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This is the second (more serious) part of two posts exploring the political consequences that would happen if Canada became part of the United States. The previous part can be found here.

A note to all Canadian readers: this post was written for the intent of a good laugh, and some serious political analysis along with it. It is not meant to offend, and sincere apologies are offered if any offense at all is taken.

How Important Would Canada Be?

The previous post looked at what would have happened in the 2004 presidential election if Canada had been part of the United States:


More below.

Democratic candidate John Kerry wins, but barely so. If 6,000 votes had shifted in Wisconsin, here is what would have happened:


Suddenly President George W. Bush is re-elected again.

This example probably overstates the importance of Canada. Canada's Democratic vote would probably have sent Vice President Al Gore to the White House. But before that, one has to go all the way back to 1876 to find an election when the result would have been changed by Canada voting Democratic. Indeed, before 2000 the last time it matters which way Canada votes comes in 1916.

America's presidents would mostly have been the same with or without Canada.

Here is another way to look at the picture. In the 2008 presidential election, a total of 131.2 million Americans voted. In the same year Canada held federal elections, in which 13.8 million Canadians voted. If one assumes that the same number of Canadians would vote in an American presidential election, one can make the table below:

If Canada Votes… Then Barack Obama Gains:
100% Democratic 9.53%
90% Democratic 7.70%
80% Democratic 5.83%
70% Democratic 3.93%
65% Democratic 2.96%
60% Democratic 1.98%
55% Democratic 1.00%

To be fair, these are not bad figures for Democrats. An increase of three percent in one's popular vote is nothing to sniff at. At the same time, however, it is nothing world-altering.

Let's take a look at the 2010 midterm elections. 87.8 million Americans voted for a congressional representative, and Republicans won that vote nationally by 6.8%. One can run the same numbers with Canada's 2008 federal elections to get:

If Canada Votes… Then Republicans Win By:
100% Democratic -6.81%
90% Democratic -4.24%
80% Democratic -1.60%
70% Democratic 1.12%
65% Democratic 2.51
60% Democratic 3.92%
55% Democratic 5.35%

This indicates that Democrats would have needed around about three-fourths of the Canadian vote to tie in the 2010 popular vote.


A Canadian 51st state of the United States would not change American politics enormously. Ultimately Canada is just not populated enough to fundamentally alter the status quo.

To be sure, the Democratic Party would probably do a bit better initially. Liberal policies would be a bit more popular; conservative policies a bit less so. Canada would help Democrats in the House of Representatives, probably giving them around two dozen extra representatives (although Democratic strength would probably be diluted by the Quebec independence vote). On the presidential level, Democrats would need the Midwest a bit less. They could win with the John Kerry coalition - but barely so.

The beauty of the two-party system, however, is that the Republican Party would eventually adjust. It would move leftwards, much as it did after the New Deal or Democrats moved rightwards after the Reagan years. Eventually, after adopting more liberal policies, the two parties would again approach equilibrium.'s a whole different story if Mexico was part of the United States (and not necessarily one that Democrats would like).


Originally posted to Inoljt on Mon May 16, 2011 at 09:55 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Allen, MKSinSA, kevinpdx, mideedah

    by Inoljt on Mon May 16, 2011 at 01:53:02 AM PDT

  •  You'd have to take Canada as provinces (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Allen, some other george, ogre

    And it has "red" provinces and blue provinces.  Saskatchewan is very different from Ontario.

    If we don't stop them here, then where? If not now, then when?

    by nightsweat on Mon May 16, 2011 at 09:59:28 AM PDT

    •  every province (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Except 1 would have voted for Kerry in 2004.  The 1 was surprisingly not Alberta, but New Brunswick, which I can only interpet as some kind of regional distaste for Kerry as a New Englander or something.

      That's according to a poll that was done in Canada somewhere in late 2004.  

      Presumably you're right that American politicians could win Sask and Alberta, but not as they are today.

      •  Highly doubtful… (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        …let's say that in our mythology that Benedict Arnold's invasion of Quebec was successful in 1775 and that Quebec and Ontario became part of the nascent United States.

        There is a good chance that Quebec would be English-speaking, Ontario and Quebec would be bluish like the states below them, the maritime provinces would have remained British, and the prairie provinces would probably have evolved in a similar reddish fashion to the prairies states, albeit without the arbitrary border of the 49th parallel, thus there would probably be an additional state or two between the Missouri and Saskatchewan Rivers and the northern prairie states would probably reach the Arctic.

        There is little chance that the southwest and southern states would look the same as the Civil and Mexican Wars would have happened in a far different fashion, if they happened at all.

        Teh stoopidTM, it hurts. Buy smart, union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone:

        by DemSign on Mon May 16, 2011 at 10:34:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  If the provinces became states... (0+ / 0-)

    What effect would that have on our politics?  The biggest issue wouldn't be electoral votes but new Senators and Representatives.  I don't know much about the politics of the individual provinces so maybe someone with a bit more knowledge could enlighten us.

  •  In your looks at Canad and Mexico (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, dewtx

    you take them whole.  Mexico has states, Canada, provinces, and we can't just ignore that.

    "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau -6.38, -4.15

    by James Allen on Mon May 16, 2011 at 10:03:46 AM PDT

  •  You might as well posit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The existence of some mythical 51 state that contains the same potential of votes, electoral college votes, reps and senators since you don't and didn't take into consideration any of the history or issues that might swing the Canadian vote one way or the other. And in your last diary where you had Canada as a state from 1812, you don't even consider how the formation of the continent's governance would have changed.

    So, I came back to give you a second chance, but meh.

    Social media consultant for small and local business MoLoSo

    by Bionic on Mon May 16, 2011 at 10:05:05 AM PDT

  •  If Quebec had separated from Canada (0+ / 0-)

    It was at least possible that the rest of Canada might not have held together and that the Atlantic provinces might have ended up petitioning for statehood.

    •  Awaiting the author's next diary... (5+ / 0-)

      "What if the U.S. was part of Canada"....

      "Canada is a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it" Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, part time vampire

      by marigold on Mon May 16, 2011 at 10:29:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There was a lot of talk of this (0+ / 0-)

      and part of the issue was what would the parts of Canada other than Quebec have brought to the table to be worth receiving statehood. IIRC the Maritimes didn't fare so well.

      Ontario would probably have done the same, push came to shove and the reality of separation would not have been good for Quebec, especially since a majority of the native population there did not support it.

      I doubt most Americans realize how close they came to a war on their borders in the 90s and I'm not talking about Mexico.

      Social media consultant for small and local business MoLoSo

      by Bionic on Mon May 16, 2011 at 11:18:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is the South less conservative than you think? (0+ / 0-)

    Good companion to this.

    Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

    by tom 47 on Mon May 16, 2011 at 10:42:29 AM PDT

  •  i appreciate the concept... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boxer babe, mideedah, Bionic

    but not the follow through. canada has a variety of provinces with different political leanings. this analyis is basically this : )


    "You can make a profound intellectual statement just by basing your efforts on silliness." -- Donald Roller Wilson

    by canadian gal on Mon May 16, 2011 at 10:48:08 AM PDT

  •  It might not be a terrible thing for (0+ / 0-)

    Canada. At least environmentally. Canadian environmental laws, if you want to call them that, suck. For far to long, the Canadian environmental policies have been dominated by the idea of "if we screw this place up, who cares, there is so much other land"

  •  The U.S. is a cancer (0+ / 0-)

    Canada is not the cure.

    In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but in its effects. J. William Fulbright

    by crescentdave on Mon May 16, 2011 at 11:10:21 AM PDT

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