Last week, the Indian government announced that it would move to split the southern state of Andhra Pradesh in two, caving to the demands of a local politician who “vowed to starve himself to death if India didn’t redraw the map.” Shortly thereafter, similar movements sprang up across the country, all demanding statehood for their particular ethnic region. As one Indian commentator fretted, “Now people will think all you have to do is fast and you can get your own state.” Somewhere, Joe Lieberman is taking notes.
It’s all kind of a mess, but it raises a great question: Why don’t we do the same thing? Take any major contemporary policy issue (climate change, health care, or, why not, farm subsidies) and odds are that the ability to address it is hindered by the fact that the US Senate, as Matthew Yglesias has noted, is incredibly unrepresentative of the nation as a whole. All you need to do is pick up a map: There are two Dakotas and just one California; there’s a Delaware and a Rhode Island but no Washington, DC (at least in Congress). Simply put, we need better states.
So what changes would you make to the map? Have at it in the comments. And to get your creative juices flowing, here’s Jonathan Chait’s epic takedown of the state of Delaware.