American history is peppered with strange backwaters, and lands that never were. One such oddity, a piece of counterfactual history, concerns Texas and why it is as it is shaped today. What if Texas was different? This is not as daft an idea as you might first think, for when Texas chose to join the union in 1845, there was left an option of it coming in as a number of states, or as one very large one. Texas, obviously, chose to come in as one. But out on the web there are those who wonder “what if” and “how might it have been”. One such is a site Fivethirtyeight who, back in 2009, used the results of the last election to see what such a place might look like if it were indeed five states. The red blocks represent districts that voted for McCain and the blue for Obama. Look on it as the ultimate in re-districting.
Five thirty eight suggest the divisions and some names they think apposite.
New Texas with a capital at Austin would have a population of about 4.25 million roughly the size of Kentucky.
Trinity and its capital at Dallas might be larger at 7.5 million and thus comparable with Virginia.
Gulfland, down at Houston, is a similar size.
Plainland, up north at Lubbock is, at 2.5 million, the size of Nevada.
Finally El Norte snaking on the river has its capital at El Paso and has a population the same as Nevada.
Fivethirtyeight see the Electoral votes changing from 34 to 42.
Copyright David Macadam 2011