The Midterms came and went. Votes are still being tallied. And, the seeds of American dissolution are in the ground and have been there for some time. There is no question these seedlings are sprouting, as our political divisions harden beyond repair.
New York Magazine is the latest in a long line of publications theorizing/war gaming what this new America would look like.
The year is 2019. California’s new governor, Gavin Newsom, recently elected on a platform that included support for the creation of a single-payer health-care system, now must figure out how to enact it. A prior nonpartisan analysis priced it at $400 billion per year — twice the state’s current budget. There appears to be no way to finance such a plan without staggering new taxes, making California a magnet for those with chronic illnesses just as its tax rates send younger, healthier Californians house-hunting in Nevada and big tech employers consider leaving the state.
But Newsom is not alone. Other governors have made similar promises, and Newsom calls together the executives of the most ideologically like-minded states — Oregon, Washington, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland. What if they banded to create a sole unified single-payer health-care system, spreading risk around a much larger pool of potential patients while creating uniformity across some of the country’s wealthiest states?
Parts of this piece read like the series bible for NBC’s The West Wing: Year 2038. In this America, Gavin Newsom and Greg Abbott lead their divergent packs of States with a gentlemen’s agreement not to legally mess with each other, all while President Trump laps it up. Yeah, ok.
This particular new take imagines Americans peacefully going their separate ways, with a Red, Blue and Neutral batch of states calling most of their own policy shots, all while a weakened federal government in Washington D.C. roleplays as the enabling spectator/political scientist conducting a decades-long research experiment on States’ Rights.
I have to hand it to New York Magazine for conjuring up a scenario with no bloodshed. I suppose however unlikely a bloodless divorce would be, it’s still preferable to a Balkans-styled version.
Whatever you think of this or any other piece trying to see America’s future, my own sci-fi tale included, America ain’t gonna be the same country in the very near future. Demographic shifts — deliberatly set in motion decades ago — saw to that.