West Virginia Public Broadcasting show The Front Porch recently did a segment discussing whether our state would be better off in its pre-1863 configuration, beholden to Richmond. The final consensus was “no”, but there were some interesting points made. Among them:
- Maybe West Virginia’s founders should have chosen a name like Vandalia that would help alleviate the ignorance of outsiders as to our statehood. However, it’s never going to change because people always stick with old names, even when that name is something like Mud Lake.
- If you compare neighboring counties across the state border, the Virginia counties don’t seem to be substantially better off. This is confounded somewhat by McDowell county, compared to which every county in every direction is better off.
- By virtue of living in a low-population state, West Virginians have more presidential voting power per person than they would in other states. See here: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/map_of_the_week/2012/11/presidential_election_a_map_showing_the_vote_power_of_all_50_states.html
- The two states have noticeably different cultures, in part because Mountaineers tend to have deep roots while many Virginians have moved there from elsewhere.
- Charleston’s economy would suffer considerably with the loss of the state government. I wonder if Wheeling suffered similarly when it lost the capital in 1885, or if the operation was small enough then to not really matter?
Listen to the complete show here: