Texi as the Plural for Texas?

Imagine more than one state of Texas. Or, imagine the division of Texas into a handful of sub-states smaller in size and perhaps more manageable. Frank Jacobs over at Strange Maps ponders a United States where there could be more than one Texas.

[div class=attrib]From Strange Maps:[end-div]

The plural of Texas? My money’s on Texases, even though that sounds almost as wrong as Texae, Texi or whatever alternative you might try to think up. Texas is defiantly singular. It is the Lone Star State, priding itself on its brief independence and distinct culture. Discounting Alaska, it is also the largest state in the Union.

Texas is both a maverick and a behemoth, and as much an claimant to exceptionalism within the US as America itself is on the world stage. Texans are superlative Americans. When other countries reach for an American archetype to caricature (or to demonise), it’s often one they imagine having a Texan drawl: the greedy oil baron, the fundamentalist preacher, the trigger-happy cowboy (1).

Texans will rightly object to being pigeonholed, but they probably won’t mind the implied reference to their tough-guy image. Nobody minds being provided with some room to swagger. See also the popularity of the slogan Don’t Mess With Texas, the state’s unofficial motto. It is less historical than it sounds, beginning life only in 1986 as the tagline of an anti-littering campaign.

You’d have to be crazy to mess with a state that’s this big and fierce. In fact, you’d have to be Texas to mess with Texas. Really. That’s not just a clever put-down. It’s the law. When Texas joined the Union in 1845, voluntarily giving up its independence, it was granted the right by Congress to form “new States of convenient size, not exceeding four in number and in addition to the said State of Texas.”

This would increase the total number of Texases to five, and enhance their political weight – at least in the US Senate, which would have to make room for 10 Senators from all five states combined, as opposed to just the twosome that represents the single state of Texas now.

In 2009, the political blog FiveThirtyEight overlaid their plan on a county-level map of the Obama-McCain presidential election results (showing Texas to be overwhelmingly red, except for a band of blue along the Rio Grande). The five Texases are:

  • (New) Texas, comprising the Austin-San Antonio metropolitan area in central Texas;
  • Trinity, uniting Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington;
  • Gulfland, along the coast and including Houston;
  • Plainland, from Lubbock all the way up the panhandle (with 40% of Texas’s territory, the largest successor state);
  • El Norte, south of the other states but north of Mexico, where most of the new state’s 85% Hispanics would have their roots.

[div class=attrib]Read the entire article here.[end-div]