President Obama promised to unify Americans. He promised us no more red states or blue states. He didn’t just promise it once. He did it over and over again:
“There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is a United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America, a Latino America, an Asian America, There is a United States of America.” – Obama’s starmaking 2004 DNC speech
“I don’t want to pit Red America against Blue America. I want to be the president of the United States of America.” — Obama at the 2007 Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Iowa
“You [voters] said the time has come to move beyond the bitterness and ager and pettiness that’s consumed Washington; to end the political strategy that’s been all about division. And instead make it about addition; to build a coalition for change that stretches through red states and blue states.” – Obama victory speech after the Iowa caucuses
“I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.” – Obama’s 2012 victory speech
So much for that.
In the aftermath of the 2012 election, the vast majority of states are either entirely blue or entirely red, their entire legislatures and governors of one party or the other. As the Wall Street Journal reports, “In 46 states, the same party now controls both chambers of the legislature, creating distinct divisions between red and blue states.” That’s the highest number in 70 years. When governors are counted as well, there are just 12 states across the country with divided government. A full 38 states are of a single party.
If this continues, we are watching the end of America as we know it.
Red states are governed very differently from blue states. Of the 22 right-to-work states, which have provided 72% of the jobs under the weak Obama recovery, only Iowa (divided), Nebraska (nonpartisan unicameral legislature) and Nevada (Democrat-controlled legislature) are not solid red. Meanwhile, the bluest states – states like Michigan and California and Illinois – are totally bankrupt.
What we are seeing is a complete divide throughout the country on the state level. We only get to elect one president. But on a state-by-state basis, it’s clear that the American people have two very different ideas of which way they want this country to head.
If the blue states hold true to form and the red states continue to grow, it will not be long before the red states are largely subsidizing the blue states. And when that happens, look for the bond that holds the states together to fray. If California is America’s Greece, Texas will be America’s Germany. And if the European Union cannot hold, don’t be surprised to see internal pressures in the United States, too, as more and more Americans become frustrated by a distant yet intrusive federal government they feel they cannot control.