Today, class, we will continue our discussion of the decline and fall of the United States in the first quarter of the 21st century. Yesterday we discussed military adventurism and how the Imperialist Wars severely weakened the United States. Tomorrow we will discuss the economics of the fall. Today we will discuss my favorite aspect, the fractures in the political landscape.
Just as nobody expected the Soviet Union to collapse back in 1980, nobody in 2004 expected the disintegration of the United States after the reelection of George W. Bush. In fact, the country did hold together for four more years after that, although the divide between the so-called “Red” and “Blue” states had been deepening. Legal scholars were researching, for the first time in a century and a half, the subject of secession, but nobody took the work as serious or threatening. Some libertarians expected that the Free State Movement in New Hampshire might result in secession, but they were beaten to it elsewhere.
Even those expecting secession expected only two countries to result. Instead two countries that existed before the wave of secession, the United States and Canada, resulted in the over nine countries we have today. It was unforeseeable.
As I said, the split had been deepening for decades. The Democratic Party committed political suicide in 2008 by nominating Senator Hillary Clinton for the presidency, thus assuring Republican victory, or so it seemed. The Republicans had no obvious candidates at first, but Vice President Richard Cheney eventually won the party’s nomination. He tried to run on his war record, but his main strength was that he wasn't Hillary. Senator Clinton ran on her intent to fix all problems with greater government.
Both sides were fearful of the victory of the other, but a week after the election was over the lawyers in Ohio finally awarded that state to Hillary after all votes cast on Diebold machines were disqualified.
While the case was referred to the Supreme Court, South Carolina, heavily insulted by the Clinton campaign as an example of the problems she was running to fix, was pushed to secede for the second time in United States history. To the surprise of all, they did vote to do so and started a cascade of secession in the other "red" states, dividing the remaining states into two separate geographic areas.
Both outgoing President Bush and incoming President Clinton vowed to hold the union together, but it was an empty threat on many levels; most U.S. troops were reluctant to fire on U.S. citizens, and most U.S. troops were needed to maintain the ongoing war in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Syria. There were no troops available to stop the secession. This did stop the wars in the Middle East. Some troops were brought home in an abortive attempt to hold the union together, but there weren't enough troops for the job.
Bereft of the population of the southern states, the United States military was by far insufficient to attempt to force the union back together, much less maintain any foreign imperialistic ventures. Since most of the remaining military was overseas, including the Guard and the Reserves, by the time they could be recalled secession was a fait accompli.
At first the remaining United States tried to hold together as a single government, but the logistics and the politics of that proved to be difficult. Even though they both voted against Cheney, the two coasts were politically different in many ways, as well as the complication of geographic separation and a hostile country of the seceded states between them. It was decided within a couple of years that the two coasts should go their own ways, and despite a determined desire to oppose further secession, President Clinton bid farewell to the West Coast in 2010.
The most interesting ramification of this was that the secession in the United States gave new strength to the Quebecois separatist movement, causing their numbers to finally tip over 50%, and thus Quebec became an independent country, splitting Canada apart in a manner similar to their southern neighbor. For a while the provinces on both sides of Canada tried to hold together, but the secession movement had not run its course.
By 2012, the regional differences between the southern states and the plains states had grown too difficult to manage given the atmosphere of the times, and the western farming states broke away from the southern states. President Zell Miller tried to call up the military to keep them together, but was unable to. The seceded states had adopted the old Confederate constitution, edited to remove all references to slavery, and that document specifically recognized the right to secede.
In an attempt to mend the rifts that had divided both countries, constitutional conventions were called, some of them inviting all the former states, some inviting former provinces as well, and some of them simply regional. The broader the convention, the less success it had.
The remaining United States kept the name and original constitution. Eighteen states remained in the union, containing more former states than any other resulting group. Eventually the Eastern provinces of Canada joined, bringing the total up twenty-two. The Canadian provinces north and west of Quebec kept the Canadian constitution without any changes and the name Canada making it the geographically largest nation.
The larger problems occurred in the western states, because at this point Utah balked from participating any further. It had been Mormon doctrine that the United States was a blessed place, and the United States Constitution divinely inspired. Seeing the failure of the United States was a shock, and caused the Mormon Church to become separatist. Utah stood alone, not joining with any other states. Today its official name is The Republic of Utah, but some deride it as The Mormon Republic of Utah.
Oregon and Washington were initially part of the Pacific Coast, but found difficulties with California to be too great and thus Oregon and Washington formed Pacifica. It should be noted that absent the limitations of the eastern states, Pacifica has become the world's leader in computer technology.
While California seemed about to split into two states, it remained together and California joined Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico, forming the Desert Confederation and saving Utah from being surrounded by a single country. One would have thought that California, a former blue state, would not have gotten along with Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico, former red states. Spared the influence of the New England liberals they found more in common with each other than formerly realized. In order to avoid the old Red-Blue problem, both the Republican and Democrat parties were abandoned. Anthony Gregory of the Libertarian Party beat Peter Camejo of the Green Party after Camejo's initial lead in three rounds of Instant Runoff Voting and was instrumental in making the Desert Confederation successful.
The remaining continental states eventually formed Great Plains. Worried about being land-locked, they tried to woo Texas away from the Confederate States, but were unable to do so. However, they discovered that they could play their neighbors against each other for ease of export. Some worried that with their low population they were vulnerable, but the United States was watched carefully by the Confederate States and thus Great Plains remained safe while enjoying great relationships with Pacifica and the Desert Confederation. Indeed, they have more free trade than they did as part of the United States of America, and absent subsidies from Washington they have been able to focus on growing crops that actually produce a profit.
This left only the difficulties of Alaska, Hawaii, and the territories. Sitting back, watching the action, they took little part in it at first. At first, Alaska stuck with the red states and Hawaii with the blue states, and then when the situation got more chaotic they both adopted a “wait and see” attitude. As things finally settled down, Alaska joined Canada. Hawaii, Guam, Mariana, and Samoa formed the United Pacific States, which has started to absorb independent Polynesian island nations. Finally Puerto Rico and other United States holding in the Caribbean achieved full independence, thus finally settling the Puerto Rico statehood question for good.
December 9, 2004