RED OR BLUE? by Bob Jackson


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Businessman and former Libertarian presidential candidate Jackson argues a polarized America needs a divorce from itself.

Like many Americans, Jackson believes the federal government is “broke and broken,” with little hope for improvement on the horizon. Yet, instead of griping about politics, Jackson proposes a radical solution to what he sees as irresolvable differences over how to best govern the country: a constitutional amendment to divide the United States into two sovereign nations. Far from a cry for secession, the author envisions a peaceful separation of “Red thinking” states from “Blue thinking” states along philosophical lines. Both independent countries, he argues, would be capable of fostering a high standard of living because their leaders would not be constantly thwarted by the opposing side. Jackson dismisses bipartisan compromise as “hopelessly unobtainable” because one side always tries to force their principles on the other. He also blames the “elite Fifteen”—the top officeholders in Washington D.C.—for contributing to the country’s polarization. The book is careful to distinguish “Red” and “Blue” from Republican and Democrat, and refrains from passing judgment on which side is better. Several earnest but less than persuasive chapters and appendices explain how both nations could be established fairly, covering issues such as Social Security, dividing federal assets and realignment of the military. Some ideas show a solid grasp of civics, like suggesting a Constitutional Convention to propose the amendment. Others are inconceivable, like “Blue Country” occupying the Northeast and West Coast, geographically separated by a vast swath of “Red Country.” The author deserves points for courage and creativity, but the book comes across as somewhat naive. Key assumptions lack credible sources, and Wikipedia is cited too often for the serious student of politics. While a sincere effort is made to address the domestic implications, scant attention is paid to the geopolitical and global financial market instability that could result from chopping the world’s superpower in half.

Ultimately reads like an undergraduate “what-if” essay—passionately argued but highly improbable.


Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0615531229
Page count: 158pp
Publisher: Bob Jackson
Program: Kirkus Indie
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