It’s possible that the United States might go down like Greece (conquered) or Rome (descent into tyranny, into which some may argue we’re already well on our way) but there’s another alternative: A breakup of the Republic into several smaller states. Why is this a likely outcome? There are several reasons.
- The United States is not a homogenous nation. It is a collection of 50 semi-autonomous States, each with their own unique culture, values and demographics.
- There is an increasingly deep divide among the people of the United States, in fact a divide the likes of which has not been seen since just before the Civil War. Unlike that time, the divide now isn’t as clear-cut, regionally. Now it is urban vs. rural, with some suburban areas falling into either camp.
- The two major political parties are somewhat aligned with the divide noted above, but not completely.
What’s likely to happen, then, if the United States comes apart? This is purely conjecture, of course, but were it to happen today I think this is the most likely breakup: Eight nations where one stood before, as follows.
- New England. Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The New England states, Vermont somewhat excepted, have a great deal in common; deep blue politically, heavily urbanized. These states have two major ports (Boston and New York) and one of the entire planet’s major centers of culture and business (New York City.)
- The Upper Midwest. Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. These are mostly Rust Belt states, and have a few key things in common: A large blue collar, Truman Democrat contingent, a strong outdoor tradition, several key cities. The Chicago area is kind of an outlier. Down side: No ocean access, except through the Mississippi. An alliance would be necessary, with:
- The Old Confederacy+. Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana. These are states like the Upper Midwest in having large working-class populations and outdoor traditions, but also a strong agricultural cohort.
- Texas. In such a scenario, it seems likely that the notoriously hardheaded and independent Texans would go their own way. They have a strong economy, seaports, energy and industry.
- The Mountains/Plains. Iowa, the Dakotas, Idaho, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Montana, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. Colorado may be a slight outlier, in that it’s turning purple over the last few elections, but the Plains states are ag- and energy-heavy states, with one big high-tech center in Denver. Down side: No ocean access. An alliance with Texas might solve that, and is not an unlikely scenario.
- West Coast. Rather self-explanatory, but culturally and politically California, Oregon and Washington have a lot in common – not least of which is left-wing politics. It wouldn’t be in the Pacific Northwest’s interests to join the fiscal train wreck that is Californey, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t happen.
- Alaska. The Last Frontier has everything it needs for self-sufficiency – energy, timber, mineral wealth, fisheries, and wildlife. Add a healthy tourism industry to that, remove a big dose of Imperial interference and you’ve got a viable country.
- Last but not least: Hawaii. It’s hard to see Hawaii making a go of it alone. Tourism and pineapples won’t a nation make, but an alliance might, one offering the big advantage of a naval base in Pearl Harbor – say, with China. Not a great outcome for the North American nations, but it would offer a way forward for Hawaii.
There are plenty of different scenarios, this is just one possibility. It breaks the once and former United States up along the lines of culture, politics, industry and history. And there’s one other thing:
I hope I don’t live to see it happen.