One thing that has become apparent since 2000 and the infamous election-theft by George W. Bush is this: There really isn't much "United" in "United States of America" anymore. Bush spent his time in office dividing America along every conceivable demographic. Then, in 2008, the Koch Brothers created the Tea Party and America became even further divided. I think this upcoming election will place this country past the point of no return as far as remaining a single, united power is concerned. Barack Obama is an incredibly weak and indecisive leader that has lacked the moral courage to follow through on nearly every relevant campaign promise (even when he enjoyed a significant majority in both the House and Senate in the first two years of his presidency.) The Tea Party contenders in the Christian Republican Right seek to create a religious/corporate oligarchy reminiscent of WWI Germany (with only rich, white, straight, conservative Christians in good health being the only "real" Americans). If Obama wins in 2012, the Red States will rebel. If a Tea Party Christian wins, the Rational States will rebel. Either way, the jig is up for a United America.
So, what will these new powers be that will form following the big breakup?
The Democratic States of America (DSA)
This region will include the north-east quadrant for the former United States, from Maryland to Maine and from the Atlantic coast to Michigan. The capitol city will be Philadelphia. DC will be a "historical" zone as well as remaining a prominent tourist attraction thanks to its wealth of monuments and museums. DC will be granted full status as a state.
The DSA will be a traditional democratic republic with some socialist leanings that will feature the best of what the Constitution has to offer. It will allow human beings to vote, but not corporations. The DSA will be a secular nation that values religious freedom but also refrains from any hint of church/state co-mingling. The DSA will be left-leaning in that it would espouse marriage equality, reproductive choice, common sense regulations on corporations (to keep them honest, but not to strangle all business activity), nationalized health care, and renewable energy. While taxes would be high in such a state, citizens wouldn't have to choose between buying food, medicine, heat, or education. There would be few billionaires in the DSA, but there would also not be one in four families living at the poverty line (like in Texas today).
While all manner of religions would be perfectly legal to practice, no religious body would get tax-exempt status. They would be taxed just like any other business.
The primary strengths of the DSA would be: as an educational powerhouse (all the best colleges are in the north-east area of present-day America), a financial/banking powerhouse (Wall Street did just fine before the Bush deregulation and will do just fine when the fail-safes are restored), and tourism (thanks to the DSA's many wonderful ports and historical locations. Likewise, with new regulations limiting corporate greed and outsourcing, Detroit will be restored to its former glory as an automotive manufacturing center for the world.
The primary weaknesses of the DSA will be: high taxes (although citizens will get more bang for their tax dollar than they currently do), less economic mobility (there will be very few billionaires, but there will be very few people in poverty either), and a weaker national defense (democratic republics with socialist tendencies have typically not valued large military reserves).
The Christian States of America (CSA)
This region will encompass the Atlantic states from Virginia to Florida as well as Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Arkansas. The capitol city will be Dallas. The CSA will be a hybridized theocratic plutocracy in which the national religion will be a neo-Pentecostal brand of strict, socially-conservative fundamentalist Christianity. The CSA would also ascribe "personhood" status to corporate entities with full voting rights. Non-Christians would be granted "resident" status but not "citizen" status.
The CSA's legal structure would be based on a modified version of the Levitical Law of the Old Testament. "Crimes" such as homosexuality and owning idols would be punishable by death. However, Levitical laws related to diet and working on Saturday would not be imposed (since the corporations are certainly not going to give workers a day off). Likewise, abortion would be outlawed in the CSA and natural miscarriages would trigger a formal police investigation, with the charge of premeditated murder possibly being imposed on a woman who miscarries. There would be no public school system, but instead there would be a fee-based education network. There would be no minimum-wage protections, no child-labor protections, no workplace safety protections, no disability insurance (SSDI), no retirement insurance (Social Security), no FDA, no USDA, no EPA, and no national parks. The police and fire services would be individually contracted on a tiered basis (the more you paid, the higher priority you got when making emergency calls). The prison system would be run by major corporations.
In the CSA, the career options for women would be limited to clerical, teaching, and nursing. There would be no female police officers, fire fighters, soldiers, or captains of industry. Women would be precluded from initiating a divorce or pressing charges against her husband for domestic violence.
Although all schools would be fee-based private schools, the CSA would require that Creationism be taught as a science. Evolution, human sexuality, climate change, and several other sciences would be outlawed. While it would be permitted for a non-citizen to be an atheist or other religion, the CSA would forbid the construction of temples, mosques, groves, or any other kind of non-Christian religious building. In addition to churches paying no taxes, corporations with more than 1,000 employees would also be tax-exempt. Furthermore, billionaires would be granted a special designation of "Job Creator". Once the Job Creator status is imposed, that person would be tax-exempt for the rest of his life. Likewise, a Job Creator would be granted immunity from prosecution for non-violent misdemeanors (such as bribery, embezzlement, etc.). In general elections, a Job Creator's vote would carry 10,000 the weight of an ordinary citizen's vote. Likewise, a corporation could vote in elections, with its vote having a value of "1" per million dollars in assets.
The health care system in the CSA would likewise be fee-based. People who could not pay in advance for medical care would simply be refused medical care.
Strengths of the CSA: This country would directly compete with China and India for cheaply-made manufactured goods at cheap prices. Overall employment in the CSA would be higher than in the DSA, but the average wages would be pennies on the dollar by comparison. The CSA would enjoy a very large military, as straight, white, Christian men would volunteer to serve in foreign wars in order to get better wages and a better education. The CSA would be culturally united since all citizens would be heterosexual, conservative Christians. The CSA would have a relatively large reserve of fossil fuels.
Weaknesses of the CSA: The low wages and theocratic laws would inspire more criminal activity (more fodder for Jail Industries). The infant mortality would skyrocket. The CSA would very rapidly fall behind the rest of the world with respect to education, lifespan, scientific development, the arts, and quality of life. It is quite possible that the CSA could turn the ecology into a barren wasteland in under a century.
The Midwestern States of America (MSA)
This nation would be a theocratically-leaning democratic republic with a center-right social orientation. The capitol city would be Salt Lake City. With the Church of Latter Day Saints having very heavy cultural influence in this newly-created nation, one could expect polygamy to be legalized and homosexuality to be criminalized. Unlike the the CSA, homosexuals would not actually be prosecuted or killed. Rather, the criminalization of homosexuality would simply serve to keep the GLBT population demoralized and living in a heightened state of alert at all times. Like the CSA, women would have few civil freedoms under the law and few career opportunities aside from duties typically considered "a woman's work". Unlike the CSA, the region controlled by the Church of Latter Day Saints would not be particularly interested in despoiling the ecology for profit, nor would it be interested in making the vast majority of the population poor.
Non-LDS faiths would be tolerated but not loved. Mormon churches would retain tax-exempt status but other faiths would not get exempted. Unlike the CSA, however, it would be perfectly legal to build a mosque, temple, etc.
Aside from the heavy religious overlay, not much else would change with respect to health care, science, police/fire services, and the like. Because the MSA would be a landlocked nation surrounded by other fragments of the former United States, the MSA would require the smallest military. Their military would consist primarily of young men would would do double-duty as "missionaries" and "soldiers" for a mandatory two-year period upon reaching age 18.
Strengths of the MSA: Most of these states are agricultural powerhouses. The MSA would also enjoy a relatively intact ecology and the opportunity to produce renewable energy (again, thanks to its agricultural base). The MSA would also be shielded from the worst of the immigration and gang problems since this nation would not share borders with Mexico.
Weaknesses of the MSA: It wouldn't have the manufacturing base of the CSA, nor would it have the educational/financial base of the DSA. Moreover, governments influenced by religion will invariable suppress sciuence and innovation.
The Pacific States of America (PSA)
This region would consist of California, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada. The capitol city would be Redmond, WA. This nation would be a center-left traditional democratic republic. While being less liberal than the DSA, the Pacific States would enjoy religious freedom, marriage equality, and decent educational system. Unlike the CSA, the Pacific States would be chiefly interested in creating high-tech jobs.Scientific literacy would be a top priority in the public school systems. The PSA would compete, technology, against Japan and Europe. Rather than running sweatshops for cheaply-made goods (like in the CSA), the manufacturing base for the Pacific States would be mainly high-quality technological items that would not fall apart 18 months after purchase. Because the Pacific States are already culturally divided, the public school system would make bilingual fluency a requirement for graduation. Thus, all English-speaking students would know Spanish by age 18, and all Spanish-speaking students would do likewise for English.
While the Pacific States would not need a huge military for overseas wars (like the CSA), it would require a very large internal police force to bring the incredibly heavy gang infestation under control. Likewise, the first order of business for the newly-created nation would be to grant citizenship to all illegal aliens. While that would initially seem counterproductive, that action would have the immediate effect of radically increasing the tax revenues coming into Redmond's coffers (illegal aliens don't pay taxes, citizens do).
Primary strengths of the PSA: Tourism, high-tech jobs, and the entertainment industry.
Primary weaknesses of the PSA: Fragmented culture, gang infestation, debt management.