National Journal Wash. DC: What If We Redrew State (US-Can) Boundaries?

by News

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Any attempt to reform the way Americans vote for their representatives in Washington runs into a major roadblock: the states. Federalism is a wonderful idea, but it can’t be entirely realized with the current map. States are meant to act as “guardians of a common interest,” as James Madison wrote in Federalist 46, but common interests—whether economic, cultural, or political—are often split by antiquated and arbitrary state lines.

When the framers sat down in 1787, there were just 13 states, each with its own history, government, economy, and culture. Today, we have 50 states carved into one another, often capriciously. The map is a product of conflicting land grants from foreign powers, long-forgotten political battles (including some violent ones), historical oddities, and limited surveying capacity. States are gerrymandered just as badly as House districts, but they don’t have the benefit of being redrawn after every census. If the framers knew then what we know now, there’s no way they’d envision today’s state setup as the “more perfect union.”

Read the full article in the National Journal.