Perhaps you’ve asked yourself the question: “Why does the United States need two Dakotas?”
When you think about it, North Dakota and South Dakota seem to be the same place in many respects. They share a common topography, as well as the last name. Both are either leaking population or struggling to rise above stagnation. So why not combine them and call it, simply, “Dakota.”
And since we’ve opened that door, why not initiate a massive shakeup of the entire Lower 48? Let’s combine:
- The District of Columbia, Maryland, Delaware, northern and eastern Virginia. That way, citizens of the District would finally achieve statehood — they’d just have to share it. The eastern part of Virginia has nothing to do with the western part, so why not make that official? We could call this new entity “Capitalania.”
- Western Virginia, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Presto: West Virtucky.
- North and South Carolina. Just make it “Carolina.”
- Indiana and Illinois. Once you take away Chicago, there’s really not much difference. Welcome, “Indianois.”
- Kansas and Missouri. They already share Kansas City, anyway.
- Oklahoma and Arkansas. Arkahoma? Why not?
- Iowa and Nebraska. Another match that seems logical. Let Des Moines and Omaha fight it out for Top City honors in Nebrowa (or Ioeneb).
- New Mexico and Arizona. Again, similar places in some ways. Given the high percentage of Hispanic citizens, they could christen it Hispania.
- Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. This could be renamed Upper West.
- Utah and Nevada. Wouldn’t it be fun to see Las Vegas and Salt Lake City try to coexist?
- Washington and Oregon. This is a tough one, but these two states already seem like siblings.
- Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. Given that the lower part of Louisiana is gradually losing ground to the Gulf of Mexico, joining this coalition would ensure Louisianans a place to stand in the future.
- Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Sorry, Bernie.
- Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Would anybody really miss Rhode Island?
- Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We can’t just leave little New Jersey isolated and defenseless.
If these moves were made, the ratio of “red” states to “blue” states would remain pretty much the same. But, on the positive side, these newly created entities would have more resources and a larger tax base than their former selves. Plus, the presidential election TV coverage would be mercifully shorter.
A deadline could be set for all this to take place, perhaps in ten years. At that point, Congress would be vacated (although incumbent members would be welcome to run again) and a national election held to restock it, reflecting this new reality.
Easy for me to say, of course. I live in New York, which wouldn’t be going anywhere.
Darrell Laurant is a veteran journalist who previously worked at the News & Advance (Lynchburg). He published over 7,000 pieces in three decades. Darrell has covered papal visits, the Olympics, American sports, and political issues in Virginia. He has also written a variety of books, including "Inspiration Street: Two City Blocks that Helped Change America."