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My Cascadia mega-project is temporarily on hold. I understand Dave Bradlee is looking into ways that Canada can be incorporated into DRA (its redistribution, Canadian-speak for "redistricting", is coming up next spring), and I'm going slow on British Columbia in the hopes that I'll eventually be able to do it on the app rather than hand-counting each block group and dissemination block, which takes an excruciating amount of time.

I'm thinking that when I rev back up, I will present at least two visions of Cascadia: first, the broader region, including all of Alaska, Yukon, British Columbia, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Western Montana; and second, the narrower region, including Western Oregon (excluding Southern Oregon, as traditionally defined, and including Hood River County), Western Washington, Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, the B.C. coast, and Southeast Alaska.

The broader region basically just cuts four states completely out of the Union and takes away the somewhat more populous western half of Montana. It creates a 46-state Union and would require 18 congressional districts to be reallocated accordingly.

The narrower region actually would leave a 50-state Union, simply minus a few congressional districts that would have to be reallocated. Southeast Alaska's removal doesn't make a huge dent in Alaska's at-large congressional district, but the vast majority of Oregon's population and the significant majority of Washington's population resides west of the Cascade Mountains' crest. In fact, Eastern Oregon, if it were its own state, would be the least populous in the country if Southern Oregon were excluded, and the 45th most populous if it were included. Either way, it would have only one at-large congressional district.

My "solution" -- because I like things to be interesting, not boring -- was to merge Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington into the state of Imperial, while putting Southern Oregon together with the counties of Northern California to create the state of Jefferson (following the expanded modern "definition" including more counties than the original 1941 proposal).

We'll start with Imperial. This state would be mostly high desert and semiarid steppe, but would include the fertile Palouse as well. Any of the Tri-Cities would be a likely candidate for Imperial's state capital, with their heavy growth, good infrastructure, and central location. It goes without saying that Imperial would be a politically very conservative state, similar to neighboring Idaho, though not quite as extreme. All but three counties in the state went for Sen. John McCain in 2008, though the relatively populous Deschutes and Spokane counties were very close to going for then-Sen. Barack Obama. Overall, the two-party vote here was 44-56.

IM-01 (blue): Although it contains the light-blue college town of Ellensburg and much of the Latino-heavy Tri-Cities area, this district was easily carried by McCain. It's quite similar to the pre-redistricting WA-04, represented by Rep. Doc Hastings (R). Hastings, who lives in Pasco, is actually left outside the district; he would probably run here anyway. (Note that since my Cascadia scenario is inherently unrealistic, I'm not really spending too much energy worrying about whether Hastings would be able to use his political clout to force a different map to be drawn, or even who would be drawing the map to begin with.) Safe Republican.

IM-02 (green): Without Southern Oregon, Eastern Oregon has less than a quarter of the population of Eastern Washington, so this district includes not only that whole region, but also Franklin County (which contains Pasco), the four Lost Counties (the ones that should belong to Oregon but were transferred to the Washington Territory prior to statehood because of Washingtonians' complaints over their comparative lack of agricultural land), Adams County, and part of Washington's Grant County. Those two Grant counties should probably work something out, huh? Anyway, this district would be bright screaming red. Rep. Greg Walden (R) lives in Hood River, part of the Republic of Cascadia, but if he chose exodus, he could resettle in the state and have the inside track on representing this district. Otherwise, I'm sure Oregon Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli would be very interested. Safe Republican.

IM-03 (purple): This district is very similar to the one represented by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) of Spokane. It's the most competitive seat on the map, though at R+7, that's not saying much. Obama only lost this district in 2008 by about four and a half points, and the Spokane area is trending back toward blue after a hard right turn in the 1990s -- but McMorris Rodgers is personally popular, and the local Democratic organization here has really fallen apart since Tom Foley left office. Likely Republican.

Imperial would also get to elect two senators. With how red the state is, it would be very surprising if both were not Republicans. I'd expect that former Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith of Pendleton would be very interested in running, and I think McMorris Rodgers would likely run as well.

So now let's look at the 19-county version of Jefferson. In 1941, a movement for several Oregon and California counties to secede and form their own state to have greater local control gained some traction. Any serious discussion was curtailed by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This part of the country contains lots of high mountains and stratovolcanoes, a stunning coastline, and some rather arid plains. Its state capital under the 1941 proposal would have been Yreka. Out of tradition, I would think that would probably be the best location, but Redding is larger and has undeniably more infrastructure conducive to being an administrative center. Medford is less centrally located, but is fast-growing and could be a contender as well. The state still would have voted for McCain in 2008, but it wouldn't have been a total blowout. The two-party vote here was 47.6-52.4, actually putting it in swing state territory.

JE-01 (blue): It's possible to draw Jefferson with two pretty solid red districts, but since I am a Democrat, I chose to draw what I think is a more fair map. This district has a pretty good chance of having Democratic representation, even if it's not quite a slam dunk. It includes the very blue coastal counties of Humboldt and Mendocino, as well as Democratic southern Jackson County and ancestrally Democratic Coos and Curry counties, along with an arm taking in the blue city of Chico to round out population without splitting communities. Rep. Wally Herger (R) actually lives here, in Chico, but he is retiring this year. His likely successor, Republican candidate Doug LaMalfa, lives just outside it, in Richvale. Democrat Jared Huffman is likely to end up representing much of the Californian portion of this district, but he lives south of the Jefferson state line, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D), who represents much of the Oregonian portion of the district, would be a Cascadian. So this is a seat without an incumbent. Oregon House Co-Speaker Arnie Roblan of Coos Bay would probably be a strong Democratic candidate here, as would California Asm. Wesley Chesbro of Arcata. Republicans would probably love to run Oregon state Sen. Jason Atkinson of Central Point, but he's retiring. LaMalfa might have a clearer shot here than he would in the other district, though I doubt it. Oregon state Rep. Wayne Krieger of Gold Beach is probably too old to run for a first term in the House, at age 72, as is California Asm. Jim Nielsen of Gerber, at age 68. But I can definitely see professional crazy person and repeat House candidate Art Robinson of Cave Junction running here. Lean Democratic.

JE-02 (green): Well, you can forget about this seat going blue anytime soon. LaMalfa lives here, but he's very close to the district's edge. I think he would probably run here. Former Redding Mayor Rick Bosetti could also be a candidate. Oregon Sen. Doug Whitsett of Klamath Falls and California Asm. Dan Logue of Linda are probably a bit old to run. Democrats don't have any obvious options here. This district is so heavily tilted to the Republicans because of the steep coastal/inland divide in California, as well as the lack of major population centers from Oregon. Douglas County, which is mostly contained within this district, is fairly populous, but it's also very conservative. Safe Republican.

Senators for Jefferson are a bit less obvious than for Imperial. LaMalfa could run, of course, and I think he might be the likeliest candidate to do so. Atkinson could be tempted to give up retirement, since he'd have a very good chance at being elected to the Senate. I think Chesbro is a bit too liberal to have a good shot here for the Democrats, but one intriguing option is Oregon state Sen. Alan Bates of Ashland, who survived a tight battle in 2010. At 67, Bates would be a rather old first-time House candidate, but he's a year younger than Angus King.


Originally posted to SaoMagnifico on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 04:37 PM PDT.

Also republished by PacNW Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III, page394

    Keeper of the DKE glossary. Priceless: worth a lot; not for sale.

    by SaoMagnifico on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 04:37:59 PM PDT

  •  As someone who lives in your proposed JE-01 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FarWestGirl, N in Seattle

    I say, no thanks.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 04:57:58 PM PDT

    •  I look forward to it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      With what E WA and E OR will be able to charge the west side of the Cascades for energy (we own our generating facilities and already sell power there), our rates, already the lowest in the nation, could probably drop to free.

      And then we can slap huge tariffs on the import/export of data, because a lot of data centers are now located on the E side of the Cascades for both cheap energy and public-owned bandwidth.

      Of course Cascadia as envisioned produces virtually no food relative to the size of its population, and will have to import nearly all of its food. So our apples, peaches, cherries, potatoes, sweet corn, and wheat - and even hay for feeding dairy or beef cattle - will be able to command much higher prices too.

      They'll already be losing all the US government subsidized jobs at Boeing, which will move production elsewhere (it's already trying to, but the NLRB threw a monkey wrench in those plans), and military bases - both naval and JBLM (Fort Lewis and McCord AFB).

      But the rudest awakening will be when Cascadia finds out its residents are unwilling to pay taxes for anything - in WA State, the anti-tax Eyman initiatives pass because of west side votes for them. The east side is only 20% of the statewide vote in any election,  and only affects outcomes when they're as close as Cantwell-Gorton or the first Gregoire-Rossi race. And producers like Microsoft already pay next to nothing in taxes - and they're employees pay no income taxes - and will leave instead of paying.

      In Soviet Russia, you rob bank. In America, bank robs you.

      by badger on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 05:22:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cascadia would necessarily... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Need to diversify its agricultural output. Much of what is grown in the Willamette Valley, for instance, is non-staple crops like hazelnuts, hops, and grass.

        Bonneville Dam is west of the Cascades, but Cascadia would need to explore wind and solar power as well.

        Cascadia would need a military. Assuming it were to separate peaceably from the U.S. and Canada, such a deal would likely include the (phased) handover of military bases to Cascadia control. Washington is already bracing for the loss of Boeing, but depending on Cascadian corporate taxes and subsidies, it might abandon its plans to relocate. Nike could similarly be enticed to remain in Beaverton.

        And as for taxes -- Oregonians have been paying income tax for decades. (The Oregonian perspective has long been that Washingtonians should suck it up and institute an income tax.) So have British Columbians. Most Southeast Alaskan municipalities more or less manage their own affairs; I tend to think under Cascadian federalism, there would likely be some arrangement between Southeast and B.C., perhaps with Southeast merging with upper B.C. to form a state of Stikine. But yes, Washingtonians would really have to shelve their opposition to the income tax if Cascadia were to sustain itself.

        A broader Cascadia, which wouldn't coexist with these states of Imperial and Jefferson, of course, would lack some of these problems. That's a strong argument for that particular concept -- though I wonder whether the detriment of having a much larger conservative population would outweigh the benefits. It's an interesting question.

        Keeper of the DKE glossary. Priceless: worth a lot; not for sale.

        by SaoMagnifico on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 05:40:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, but (0+ / 0-)

          AFAIK, all of the wind power in WA and OR is also E of the Cascades - Goldendale and the Gorge, Kittitas Valley, Columbia Plateau, etc., and I wouldn't count too much on solar power in Portland, Seattle, Astoria and the OR coast, or the Olympic Peninsula. The socialists in E WA and E OR control the amount of water the Bonneville Dam gets to see, and when it gets to see it, so we can control that to keep our prices up.  And all of the environmentalists on the west side would want Bonneville breached, anyway.

          Cascadia would need a military, but it would have a) no tax base to fund one, and b) few volunteers to staff one. Nike in Beaverton is simply marketing and management, production being farmed out to child labor and sweatshops globally. That hardly seems like a moral or ethical basis for a progressive economy, although it's likely Nike would be able to relocate sweatshops to Cascadia eventually, as the rest of industry dwindles due to tax avoidance. Embrace of Nike is evidence of the selfishness and moral bankruptcy of the Cascadia concept.

          However a substantial economy might be derived from flying pigs and thawing the colder parts of hell when King County residents finally volunteer to pay income taxes. It isn't the fault of E WA that the state has one of the most regressive tax structures in the nation.

          In Soviet Russia, you rob bank. In America, bank robs you.

          by badger on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:13:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'd just make Cascadia a new country (3+ / 0-)

    As long as we're still part of the union, what's the point? I'd love to see the United States become a dozen countries. Smaller is better. We'd work it out.

  •  It'd be nice if you could re-post the maps (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    showing county lines.  Otherwise, cool concept!

    19, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
    Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
    UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.5.38, -3.23

    by jncca on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 06:23:08 PM PDT

  •  California (0+ / 0-)

    What did you do with the rest of California?

    Terry Phillips for Congress in 23rd District of California.

    by hankmeister on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 10:43:43 PM PDT

  •  At 7,765 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SaoMagnifico, jncca

    Yreka would pass Montpelier as being the least populous state capital, by 90 people, according to the 2010 census.

    Great project.

    24, Practical Progressive Democrat (-4.75, -4.51), DKE Gay Caucus Majority Leader, IN-02; Swingnut. Gregg/Simpson for Governor! Donnelly for Senate! Mullen for Congress!

    by HoosierD42 on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 12:11:15 AM PDT

  •  From Canada, this looks like the same old (0+ / 0-)

    imperialism. Thanks, but no.

    •  It's called a hypothetical thought exercise (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's just a tongue in cheek look at remaking maps and observing political geography. Sheesh.

      "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

      by ArkDem14 on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 07:08:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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