What if America got rid of states and replaced them with counties?

Author: TheUnderdog ,

Posts

Total: 18
TheUnderdog
TheUnderdog's avatar
Debates: 5
Posts: 1,082
3
4
10
TheUnderdog's avatar
TheUnderdog
3
4
10
I think this would be beneficial for many reasons.

1) Your more likely to agree with the politics of your county than the politics of your state.  This means I am more likely to find politicians that agree with me on most things.

2) It allows for counties to be themselves instead of being bossed around by a state.  It allows upstate NY to be more conservative and it allows for Austin to be more liberal.  Currently, Austin has much conservative influence due to being in Texas and Upstate NY has a lot of liberal influence due to NYC.  Letting every county run themselves to an extent lets Austin be as liberal as they want and it allows upstate NY to be as conservative as they want, provided both of their ideas are in line with the constitution and supreme court cases.

3) Other counties have more autonomy and you have even more experiments within certain counties.  Currently America has 50 states with 50 experiments.  If every county was given the same autonomy a state currently has, we have up to 3143 experiments running.

4) It makes it easier to move to a place that you are more ideologically in line with.  A liberal person from Alabama has to travel hundreds of miles to be in a blue state.  Now they just need to move to the nearest liberal county which will be much closer.  A conservative from New York doesn't have to go all the way to Texas to be somewhere conservative.  They just need to find a right wing suburb if they want to be in a conservative environment.
949havoc
949havoc's avatar
Debates: 0
Posts: 263
1
2
8
949havoc's avatar
949havoc
1
2
8
--> @TheUnderdog
To do so is unconstitutional. Violates Article I, Sections 2 & 3, and Article IV, section 3.
oromagi
oromagi's avatar
Debates: 99
Posts: 6,156
7
10
11
oromagi's avatar
oromagi
7
10
11
--> @TheUnderdog
More than half of all residents live in just 143 big counties (in terms of the number of residents), according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau county estimates. That means less than half of the population is spread out across the remaining 2,999 small counties.

How would you represent this disparity at the Federal level?
Intelligence_06
Intelligence_06's avatar
Debates: 70
Posts: 2,366
4
8
11
Intelligence_06's avatar
Intelligence_06
4
8
11
--> @949havoc
That is why the US hadn’t done this already.
TheUnderdog
TheUnderdog's avatar
Debates: 5
Posts: 1,082
3
4
10
TheUnderdog's avatar
TheUnderdog
3
4
10
--> @949havoc
What do these laws state that prohibits states from being split up into counties?
TheUnderdog
TheUnderdog's avatar
Debates: 5
Posts: 1,082
3
4
10
TheUnderdog's avatar
TheUnderdog
3
4
10
--> @oromagi
At the federal level, I would implement a proportional system.  If 40% of your country votes democrat, then your party gets 40% of the seats in congress.  This works with Israel.  It also would break up the 2 party system without anyone worrying about throwing their vote away.  There would be all sorts of parties coming to fruition (and these parties would be bipartisan too) since nobody has to worry about throwing their vote away. 

Like the Femenist party.  Very pro choice.  Also is tough on crime (favoring the death penalty for rape and by extension murder). 

Or the black people's party.  Very pro BLM and anti police brutality.  Also very pro 2nd amendment to defend against that police brutality.

Or The Western party.  Very tough on immigration to preserve western values.  Also supporting Universal healthcare, another western value.

It hopefully causes the democrats and republicans to become irrelevant and we are left with just smaller parties that are principled in their beliefs.
949havoc
949havoc's avatar
Debates: 0
Posts: 263
1
2
8
949havoc's avatar
949havoc
1
2
8
--> @TheUnderdog
First and foremost, Article I, sections 2 & 3 stipulate that Representatives and Senators are elected by States. No more States; no more Congress. Article IV stipulates once formed, States cannot be altered. Eliminating them altogether is an alteration. In both cases, only an amendment can change the current law, not simple legislation. Amendments require the passage of 3/4 of both House and Senate, and then ratification by3/4 of States. Since States would be eliminated by your proposal, there is high probability such an amendment would not be ratified by any of the bodies required to do so. You're taking jobs from Congress and upsettin g the entire organization of government. Not likely to be approved.
ludofl3x
ludofl3x's avatar
Debates: 0
Posts: 1,459
3
2
2
ludofl3x's avatar
ludofl3x
3
2
2
--> @TheUnderdog
It hopefully causes the democrats and republicans to become irrelevant and we are left with just smaller parties that are principled in their beliefs.
I always figured the point of having what's largely a two party system (not necessarily these two 'brands,' but party A and party B) was to avoid minority rule. If you have six parties, one of them wins, but the other five had more votes totaled together, so literally five in six votes were for something other than what is in power. This seems a road to chaos, not to actual functioning government. While neither A nor B will be perfect, if you have to choose between one or the other, then the winner will by definition have the most votes and the majority (rather than plurality) rules. That's the way it should be done ideally, but we have the electoral college, which is I guess mostly okay, it matches most of the time the popular vote winner, but I'd be fine going to a straight popular vote system. 

TheUnderdog
TheUnderdog's avatar
Debates: 5
Posts: 1,082
3
4
10
TheUnderdog's avatar
TheUnderdog
3
4
10
--> @ludofl3x
Minority rule shouldn't exist.  That's why I think America should have instant runoff voting/alternative voting so in the event that we get a situation where no party wins a majority, then people end up having their 2nd choice get elected.  People rank their preferred parties on a ballot in order, and your going to end up with a president that the majority of people don't dispise.
ludofl3x
ludofl3x's avatar
Debates: 0
Posts: 1,459
3
2
2
ludofl3x's avatar
ludofl3x
3
2
2
--> @TheUnderdog
That's why I think America should have instant runoff voting/alternative voting so in the event that we get a situation where no party wins a majority, then people end up having their 2nd choice get elected.
What's the difference between this and the primary system we are familiar with today, as you see it? You're kind of doing runoff votes over and over again through the states, then deciding on a nominee that while maybe not perfect for everyone was acceptable to most of the people under a certain banner? 

I guess the answer would be "well if you're not under one of those you don't have the resources to compete with them," but that's an argument about money and its impact on elections, not really about voting either by state or county. 
TheUnderdog
TheUnderdog's avatar
Debates: 5
Posts: 1,082
3
4
10
TheUnderdog's avatar
TheUnderdog
3
4
10
--> @ludofl3x
The primary system is, "Whoever gets the most votes is the nominee." even if they are hated by everyone in the party who didn't vote for them.

The alternative vote is, "Whoever gets the most number of vote points is the nominee" so a politician often has to be liked even by people who wouldn't consider him their first choice in order to win.

Then a politician has to appeal to multiple groups that are now on both sides of the political spectrum in order to win.  You also wouldn't get, "red state vs blue state" and it would be good in unifying the country, especially as polarized as it is now.
ludofl3x
ludofl3x's avatar
Debates: 0
Posts: 1,459
3
2
2
ludofl3x's avatar
ludofl3x
3
2
2
--> @TheUnderdog
You also wouldn't get, "red state vs blue state" and it would be good in unifying the country, especially as polarized as it is now.
As you lay it out, you'd be replacing that with red county versus blue county. THe problem of a fractured country seems to me to stem from everyone deciding to look at every issue in a red vs blue lens, it's not healthy. Ten or fifteen years ago, people couldn't care less who you voted for, and whoever you voted for didn't make you an enemy, a bad person, less or more of a patriot, and you didn't have to agree wholeheartedly with everything your vote getter said or did. Now, everything's a sign on your lawn. 
oromagi
oromagi's avatar
Debates: 99
Posts: 6,156
7
10
11
oromagi's avatar
oromagi
7
10
11
--> @TheUnderdog
-->@oromagi
At the federal level, I would implement a proportional system.  If 40% of your country votes democrat, then your party gets 40% of the seats in congress.  This works with Israel.  It also would break up the 2 party system without anyone worrying about throwing their vote away.  There would be all sorts of parties coming to fruition (and these parties would be bipartisan too) since nobody has to worry about throwing their vote away. 
OK, so you'd eliminate the Senate.  How do you represent such wide disparities?

Say you gave one seat in congress for every 100.000 people.  The most populous county, Los Angeles County would send 100 reps to congress. But the 92 least populous counties, mostly scattered across the Western Plains would need to band together to send a single representative.  You certainly couldn't afford to offer proportional representation to counties under 100,000 of which there are 1,233.

Also, counties were created according to the needs of state legislatures at the time of districting.  Delaware only has 3 counties while Texas has 254.  If every county gets at least one representative, then what's to stop state legislatures from manufacturing more counties to increase representation?

If you try to create a system where every county sends at least one Rep, than you are overwhelmingly skewing towards rural populations, mostly the population that lacked the education or initiative to move to the city.  To my mind, this portion of the population is already over-represented at the state level to the harm of proportional representation.  County representation would profoundly increase that harm.
TheUnderdog
TheUnderdog's avatar
Debates: 5
Posts: 1,082
3
4
10
TheUnderdog's avatar
TheUnderdog
3
4
10
--> @ludofl3x
Ten or fifteen years ago, people couldn't care less who you voted for, and whoever you voted for didn't make you an enemy, a bad person, less or more of a patriot, and you didn't have to agree wholeheartedly with everything your vote getter said or did.
This is correct.  Getting rid of the 2 party system would cause less division within America due to the lack of an, "Us vs Them" mentality and cause politicians to think for themselves.

I want red counties to be able to implement some laws they want without oversight from a blue state and vice versa.  More experiments for America to decide if certain policies are good.
TheUnderdog
TheUnderdog's avatar
Debates: 5
Posts: 1,082
3
4
10
TheUnderdog's avatar
TheUnderdog
3
4
10
--> @oromagi
OK, so you'd eliminate the Senate.  How do you represent such wide disparities?
I think I would redraw counties so every country met both of the following:

1) Had borders be entirely straight lines and preferably rectangles, with the only exception being if they border a body of water.  No more gerrymandered districts.
2) Have anywhere between 67,000 people and 134,000 people.  If it has more people, it gets broken up.  If it has too little people, it gets merged with other counties to create a bigger county.  As long as the population doesn't escape the 67K to 133K range, it can't be divided up, redrawn, or merged.  As the population of the nation expands, the county sizes (by land area) would decrease on average.  Every county gets one representative.  This makes roughly 3300 representatives in the country.

 If every county gets at least one representative, then what's to stop state legislatures from manufacturing more counties to increase representation?
Because if they do that, their counties won't be big enough population wise to get representation, plus it would be illegal for a county to have less than 67K people or more than 134K.

To my mind, this portion of the population is already over-represented at the state level to the harm of proportional representation.  County representation would profoundly increase that harm.
Not if the urban counties break up into smaller counties.
ludofl3x
ludofl3x's avatar
Debates: 0
Posts: 1,459
3
2
2
ludofl3x's avatar
ludofl3x
3
2
2
--> @TheUnderdog
Getting rid of the two party system creates MORE of an us vs them problem in my view. There'd be by definition more of "us" that didn't vote for whoever "they" are, which again is minority rule. Why stop at counties? What you're advocating for sounds less like "every town for itself" via natural progression.  Why not just make it towns? Or neighborhoods? 3300 representatives?!? How would anything get done?


zedvictor4
zedvictor4's avatar
Debates: 17
Posts: 5,308
3
3
4
zedvictor4's avatar
zedvictor4
3
3
4
--> @TheUnderdog
I always thought that States were split up in to Counties.

Isn't it all about descending levels of responsibility and administration.


U.S.A or U.C.A.......Splitting hairs really.
HistoryBuff
HistoryBuff's avatar
Debates: 0
Posts: 3,278
3
3
2
HistoryBuff's avatar
HistoryBuff
3
3
2
This kind of sounds like you are describing a parliamentary democracy. It sounds pretty similar to Canada's election system.