Back in 2004, the right wing Republicans had a blowout victory. Their win, and their arrogance after their win, set the stage for their defeats in 2006 and 2008.
Many Americans are content to let the story end there. Especially those who want to believe that a President Obama will restore their vision of a united United States of America, with some elements of progressive ideas mixed in with a great deal of the Bush legacy, will now be content to sit back and bask.
Others will not be doing so. The 2008 presidential campaign showed that there are many Americans who are upset by the slightest hint of anything progressive. It isn’t just that they don’t like Barack Obama – personal animosity can be overcome. It’s that they regard Social Security as unacceptably socialist. It’s that they regard any withdrawal of soldiers from Iraq, even after eight years of war there, as a cut-and-run surrender. It’s that they believe that subjecting Guantanamo prisoners to a genuine system of justice will unleash havoc on Earth.
On the progressive side, there is also a growing feeling of discontent with the mushy vision of Obama centrism. The idea that there’s no such thing as red states and blue states in America just doesn’t match up with the reality we see as we travel across America. To say that the people in Wyoming and Wisconsin, South Carolina and Oregon all share a common vision strikes us as an absurd denial of real political conflict.
The fact is that regional divisions in American politics have not been overcome by the 2008 presidential election, just as they were not by the 2004 presidential election or the 2000 election. The divisions remain, and their long roots are continuing to expand the cracks in our nation.
This year, Sarah Palin was mocked for her association with the Alaska secessionist movement. However, of all Palin’s associations, this one had the most sense to it. In 2004, I wrote about the arguments for secession – really, for the formal division of the USA. This map is what I came up with as a first draft proposal.
I’m glad that Barack Obama won this year’s election, but the truth is that I’m not satisfied with his plans for America. Obama’s passion for unity behind his leadership has caused him to embrace some ideas that are reprehensible to me. The newness of Obama, and the cute charm of his family, will keep such grumblings quiet for a while, but even Camelot fell to the forces of division.
Might it not be better to accept the divisions that exist, and to allow the huge scale of broad American vision to be broken up into separate nations that could more closely represent the will of their citizens? The truth is that I’m not convinced that breaking the USA into separate nations is a very good idea at all, but part of me is attracted to it.
I’ve created this new map this year as a thought experiment about what a divided USA might look like. In creating the blue nations and red nations, I’ve relied upon maps of the 2004 and 2008 election results by county, considering not just the state-wide Electoral College votes, but the local differences within each state as well.
The largest physical nation on this map is the red Homeland States of America, but this area is missing many of the largest cities, and is made up of a lot of very sparsely-populated land. I’ve tried to avoid having nations that are not contiguous in some kind of sense, though, with the new red nations of Chesapeake and Mackinac, a shared waterway is what defines the small nationality. The blue nation of Montana is landlocked, but it has a border with Canada so that it is not completely surrounded by Republican red. Hawaii and Alaska are not shown on this map, but as with the 2004 map, they are imagined as independent nations, Hawaii blue and Alaska red.