By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Technology
If the borders of the 48 contiguous U.S. states were divided equally by population, what would the nation look like? A new infographic imagines the possibilities.
The concept is tantalizing.
The benefits: If divided equally by population, rural states would not be overrepresented in the U.S. Senate -- where each state gets two representatives, regardless of population -- and dense states would not be underrepresented, such as California and Texas.
The drawbacks: If state lines are redrawn after each census, you might wake up in a new state -- with new laws and regulations -- before the next election.
Urban planner Neil Freeman sought to imagine the possibilities by redrawing the continental United States by population, with care to preserve as many original boundaries as possible. It's interesting to note that several major metropolitan areas essentially have their own states -- I wonder how this map would affect intra-state voting in terms of where residents fall on the conservative-liberal political spectrum.
Here's a look at the entire map. What new state would you live in?
Jan 25, 2010
So, since I live in Missouri, my state retains its general shape and name. Losing one county in the Missouri Bootheel for two or three counties in southeastern Iowa (a good trade!). So every state would have eight congressional districts, slightly redrawn in Missouri's case. Interesting idea. I suppose every ten-year census, counties on the edge of the state would be shuffled to the state that lost population? OK, so?
Like someone already mentioned, the idea of a senate was to try to give equal representation to the smaller states. If this redrawing of the map had been in effect before any states joined the union, then it's very doubtful that we would have had a United States of American to begin with. The rules cannot be changed just because there is now a "United" States of America. There are regional differences and they need to stay in place. Furthermore, if the idea is to give equal power to each new state, then there would be no need for a Senate. Those seats could then be eliminated or a bunch of new house seats could be created. Redrawing the electoral maps would mean chaos every 10 years and the politics of the situation would make living in the "United" States a living hell. Some ideas should never even be aired. The idea in the article above belongs inside a sewer processing plant.
The point of the senate is to over represent the small states and under represent the large states. The idea was, and is, that America is a very region-based nation: we have very strong regional identities. So, population can be represented fairly in the House, but the senate is designed to give all states an equal--not fair--say in the legislative process. If it weren't that way, America would have a very hard time staying one nation.
The Senate is designed to equalize large and small states. My suggestion is to increase the House of Representatives. Who sez it has to stay at 435? Then you could set a population number per representative. I'd take the smallest state population, 500K+/- as the population for 1 representative. With a population of 281 million, that is 562 representatives...not that huge an increase. A possible side effect might be lessening the gerrymandering that goes on now to set congressional districts.
This is an absurd notion in that it will need to be redone periodically to correct for future population changes/migrations. How would you like to be in a new state every [ten?] years?