reallocation of counties may actually help hold the country together. States like Oregon and Washington – and our former home of Colorado – have large, sparsely populated but strongly red counties overwhelmed by relatively tiny but densely packed urban areas, and those rural counties are growing restive. Maybe a nation-wide effort to redraw state lines, more in accordance with populations, may be in order.
Add that to a list of things that aren’t going to happen, of course. In those states I mention above, another commonality is that the blue urban areas aren’t going to be willing to allow the red rural areas to exercise that right of self-determination.