The electoral map divides the country neatly into blue states and red states. But blue states include vast conservative stretches; and most red states harbor liberal enclaves, too. In recent years, as partisan polarization has grown, some political minorities in these disaffected areas have proposed a radical solution: state partition.
It has happened before. Maine, for instance, was once part of Massachusetts. And while none of the current movements really has a shot, the eleven instances mapped here (including that to grant the District of Columbia statehood) have at least attracted the support of elected officials.
What would happen if all of them succeeded? Each new state would get two senators and its share of electoral college votes. We ran the numbers and recalculated the 2012 presidential race.
In this bizarro United States, the GOP would have a structural advantage in the expanded Senate, and Barack Obama would have had a tighter fight against Mitt Romney in the electoral college (which he won, in reality, 332–206).
If Republicans really want to screw with the electoral map, some argue they could break up Texas into five states according to the state’s terms of annexation. Democrats, meanwhile, can dream that Texas makes good on Governor Rick Perry’s threat to secede from the union altogether.
Total Electoral Votes1
- Solid Democrat
- Lean Democrat (<7% Obama)
- Solid Republican
- Lean Republican (<7% Romney)
- * Remainder State
- ** New State
Proposed Electoral Map
Click the map to view state labels.
|State||Electoral Votes||Population||Margin (%)|
|Baja Arizona**||3||980,263||Obama +6.9|
|New Hampshire||4||1,316,470||Obama +5.6|
|New Jersey||14||8,791,894||Obama +17.8|
|New Mexico||5||2,059,179||Obama +10.2|
|New York*||19||11,957,128||Obama +42.9|
|North Carolina||15||9,535,483||Romney +2.0|
|North Colorado*||3||340,944||Romney +19.5|
|North Dakota||3||672,591||Romney +19.6|
|Northeast Ohio**||8||3,929,019||Obama +18.0|
|Rhode Island||4||1,052,567||Obama +27.5|
|South California**||20||13,072,030||Obama +0.5|
|South Carolina||9||4,625,364||Romney +10.5|
|South Dakota||3||814,180||Romney +18.0|
|Upstate New York**||12||7,420,974||Obama +8.9|
|Washington, D.C.**||3||601,723||Obama +83.6|
|West Maryland**||3||653,133||Romney +19.2|
|West Virginia||5||1,852,994||Romney +26.8|
barack obama: getty images; mitt romney: getty images; map source by tibor szijártó
279 votes needed to win.
Numbers represent the senate seats in states won by either Obama or Romney in 2012.