Delmarva - The State who's time has come
Delmarva - the putative state that includes the present state of Delaware, the 9 counties of the Eastern Shore of Maryland and the 2 counties of the Eastern Shore of Virginia is a state who's time has finally come.
Present day Delaware as a state is the second smallest US state by area, ahead of only Rhode Island (RI), however whereas Rhode Island's population is (barely) enough to qualify for two United States Congressman in the House of Representatives, the population of Delaware at under 1 million means the state is one of the few states in the Union to qualify for less representation in the House of Representatives (1) than in the Senate (2).
This imbalance clearly isn't healthy for Delaware, and indeed, not healthy for democracy when such a clear solution to this under-representation exists.
Combining the three counties of Delaware (population 960,000), the two counties of the Eastern Shore of Virginia (population 50,000) and the nine counties of the Eastern Shore of Maryland (450,000) would increase the population of this area commonly referred to as 'Delmarva' to around 1.5 million - leading to the addition of a second United States Congressman for the communities of Delmarva.
Not only would this be of huge benefit to the residents of the Delmarva Peninsula but the nature of the Peninsula's population means the state would be divided down the middle politically and as a battle-ground state - instead of a state which has voted solidly Democrat and hasn't voted for a Republican since the Cold War in the 1980s!
Although such a change may seem to be harmful to the states of Virginia and Maryland which lose counties in this scenario, it is in fact not the problem for these states it might at first appear.
The loss to Virginia of two sparsely populated counties on the Eastern Shore and geographically aligned with the Delmarva Peninsula compatriots already would hardly be felt - less than 50,000 people live in the Eastern Shore of Virginia comprising only around 0.6% of the population of Virginia. Less than 1% of the state's population!
The benefit to the people of the Eastern Shore of Virginia where they will gain increased importance as a larger part of the smaller state of Delmarva against their relative unimportance in Virginia is clear.
The nine counties of the Eastern Shore of Maryland may at first glance appear to present a bigger issue for the state of Maryland, perhaps that is the case, but there are significant arguments to say that Maryland too would benefit from ceding the nine counties of the Eastern Shore of Maryland to the new state of Delmarva.
What are these arguments?
The first point is that although these nine counties comprise a significant area of the state of Maryland, the population of around 450,000 only comprises around 7% of the population of Maryland - and the voting statistics for the Eastern Shore definitively favour Republican candidates as against the solidly Democrat areas of the main part of Maryland.
From that point of view, the Eastern Shore of Maryland already stands out as not particularly like the rest of Maryland and more like its counterparts in Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
There is also a further consideration to take into account.
Washington DC is currently looking at the opportunity to become a State in its own right. Whether or not that will happen or not probably depends to a large extent on what happens to the surrounding areas of Maryland and Virginia.
As outlined here (Swamp Counties VA) the northernmost Counties and Cities of Virginia are solidly part of the Washington DC urban area and in a just world would follow the lead of West Virginia and leave the Commonwealth of Virginia and join either Maryland, or Washington DC.
This opens up the possibility for a WIN (Delaware)-WIN (Maryland)-WIN (Virginia).
The Eastern Shore of Maryland leaves Maryland to join Delmarva. A WIN for Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
The Six Washington DC 'Swamp Counties' of Northern Virginia comprising of Fairfax County, Loudon County, Arlington County, Alexandria City, Fairfax City and Falls Church City and home to around 2 million Washington DC denizens, leave Virginia and join Maryland. In effect Maryland has a net gain of around 1.5 million population. Swapping out the Eastern Shore and gaining the Northern Virginia counties that really bear no resemblance to the rest of Virginia - a definite WIN for Maryland.
Maryland will then entirely surround Washington DC and they can determine the exact boundaries Washington DC should occupy within Maryland - or perhaps they should combine into one State/District? I'll leave that up to the legislators of Maryland and Washington DC.
So if Delaware/Delmarva and Maryland are both winning out of this, how does Virginia WIN?
Well, as all scholars of history will well know, Virginia once upon a time lost a large chunk of its territory, now known as the state of West Virginia.
Can anyone seriously argue that this decision during the Civil War in the 1860s has diminished the standing of the Commonwealth of Virginia?
I seriously doubt it - because it hasn't.
The same circumstance now exists for Virginia in terms of the six northernmost 'Swamp Counties' of VA that have little in common with the rest of Virginia as they are based in the Washington DC suburbs and relate fully to Washington DC, rather than Richmond.
Given the facts on the ground about the 2 million residents of 'Swamp Counties VA' I'm sure a clear majority of legislators in Richmond would see the immense benefit for the vast majority of Virginians if these six counties could be 'excised' from the Commonwealth and in some senses returned to DC, or Maryland - it matters little.
Yes - returned, parts of these Swamp Counties VA were in fact once a part of Washington DC in the 19th Century, so it would be no great loss - in fact it would be a huge benefit - if these counties were to depart the Commonwealth.
This move would truly restore Virginia to Virginians. It doesn't hurt to bear in mind that a close look at the voting habits of Virginians, true Virginians not raised in the DC Swamp, do not align with the voting habits of the 2 million residents of Swamp Counties VA.
In fact, had the 2017 Virginia Gubernatorial Election been conducted without the influence of the six Washington DC Swamp Counties VA Republican Ed Gillespie would now be the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia rather than the diabolical Ralph Northam and Clinton consigliere Terry McAullife would have been a footnote in history rather than a former Governor of the state.
Given these realities, the WIN-WIN-WIN nature of the establishment of the state of Delmarva should be plain to see for all residents and legislators of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
All three states will win via this reform, and residents of all three states will consider these reforms a necessary advancement of the well-being of the residents of the three states.
In fact, given the WIN-WIN-WIN nature of these geographical realignments there is a strong argument for a bi-partisan campaign to promote these changes across the three states.