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The US Redrawn As 50 Equally Populated States

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the all-things-being-equal dept.

United States 642

First time accepted submitter Daniel_Stuckey writes "Bam! For anyone that's paid a speck of attention to the tedium of political redistricting, which happens while a state grows unevenly, (and must dynamically respond to density, electorate disparity, natural resources and ridgelines, etc.), this is straight out of some psychedelic dream. For Democrats, it could be straight out of a nightmare. That's because Freeman's map necessitates 50 equally populous United States. His methods for creating the map are explained thusly: 'The algorithm was seeded with the fifty largest cities. After that, manual changes took into account compact shapes, equal populations, metro areas divided by state lines, and drainage basins. In certain areas, divisions are based on census tract lines... The suggested names of the new states are taken mainly from geographical features.'"

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Place names (3, Informative)

hoboroadie (1726896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928105)

Geography is beautiful. I made this my wallpaper yesterday.

Re:Place names (4, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928581)

Geography is beautiful. I made this my wallpaper yesterday.

It is pretty neat, but it still reflects 18th century thinking. If I look at my interests, beliefs, and the political issues that are important to me, my geographical location has little to do with it. Congresspeople shouldn't represent geographical regions, but specific groups of people, where ever they are. So every two years we hold an election, the top 435 get elected, and their constituents are the specific people that voted for them. Their vote in congress should be proportional to their number of constituents. What would be even better, is if an elected representative isn't keep promises, a voter should be able to go to a website, and switch to another.

Map is pretty cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928117)

I always enjoy looking at stuff like this. Although I noticed that the proposer seems to have a penchant for native American names. Not that there's anything wrong that that! but that isn't what most present-day people would probably want to see.

But of course, the map that the pols would draw up instead would be twisting, doubling back, mandering, having states composed of non-contiguous regions...

Re:Map is pretty cool (1)

hoboroadie (1726896) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928151)

The names were the coolest part, I thought.

Not that there's anything wrong that that! but that isn't what most present-day people would probably want to see.

I do stand out in crowds.

Re:Map is pretty cool (5, Informative)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928489)

Have you any idea how many US cities and counties, let alone states, have Native American names already? Alaska (through Russian), Arizona (through Spanish), Hawaii, Idaho (disputed), Illinois (through French), Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan (through French), Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming are all derived from Native American words in some form or another. That's almost 40% of the states.

Re:Map is pretty cool (1)

Spectre (1685) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928567)

Yes, but they aren't random native american names. They are names specific to the region, such as that huge central region of Oogallala ... that is a huge underground aquifer which is the major source of water for the whole region.

What?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928119)

Of course this is a much easier solution then just switching to popular vote...

Re:What?! (2, Insightful)

Abreu (173023) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928177)

Of course this is a much easier solution then just switching to popular vote...

This is correct. The whole indirect voting systems like the US Electoral College were created to deal with the logistical problems of giving every citizen the vote.

In this day and age, the only purpose of indirect elections is to give undue weight to rural areas.

Re:What?! (5, Insightful)

Dasuraga (1147871) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928203)

The purpose of the electoral college was to avoid having the most important office in the federal gov't be victim to popular fervor. In a direct election, radicals can be too easily elected (see tea party). This system prevents that in theory (along with the voting system of the electors: in seperate areas. This prevented one guy from giving a moving speech and changing the minds of everyone.)

Re:What?! (1)

Abreu (173023) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928233)

Then why is the USA the only country using indirect elections? Every other modern country that used it at some point has switched to direct elections.

Re:What?! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928423)

Then why is the USA the only country using indirect elections? Every other modern country that used it at some point has switched to direct elections.

Then why is it that you can't even do a basic wikipedia search for indirect elections to realize that you don't know what you're talking about?

Germany, Italy, Estonia, Latvia and Hungary all use indirect elections...

There are currently 33 countries, including the UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland and India that all use the Westminster system, which is considered to be an indirect election because you vote for a party and if it's that party gets the majority, or the leader of one party has the support of more than 51% of the Members of Parliament (MPs), that leader becomes the head of government.

You don't vote directly for the head of government in those systems and, unless you're lucky, you generally have to vote for an MP that you would rather not vote for to see your party have the majority. Sometimes, it's the opposite and you have to vote for a party you don't want to see the leader as head of government just so you can have the local MP you want to see in parliament elected.

So, which modern countries were you talking about that have all switched to direct elections at some point for their head of government?

(Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indirect_election / http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_election / http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westminster_system)

Re:What?! (3, Informative)

canavan (14778) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928435)

That's incorrect. The president of Germany [wikipedia.org] is elected by the Federal Convention, which is made up of all members of the German Federal Diet (Deutscher Bundestag, elected by proportional representation every four years) plus the same number of representatives elected by the states' parliaments. Therefore, half of the result is determined by indirect vote, and the other half by double indirect votes (populace votes for representatives in the state parliament, those vote for representatives in the Federal Convention, and that in turn votes for the president). There is however, no popular vote at all for the president, the elections for the president don't coincide with any federal or state elections. Few people really care, because the president usually has a much lower profile than the chancellor..

Re:What?! (5, Funny)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928623)

There's the British system: The people vote, someone emerges on top, and none of us can figure out exactly what goes on in between.

Re:What?! (2, Insightful)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928645)

Then why is the USA the only country using indirect elections?

While I think the electoral college is pretty nutty, in defense of the USA, they're not alone in their use of indirect elections.

Virtually every jurisdiction using the Westminster Parliamentary System (mostly Commonwealth countries like the Canada, Australia, the UK etc.) use indirect elections.

A riding ('district') elects a Member of Parliament (MP) who heads off to the legislature. The party with the most number of MPs form government, and the leader of that party becomes Prime Minister. So in that sense, the PM is 'indirectly elected.'

Re:What?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928281)

Uh... if that's what the people want, then why the fuck not? It's not like we're talking about direct democracy here.

Re:What?! (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928429)

Does this still work since the advent of television? A single speech can easily be seen across the country. So if it's good enough, it can swing voters everywhere.

Re:What?! (5, Insightful)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928619)

The purpose of the electoral college was to avoid having the most important office in the federal gov't be victim to popular fervor. In a direct election, radicals can be too easily elected (see tea party). This system prevents that in theory (along with the voting system of the electors: in seperate areas. This prevented one guy from giving a moving speech and changing the minds of everyone.)

The Electoral College was the result of a political compromise at the 1787 Constitutional Convention because the participants couldn't make up their minds how the President should be selected. Just about every possible method was suggested by one participant or another, and the Electoral College was just the one that happened to pass.

We can respect the work of the Founding Fathers without treating them as infallible gods. In fact, refusing to think for ourselves and instead treating their work as a kind of Holy Scripture is completely against the Enlightenment values that they stood for.

Re:What?! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928631)

radicals can be too easily elected (see tea party).

Once again people who say spending $1 Trillion or more each year over what the government spend are "radical". For those of you who wonder why this country is so split, look no further than Dasuraga's comments. If you think government spending is out of control you are a radical, no discussion, no debate, just name calling right from the beginning. Liberals are the biggest hate group the world has ever seen and they are just getting worse as the days go by.

Re:What?! (1, Insightful)

kenh (9056) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928261)

Rural areas don't have undue weight - how many rural states does it take to equal one OH, NY, FL, TX or CA? Electorally those states are monsters that decide who will be President - the rural areas do not have undue weight.

Re:What?! (1)

Abreu (173023) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928307)

Then why was everyone so concerned about Ohio?

Re:What?! (1)

JBMcB (73720) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928377)

Because it's a major swing state. If you want more attention, your state needs to not vote for the same party every single election.

Re:What?! (4, Interesting)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928455)

Of course they do. See Wyoming- a single person's vote in Wyoming is worth 3/563000 =5.32e-6 of an electoral vote (based on 2012 census data). A vote in California is worth 55/37200000= 1.47e-6 votes. A person in Wyoming is worth 4 times as much. That's completely unfair.

Now historically it makes sense- it dates back to right post revolution where we were really 13 nations who decided to band together into 1, and it was a compromise to get the small states to go along with it. It stopped making sense when we became a real nation beyond point of breakup- basically after the civil war it was outdated. Now, due to geography its a system that's totally unfair.

Re:What?! (0)

corbettw (214229) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928679)

If what you're saying tracked closely with reality, one would expect to see presidential campaigns spend four times as much, per person, in Wyoming than in California. But what's really happening is that neither California nor Wyoming get any money spent in them, it all goes to swing states.

See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/track-presidential-campaign-ads-2012/ [washingtonpost.com] The only money showing up in either state is just spillover from neighboring, battleground states.

Of course, this just raises another potential reason to ditch the electoral college.

Re:What?! (3, Informative)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928457)

Rural areas don't have undue weight - how many rural states does it take to equal one OH, NY, FL, TX or CA? Electorally those states are monsters that decide who will be President - the rural areas do not have undue weight.

Those states have far more electoral votes because they have far higher populations. Votes in less-populated states have slightly greater weight than votes in states with higher populations. A state with a population of two million that has two representatives (numbers rounded to make the math easier) gets four electoral votes, or one per 500,000 people. A state with a population of 20 million and 20 representatives gets 22 electoral votes, or one per 900,000 people.

Re:What?! (1)

brianerst (549609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928545)

And unless you bunch together a lot of small states, the populous state still has a lot more voting power (22 versus 4 - you need five and a half of those little states to equal that one populous state). The assumption is that all small states vote the same way and therefore give one side (the Republicans currently) a disproportionate boost.

You could also make the counter argument that a more directly elected government would only care about the urban centers and ignore the needs of the people who live in flyover country (and grow all of our food). Which is pretty much the argument the founders made and why we have the system we do. The current system was designed to provide a balance between the total populace and the distributed populace - if you look at a county level map, the entire freaking country is a sea of red with a bunch of blue dots scattered about. That those blue dots have a lot more people in them is important but there is also an importance to the sea of red.

Re:What?! (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928485)

The whole indirect voting systems like the US Electoral College were created to deal with the logistical problems of giving every citizen the vote.

Uh, no.

We have the electoral college because we live in a federated representational republic, not a democracy. The individual citizens of the United States don't get a vote for president. Our states do. We only get a vote to tell our state government who we would prefer they vote for. And, they don't even need to listen to us (and have in the past chosen to vote against the will of the people)!


In this day and age, the only purpose of indirect elections is to give undue weight to rural areas.

In this day and age, we forget that Massachusetts and New York and Virginia, etc, saw themselves basically as sovereign nations, only joining together in that pesky federal government business to give them a united front in dealing with the old European powers. We forget, in this era of "excuse anything with the Commerce Clause", that the vast majority of the constitution took great pains to refer to the states as such, rather than as mere political subdivisions of the whole.

You also forget that before that whole "one man, one vote", having a voice in government depended solely on how much land you owned. Urbanites didn't give farmers more of a voice out of charity, but rather, the large landowners graciously allowed the unlanded to have a voice at all.


Has the time come when we should realign our political system with modern perceptions? Or should we respect that we have such an archaic system for damned good historical reasons?

Personally, I think the recent gun ownership debate has brought exactly this issue to the center of attention - We have urban yuppies who've created their own violent crimes hell, trying to take guns away from rural areas with almost no violent crime. Perhaps the Founding Fathers understood something about us that we have forgotten.

Re:What?! (1, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928561)

I wish more people had the depth of your historical perspective. And by the way, Virginia still sees itself that way, try saying "State of Virginia" around a bunch of old natives and you may very well be corrected that "this is the Commonwealth of Virginia, sir."

Re:What?! (0, Troll)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928667)

We have the electoral college because we live in a federated representational republic, not a democracy. The individual citizens of the United States don't get a vote for president. Our states do. We only get a vote to tell our state government who we would prefer they vote for. And, they don't even need to listen to us (and have in the past chosen to vote against the will of the people)!

The antebellum South called, it wants you back.

Seriously, this issue was settled at Appomatox Court House in 1865. There is no such thing as individual state sovereignty in any meaningful sense any more. Nor should there be. State government tends to be the most corrupt and least accountable layer, worse than the feds (who are usually under a magnifying glass of media coverage) and worse than the locals (who at least have to make sure the roads stay paved and the schools open or they'll be thrown out of office.)

Re:What?! (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928431)

Of course direct election of the President makes the most sense. But there remains the problem of the Senate.

Breaking up the states and reorganizing them as described in the article would be very impractical because some of the jurisdictions have no geographic ties (as stated in the article.) Also, you'd have to form 50 new state governments and there's a problem of how to settle differences in laws between places that used to be in different states.

It would be somewhat more practical to break up the biggest states (California, Texas, New York, Florida) and combine a few of the demographically smallest states while trying to maintain geographic compactness. How about Montana + Idaho, North Dakota + South Dakota + Wyoming, Maine + Vermont + New Hampshire, Connecticut + Rhode Island, Nebraska + Kansas. And the most political fun: Utah+Nevada!

  1. Less drastic fixes for the Senate problem:
  2. 1. Abolish the Senate (also getting rid of Congress's built-in institutional memory, which is a big downside)
  3. 2. Weaken the Senate's undemocratic influence by:
    1. a. eliminating filibuster rules
    2. b. eliminating supermajority rules

Re:What?! (1)

dfghjk (711126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928613)

To the founders, the "Senate problem" was a solution, not a problem. Proportional representation was not the ultimate goal; it was a goal that needed to be tempered. The Senate does that.

Government dysfunction is not a result of geographic or population inequalities among states. Addressing that doesn't help. ...and no, direct election of the President doesn't make the most sense.

Re:What?! (4, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928643)

Do you even know why there is a Senate? The Senate's obstruction is deliberate. The Senate is the chamber where bad bills which would become bad laws are supposed to die. It may seem like it "prevent things from getting done" but that's why it's there, because it is far better than the knee-jerk nonsense of two-year term political hacks who would enact virtually any law just so something "can be seen to be done" before their next election season.

There is a reason that our Republic has 'undemocratic' elements. Pure democracy fails, fails quickly, and terrifyingly transitions through ochlocracy to some form of autocracy. This has been understood and demonstrated since antiquity (see Polybius et al), and it is why our founders were wise enough to establish a more complex, resilient, synthetic system of government.

Where is Puerto Rico, USVI and others in this map? (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928135)

Where is Puerto Rico, USVI and others in this map?

IF you are going to remap stuff at least put them in as well.

Re:Where is Puerto Rico, USVI and others in this m (4, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928183)

They're not states. One of his key design constraints was the Electoral College, and only states get to vote in the Electoral College.

Washington, DC gets included since it does have EC votes. That messes with the Congressional representation, but he didn't make than explicit design constraint.

Re:Where is Puerto Rico, USVI and others in this m (3, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928683)

DC should never have been given EC votes; it should have (mostly) been given back to Maryland. The people mostly don't live in the key Federal building areas, and so the idiotic idea of DC statehood wouldn't matter - they'd be citizens of Maryland.

Re:Where is Puerto Rico, USVI and others in this m (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928185)

Maybe he didn't want to do anything controversial that might hinder acceptance of his proposal.

Re:Where is Puerto Rico, USVI and others in this m (2)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928317)

Not to nitpick (so, here comes the nitpicking), but he quite clearly stated this wasn't a serious proposal...

The idea here was more about raising the issue and making people think about it in a different light.

Re:Where is Puerto Rico, USVI and others in this m (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928365)

The idea here was more about raising the issue and making people think about it in a different light.

Now that is dangerous - downright seditious...

further reason for a popular vote (3, Insightful)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928137)

Popular vote is the only method to accurately capture the desire of the entire population. It does NOT mean only the coasts will be visited since every vote counts those 10 democrats in Nebraska and the 5 republicans in Vermont now count for a national win.

Re:further reason for a popular vote (2)

mozumder (178398) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928171)

actually it does mean only the coasts will be visited because pols will only visit densely populated areas to get the most bang for their buck.

no point visiting Nebraska to give a speech to 500 people when you can visit New York to give a speech to 50,000 people.

Re:further reason for a popular vote (2)

Abreu (173023) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928217)

No point visiting anywhere since you can do video conferences tailored to particular elector types, rather than regions.

Imagine a virtual town hall meeting of just nerds, or just single mothers, or just asian-americans. etc.

Re:further reason for a popular vote (1)

dugancent (2616577) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928441)

That's just what we need, more distance and separation between groups.

Tyranny of the majority (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928193)

Tyranny of the majority is the reason to avoid a republic and a pure popular vote. That is to say, people need adult supervision, and there's a reason we have a republic instead of a democracy.

Re:Tyranny of the majority (3, Insightful)

Abreu (173023) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928267)

Right, because the US government has *always* being in hands of responsible adults...

Re:Tyranny of the majority (2)

Chas (5144) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928335)

Tyranny of the majority is the reason to avoid a republic and a pure popular vote. That is to say, people need adult supervision, and there's a reason we have a republic instead of a democracy.

Uhm. Tyranny of the majority is a reason to avoid pure democracies.

Re:Tyranny of the majority (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928465)

So a tyranny of the minority is better in some way? The current system seems designed to allow relatively small but passionate groups of people to win and control the country, while depriving third parties of any voice in the government.

Re:Tyranny of the majority (1)

lessthan (977374) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928565)

How is that a disadvantage? It implies that if you care enough, you could be one of those passionate people that makes a difference.

Re:Tyranny of the majority (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928627)

So what you are saying is a pure democracy would reduce the power of small but passionate groups while giving a voice in government to small but passionate groups such as third parties?

Do you even listen to yourself?

Re:Tyranny of the majority (3, Insightful)

dfghjk (711126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928663)

The opposite of "tyranny of the majority" is not "tyranny of the minority". The problem you complain about does not result from a failure of democratic process, it is due to the monopoly enjoyed jointly by the two-party system. The electoral college does not contribute to that, it is victimized by it.

Re:further reason for a popular vote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928209)

Popular vote is the only method to accurately capture the desire of the entire population. It does NOT mean only the coasts will be visited since every vote counts those 10 democrats in Nebraska and the 5 republicans in Vermont now count for a national win.

Why would you visit anywhere other than the coasts? The votes would be there, and spending a similar amount of time covering the entire of the midwestern states would be as worthwhile as visiting a 300 mile stretch of land from DC to NYC.

Captcha: Travesty

Re:further reason for a popular vote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928231)

And this does nothing to fix it. You still have some small, highly populated states, and other states where most of the population is located within a small central area (ie most of Phoenix's is centered on Phoenix despite it being a large state).

Re:further reason for a popular vote (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928557)

This isn't about achieving uniform population density, it's about achieving a uniform population count. So those small highly populated states have roughly equal population to the large sparsely populated states.

Re:further reason for a popular vote (3, Insightful)

brianerst (549609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928275)

Except we have exactly one national election - the Presidency - while we have hundreds of state-centered ones (Senators, Representatives, Governors and other state offices, State Representatives, etc.).

While we certainly could create a parallel election system just for the Presidency, there are a number of reasons not to do it. The more important ones are federalism and triage - Slashdotters in general are unconvinced by the desirability or purpose of federal government (a unitary central state is so much more efficient - it's so clean from an engineering perspective!) and underestimate the worth of triage (we have had elections requiring recounts - a national recount would be a nightmare). The less important ones are cost and complexity - ever since the 2000 election we've been pouring money into electronic voting, better voter access, computerized counting systems, etc., etc. and the national voting system still sucks. Why does anyone think this would ever be done correctly?

Re:further reason for a popular vote (1)

bsane (148894) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928323)

All of the above is true- I also wonder of people clamoring for the 'abolishment of the electoral vote' have ever read the constitution or taken civics. There are clear reasons for it as you outlined above, and changing it would literally be impossible. You'd need a constitutional amendment, which would need to be ratified by the states, the majority of which would be giving up power- never going to happen (and imo, it shouldn't).

Re:further reason for a popular vote (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928665)

Slashdotters in general

And by "Slashdotters in general," you of course mean "me and people who think just like me."

Re:further reason for a popular vote (2)

spikenerd (642677) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928361)

Popular vote is the only method to accurately capture the desire of the entire population.

Nope. No method exists [wikipedia.org] that accurately captures the desire of the entire population. Plurality voting is especially biased by the choices, whether done with electoral colleges, popularity, or any other system of tallying.

Re:further reason for a popular vote (2)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928513)

Popular vote is how Jersey Shore runs for six seasons and Firefly for one. It's mob rule; tyranny of the majority. The fact that the US is a republic protects you against that, or it used to.

Re:further reason for a popular vote (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928539)

Or you could do what Maine and Nebraska do - each district determines its own winner, and the two EVs from the Senators go to the overall winner of the State. Rather than winner-take-all for each State, break it down by district. Eminently sensible IMHO.

Re:further reason for a popular vote (2)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928551)

Actually, the best system is one that maximises the power of an individual vote. To do that, you need to increase the chances that your own vote is the tie-beaking vote, to do that you split the voter base into units and sub-units, because you are more likely to be the tie-breaking vote in the tie-breaking district in the tie-breaking state, than you are the single tie-breaking vote in a single national poll.

Second, you need to ensure the counting system doesn't introduce its own biases that effectively prevent new parties forming. Failing to do that means that you are effectively bound by the candidate choices of the top-two parties.

Hence whole-of-nation plurality voting is the worst in both measures.

Ungerrymandered even-population district voting, through a preference or approval-rank system, is the best.

You've got one element out of maybe five that you need, and you want to throw even that away.

Which would become quickly irrelevant (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928139)

as the population density constantly changes over the coming years. And if we are re-"thinking" state lines, why do we need to have 50 states. Why cant/shouldnt there be just one? Or how about 100? Shit, if we are doing something this dramatic, why stop there? Let's solve all of our issues by re-addressing them with modern techniques. 86'd from my thought train due to shortsightedness.

Re:Which would become quickly irrelevant (2)

LaughingRadish (2694765) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928197)

Becaused centralized government sucks.

LOL at Shitcago... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928175)

...getting put into the state of Gary.
How fitting.

Yes, Let's Undo Voting With Your Feet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928187)

Which is basically what that map does. Although I like the algorithm for determining voting districts within a state

Re:Yes, Let's Undo Voting With Your Feet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928225)

"Voting with your feet" is a hilarious right-wing persecution complex fantasy that never actually happens. This map undoes voting by elves too but you don't hear anyone bitching about that.

Re:Yes, Let's Undo Voting With Your Feet (-1, Troll)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928439)

So your story is that it never happens except when the liberals complain about all the "evil rich" that move away from high taxation. Then your story is that it happens all the time, right?

Re:Yes, Let's Undo Voting With Your Feet (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928651)

Reminds me of a pic I once saw of a highly modded S2000 with the California plate "COMI4NA" ("Commiefornia"). The guy clearly had the means to "vote with his feet" and didn't. Instead he put an insulting plate on the expensive car that the "communist" California economy allowed him to afford.

One thing this got dead right.... (1)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928189)

Of course, everyone's going to look at their own area - to see how it got right or wrong regarding where they live.

In my case, I'm in Western MA, and I have to say that they got this little part of it exactly right - merging us in this area into "Willimantic" which connects us with CT with Hartford as the capitol instead of being in the "ass end" of Massachusetts.

I've long been bothered by how little we in this part of MA have to do with those east of 128 / or even east of 495.

I can't speak for any other part of the country, though I love some of these kinds of maps. I like the ones like this where you see the US through the eyes of a New Yorker:
http://www.refinery29.com/map-of-america-according-to-nyc [refinery29.com]

necessitates? (1)

sribe (304414) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928211)

Eh? I don't even know what that sentence was trying to say, but certainly not what was written...

Except we don't have a unitary government (1)

xaoslaad (590527) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928213)

It's pointless to argue for this. We don't have a unitary system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unitary_state) of government like say the United Kingdom. Oh, how I wish we did. My kingdom for everything from speed limits, and rules on turning right on red, on up to more important things like firearms licensing and ownership to be the same no matter where you travelled or lived in the country.

Instead we have Federalism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalism) where the states share sovereignty. And if you think they're going to just dissolve themselves, it's just not going to happen. And if you believe they would, please I have multiple bridges around the world to sell you. The only up side to this model in my book is what some people would argue about different states trying different things, and those that are found to work tend to get adopted by others as well. I simply don't buy the argument that the Federal government is out to get us all. But that is a discussion/argument/flame war for another day.

Re:Except we don't have a unitary government (2)

xaoslaad (590527) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928259)

I forgot to add my example for illustration. Imagine being in New Hampshire now where the gun laws are fairly liberal and getting licensed to own firearms is generally a non-issue, to now being a member of my state, Massachusetts, where the local sheriff can deny your license for just any old reason, up to including he doesn't like your haircut. I'm sure there wouldn't be riots, protests, demonstrations, and just a general displeasure over that one issue in one area alone. Now multiple that buy thousands of areas and thousands of issues. Want a few more: income tax, property tax, and sales tax.

Re:Except we don't have a unitary government (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928633)

It's pointless to argue for this. We don't have a unitary system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unitary_state) of government like say the United Kingdom. Oh, how I wish we did. My kingdom for everything from speed limits, and rules on turning right on red, on up to more important things like firearms licensing and ownership to be the same no matter where you travelled or lived in the country.

Clearly you don't know much about the United Kingdom. Many powers have been devolved from Westminster to assemblies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but not the same set of powers in each case. Scottish law has always been significantly different from English law, even down to basic things like the need for consideration in a binding contract - a company formed in England or Wales cannot change its registered office to Edinburgh or vice-versa. Northern Ireland is also curiously out of step in many ways, such as abortion rules and even financial regulation of credit unions.

This guy has no clue what the Electoral College is (2)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928243)

For him to claim his map:

Preserves the historic structure and function of the Electoral College.
Ends the over-representation of small states and under-representation of large states in presidential voting and in the US Senate by eliminating small and large states.

shows he knows nothing of what the Electoral College represents, or what its historical importance was at the time of its inception.

Re:This guy has no clue what the Electoral College (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928505)

"Keep in mind that this is an art project, not a serious proposal, so take it easy with the emails about the sacred soil of Texas. "

It's part of the problem, not the solution. (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928245)

Fail. Why?

It puts primacy of power at a national level as the vastly overriding, important factor, when, in fact, it's the freedom people have to move around.

There are people upset at gerrymandering, even "well-meaning" gerrymandering that creates districts along highway corridors, because they dislike being placed in one nice little homogeneous pool "so you can elect your guy", sayeth those in power, who then sleep like a baby that night.

More representation (1)

TEG24601 (1850816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928279)

This just shows how we need to return to the original apportionment of representatives, as laid out in the constitution, and never modified within. There must be one representative for every 30,000 people. If we did this, the government would not be so "Black and White" it would be shades of grey, and better represent the will of the people, not the will of the corporations.

Re:More representation (1)

kelarius (947816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928433)

So that means there would be somewhere north of 11,600 representatives. And you think nothing gets done now...

Re:More representation (2)

houghi (78078) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928555)

OK, I'll bit. %0 states and shades of gray. You know where I going with this, right?

Seriously, this is the main problem, I think. There are only two parties and they are almost identical. The discussions can be compared to talking if Pepsi or Coke is better, but leaving out all the other drinks.

This isn't a republic democracy. It is a farce that holds up an image as if you have anything to say.

In the past there were people who were not happy with the way their government was running things, so they threw them out and made a new one according to the best ability and the situation they had at that moment.

here is no reason not to do that again. Saying "But they did a great job 200+ years ago." is like saying "But we are a kingdom and that went great fr more then 200 years."

In many parts of the world you have different shades of grey and even though this will cause different issues, it is great to have a voice.

In Belgium somebody said, when we were having problems getting together a government for more then a year, "It would be easier if we had only two parties like in the US." My answer was that it would be easier, but it should just be easy. It should be just.

How do you vote if you are pro gun and pro gay rights? Are you sure that the person you vote for will vote for a president who has the same ideas? Does the party you vote for give you that option? Does that party have any chance of ever being part of a government?

In Europe there are people from the Pirate Party who have a seat in governments. There are people from all over the place representing the people.

Post (1)

Stirling Newberry (848268) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928289)

"compactness of shape" is an anti-democratic principle to begin with, "one acre one vote" is a rule of the rotten borough.

Re:Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928661)

"compactness of shape" is an anti-democratic principle to begin with, "one acre one vote" is a rule of the rotten borough.

It's nothing to do with "one acre one vote". It is just an additional constraint on the optimization routine to try to prevent the algorithm producing oddly-shaped districts that are half a mile wide but 200 miles long etc. Such a plan might be mathematically optimal but would not be popularly acceptable.

Already Done (1)

guttentag (313541) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928311)

A map of equally populated areas to promote equality in voting? We experimented with this some time ago... Couldn't make it work. It didn't promote voting equality on a per-person basis, just created the illusion that people had common interests that were defined by some arbitrary old lines that were drawn up a long time ago. Maybe it was the semicircular arrangement, or the blocking out of all sunlight in 1950. It still looks pretty. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Already Done (1)

guttentag (313541) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928345)

OK, so they were never equally populated, but they were supposed to be regions with equal power.

"Bam!"? Seriously? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928313)

Nice bit of copying and pasting there, Mr. Submitter. I mean, the "Bam!" is dumb enough in the article, but at least it's an exclamation at the presentation of the map. Copied and pasted like that it just looks stupid.

Re:"Bam!"? Seriously? (1)

cffrost (885375) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928471)

Nice bit of copying and pasting there, Mr. Submitter. I mean, the "Bam!" is dumb enough in the article, but at least it's an exclamation at the presentation of the map. Copied and pasted like that it just looks stupid.

I read the whole thing in Elzar's voice.

Fresh Starts (3, Interesting)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928337)

I've always loved these thought experiments, carving up the world into new and improved political alignments. This stemmed from encountering C. Etzel Pearcy's proposed 38 State map [tjc.com] published in the 1975 People's Almanac; his notions of a better functioning nation arising from a more equitable distribution of state alignments really had an impact on me, growing up as I did on the mostly barren east side of Oregon, and listening to my elders constantly complaining about getting shafted via taxes by the moneygrubbers in Portland/Salem/Eugene. The Almanac also featured another new map of the US, with 22 states I think; can't find any info about it at the moment though.

Also an interesting read was Joel Garreau's book The Nine Nations of North America, [wikipedia.org] which was more about the cultural mass regions that make up the continent.

First off, it's an art project (1)

kenh (9056) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928367)

And as an art project, it's interesting.

As a serious proposal, I don't see how this really changes anything.

Do these 50 equally populous states assign their electoral votes "winner take all" or proportionally?

If "winner take all" then very little will change, since that is how most current states award their electoral votes, and since each state has a number of electoral votes based on it's population the outcome wouldn't likely change.

If proportionally, then that would be a shift from the current model, but would the actual result really change? In the last election, President Obama won re-election with 51% of the popular vote, but won by a larger margin electorally. I would be very interested in seeing someone run this "50 Equal States" map against the county-by-county results from the 2012 election and see how the electoral results would change. (Obviously the popular vote wouldn't change.)

Cart before the horse. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928383)

We are a union of states. Not an empire to be subdivided.

The Problem... (4, Insightful)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928413)

This assumes people from different parts of the country are interchangable and are going to be happy no matter how you group them. The problem is that isn't the case; you think things are politically polarized now, a plan like this would be even worse.

You think the people in Highway are going to be happy being governed by politicians in Oregon that doesn't really care what's going on in a set of islands hundreds of miles away because they massively outnumber them don't need their votes anyways? You think the people in Montana and Idaho are gonna be happy being controlled by the busybody Mormons in Utah? And Shiprock is probably going to have an actual shooting war when Lubbock and Abilene figure out that Austin is going to dominate them electorally.

Re:The Problem... (2)

AlabamaCajun (2710177) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928657)

Now go explain to the Lynard Skynard Bands remaining members and heritage that they have to change the song to "Sweet Home King". At least find a name with 4 syllables so that don't have to change the melody.

Re:The Problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928677)

Lol, you dont know the population of those states very well. There are more Mormons per capita in Idaho.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_LDS_Membership_per_capita_2009.PNG

WInner-take-all == dumb (4, Insightful)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928427)

This speaks to doing away with winner-take-all rules that many states have. I can pretty much guarantee that people living in central California have little in common with people living in downtown San Francisco, ideologically speaking. So why should the latter get to speak for the former? Yet in California, all electoral votes have been magically switched leading people to think the whole of California is liberal. I've been saying this for the past 20 years that the political divide in this country is not about Republican vs. Democrat. It's much more about ruralite vs. urbanite. When you look at election results broken down by county instead of by state, you see a much different picture. Urban districts generally vote liberal Democrat while rural districts vote conservative Republican. Party ideology aside, people in rural areas have vastly different priorities than those who live in cities. People who live in cities often are so full of themselves that they think only they know what's good for city dwellers as well as those who live in the country and they tend to impose legislation without having the slightest bit of experience living in the country.

Re:WInner-take-all == dumb (3, Funny)

foniksonik (573572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928553)

Don't forget Suburbia where the people could care less about the depraved city dwellers or the backwoods ruralites.

Why this entire redrawing of our state borders.... (0)

gavron (1300111) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928447)

And if my grandmother hand wheels on her shoes,
she'd roller skate down the hill.

Crack pipe posting on slashdot. Must be a slow weekend.

What's next? A map of how different US presidents with all-changed-names
would have made us into either HItler-slaves or Battlestar-Galactica Cylon
killers?

Score one for the "Yeah slashdot wasted bandwidth on something so stupid
it's unbelievable" queue.

E

Why Kansas? (2)

plopez (54068) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928487)

Slavery and the balance between slave and free states. The author of the article has no sense of US history, which is sad and scary. Logically it makes no sense to lump Hawaii with a west coast area due to isolation and different climate. Lumping Alaska with Rainer makes no sense either for the same reason. There is more to geography than human population. Remember, the "Geo" in geography means "Earth". The physical features of the planet, politics, and limitations of technology often trump an idealization of reality. So over all I give the article a big "meh". It's too simplistic to be interesting.

Great! Until... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928509)

Great! Until the population composition of the country changes...

why so burden (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928535)

lol just vote directly from every citizen

Why have States? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928541)

If we're going to presume a constitutional amendment, why aim so low? Instead of a minor tweak, why not try for something radical?

In issue after issue, popular sentiment seems to lie with the idea of federal supremacy, and national uniformity of laws and policies. Neither the federal government,nor the national public seems to have any respect for States Rights, States Sovereignty. Any time there seems to be a rational argument for uniform laws, sovereignty is forgotten. My favorite example is the federal deadbeat dads law. Sure there's an argument for it. What argument remains to still have states? Why have state and local governments?

I'm not serious; just trolling.

 

A nightmare for Democrats? (1)

heehau (1036066) | about a year and a half ago | (#42928609)

I keep reading the sentence, "For Democrats, it could be straight out of a nightmare." How exactly is this true? If anything, the current system favors Republicans by overrepresenting rural (mostly red) states.

what's the fucking point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42928673)

population shifts.. deal with it, bible belt.

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