West

The plan articulated by a group of Maryland Republicans is simple. Three counties from that state — Allegany, Garrett and Washington — become part of West Virginia. In essence, it takes the Maryland panhandle and makes it part of the state it sits atop. Not complicated.

A barn is surrounded by bales of hay in a field across the road from the six-decade-old Green Bank Observatory in Green Bank, W.Va., on Oct. 7. © Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images A barn is surrounded by bales of hay in a field across the road from the six-decade-old Green Bank Observatory in Green Bank, W.Va., on Oct. 7.

There are a lot of similar threats made often, with various people nodding at them and mulling them over. And then, because this is a very complicated thing that many people in each state would dislike, it doesn’t happen. This one almost certainly won’t either.

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What’s interesting, though, is what would happen if it did.

West Virginia and Maryland are very different states, despite their geographic proximity. West Virginia is very heavily White and very heavily Republican. (Those things tend to overlap, of course.) Maryland is much more diverse and much more Democratic.

The immediate effect of the transfer would be that Maryland would lose about 250,000 people, 4 percent of its population. West Virginia would gain the same number. And since the counties that would be switching are disproportionately White for Maryland, most of the population that transferred between states would be, too.


Video: Five Lawmakers Want Three Western Maryland Counties To Join West Virginia (CBS Baltimore)

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