Pacific America Rising — The View From 2030
The American Collapse
In retrospect, it is now clear that 2020 was the year that finally broke the United States of America.
Amid a global pandemic that claimed the lives of five hundred thousand Americans in a single year, a presidential election was held — and for the first time in United States history there was no peaceful transfer of power.
Six months after the rightful President, Joe Biden, was inaugurated despite an insurrection inspired by the defeated incumbent, Donald Trump, an overwhelming majority of those who voted for Trump continued to believe the disproved allegations of rampant fraud he continued to make at every turn.
Most of the Red States, as they were called prior to the general collapse of the United States federal government, in response passed a broad slate of voting restrictions widely seen by scholars of democracy as explicitly designed to make it harder for Blue-leaning citizens to vote in future elections.
Even more importantly, many also passed laws that, had they been in effect in 2020, would have allowed partisan officials to override their own citizens votes as the losing incumbent had demanded in a vain attempt to undo his loss.
And so the stage was set for the total disintegration of the United States federal government in 2025 and the consequent division of America into autonomous federal regions — with Pacific America, already the most diverse and progressive-leaning part of the country, going first.
The series of events leading to the Collapse are well-known to all who lived through them so there is little need to recount the sad details. However, in retrospect it is now clear that a few key dynamics from 2021 to 2024 drove the national divorce that followed.
- Through 2021 Congress remains all but deadlocked, the Democratic party’s razor-thin majorities in the House and Senate face a nearly-united Republican front possessing the most deadly weapon in Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s obstructive arsenal: the filibuster.
Effectively a 60-vote threshold for passing all but budget-related legislation, Republicans repeatedly use the filibuster to defeat all attempts to mandate standard elections practices across the country.
Many other legislative priorities that fall afoul of the Red State consensus die ignoble deaths as well, both parties locked in their unending partisan warfare. Frustrations mount across the country as major national challenges continue to go unaddressed and the economy is roiled by the rapid and often fatal spread of Covid-19 variants among the third of Americans who remained unvaccinated — especially in Red States.
- 2022 marks yet another bitter, difficult political year, with passions running hot as the economy continues to experience a bumpy recovery from the pandemic and the Midterm election cycle begins, halting almost all legislative progress in Washington D.C.
In fall, just as feared, the House of Representatives falls to the Republicans as a result of partisan redistricting of electoral maps and a general decline in voter turnout across the board. Though the Democrats do make gains in a few key Senate races and hold the Senate, they still cannot reform the filibuster and the Biden Administration’s prospects are almost wholly doomed.
- 2023 sees a nation gripped by political paralysis as the Republican-controlled House submerges the Biden Administration in investigations and impeachment proceedings, egged on by their constituents’ ongoing belief he is not the legitimate President. Forced to govern through executive order, the Administration’s polling crashes throughout the year.
Despair spreads among Democratic voters, especially in Blue States who now fear that the Republican Party will not concede another Presidential Election no matter the will of the people in their states. Divides within the party burst out into the open, and the 2024 Presidential campaign begins by mid 2023 as is becomes clear Biden cannot win reelection.
After a brutal, bitter campaign marred by sporadic violence, 2024 produces yet another brutally close election result hinging on three swing states — all, after 2022, controlled by Republican state legislatures and governors. Though the Republican candidate is roundly defeated by six million votes in the popular vote, margins of only a few tens of thousands in Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin are what count.
As feared, the Republican candidate declares victory before the results are in — again. And even before they are certified, angry Republican voters surround their state capitols to demand the election results be declared fraudulent and legislature-appointed electors favoring the Republican sent to Congress.
The winter of 2024 is the darkest in modern American history.
Alleging widespread voter fraud, Republicans hold protests in state capitols across the country, many coming heavily armed and threatening violence against suspected left-leaning activists coming to counter-protest.
Alleging widespread voter suppression and anti-democratic actions in state legislatures — as well as the undemocratic nature of the electoral college in general — Democrats hold their own mass national protests.
After years of ever-more bitter political conflict and raging culture wars, there are enough people angry enough on both sides that deadly street fights break out on a daily basis in cities across America.
The National Guard is deployed to patrol dozens major urban areas, stoking fears on both sides of a coup attempt in the making.
At the same time, dozens of court cases wind through the federal judiciary, with each decision scrutinized by both sides for evidence of judicial bias. Naturally, some is always found when one wants to find it, leading to a collapse in trust in the court system.
A series of 5–4 Supreme Court votes favoring the Republican case only further divides the nation.
By January of 2025, it is obvious to all observers that the differences between Red and Blue are utterly irreconcilable.
Poll after poll shows that no matter who takes office at the next inauguration, their democratic legitimacy will be overtly rejected by half of Americans. Majorities in large states like Texas, California, New York, and Florida say they are willing to openly secede if their candidate does not win.
As inauguration day dawns, neither party is willing to concede. Calls grow on both sides for the military to step in.
As fears of civil war spread and the stock markets are in equal turmoil, officials in every state are forced to make hard decisions about their future.
In the Pacific States of California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawai’i, a joint task force composed of former elected officials from both parties and a selection of prominent scholars, activists, and business leaders stun the world with a proclamation.
Unless the will of the popular vote is respected as demanded by two-thirds of voters in their states, these four states will consider the federal government to be legally defunct.
“Democracy cannot be,” the Pacific Declaration states, “a matter of mere legal formality, producing a population forever bound to a document whose meaning has been deliberately abused and misread in the service of a racist, anti-American ideology of hate. If the Red States have chosen to abandon the spirit of the Constitution and the American Experiment, the rest are forced to carry on as best as we can — alone. In Pacific America, we will take the Constitution and build America as it should be. We invite all the other natural regions of America to do the same, remaining united in spirit but legally separated, until a brighter day comes when we can again agree on what democracy and the Constitution truly mean.”
The governors of Hawai’i, Washington, California, and Oregon hold a joint press conference on January 15, 2025, throwing their formal support behind Pacific America. Each state legislature convenes in an emergency session to develop the necessary legislation.
The Republican Party leadership condemns the proclamation, threatening to do whatever is necessary to hold the United States together.
The day before Inauguration Day, the Joint Chiefs of Staff hold an unprecedented press conference from the Pentagon. They declare total neutrality with respect to domestic political matters and leave it to the American people to decide the structure of the federal government going forward.
“Under no circumstances will Americans ever again be sent to kill other Americans,” they state, “and the United States Armed Forces have only one task during this difficult time: defend all Americans against any foreign power who seeks to take advantage of us or our allies. Whatever may happen at home, the United States Armed Forces remain vigilant, and they remain prepared.”
As the Republican President is inaugurated at a ceremony boycotted by almost every Democrat, Pacific America is the first to declare federal autonomy — but it is not the last.
The Pacific Solution
Pacific America was by 2020 already one of the world’s leading economic, cultural, and political powerhouses.
With a population of over 53 million people and a $4.1 trillion economy, Pacific America ranked between Germany and Japan in terms of global economic clout. With respect to soft power, Pacific America for all intents and purposes was America to much of the outside world thanks to Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and Seattle, home to Microsoft and Amazon.
When it became clear that the collapse of America’s federal government was unstoppable in late 2024, the four governors of the Pacific States formed a work group to chart a path towards forming their own regional federal government, essentially a ported-down version of the one in D.C. — but actually fixable.
For decades, Pacific America had — along with the Atlantic Northeast — been a Blue bastion. Pacific America had already become more diverse, wealthy, and progressive than almost any other part of the country, shaped by its unique regional history.
When America Collapsed, all four Pacific American governors were Democrats. All eight senators were too. Four out of every five House Representatives as well. And Democrats controlled every state legislatures and most state-level offices.
For twenty years Pacific Americans demanded more progressive policy from the federal government than the Red States were ever willing to allow — despite states like California contributing far more in income taxes than they received in federal benefits.
When ideological Red State policies on gun rights, immigration, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ issues, and international trade began to override state-level rules widely favored by Pacific American voters, tensions could only rise.
However, despite this overwhelming Blue lean, like every other region of America the reality on the ground was far more complex than national-level statistics could show.
Just like the rest of the United States, Pacific America was and remains riven by deep cultural divisions between more urban and more rural areas. Many rural areas in the Pacific States, especially in Oregon and Washington, agitated to remain in the United States.
The members of the Pacific America Workgroup (PAW) recognized early on that swift action had to be taken to reassure citizens that there would minimal changes to their everyday lives and redress imbalances in political power within Pacific America’s borders.
There could be no vacuum in government or gap in federal benefits that would endanger the economy or people’s livelihoods. And people had to feel they were truly represented by their elected officials, to prevent Pacific America from cracking apart as the United States of America did.
So on Inauguration Day, 2025, the governors of California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawai’i met with their states’ federal delegations in Honolulu to establish the Pacific Transitional Government and begin the process of engaging Pacific Americans in a dialog that aimed to reconstruct the federal government to better serve them, now and in the future.
The PTG asserted the legitimate right to act in the stead of the now-defunct national government in D.C. until such time as free and fair elections were again held under a uniform national system. In practical terms, this meant that:
- All Federal agencies operating on Pacific American soil legally answered to the Pacific Transitional Government.
- All existing Federal rights and responsibilities except defense — in other words, non-National Guard military forces stationed in the region — were placed in the hands of the PTG.
- The Pacific House of Representatives consisted of 71 members, and the Senate 8 members, those who had already been elected to serve in D.C. by the voters.
- The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals would be considered the interim federal Supreme Court.
- The Executive Branch would be a headed by the four governors and the winner of the national popular vote in the 2024 Presidential Election acting as a single voice, each member holding veto powers over federal issues.
From the individual household or business’ perspective, very little would immediately change in the wake of autonomy. Most federal agencies already operated on a regional level — there was no other way to run a continent-sized country like the United States — so the primary initial challenge was adjusting service areas and staffing levels.
The only aspect of life that would visibly change would be a mass campaign to get Pacific Americans to participate in a unique collective enterprise: building a better America on the Pacific.
The first Pacific American elections would be held in the fall of 2025, with two main components put to the voters:
- A simple yes/no vote on a Constitutional Amendment fundamentally restructuring the Federal government to better serve Pacific America.
- Elect the officials who would fill the seats of the Pacific American federal government.
The Pacific Amendment, as it came to be called, proposed a single-chamber legislature with 550 seats allocated according to multi-party parliamentary rules.
Whatever party or coalition could secure a majority of the seats gained the right to form a government and pass legislation until the next election. This government would elect a Chair to serve as Pacific America’s Head of Government, responsible for leading the country on a day-to-day basis.
The Senate and the Presidency would be combined in a unique arrangement. While the states would retain the rights and responsibilities that they held before autonomy, for federal purposes Pacific America would be split into nine federal states, each with its own Chief Executive elected by direct popular vote.
These Executives would come together to form an Executive Council tasked with coordinating the implementation of federal policy touching multiple states. They would collectively have the right to nominate and confirm federal judges.
Within each federal state, each elected Executive would have broad latitude to implement government policy according to the wishes of their voters.
The federal districts grouped geographically and culturally linked parts of each state together, allowing the more rural and conservative districts of Klamath and Columbia substantial autonomy from more progressive urban areas like Pacifica and Puget.
This separation of powers, modeled on the what the Founders proposed in the American Constitution, was judged to be the only viable way to mitigate the natural power imbalance in a democracy between dense urban areas like Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco and wide open, sparsely-populated rural spaces.
Different landscapes give rise to different ways of living life, and local autonomy respects those differences while uniting people based on the values they do share.
Further, the Pacific Amendment established a new branch of government co-equal with the Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary: Defense.
Charged with protecting Pacific Americans against any threats, human or natural, the Pacific American Defense Forces were to take over all defense responsibilities from the United States Armed Forces with the exception of the American nuclear deterrent.
Unlike a traditional military, the PADF would be more like an enhanced National Guard, a multi-capability organization equally as focused on disaster preparedness and relief operations as combat operations — though it would be well equipped for those too. Abroad, the PADF would work closely with American allies like Japan, South Korea, Australia, and Singapore to maintain peace and stability in the Pacific, taking over all American security obligations in the Pacific region.
Once the details of the Pacific Amendment and proposed election were announced in June there was an eruption of public discourse on every aspect of the proposed federal government.
As could be expected from such a diverse landscape as Pacific America, opinions varied widely. But slowly, particularly as prominent figures announced their candidacy and political parties formed to contest the upcoming election, the process gained legitimacy in the eyes of most Pacific Americans.
Whether it was the specter of widespread violence that still loomed across America after a terrifying winter or mere exhaustion with ceaseless political uncertainty, poll numbers favoring the Pacific Amendment crept up over the summer.
By July a bare majority of Pacific Americans were in favor, only a third against.
By September sixty percent were in the yes column, and thirty percent no.
And when November came, the result was a shock. Amid record turnout, fully 65% of Pacific Americans voted in favor of the Pacific Amendment.
The first Pacific American federal government would take office on December 30, 2025.
Into the Future
As the second Pacific American elections loom, it is worth reflecting on how far we have come.
Sixty million people now call Pacific America home. Our economic strength has grown steadily thanks to free-trade agreements with the other democratic countries along the Pacific Rim, putting us on course to surpass Japan and Atlantic America to become the world’s 3rd-largest economy.
When in 2026, in its last act, the United States Congress devolved all federal powers to self-organized state groupings like Pacific America, the Pentagon began a four-year process of handing all military assets except for nuclear weapons in the hands of the new regional federal governments. Now complete, this has made Pacific America one of the world’s leading military powers, able to deter any future aggression made by China alongside its close allies.
Indeed, the separation of America has triggered a substantial re-alignment in international affairs. Pacific America, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, and Singapore are on the verge of announcing a pan-Pacific security pact to match our trade agreements. Unlike the United States, Pacific America has been all-in on maintaining peace and stability in the Pacific from day one, and on equal terms — making us a more reliable, if less-powerful, partner.
And where it counts most, here at home, Pacific America has experienced nothing short of a positive revolution. Harnessing the power of our world-class technology industry and international partnerships we have brought a new generation of high quality manufacturing facilities able to rival those of Europe or China.
A fair and progressive tax structure has redirected vast amounts of capital from stocks and bonds and into direct material investments up and down the Interstate 5 corridor, producing jobs and creating green housing units in the millions to alleviate the chronic shortage of affordable homes in the region. Green energy production investments in rural areas have lifted stagnant economic conditions while efficiency investments in urban zones have reduced carbon intensity across the board. Unemployment is at record lows despite the population increasing by nearly a million people each year.
Free from the lobbyist-infested gridlock of the D.C. Beltway machine, Pacific America has been able to finally make the broad reforms American society so desperately demands. A truly democratic government accountable to the people has proven capable of taking big ideas and turning them into action in a way that benefits the residents of this beautiful land.
Challenges remain, of course — the world is in too desperate a place for everyone, wherever they live, to do whatever is in their power to effect the changes that will keep the plant habitable far into the future.
Pacific America is experiencing climate change with every season — droughts are worse than at any point in recorded history, wildfires can happen at any time of the year, less and less snow falls on the Sierras and Cascades with each passing year.
Threats of military conflict abroad are ever-present, and the PADF is in the midst of a complete shift in its structure and training to better cope, adopting new technologies and capabilities necessary to keep Pacific America and its allies safe in the difficult years to come.
And stark economic and social inequalities remain. Just like the rest of America, Pacific America has a dark history to overcome and debts to be repaid.
But at the least, going into an election where turnout is expected to exceed 80% and a robust multi-party Assembly will work day after to day to draw out the best ideas from our diverse multitudes, we know one thing:
Pacific America works. Here, millions of people can pursue life, liberty, and happiness as they define it in peace.
And that alone has made the challenges of the past and future worth bearing.