We are the third most populous nation on earth — and our states are the equivalent of nation-states. Leave aside the giants of California (more populous than Canada) and Texas (more populous than Australia). Florida has more residents than Taiwan and New York than Romania, and the next three (Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio) each top Tunisia, Cuba, or Belgium. This continues as we move farther down the list. Michigan has more people than Sweden, Wisconsin than Denmark and Minnesota than Norway (we’ll not get into the argument the that that is because so many Norwegians moved to Minnesota). Even our least populous states rival established free-standing, fully functioning nations — Vermont has more people than Montenegro, and Wyoming than Luxembourg, and they both far exceed Iceland.

The largest American states do not bring government closer to the people. They just layer another nation-state on the people in addition to our massive national central government. How close to the people is a legislature such as the California state senate, where each member represents over 900,000 residents, compared with an average of just over 700,000 for each member of the U.S House of Representatives, not to mention the average of 30,000 constituents of each member of the House in the First Congress, or the average of just over 100,000 constituents for each member of the current British House of Commons?