Referendum Proposal for Formally Dividing the United States

Regardless of how the presidential and Congressional elections turn out in a few weeks, the United States will likely experience worsening, escalating political and social turmoil afterward.  If Trump and the Republicans eventually win (perhaps after court challenges), the far Left that dominates the Democrat Party will go mad with violence, looting, and overall insanity that will make the past several months seem like a pleasant romp in the park.  If Biden and the Democrats ultimately are declared the winners (which I think, unfortunately, is likely), they will be sure to enact radical policies that will be intolerable anathema to the conservative parts of the country. 

In addition to their socialistic/communistic policies, the Democrats have already promised to manipulate the Supreme Court, lower courts, Congress, and the electoral system in ways designed to ensure that they can carry out autocratic, one-party rule for the foreseeable future.  Apparently, the Dems feel so sure about their dominance of American culture and all of its institutions that they are confident that they will get away with such blatant subversion of the U.S. Constitution.

But could the radical Dems actually get away with it?  Will the conservative/libertarian areas of the country—like the conservative strongholds of Texas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, or even conservative regions like southern Illinois or northern California—tolerate the Democrat-socialist radicalization of America?  Would the people in those conservative areas have any options?  Perhaps civil disobedience by citizens, resistance by local or state governments, or even secession?

In the opposite scenario—with Trump winning and mass Leftist violence ensuing—will the majority of the American people continue to put up with the BLM-Antifa-Dem craziness?  Are they going to keep tolerating mobs threatening and attacking innocent people and looting and destroying private property?  Will the police continue to tolerate the neutering of their powers and the encouraging of violence by their local political bosses?  Will Leftist parts of the country try to secede from a Republican-controlled federal government?

Time for a divorce

Time will tell how the deeply divided American public will react to the election results.  But it has been clear for a long time now that the American public is indeed deeply, profoundly, and irreconcilably divided on a range of social, cultural, and political issues.  We have essentially nothing in common with each other anymore, as Rush Limbaugh has often observed.  We are like foreigners to each other.  The United States is a dysfunctional marriage that is beyond the hope of marriage counseling.  The only solution is divorce. 

I have concluded that it is time that we formally establish two Americas—one for the Left and one for the Right.  Then, we could each run our country the way we want, without the constant unproductive fighting, which will never resolve anything because we are shouting at each other in totally different languages.  I started thinking along these lines many years ago, based on my observations of American culture. After the past several extremely troubling Twilight-Zone months of 2020, I sense that more and more serious political commentators are finally and reluctantly coming around to a similar conclusion. Francis H. Buckley, of The American Spectator, recently wrote a book about secession and American division, arguing that it might be desirable.  Some conservative radio commentators, like Ben Shapiro and Mark Levin, have at least acknowledged the possibility.

How could such a formal division best be accomplished?  Would certain states declare that they are seceding from the union and no longer recognizing the authority of the federal government?  Would the federal government allow states to secede? Or would a new civil war result, with some states taking up arms to secede and other states fighting back to preserve the union?  In other words, would division necessarily mean revisiting the horrors of 1861 to 1865?  But from another perspective, would modern-day Americans, who have grown rather soft with the comforts of material wealth and the instant gratification of the online world, even have the fortitude to commit themselves to such a deadly serious undertaking?

Alternative to secession and war

The answer to the latter question, for most Americans, is probably “no.”  We see the groups of hateful Leftist rioters in the streets, we hear the angry rhetoric from both the Right and Left, and we see the escalating sales of guns and ammunition, and it is easy to think that we are on the verge of all-out civil war.  Perhaps we are. Some people on both sides of the political divide may want war.  But it is still hard for me to envision average middle-class Americans today shooting and killing each other en masse in the name of politics.

Fortunately, secession and war do not constitute the only answer.  There is a way to divide America peacefully and orderly. It is the all-American way: voting. 

I envision an eventual nationwide referendum on American division.  Let the American people decide whether they want to belong to a Left America or a Right America, with each side getting what they want at the end of the voting.  But such a referendum could not be decided on a state-by-state basis, because the states themselves are deeply politically divided.  For example, although Chicago and Cook County are solidly Democrat, most of the rest of Illinois typically votes Republican.  That tendency reflects a general nationwide trend of urban areas voting Left, semirural and rural areas voting Right, and suburban areas being split.

A referendum that would more accurately reflect this type of regional/local division would have to be based on counties.  Thus, I propose a nationwide referendum in which the voters in each of the nation’s roughly 3,100 counties vote to be part of an American nation based on Left-wing principles (e.g., big government, group rights, high taxes) or Right-wing principles (e.g., small government, individual liberty, low taxes).  When the results are in, those counties in which the majority of voters voted Left would form a new United Left States of America (or some other name indicative of their political leanings).  The leaders of this new nation would develop their constitution and laws, and they would order their society and economy, according to their Leftist principles.  Conversely, those counties in which the majority of voters voted Right would form a new United Right States of America according to their principles. Hopefully, the two new Americas would have a civil and cooperative relationship.

If the results of this referendum were to be anything like the results of the 2016 presidential election, the Right America would consist of approximately 2,600 counties, while the Left America would have about 500 counties.  (We’ll soon see how these numbers turn out in 2020.)  The hypothetical 500 Left counties would include the majority of the most populous counties.  So, the Left would control the major urban centers (and get both the significant benefits and substantial problems of those centers).  The Right would control the more open and less populous areas, though the populations of some of those areas would be expected to grow as new urban centers develop.  And given the economic policies of each of the new Americas, industrial and economic vibrancy would likely migrate from the old, Left urban centers to the new, Right urban centers.  It would take some time, but it would happen.

Reality or fantasy?

Is this idea for a referendum on national division reality or fantasy?  Well, it is difficult to distinguish between the two these days, considering the bizarre never-expected dystopian events of 2020.  So, who knows?  I believe that it is at least worth the effort to promote this idea and open it up to discussion and debate.  However, I know that a lot of Americans, especially on the Right, are instinctively opposed to the concept of national division.

Making national division work would be difficult on economically and socially practical levels, because many of the various parts of each new country would be geographically noncontiguous.  Left America would be mainly along the east and west coasts, with scattered parts through the Southeast, in south Florida and south Texas, and certain areas elsewhere in the West and upper Midwest.  Right America would be located around and between these Left regions, making up most of, but not all of, America’s vast interior.

The geographically disjointed nature of the two Americas would present a host of practical challenges.  Nevertheless, in our modern era of instant online connections, these challenges would not be insurmountable, as they would have been decades ago.  (And the problems associated with being noncontiguous would be minimized by friendly and respectful relations between the two nations.)  Furthermore, Alaska and Hawaii, as well as Puerto Rico and other American territories, have long served as evidence that physical connections are not necessary for a nation.  Although the two new Americas would have many breaks in their geography, they would each be much more cohesive, united, and logical in term of philosophical outlook and psychological makeup than is the current “United” (in name only) States. 

Of course, Republican and Democrat politicians and government officials would have to both agree to the referendum and subsequent division.  That would be the greatest challenge, considering that many governors, senators, and other office holders would lose their jobs in the new arrangements. Furthermore, Leftists, at their core, are opposed to any form of compromise.  Their basic totalitarian nature means that they want to control everything, so they would be highly unlikely to agree to any form of popular vote in which they would stand to lose control over large portions of the population.  And Republicans, for their part, are unlikely to push for such a referendum given their basic spineless and indecisive nature. 

Moreover, many conservatives today still refuse to accept the reality that they have already permanently lost huge parts of the nation to the Leftist-progressive movement.  Thus, they would probably think that the ideas proposed in this essay are thoroughly ridiculous.  Many conservatives continue to cling to the concept that they can win back most of the country; all it will take, they think, are some well-articulated arguments and attractive candidates.  I’m sorry to break the news, but that kind of rose-colored-glasses, eternally optimistic mindset is delusional and suicidal, and conservatives better learn to overcome it fast, or else they are going to lose everything forever.

If these political challenges and psychological barriers cannot be overcome, I fear that the dark, violent, bloody, crazy, hate-filled days and nights that we have become familiar with are going to get a lot worse for America.  Unless Americans come to terms with the about-to-hit-the-fan reality of our current national situation, they are going to suddenly find themselves shocked to the core soon, wondering what the hell happened.  My proposed referendum on American division offers a logical, reasonable, and peaceful way to deal with the reality of where we are now as a nation, and it presents opportunities to try to build something productive and enduring for the future of all of us.

About the author:
A. J. Smuskiewicz is a freelance writer specializing in science, medicine, history, current events, and cultural issues. He can be contacted at: [email protected] His website is at: