In 2019 I first proposed that the political chasm in America is so wide that we needed to start thinking about other options than our current national set up. Neil Sedaka, call your office.
I wrote about then what has come to be known since as the Calexit plan, the separation of the West Coast into a separate left wing country leaving the rest of us with Republican national majorities into the foreseeable future. I still think it’s a very good idea.
But others have taken that ball and run with it as well. Another scenario being proposed out there is a Swiss canton system, almost a return to our own Articles of Confederation.
It would make the states sovereign in everything except national security and reduce the federal government to a bare minimum. Sounds good, eh? The Founders thought so and tried to govern that way until they found out it didn’t work. Hence our Constitution.
Nevertheless, the Swiss option is being talked about in higher quarters than you might think, especially after the recent Dobbs decision.
Various sources define the canton system as, “The Swiss declare the cantons to be sovereign to the extent that their sovereignty is not limited by federal law. Areas specifically reserved to the federal government are the armed forces, currency, the postal service, immigration into and emigration from the country, granting asylum, conducting foreign relations with sovereign states, weights and measures, and customs duties…The cantons retain all powers and competencies not delegated to the Confederation by the federal constitution or law: most significantly the cantons are responsible for healthcare, welfare, law enforcement, public education, and retain the power of taxation. Cantons may conclude treaties not only with other cantons but also with foreign states.”
But how would we divide up into cantons? Wouldn’t we just use the fifty states as the model? No. Why? Because the current political schism cuts across internal state lines. States like New York and California, amongst others, have clearly defined conservative and socialist areas who would likely, if given the choice, not want to continue in political union with each other.
Author Colin Woodward offers a solution in his 11 Nations theory. Woodward thinks North America and parts of Mexico are actually, politically and culturally, 11 separate enclaves. Here is a handy dandy map to illustrate his idea.
Interesting. Here’s the link to more info if you’d like to study it further. It divides the current United States up into states that bring together those whose cultures and lifestyles, which determine their political views, are similar.
As an example, here in Annapolis, MD, I would live in the state of Tidewater. Tidewater consists of Virginia, Maryland, southern Delaware, and northeastern North Carolina.
Various sources explain, “Woodward contends that, on most matters, two major alliances of nations are commonly opposed to each other: the northern alliance of Yankeedom, the New Netherland and the Left Coast, and the southern alliance of the Deep South, Greater Appalachia, and Tidewater.” Opposed to the Left Coast? I could live with that.
However, no matter how you slice the cake something has got to change. It is very possible we are past the point of national political reconciliation. As the Bible states and Lincoln quoted, “A House divided against itself cannot stand.” That has been the case in the country for at least for twenty years and in the Trump/Biden era even more so. We must act to reform the polity before events get ahead of us and grisly consequences ensue.