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So as part of my World Building, I decided that a post war America's fate is a split. Said fracturing was premeditated and deliberate through politicking, scheming, etc.

Now, my premise is that the states of America have split into 'blocs' (don't know how many, types of blocs, or which states will be members).

The Duchy of Canada annexed Alaska.

The DSA have a tacit alliance and mutual defense pact, such that they will cooperatively resist an attack on any one state, but the USA as we know it is gone.

I have no idea how to split the blocs in a realistic manner. I'm not a US resident, and don't know much about their Politics.

The best I've got, is a Democrat/Republican split.

I will appreciate suggestions on a plausible split.

Tl; dr

If the USA during World War III were to be fractured into blocs, through external influences taking advantage of existing ideological divides, what is the most probable way in which this split will happen.

Plausible splits are acceptable as well.

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closed as too broad by L.Dutch, Lio Elbammalf, cobaltduck, Aify, JDługosz Mar 25 '17 at 7:40

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Can you limit to a specific question? the way it is now your question can have multiple possible answers $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Mar 23 '17 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not too clear on the problem here? $\endgroup$ – Tobi Alafin Mar 23 '17 at 13:37
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    $\begingroup$ The problem is that you're not giving any rules for the split, or even a reason for the break-up of the USA (which would at least give some guidance). You may as well blind-fold yourself and scribble lines with a crayon on a map.... $\endgroup$ – Snow Mar 23 '17 at 13:40
  • $\begingroup$ Related: worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/23430/… $\endgroup$ – apaul Mar 23 '17 at 13:40
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    $\begingroup$ You are not the first to ask this question, and this professor has an answer: tjc.com/38states $\endgroup$ – cobaltduck Mar 23 '17 at 13:46
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Divided States of America (rough image) (Sorry it isn't the nicest picture ever, but you get the general idea. My dexterity isn't great.)

There isn't an easy, single line that you can draw to divide up America. It's just too big. However, I think we can go on the premise that each state will be ideologically and demographically similar. This does mean drawing lines between states, since a lot of states aren't entirely consistent. I divided America up into a couple of larger states, and I'll state justification/detail below:

Socialist Republic of Greater California

Here we have most of California, Arizona, western New Mexico, and western Oregon/Washington state. This area is highly liberal, secular, and progressive. Greater California will likely remain the trendiest state, and controls vital trade routes over the Pacific that allow it a reasonable amount of power. Problem is that California is nominally a socialist state, and does in fact have a guaranteed basic income and welfare benefits, single payer, etc. but the actuality looks a lot more like Cuba, Venezuela or the USSR- the elites still have a significantly better standard of living and the poor are still a huge issue. California is democratic, but the local politics are basically a choice between Clinton-like and Sanders-like candidates. Capital is Los Angeles.

Rocky Mountain Republic

Somewhat more isolated, the Rocky Mountain Republic has a reasonable amount of resources, but is relatively isolated for trade and food. Government is minimal and there is a strong attitude of independence, but in most of the areas the people are reasonably nice and willing to help out neighbors. Religious, but not theocratic, although there is unofficial social pressure to an extreme degree. Politics are between small-government Republicans, religious Republicans, and quasi-socialist Democrats, the third being a minority. Relations with Greater California are troubled, but they are next to impossible to invade, and the Free State of Colorado is always on good terms. Probably allied with the American Federated States. Capital is Salt Lake City.

Free State of Colorado

A small, precarious state, the Free State of Colorado survives by never irritating anyone too much and being a vital trade route because Greater California can't officially have any trade with anyone. Does not have a particularly powerful military. Politics trend liberal-libertarian, with legalized drugs, prostitution, and gambling that make Colorado the vice capital of the DSA. Smaller taxes. Capitol split up, in Denver and in Vegas.

Dakotastan

The Dakotas have all the needed requirements for a Stan. Nukes, oil, food supply and trade routes. Not many people live in Dakotastan. Not much military strength other than the nuclear silos in North Dakota. Sells a lot of food and some oil, not as much to the East but to the West. On agreeable terms with Canada, the Rocky Mountain Republic and the American Federated States- not so much Greater California, and picking fights with New America over who gets Des Moines. Politics are minimal and mostly rely on local government.

American Federated States

The largest although not most populated part of the DSA. Contains the South, east of New Mexico. Conservative government, especially religiously conservative and neoconservative. Heavily dominated by evangelical Christians. Focuses somewhat more on states. Militarily heavily armed and very active, probably in a dispute with Greater New York over Washington DC, and holds occupied military governances in South Texas, Mexico, Southern Florida, and Cuba. Cordial relations with Dakotastan, tolerance of New America and the Free State of Colorado, and downright hated/warfare with Greater New York and Greater California. Capitol is Atlanta. Social dynamics unstable, racial conflict and dispute between differing conservatives, and with strong states likely to drift apart.

New America

The real heart of America, contains vital agricultural and manufacturing resources.. such as they are. Maintains good relations with the rest of the country. Rural, with corrupt and falling apart cities. The agricultural portions are intact and thriving, but the urban areas and industrial zones are falling apart. Really going into decline. Most politics between populist candidates, ala Trump. Has cordial relations with most states, but has a rivalry with Greater New York of significant magnitude. Militarily in the middle, but not particularly strong. Capitol Chicago.

Greater New York

Despite name, actually smaller. Contains Washington DC (disputed) to Boston. Capitol is New York City. Considered US by foreigners. Good relations and alliance with Greater California, rivalry with New America, tolerance of New England and hatred of American Federated States. Economically strong, but not militarily powerful. Deals with some rebels in more rural zones that want to be part of other states, and food supply is somewhat erratic. Most politics look like that of New York City as well.

New England

The second smallest and least significant state, is rural and goes on much the same as before with cold winters, logging, and farming. Independent, but friendly with nearby states. Capitol is in Manchester. Affable to neighbors.

P.S.

Any divided states of America scenario is more or less going to involve some infighting. Also, these are really just general guidelines... the social dynamics of the US are far more complex than this.

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    $\begingroup$ I think going on the "premise that each state will be ideologically and demographically similar" is drastically wrong. E.g. NYC and the rest of New York have little in common, while at the extreme Las Vegas and the rest of Nevada occupy entirely different (and not even parallel!) realities. Sociopolitically, California would divide into at least four diverse cultures: SoCal, Silicon Valley, the Central Valley, and the Sierra/Siskiyou/Coast ranges (which would include a lot of Northen Nevada & southern Oregon). $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Mar 23 '17 at 21:55
  • $\begingroup$ Its hard to lump conservative Arizona (particularly the Phoenix suburbs) in with the very liberal West Coast. Its also pretty hard to define any sort of New England that doesn't include Boston. DC has much more in common with Philly and NY than it does with the south in general. What do Vegas and Dever have in common to make such a boomerang of a state? How is Nebraska substantially different from Iowa? I don't like this map. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Mar 24 '17 at 0:11
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    $\begingroup$ I would suggest you redraw your map with a different color for the new borders of the DSA so it's easier to read. Black on black just makes it look messy. $\endgroup$ – Visfarix Mar 24 '17 at 13:41
  • $\begingroup$ If you're putting Boston in with New York City, then you haven't been to either Boston or New York City. The border between New England and Greater New York would cut somewhere between New Haven and Hartford in Connecticut, and Boston would be the capital city of New England. $\endgroup$ – Salda007 Mar 25 '17 at 2:27
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Taking your existing ideological divides, you're left with four basic areas:

enter image description here

You'll need to decide whether you want more, or less areas than this. Given the looseness of the requirements, this broad view seems to fit....

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  • $\begingroup$ It will work satisfactorily thank you. I'll just keep my options open a while. If I find nothing better, I'll accept your answer. $\endgroup$ – Tobi Alafin Mar 23 '17 at 13:57
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Breaking Texas off as its own bloc has some historic precedents. Many would claim that the Florida Keys are already a bloc (called the Conch Republic). You might also want to look at Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle which describes a Northern America divided by its conquest by other nations (in this case, the axis powers of WWII).

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    $\begingroup$ The man in high castle is by Philip k Dick. $\endgroup$ – BevynQ Mar 24 '17 at 4:24
  • $\begingroup$ Just curios... who did I say it was written by? @ohwilleke edited my incorrect statement while I was away on vacation and I'm don't remember what I wrote. Funny part is, I looked over at my bookcase at the book, just before writing my answer, so I can't imagine how I got it wrong. Must have been a mental misfire. Thanks for catching it! $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Mar 29 '17 at 1:25
  • $\begingroup$ @HenryTaylor You said Harry Turtledove who writes alternative history but not this particular one. $\endgroup$ – ohwilleke Mar 29 '17 at 20:23
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! Several of Turtledove's books are on the same shelf, but I still can't believe I made that mistake. Thanks for keeping me honest! $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Mar 29 '17 at 20:44
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There are two scenarios on how we the United States of America (and 90% probable Canada and 60% probable Mexico) will split.

The simplest and most likely, the Ultra Dense Population Centers that see everyone else as peasants(Ignorant, Inbred Morons from the deplorable basket) will be evicted by the States via a Constitutional Convention (aka Constitutional Referendum). The evicted counties the Ultra Dense Population Centers dominate (vote wise) will need to determine their own future. The states minus the evicted counties will retain The United States of America and the Constitution will be kept pretty much as is.

A more complex but possible outcome of the above is NOT religious based but Culture based.

South of the Mason Dixon line vs North of the Mason Dixon line From the Atlantic Coast to the Mississippi. That will divide into 2 OR 4 bloc’s, the vertical dividing line will be East of the Appalachian Mountains vs West of the Appalachian Mountains. So East of the Mississippi will be either 2 or 4 Bloc’s.

Texas probably goes its own way joining neither Mexico or any part of the New Bloc’s.

Now West of the Mississippi to the Eastern Rockies. This is where it gets really interesting.

Northern Mexico and the “desert” states west of the Mississippi could decide to join up.

The “Grain Belt” of the US and the Matching Canadian Provinces have far more in common with each other than they do anyone else.

The Eastern Rockies groups have far more in common with Western Canada and Alaska. This is pretty much a no brainier.

West of the Rocky Mountains

North of San Francisco aligns with Oregon, Washington, Vancouver Island.

South of San Diego aligns with the Baja Peninsula.

ANYTHING GOES between San Francisco and San Diego.

Cultural and / or resource commonality will drive the alignments. Religion plays no part in this, that is pure, unadulterated, 100% Hollywood generated stereotyping.

Mineral Resource Areas will combine with each other.

Food Producing areas will combine with each other.

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  • $\begingroup$ South of San Diego is Tijuana, which is already 'aligned' with Baja California. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Mar 24 '17 at 0:12
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Boundaries are historical contingencies. A key point is that you want not an alternative history, in which we look at possible historical forks in the road that we could have taken, and instead want a future North America that could evolve from the starting point that it has today. How and why that happens would dictate the result.

Historical Examples

Fortunately, we have a number of recent examples of countries breaking up to imagine how that might happen.

Breaks Along Existing Boundaries

In general, there is an imperfect tendency in a breakup to follow the boundary lines of sub-national regions.

  • In the U.S. Civil War, Virginia (which broke into Virginia and West Virginia) was the only political unit not to end up on one side or the other, although there were arguably a few counties in a few border states that resisted their state's decision to stay in the Union. Even the split of Virginia and West Virginia tracked county lines and political/ethnic divisions.

  • In the breakup of Yugoslavia, the first step was a break up into constituent states within the country (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and Macedonia). Then, there was a second order split off of one of the two autonomous regions within Serbia (Kosovo) that was ethnically distinct.

  • The division of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic (a.k.a. Czechia) and Slovakia, tracked pre-existing political division that in turn matched ethnic lines fairly closely.

  • In the breakup of the Soviet Union, for the most part, top level Soviet Republics each broke off without incident, while sub-Republic autonomous or culturally distinct areas within Soviet Republics retained their boundaries.

The Russian autonomous areas in the Caucasus mountains weren't thrilled with this leading to several military actions there, most notably the Chechen insurgency that was ultimately resolved when a strong Chechen leader seeing that the gig was almost up declared loyalty in a more or less personal way to Vladimir Putin on behalf of people loyal to him.

The other issue was the Ukraine where the country was strongly geographically divided between pro-Russian regions in the east and pro-Western regions in the West. Russian unilaterally retook the pro-Russian leaning political unit of Crimea with its pre-existing boundaries. Notably, Crimea was a late addition to the historical territory of the Ukrainian Republic. Russian efforts to acquire provinces elsewhere in Eastern Ukraine have been inconclusive despite military aid to insurgents and Russian military forces deployed there.

  • The 19th century United States of Central America quickly fractured relatively cleanly along the boundaries of the member states.

  • Many countries with a colonial relationship are split off with existing boundaries relatively cleanly, e.g., India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Finland (from Sweden), Iceland (from Norway), although problems can follow when the countries that result are not nation-states and have different ethnic majorities in different regions (e.g. Canada's tensions between Quebec and English Canada and India's tensions between Hindus and Muslims; but not Finland which has three cultures (Swedish, Finnish and Saami) but with the dominant Swedish and Finnish populations geographically overlapping).

The division of India was notable for being conducted by an outside "expert" based upon demographic data. It was very bloody but at least was short lived compared to the long running insurgencies associated with most ethnic divisions. But, disputes over the border in Kashmir remain to the present day and were the source of violent insurgency for a prolonged period.

Breaks Along Ethnic Lines

Splits along ethnic lines rather than from the collapse of a central government that frees all member top level subdivisions are almost always preceded by long, violent military insurgencies.

  • The Eritrea-Ethiopia split, the South Sudan-Sudan split, and the India-Pakistan split all traced geographical divides between ethnicities rather than existing subnational boundaries (the subsequent split of Pakistan into Pakistan and Bangladesh involved a country with disjoint territory and ethnically very different populations despite a shared religion in each of the two territories). Each of these followed long, bloody insurgencies and ethnic violence lasting decades.

  • The split of Ireland into Northern Ireland (which remained loyal to English colonial rulers) and the rest of Ireland (which rebelled and secured independence) was also drawn primarily based upon ethnic geographic division rather than pre-existing political boundaries and resulted in decades of continued ethnic violence in Northern Ireland (spilling over into England).

Notably, despite the fact that Northern Ireland's Protestant majority is largely a result of migration from the Scottish borderlands (which also was the primary source for the population of Appalachia in the U.S.), no one has ever seriously proposed merging Northern Ireland and Scotland into one political unit to which its ethnically Irish Catholic minority feels no ties.

  • Yemen was divided on ethnic lines after an insurgency and all hell has broken loose resulting in blood civil war/proxy war when an effort was made to merge it back into one state in fairly short order.

  • Columbia was de facto divided between a FARC narco-state in the interior and a rump state elsewhere resulting in a long civil war that voters rejected a treaty resolving in a recent election.

  • Many countries with geographic ethnic divides have long running civil wars that don't in the end cause the split of the country. Nigeria had an east-west civil war and is now waging a north-south one. Sri Lanka has a long running ethnically based Tamil civil war.

Grand Bargains

Many regions of the world - sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, large swaths of Europe, Brazil v. Spanish South America, Yugoslavia, N. v. S. Korea, W. v. E. Germany, have boundaries (or had boundaries) that were drawn up following the conclusion of major conflicts in great political conferences by outsiders in a moment of an indigenous political vacuum, often with little sensitivity to the concerns or desires of the locals.

Strong Expansionist Leaders

Powerful states with strong leaders swallow up small states - e.g. the United States gobbled up most of North America, Russia expanded to the Pacific, strong leaders unified Italy and Germany respectively, Nazi Germany grew tremendously in its expansion phase. Something like that might unite pieces of the former United States that were formerly fractured.

A scenario that makes sense

I'm going to consider just one scenario that could cause the breakup of many.

Critically, the end result is only metastable, rather than being as stable as the existing boundaries of the North America or Europe. These boundaries and alliances would be young and might be reshuffled and dynamic as political winds and global realities shift over time.

The federal government collapses and states go their own way.

Suppose that three factions emerge in the federal government, none of which is willing to work with either of the others on anything, so there is no longer majority support for any bill in Congress in either house, and no President who must be associated with one of the three factions can command majority support for anything. It doesn't really matter much which particular factions they are, although post-collapse alliances might track faction lines.

Think hard about some scenario that could create three non-majority roughly equal factions that mutually hate and distrust each other and has some regional skew to it.

Imagine in this scenario that Congress fails to produce a budget year after year, with no faction able to command a majority, and no President able to get many cabinet officers or judges appointed. Federal workers and federal government contractors start quitting when they stop getting paid.

No one takes meaningful action to enforce federal laws.

After a while, some states stop bothering to even try to hold elections for federal offices, and people cease to bother trying to file cases in federal courts.

Maybe a rare consensus in the dysfunctional Congress approves the secession or reorganization of states in separately negotiated interstate compacts. Eventually they go ahead with interstate compacts without honoring the constitutional requirement of Congressional approval.

What happens?

State lines would remain in tact except by mutual agreement. I could see Washington State and Oregon transfer their territory to the east of the Cascades to Idaho.

Economies of scale and a lack of benefit to having their own U.S. Senators in the absence of a federal government might encourage a merger of North and South Dakota, of Montana and Wyoming, of North Carolina and South Carolina, of Kentucky and West Virginia (and maybe Indiana too - which has an almost Appalachian conservative culture despite its location and topography outside Indianapolis and the northern coast), of Michigan and Wisconsin, of Oklahoma and Texas.

A grouping with Montana-Wyoming-Colorado and New Mexico could work.

The six New England would be a natural candidate to merge into some sort of federal country, or perhaps to realign themselves as new Canadian provinces, a la Alaska.

The Mid-Atlantic States (Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware) and the District of Columbia would probably form a unit and might even manage to get Virginia to break up with Northern Virginia joining it instead of a Southern Confederacy.

The Mid-Atlantic states might be part of the same political entity as New England (if DC got statehood and Northern Virginia joined it would have thirteen states just like the original thirteen U.S. colonies, with many of them having been original colonies). or might just have close ties with New England.

A federal type country made up of former Confederate states, minus Florida and Louisiana (which would go their own ways), but possibly plus some of the Appalachian border states (perhaps a merged West Virginia-Kentucky-Indiana or perhaps all three of them separately).

Texas might have close trade relations with, but not join, this new Southern confederacy, a bit like the non-EU member Scandinavian countries relationship with the EU.

I could see a loose confederacy tying the Dakotas, Kansas, and Nebraska. Missouri and Iowa would be more likely to join them than a grouping that included Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan and maybe Ohio too in a Midwestern Confederacy.

Rump Washington State and Oregon, along with California and Nevada might merge.

In the West, Arizona is the odd state out. It would probably be more inclined to either stand alone, or join a greater California, than to affiliate with New Mexico or a greater Utah. New Mexico and Arizona aren't very similar culturally, ethnically or politically, and while there are lots of Mormons in Arizona there aren't enough for it to be comfortable joining a greater Utah with the Mormon faith as a central focus of national identity.

Hawaii would probably return to independent status as would Puerto Rico.

Expanded Idaho and Utah (both heavily Mormon) might merge and might try to secure rural Nevada (which makes up most of the state, has very few people, and is heavily Mormon).

To Recap Where 50 states and D.C. and it territories would end up

enter image description here

Each of the smaller successor states to the U.S.A., each with their greater degree of internal political consensus, would be much easier to govern than the entire United States as it exists today.

But, diplomacy that was never necessary before between these factions would now become a major preoccupation.

Also, some successor groupings would be more tightly bound than others and with the U.S. Civil War's spell discouraging secession broken, internal politics would always be hunted with exit threats (some more credible than others) in the six federal or confederate successors that would be present.

The DSA would probably not have a legislative branch or judicial branch that handled private law cases. It would have a high court of military justice and some administrative law courts and would be run by unequal delegates of the eleven member nations a bit like the European Community before it became the E.U. or NATO or the UN Security Council with its peacekeeping units. Its headquarters would be in Denver because of its central location and because the Rocky Mountain Confederacy would be a weak member of the alliance since strong members would be too envious if the headquarters were located in one of the stronger or more unified members of the DSA.

Organizationally, the DSA military would be more like NATO with significant distinct member state sourced military units, than like a truly unified military force. It would probably also be underfunded relative to the current military and riddled with distrust between member forces who would fear both a bid for reunification a some coalition of member states and a member state gaining advantage that it could use against another member state.

The DSA would probably not be able to maintain a unified front on trade or immigration policy which have always been the source of strong regional divisions in the U.S.A.

The Eleven Member States Of The DSA

  1. The Republic of Hawaii, which would accept American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and other U.S. possessions in the Pacific as dependencies with a similar legal status relative to it to what they had with the U.S. The Republic of Hawaii would have strong positive ties with Great California but would have no need to share governance with it. Ironically, it might need a military alliance with Japan as well as the DSA to protect itself militarily from Chinese and North Korean and Russian aggression.

  2. Greater California (Washington State and Oregon west of the Cascade Mountains, California, Reno, Las Vegas and a strip of former federal military bases between them, Arizona). Not clear how this would be organized internally, probably initially along pre-existing state lines in a federation until reformed via referendum to subdivisions that break up California into two or three or four units. Rump Nevada might be realigned as well. The central government would be quite powerful. There would be tension between Greater California and Greater Utah over the split up of Nevada. It would be one of the more wealthy successor states.

  3. Greater Utah (Washington State and Oregon east of the Cascade Mountains, Idaho, Utah, Nevada except for the major cities and strip between them that join Great California). This would probably become a unitary state rather than a confederacy. This would be fairly isolated from the outside world in part out of their own inclinations, with Greater California and Canada providing the easiest access to the sea and would probably have decent ties with the Rocky Mountain Confederacy. Without the need to form coalitions with other Red State politicians, Great Utah's political sensibilities would diverge quite a bit from their current positions over time. It would be a somewhat poor successor state (in part due to large family sizes with only average levels of productivity).

  4. A Rocky Mountain Confederacy with 4 member states (Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico). This would need to maintain peace with some combination of Canada, Greater Utah, Greater California, the Great Plains Confederacy, Louisiana and Great Texas to reach the outside world, but wouldn't need all of them. Its best tool to buy this peace would be its control of its neighbor's water supplies. It is not a good candidate to merge with any of it neighbors and would be a particularly fragile confederacy of states that have less in common with each other than some of the other groupings. The central government bureaucracy would be very small and its institutions might be quite weak and consensus oriented. It would be middling in prosperity and have lots of variation in wealth and sources of wealth between member states. Mineral resource exploitation firms would be powerful and there would be a fear of undue Greater Texas corporate influence in its governmental affairs.

  5. Greater Texas (Texas and Oklahoma). This would be a unitary state not a confederacy, but would have strong ties to the Great Plains Confederacy and the Southern-Appalachian Confederacy. It would use the death penalty heavily and swiftly without federal court interference. Its economy would rise and fall with the state of the international oil market. It would grow authoritarian as a heavily petroleum based economy.

  6. A Great Plains Confederacy with 5 states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa). This would probably secure access to the outside world via ties with Canada, Greater Texas and the Midwest Confederacy. North and South Dakota might merge in this scenario turning it into a four state confederacy instead of a five state confederacy. It would export farm products, oil and natural gas. It would welcome seasonal "guest workers" but would otherwise be quite xenophobic. The central government would be stronger than the Rocky Mountain Confederacy or the Midwest Confederacy, but weaker than Greater California, the Federated States of Greater New England, or the SAC. There would be only modest internal division over many key policy issues. It would have a relatively stable economy despite its commodity dependency relative to Greater Texas.

  7. A Midwest Confederacy with 5 states (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio). It could access the greater world via the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence seaway. Mercantilist economic policies designed to reinvigorate manufacturing would be popular here even if they didn't work well. This would have a weak central government but stronger than the Rocky Mountain Confederacy particularly in the areas of trade and industrial development.

  8. The Free State of Louisiana It could manage independence due to its strategic location and long standing differences in its legal and governmental system from the rest of the U.S. due to its French traditions that give it a unique identity. Rising sea levels would be a great concern. Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico maritime trade, oil and gas, and tourism would all be important to its economy. It would become a major shipping flag of convenience like Liberia and Panama.

  9. Most of Florida a.k.a. The Sunshine Republic (on its own and minus the panhandle which would instead join the Southern-Appalachian Confederacy). Like the free state of Louisiana, it could stay connected to the outside world with its strategic location. The Sunshine Republic would try to disavow a lot of its Southern cultural baggage, would embrace its Latino and Jewish diversity, and would position itself as a tolerant international tourism and warm weather agriculture destination if it could manage it. It would lose much of its territory in the Everglades to rising sea levels and would invest many billions in seawalls that would allow cities like Miami to persist in the face of rising sea levels. There would be tensions between the Sunshine Republic and the SAC over the split up of Florida, and the Sunshine Republic would be outgunned militarily and hence very dependent upon military and diplomatic allies for its continuing independence.

  10. The Southern-Appalachian Confederacy (i.e. "The SAC") with 13 states (Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, the Florida Panhandle, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Southern Virginia). The divisions between Appalachia, Ozark culture and Southern culture aren't currently very salient, so this could work with thirteen states. It would declare itself an Evangelical Protestant Christian nation, even though it wouldn't have a formally established church. (Florida, Louisiana and Texas which have significant Catholic populations, and in Southern Florida's case, a significant Jewish population as well, all of which were states that were part of the Confederate States of America wouldn't be present to muddy the waters). It would adopt the Confederate flag. It would be socially conservative and very militaristic and interventionist. It might even legalize dueling in the course of an effort to reestablish a new national identity. It would use the death penalty heavily. There would be tensions between the SAC and the Sunshine Republic over the split up of Florida (it would bully the Sunshine Republic to some extent) and between the SAC and the Federated States of Greater New England over the split up of Virginia (two of the most powerful successor states with very different military cultures).

  11. The Federated States Of Greater New England with 13 states (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Northern Virginia). It would have something very similar to the current U.S. Constitution. This would become a liberal utopia with a sprinkling of libertarian and Puritan thrown in. It would have tensions with the SAC over the split up of Virginia. It would be one of the more wealthy successor states.

Outside the DSA

  1. Puerto Rico would declare its long overdue independence. It might not join the DSA. It would have historically strong ties to the Federated States of Greater New England where many Puerto Ricans live, and would fear military aggression from the SAC. It might seek stronger diplomatic ties with Mexico and other countries in Latin America and might join a Latin American equivalent to the DSA that might emerge in the face of less predictable neighbors in Anglo North America.

  2. Alaska annexed to Canada. This would probably be a poor fit culturally and leave succession rumblings sounding on and off. Alaskans are cold weather cowboys and not a "civilized" as Canadians. Canada wouldn't be part of the DSA. But, given the great distances involved and the small number of people involved, there might be enough elbow room to prevent conflicts from bubbling over. Alaska might be broken into several parts - a Northern and Bering Strait Alaskan territory, a coastal greater Juneau province, and a greater Anchorage province, perhaps, to more manageably integrate it into Canada since it might be hard to digest whole.

  3. The U.S. Virgin Islands would merge with the British Virgin Islands and would absorb other Caribbean U.S. possessions (except Guantanamo Bay which Cuba would reclaim) making it part of the U.K. It wouldn't be part of the DSA and few people would notice the difference. With the U.K. Navy defending it, it wouldn't have to worry about military and international affairs.

Where there was once Canada and the U.S. (except the U.S. Virgin Islands), there would now be 13 sovereign units of varying sizes.

The hot, long lived military insurgency conflicts would be in the five places where state boundaries weren't followed: eastern Washington State and Oregon, rural Nevada, the panhandle of Florida and Virginia, except to the extent that they were cleanly brokered political deals.

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I see two scenarios as plausible:

Breakdown of the Federal Government

In this case you see states just taking over more and more tasks that used to be federal. In this scenario states will likely become independent units first, then will amalgamate into bigger divisions. I can see swaps and boundary movements: E.g. Western washington, Oregon and northern California become Cascadia, while eastern washington, Oregon, and perhaps into the Kamloops are in BC form Columbia South Idaho, and Utah, with scraps of Nevada and Arizona become Deseret.

Anyplace you have a broad band without agriculture will become an uncontested border. There will be little social interaction between northern Idaho and western Montana -- there's over a hundred miles of not much between places you can grow a field of wheat or raise a cow.

Where there is small amounts of water you have the chance of larger equivalents of range wars, fighting over a scarce resource.

Technological collapse

Major war, solar flare that takes out every power line that's over 500 miles long, plague.

This scenario means that communications and transportation are no longer effective. Here I think you will get a bunch of city-states. Large cities will likely be death zones. You just can't organize food fast enough. Small towns would be overrun by looters unless in the middle of nowhere. I think the optimum surviving town will be between 10 and 100 thousand, and probably closer to that lower bound.

Much will depend on the availability of power to pump water. This favours cities with a nearby river or lake. Cities that depend on deep wells, such as Phoenix AZ will be in a heap of trouble.

Optimum places would be ones with non-desert, mild climates. Skagit valley in Washington, Corvallis region in Oregon. Sacramento area in California. Central Washington near the Columbia and Snake, plus smaller rivers, and also near the mountains.

Los Angeles would be a dead zone. People would die of thirst before they could escape. American southwest would likely be small settlements near mountain ranges. Anyone who had a working windmill water pump would own the immediate region.

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The current split in US politics is advertised as ideological, but there is a very large element of what might be called "class" as well. Generally speaking, the election of President Trump is a reflection of the breakdown in trust and authority between the political, bureaucratic, media and academic "classes" and the generally apolitical US public. The apolitical have essentially been "activated" by decades long processes where government seems to intrude more and more on their lives, but has less and less positive results.

Just so we don't feel smug, this process is also in play in Europe (think of the Brexit, the recent referendum in Italy, the growth of nationalist parties like AfD, Front National or Fidesz in Hungary, and I'm starting to think that something similar is in play in many places with somewhat Western Liberal-Democratic roots as well.

In the United States, this divide can be clearly seen in the electoral map by county for the 2016 elections:

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Red =counties carried by Donal Trump, Blue= counties carried by Hillary Clinton

The various voter blocks who would or believe they would benefit most by increased government power are isolated in various disconnected "Blue" blocks. Contiguous areas and even states exist, but they would not be able to coalesce into a single nation who way the CSA could in the American Civil War. As well, the map is somewhat deceptive, even within the Red and Blue counties there are pockets of voters with different preferences, so if the US were to be divided, there would be further subdivisions, for example the US West coast might splinter as more conservative people in the rural areas fought to establish the States of "Jefferson" and "Liberty" (Much like West Virginia was created by pro Union people fighting against the sesecion of Virginia from the United States).

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Proposed Staate of Jefferson

Of course such a breakup would also trigger vicious battles within even smaller districts, as, for example neighbourhoods would be invaded and "ethnic cleansing" would be applied against the "others" (whoever they may be). What is startling to me is that the sorts of epode who indulge in "identity politics" or work to stoke the idea of race and class wars are in general academics who are least prepared to actually deal with the conditions that such a collapse would trigger. The siege of Sarajevo should be a modern warning of what such an event would look like, and I can hardly imagine academics in their gated communities would be prepared if they were suddenly invaded by a gang of Aryan Nations/Black Lives Matters/M-25 ganbangers/Ecoterrorists willing to do extreme physical violence to steal their food, material possessions and even take their women and children....

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Sarajevo. It will be like that

And just to add icing to the cake, the economic collapse triggered by the political collapse of the United States would reverberate around the globe, so it is actually in everyone's best interests to hope and work towards unification and political realignment by peaceful means rather than violent separation.

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