General Question

elbanditoroso's avatar

Does Rhode Island make sense any more?

Asked by elbanditoroso (30723points) December 14th, 2015
36 responses
“Great Question” (1points)

Sure, I know the history of it, and politically this would never fly.

But what’s the point of Rhode Island? Seems like a whole lot of overhead to run the apparatus of a state smaller than one of the counties in Georgia.

Why should Rhode Island continue as a state?

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stanleybmanly's avatar

No defense is required for an intact Rhode Island. As with the great bulk of the politics surrounding current realities in the United States, sense and reason are useless approaches to a rationale for being. Powerful, in fact overwhelming vested interests assure that the tedious and convoluted steps required for the dissolution of a state will never see daylight. At the very outset you would be faced with the question of “where does it go when abolished?”

stanleybmanly's avatar

By the way, whatever became of the legendary and awe inspiring Buddy Cianci?

janbb's avatar

I think a better question to ask is “Does Texas make sense any more?” Rhode Island is blissfully innocuous.

janbb's avatar

@stanleybmanly He morphed into a much less effective New Jersey politician.

canidmajor's avatar

I am of no opinion on the validity of RI, but I am curious, @elbanditoroso, what would you do with RI? It might actually make sense to convert the six New England states (they are all relatively small) into one larger state.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@canidmajor – good question. I could make a strong case for making Connecticut and RI into a state.

Vermont and NH ought to be one as well.

With a little imagination, Maine, NH, VT, MA, Conn and RI could be a single powerful state as well.

And then there’s Delaware, which is just a mistake. That ought to be part of Maryland.

LostInParadise's avatar

If you look at the populations of U.S. states you can see that there are 7 states that are less populous than Rhode Island. Why not split Delaware among the surrounding states?

What I would like to know is in what sense can Rhode Island be considered to be an island?

CWOTUS's avatar

While some may not like it – particularly in the West and Midwest – the smallness of the New England states is what gives them substantial added power out of proportion to their size, which they would be loath to relinquish.

While representation in the House of Representatives is based primarily upon population (not entirely, since each State is guaranteed at least two Representatives regardless of its population), representation in the Senate is “two Senators per State”, regardless of size.

So the six New England states account for 12% of the Senate presence. Combining the states into one super-State, even if it had proportional population and size to, say, California, would weaken the states in the Senate, even as it made New England a fatter plum in terms of the Electoral College every four years when we elect a President.

Obviously, fantasy players can game any scenario that they want, but this is not going to happen in a future that any reasonable person could foresee.

Jeruba's avatar

Rationalizing a state as being too minor to sustain? It’s not so far from there to doing the same with less important people.

canidmajor's avatar

I just saw this as a thought exercise.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It isn’t the size of a state that determines its viability. Every one of our big states outside of California is a net drain on the federal treasury. And they’re all decidedly red. Alaska would revert to a wildlife preserve the moment federal largesse disappeared.

Jeruba's avatar

@stanleybmanly, are you saying that California supports the rest of the country?

zenvelo's avatar

Really, if you are questioning the sense of some states, North Dakota should have been merged into something else a long time ago. The sole benefit of N Dakota over the last twenty years has been to provide Fargo with a title.

Rhode Island at least has Newport to make all the smarmy Bostonians jealous.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

We should question the worth of any nation-state at all. Really, they are simply a modern manifestation of tribalism. Do we want that to continue, or have we outgrown it?

Darth_Algar's avatar

Sure, it’s a small state in land area, but it has a larger population and economic output than several big states. These states with a gajillion square miles and nobody living there are a fiscal drain on the rest of the country.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@LostInParadise “What I would like to know is in what sense can Rhode Island be considered to be an island?”

Officially it’s the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. The state takes it’s name from the names of two former colonies. “Providence Plantations” is obvious, while “Rhode Island” is an old name for what is now called Aquidneck Island (which sits in Narragansett Bay).

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Jeruba I’m claiming nothing so brash. There are other blue benefactors of Texas & Mississippi like New York City and Chicago, both of which reside in states decidedly red (and destitute) without them.

flutherother's avatar

Rhode Island is fine it’s all the rest of the country that is a mess.

dxs's avatar

Rhode Island, the state with the smallest land area, has about 40% more citizens than Alaska, the state with the largest land area.

dxs (15160points)“Great Answer” (1points)
Love_my_doggie's avatar

As someone born and raised there, I could never make much sense out of Rhode Island. :-)

Actually, R.I. is a lovely, friendly place. It’s home to >1 million people, more than the populations of 7 other states.

I call R.I. the Twenty-Minute State. Examples:

“How long will it take me to drive to the airport?” “Oh, about 20 minutes.”

“How far is Newport?” “You can be there in 20 minutes.”

“Will it take a long time to get to Providence?” “Maybe, if the traffic’s bad. Otherwise, it’s 20 minutes from here.”

janbb's avatar

^^ I love Rhode Island. My son went to school there.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

^^^ Cool! Until now, I hadn’t known that.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Love_my_doggie . . . and Block Island is 13 miles off the coast.

janbb's avatar

@Tropical_Willie yeah – but you can get there in 20 minutes. :-P

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Yup, from Newport on Cigarette Boat at 65 knots. Time left over to call the harbor master for a mooring.

Jeruba's avatar

@stanleybmanly, ok, is there another way to read your statement that “Every one of our big states outside of California is a net drain on the federal treasury”? If 49 out of 50 are a net drain, isn’t that the same as saying that only one is not? I’m just having trouble understanding your statement.

Darth_Algar's avatar


He’s not saying every state, he’s saying every big state. The key word there is big.

zenvelo's avatar

My son, who has lived in California all his life, figured out that seeing a Rhode Island license plate would be about the most challenging, given the distance and size of the state.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Jeruba Yeah. It’s sloppy talk. Big is ill defined.
Yet even so the remaining 49 can’t all be big.

Jeruba's avatar

All right, thanks.

JLeslie's avatar

I just have a hard time getting rid of one of the original 13 colonies.

As many people stated above, there are other states with smaller population, and population has more influence on out union than land size. Plus, I think it’s kind of cool to have some mini small states. I have never been to RI, but I would imagine a lot of people who live there probably have a lot of pride about it. It’s uniqueness about being so small.

I wouldn’t want to get rid of RI. I’m not sure what states I would get rid of if we were forced to reduce the number of states. I feel a possible Q coming on.

Darth_Algar's avatar

If I recall my history correctly not only was Rhode Island one of the 13, but it was the first to declare independence from Britain.

dxs's avatar

@zenvelo What would be more challenging is sharing the road with a Rhode Island driver.

dxs (15160points)“Great Answer” (0points)
zenvelo's avatar

As @Darth_Algar brought up the name, it just happens to be the smallest State but the longest Official State Name.

And, it was a colony founded on religious freedom from others who felt persecuted but would not grant religious freedom to others.

On that alone, Rhode Island should stay as is, as a beacon of liberty.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

”...the longest Official State Name.” State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

That’s what’s listed on my birth certificate.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

Paul and I are watching the Chiefs-Patriots playoff game. Paul just asked me how long it would take to drive from my childhood home, in Cumberland RI, to the Patriots stadium, in Foxborough MA.

I looked-up the information. If someone were to take a couple of highways, the trip’s 18 miles. Yes, that means 20 minutes. Thus, here’s some further proof that Rhode Island is the 20-minute state!!!

Thank you for letting me share. Have a lovely evening.

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