Greater Idaho proposal: More Oregon counties vote to secede

By Lee Cleveland - November 11, 2022

Well, it beats the TEXIT Movement whose followers seek to make Texas its own country.

The Greater Idaho Movement, created by rural organizers in Oregon, is an attempt by some Oregonians to have more than 18 of its counties join Idaho.

Why?

Some living in the thinly populated areas of the state believe Oregon officials are too focused on urban issues and not committed enough to rural concerns. As a result, in the 2022 midterm elections, residents of Morrow County and Wheeler Counties, joining nine previous eastern Oregon counties, voted in favor of a measure to advance the aims of The Greater Idaho Movement. Officially, 11 counties have supported the proposal at the ballot box: Baker, Grant, Harney, Klamath, Jefferson, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Union, and Wheeler.

However, seceding from one state and joining another takes a lot more than just a simple victory at the ballot box.

“For ‘Greater Idaho’ to become a reality, the state legislatures of both Oregon and Idaho would need to approve of the change, and that approval would then also need to be approved by Congress,” KPTV reported.

“Additionally, Idaho’s state constitution in Article XVII sets the name and boundaries of the state, which would need a state-wide vote to amend.”

Citizens for Greater Idaho leader Mike McCarter released a statement earlier this week, following group wins in Morrow County and Wheeler Counties.

“We call on the Legislature to let each half of the state go their separate ways in peace.”

“If western Oregon doesn’t like the risk of being forced to accept the gubernatorial candidate it voted against, then it should simply stop holding our counties captive in this unhappy marriage. Actually, it’s not even as dramatic as a divorce because we’re not breaking up a family.”

Although rural Oregon’s land area comprises over 70 percent of the state, its residents are far outnumbered by folks living in Oregon’s population centers. As a result, many rural Oregonians insist they have no say in state politics and believe their ideals and priorities are more closely aligned with Idaho’s.

“We want out from underneath Oregon’s governance and [wish to] go underneath Idaho’s governance, which we tend to match up better with, as far as our values go,” McCarter, told Business Insider in 2021.

“Now for 20 years-plus we’ve been trying to change the makeup and improve the makeup of the Oregon Legislature, but when you haven’t got the vote, there’s not much you can do about it.”

Patience

The movement’s leaders understand the legislative obstacles to reaching their objective and realize such an endeavor, should it ever come to fruition, will take at least four years of small, consistent wins like the ones achieved earlier this week.

How many Oregon counties would be impacted?

Greater Idaho Movement’s plan calls for 18 Oregon counties to fully become part of Idaho with a split of 3 others. Such a massive land shift would convert 860,000 people, 21 percent of Oregon’s population, to Idahoans.

“You add those rural counties and that area to Idaho’s current area, it would make Idaho the third-largest state in the union after Alaska and Texas,” McCarter said.

Political party fallout?

Most of Oregon’s population lives in urban centers and leans Democratic, while folks in the state’s rural areas are predominantly Republican.

“Seventy-eight percent of the people are in the urban area, more or less in the Willamette Valley in Portland. They control the Legislature completely. They have a supermajority. That’s why they don’t care to listen to those representatives from central or eastern Oregon.”

“They’re dealing with issues around urban folks, and their social agenda is to be a sanctuary state to allow the homeless people to come in, to reduce the laws on drugs, to remove or lessen than the budget for police officers,” McCarter said.

“We’re not saying that that is wrong. We don’t agree with it, but they’re dealing with those issues, and those aren’t the issues that we have. Rural Oregon is traditional, has traditional values. We’re more into our communities, more into our schools, more into supporting law enforcement. Right is right, and wrong is wrong,” he added.

So, the urban and suburbanites are wrong but he is right?”

Obvious bad blood

Make no mistake about their intentions, the Greater Idaho Movement is partially, if not mostly, fueled by the same urban vs rural political divide that’s plaguing the entire country.

That animosity exists on both sides and can be found in most states, but we can’t reconfigure the entire country, can we?

McCarter even went as far as accusing state officials living in Oregon’s ‘concrete jungles’ of ‘taxation without representation’ even though rural Oregonians have full voting rights and enjoy the same federal rights, freedoms, and privileges as all Americans.

January 6 Capitol insurrection (Not good, secessionists)

In 2021, the Greater Idaho Movement claims its Facebook page was labeled pro-insurrectionist and subsequently removed by the social media giant, presumably during or not long after the melee at the Capitol on January 6.

Did the group express treasonous views, incite violence, or float lies?

It would be very disconcerting if they said something dangerous enough to deservedly warrant a page ban.

“When Facebook removed a lot of people from Facebook” after the riot, “we were one of them who lost our page, and we were not talking insurrection or anything,” McCarter said. “We’re strictly by the book.”

Why the proposal might be an unreasonable sell

While this might seem like a decent idea to some, there are also left-leaning, densely-populated areas that are at the mercy of rural-dominated states that lean conservative.

Would Indiana cede its liberal 8th Congressional District to Illinois? And would conservative Missouri allow Metropolitan St. Louis to join left-leaning Illinois?

How about southwestern Virginia joining Kentucky?

The Greater Idaho Movement is unlikely to happen due to the outcry it would provoke. Other counties across the country, whether urban or rural or liberal or conservative, would want to follow suit; And that would create a colossal mess.

Moreover, should Greater Idaho Movement’s plan be implemented, Oregon, which has 5 Members in the House of Representatives and 7 electoral votes, would likely lose two in each category to Idaho. The result would produce a 4-seat net gain for Republicans in the U.S. House and an easy 4 electoral vote swing for the same party.

Opponents would have every reason to insist it’s nothing more than a giant gerrymander on the state level.

Please share your thoughts on the Greater Idaho Movement.

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Tags: Greater Idaho Movement, MAGA, secession