A Political Breakup

By Ethan Hay

In 1863, West Virginia became the 35th state to join the United States. (1) In the early days of the American Civil War, there was only one Virginia. But there was something called the Wheeling Convention that took place in May of 1861. There were two conventions that occurred, which ultimately led to delegates from fifty-three counties in pro-Union northwestern Virginia voting to break away from the pro-Confederacy/rebel state of Virginia. (2) It was originally supposed to be called Kanawha, but they settled on the name West Virginia.

Now why bring this up? The reason is simple: Greater Idaho. What is Greater Idaho? It is a movement of Oregon’s more rural counties wanting to secede from the state and join the state of Idaho. (3) One of the reasons for this movement is that due to the population density in leftist cities like Portland, many of the conservative rural counties feel as though they are not being represented. Just look at their state government. All statewide offices, from Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, the 2 US Senators are held by Democrats. Four of their five congressional seats are held by Democrats. (4) Their state senate seats 30 members, eighteen of which are Democrats, (5) eleven Republicans, (6) and one independent. (7) The state house seats sixty members, thirty-seven of which are Democrats, (8) and the remaining twenty-three are Republicans. (9) 

Now, has there been any results regarding Greater Idaho? Yes. As of June 4th, 2021, seven Oregonian counties had made the decision to back the Greater Idaho. The movement is even trying to get counties in Washington and California. (10) The supporters of the movement are likening Greater Idaho to an amicable divorce, using the logic that conservative rural communities would be better served in a state like Idaho. They also argue that the leftist’s running the states of California, Oregon, and Washington would finally be rid of the ‘racist, sexist, homophobic,’ Republicans. If you guessed that is the line of attack that opponents of the movement are making, then you would be right.

However, there is a question that must be asked, is such a move actually possible? Idaho Governor Brad Little isn’t surprised that counties in Oregon want to become apart of Idaho. He said at a breakfast with the Idahoan press:

I understand the frustration of some of my Oregon friends, about the rules, the laws, the regulations that are coming out of Oregon, but that’s really a decision that’s got to be made there, It’s got to be made in Idaho, and it’s got to be made in Congress.”(11)

The constitution says that Congress is responsible for the admission of new states, but it also says that “no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State.” (12) However, since the greater Idaho plan is not seeking to create a new state, but rather it is seeking to join an already existing one, if such a thing is to happen then both state legislatures would have to agree to it. (13)

Interestingly enough, the Greater Idaho movement is not the first movement of counties seeking to join another state. It happened with Colorado’s Weld county. (14) There was a proposed constitutional amendment to the New Mexico constitution that would allow counties to petition for secession. Thus, leading to either the creation of a new state, or the ability to join a new one. (15) Even the Republican governor of West Virginia (ironic), Jim Justice, encouraged conservative counties in Virginia to leave the state, and become a part of West Virginia. (16) That being said, it appears as though the Greater Idaho movement is the only one that appears to have any chance of potentially succeeding. Just imagine how the political landscape would change if it was successful. Is this the way conservatives fight going forward? What do you think?

Sources:

  1. http://www.wvculture.org/history/archives/statehoo.html
  2. https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/west-virginia-creation-of/
  3. https://www.greateridaho.org
  4. https://dpo.org/party/democratic-leadership/
  5. https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/senate/Pages/SenatorsDemocrats.aspx
  6. https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/senate/Pages/senatorsIndependents.aspx
  7. https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/senate/Pages/senatorsIndependents.aspx
  8. https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/house/Pages/RepresentativesDemocrats.aspx
  9. https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/house/Pages/RepresentativesRepublicans.aspx
  10. https://www.greateridaho.org/about-greater-idaho/
  11. https://www.idahostatesman.com/news/northwest/idaho/article240456246.html
  12. https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/interpretation/article-iv/clauses/46
  13. https://www.forbes.com/sites/palashghosh/2021/05/21/heres-why-5-oregon-counties-that-voted-to-move-to-idaho-probably-cant/?sh=46dc6c956c9d
  14. https://www.powelltribune.com/stories/residents-of-a-colorado-county-want-to-join-wyoming,29216
  15. https://www.abqjournal.com/2355125/proposal-would-allow-nm-counties-to-seek-secession.html
  16. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/01/29/jim-justice-virginia-counties-succeeding-welcome-west-virginia/4607728002/
  17. https://www.greateridaho.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Logo.png
  18. https://www.koin.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2020/07/greater-idaho.jpg?w=902&h=635&crop=1&resize=1280,7