4 new states from Maryland?

Just looking at map of Maryland makes it clear it's one of the most poorly-designed states—with ungainly tentacles spreading in all directions. The result has been a long list of proposals to carve out new states: Folks on the eastern side of Chesapeake bay have regularly clamored for separation. Washington DC (which is not actually part of Maryland, of course) also wants statehood. Now, western Maryland is getting into the act. “Western Maryland: A New State Initiative,” has been launched by a guy named Scott Strzelczyk. My map above overlays Strzelczyk's proposed state on top of the other statehood proposals in the region. 

While the West Maryland idea has no practical chance to create the 51st state, there is a strategy that separatists like Strzelczyk might consider. I'll call it the "Middle County Swap"—and it would work like this:

Let's say you have two states that border each other, Blueland and Redland. Blueland tends to vote 51 percent for the Blue Party, and Redland votes 51 percent for the Red Party. Those margins are too close for the majority leaders in each state--who sweat out each election. Now, let's say the overwhelming majority of the voters in the Middle Counties vote for the Blue Party. They are sick of being governed by the Red Party so they petition to secede from Redland and join Blueland. This is actually good for Red Party leaders in Redland, because—despite becoming a slightly smaller state--they could now be assured of Red victories going forward. Because if the Middle Counties secede from Redland, then Redland has a higher percentage of Red voters. Blue Party leaders in Blueland get the same desirable outcome, that is, a higher percentage of Blue Party voters in their state.  And Middle County voters get what they want; governance by the Blue Party. The only people who don't win in this scenario are the minority parties in each state who lose clout. They might not like it, but because they are minorities, they can be outvoted. 

So if Scott Strzelczyk really wants to make changes to the governance in his region, he might look to join neighboring Pennsylvania, West Virginia, or Virginia. It's still a long, long, long shot... but it seems more feasible than creating a 51st state. 

by Michael Trinklein


  1. I've always thought the states of Maryland and West Virginia should trade their respective panhandle extremities. Morgan County, Jefferson County, and Berkeley County would join Maryland while Allegany County and Garrett County would join West Virginia. This would make for a more practical shape for each and eliminate impractical borders for each state.

    Eastern Maryland, eastern Virginia, and Delaware combining as one state on their peninsula would be a practical boundary realignment uniting like demographics and using geography as a natural border. I would welcome this change to the atlas although I'm well aware that Rand McNally could never fit the entire state onto one page without chopping the lower counties and placing them onto a separate side map.

    BTW, welcome back to blogging. I hope your new posts are a harbinger of good things to come. I've missed your input.

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