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(The Union Bulletin) Americans at all levels of government are casting about for more agreeable neighbors. Residents of Buckhead, a wealthy enclave with Atlanta, have temporarily shelved their plans to break off and form a separate city, due to opposition from state officials, but that effort will likely continue for years to come. In numerous other states, multiple counties are looking for ways to escape states where their residents feel like political minorities. On Tuesday, a Texas state senator introduced a bill that would allow citizens to vote next year on leaving the union entirely.
“We need a national divorce,” tweeted Georgia Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene last month. “We need to separate by red states and blue states and shrink the federal government.”
Her comment triggered a good amount of commentary and soul-searching about the question of whether the national motto of e pluribus unum — or, out of many, one — is still viable. These are, after all, the United States, or are supposed to be.
“This is a symptom of a far bigger problem facing America, which is this deep, deep polarization along ideological lines, where people feel they can’t live in a jurisdiction with those they don’t agree with anymore,” says Ilana Rubel, the Democratic leader in the Idaho House.
America has been undergoing a “big sort” for decades now, with people moving into communities where they’re surrounded by like-minded people, whether deeply conservative or highly progressive. In presidential elections, most counties are now decided by landslide margins of 20 percentage points or more. During the 2016 and 2020 elections, more than 20 percent of counties were decided by “super landslides,” giving…