Red States, are you Sure You Want to Secede?

Vern Scott
8 min readJan 3, 2021


We get it, the Red States are angry and talking secession, channeling the cult-like angers and fears of their outgoing President, who hates all things urban and Blue. but a close look at the numbers reveals that this may not be a good idea, foolishly overstating our differences and relegating this new Red State nation into a kind of second-class status.

Adult obesity and fast food, by State. Colorado has the lowest body mass index (BMI) of 20–22.5, while Mississippi has the highest (32.5–35). Generally speaking, this indicates a rather large advantage for Blue States in the areas of health, wealth, longevity, and general welfare, despite having more congestion and minorities.

On days when I’m feeling generous, Red Staters may get me to agree that Blue Staters whine too much (currently almost as much as Red Staters), or that they lack basic knowledge of farming and are somewhat disrespectful of God and Country. But statistically speaking, Blue State is more or less kicking Red State’s butt, in terms of health, wealth, and education. As you are about to see, Red Staters are collectively so much in need, that you begin to feel sorry for them. Will they be the new “underprivileged” class that Blue bleeding-hearts try to help? (actually Blue States already give Reds a disproportional share of our tax dollars). If they secede, will they achieve second-rate nation status? Let’s run the numbers and find out.

Conveniently (for comparison purposes), there were 25 states that went for Biden in the 2020 election, and 25 for Trump. Comparisons were made in the areas of population, crime, wealth, health, education, ag output, military bases, % minorities, and other weighty parameters. The results show not only that Blue Staters are unsurprisingly fitter, better educated, and wealthier, but that Red States, for all their talk of “getting tough on crime”, have a higher percentage of violent crime. Most importantly, the numbers show that though we are different in many ways, we are not hugely different. In summation, it would not be wise for the Red states to secede, as though they have more area, ag, and oil, they have much less aggregate wealth and population, and fewer military bases.

The 2020 Electoral Distribution-Red States have more meat, oil, grain, and crime. Blue States more money, education, health and military bases. Surprisingly, our differences are not that great.

A staunch conservative might first point out that Blue States are not as church going as Red Staters (32% to 41%), too prone to being LGBT (4.3% to 3.6%), or not White enough (58% to 64%) but then these differences are not really that great. This same conservative would also be a fool to not notice the obvious Blue State advantages in education (% of Bachelor’s Degrees or higher-BS 33.4% vs RS 27.3%), obesity (BS Avg BMI 30 vs RS Avg BMI 33), and longevity (BS Avg 80 vs RS Ave 78), and Violent Crime/100k Population (BS 352 vs RS 398), but again these differences are not so great as to justify dividing us. Let’s just say that Blue Staters are measurably safer, healthier and better educated, even though they have fewer moral pronouncements.

Put another way, if Blue States are moving in the direction of a combined Germany, Japan, and Australia (similar population numbers, longevity stats, tech awareness, and high income levels, plus a need to import some fossil fuel and grain), Red States are moving in the direction of a combined Spain, Oman, and, uh, Argentina, having similar population, ag, oil, and area, and less wealth and health than the Germany-Japan-Australia combo. The good news would be that Spain has tech promise (the same way North Carolina, Texas, Ohio and Florida are promising), while the rest of the Red States are sort of big old-fashioned grain/oil/rocky & barren states that may someday be a drag on the Red State economy. This isn’t bad exactly, but really could be if Red States don’t acknowledge change and get out of their own way.

But next, let’s get to the secession part. If the Red States were to separate, they would have an advantage in geographic area (BS 37% to RS 63%, without Alaska BS 45% to RS 55%), but not much else. They would have a distinct disadvantage in GDP (measured in per capita income, or pci, BS 51k vs RS 43k) and in population numbers (BS 185 million to RS 137 million), which means that Blue States would have an advantage in overall GDP of 9.42 trillion to 5.9 trillion (62% to 38% of the total wealth). In addition, if Red Staters were to take over military bases within their borders, they would still be outgunned by Blue States 193 to 139. Red Staters are fond of their guns, but in modern warfare, it’s about jets, missiles, drones, and tanks, not assault rifles.

Red states do have an advantage in ag production (based upon dollar value) 55% to 45%. However, Red States are grain, beef, pork, and poultry heavy while Blue States are fruit, vegetable, and dairy reliant. This also bodes well for the future of Blue States, as there is a dietary trend away from meat and grains, towards fruits and vegetables. Red States also currently hold a large advantage in fossil fuel reserves. For the short-term, Red State’s greater ag and fossil fuel value would indeed be an advantage. Blue States would have enough food to feed themselves, but would need to rely heavily on oil from Blue fossil-fuel states such as California, New Mexico, Colorado, and Pennsylvania for relatively modest supplies, or else import. One problem with the Blue State future is that it’s hard to see tanks, jets, and missiles running on solar panels, or substituting an oatmeal-toast-bacon-egg breakfast for one of fruits, dairy, and veggie-meat substitutes. This speaks to an overall need for Blue and Red to cooperate, not fight.

Are Red and Blue States headed for another War over Secession?

Any move by Red States to secede would begin to look much like the American Civil War from 1861–1865. Though the Red States have more personal weaponry and an aggressive attitude, any early successes might soon be offset by a war of attrition, in which Blue States would have more wealth, population, larger weapons, and geographical advantages (remember that the East and West Coast, along with Hawaii, are Blue State strongholds). The only hope of the Red Staters would be help from a foreign power (Russia? Was this Trump’s mission, to first divide our Country and then invite the Soviets to help defeat Blue States in return for a piece of the American global pie or cheaper oil, meat, and grain?) This of course would be offset by the Blue States NATO, NAFTA, and SEATO connections, which are designed to maintain trade (mostly with Blue States) and protect against Russian or Chinese impediments to trade and possible aggressions. In fact in many ways, Red States sort of lives off of Blue States, as they tend to be “debtor states” that receive more Federal aid than they produce. They are in many ways unhealthy, undereducated, and surprisingly crime ridden, despite their pronouncements, requiring additional subsidies (when Trump calls out Blue State urban ghettos, this is the “pot calling the kettle black”…rural white America can also be quite poor and needy) If a new Civil War were to happen post-secession, what would the Red State export be? Oil and ag, not much in the way of high tech.

How could one say that Putin and Trump are not cooperating? Is Russia or some other foreign nation lining up to be a partner in a Red State secession movement?

This is all a kind of sad commentary on the decay of the less noble half of the American white population, which is slow to get with new education and health trends. Instead, they are falling back on fundamentalist and racist themes, as though their loss of power has compelled them to cling to their Bibles and guns, instead of getting with the program (couldn’t the Bible be interpreted instead to promote tolerance, peace, and a healthy environment?). Despite allegations of out-of-control crime, racial strife, and Sodom and Gomorrah, Blue States hold up quite well statistically, when you consider the issues of congestion and integration they face. Of course, Blue States depend heavily on Red States for fuel and food (in the form of coal, oil, natural gas, cotton, meat, and grain), but even that is changing, as Blue States are learning to produce energy from renewables and food from new fruit and vegetable technologies, while finding alternatives to traditional ag.

Of course the obvious point might be that Red and Blue states separately would each lack the military and economic strengths that the United States currently enjoys. A split would among other things, probably not maintain the dollar as the world’s favored currency, and make China the world leader in everything from global warming, mining, and agriculture, to military hardware. The US would also lose its global leverage within trade alliances, the UN, NATO and SEATO, as the nations involved might look for other partners.

…and on a final note, if Florida, North Carolina, and Texas ever turn Blue (as they have recently threatened to do), this Red State Nation would be f*cked.

Secession? Not a great idea, Red States. Better to recognize this delusion (possibly engineered by Donald Trump and his Russian friends for illicit gain) and start working on getting a better education, getting healthy, and improving your tech. The things you hate about Blue States are more imagined than real, and separating from your Blue State brethren may salvage your pride, but will also gain you second-tier nation status.




Vern Scott

Scott lives in the SF Bay Area and writes confidently about Engineering, History, Politics, and Health