Could Southern Oklahoma Counties Swap States and Join Texas?
Every few years there's a surge of rebellion in every state in the nation... Probably
You probably heard the sentiment living anywhere in Oklahoma. It usually goes something like this... Oklahoma does something stupid or controversial at the state level, people get upset and start talking about how better Texas is that particular week.
"Why can't we just become part of Texas?"
As it turns out, we can... sort of.
It all stems from this huge story in the Pacific Northwest of the US. Oregon is a state that is even more divided than Oklahoma on Bedlam weekend. The Western half of the state is so politically different than the Eastern half, Oregonians have cast their votes to start a process of secession to establish a new state, Greater Idaho.
Current border between Idaho and Oregon
The proposed border between Greater Idaho and Oregon
Crazy, isn't it?
You may be sitting there thinking "That'll never happen." but the path is already in motion. Most of the Oregon counties in blue above have already voted to join Greater Idaho... talk about being divided... but it's not as simple as the people casting their votes in favor. There's a process for this.
First and foremost, the Oregon state legislature has to vote on and approve the counties right to leave the state. The Idaho legislature also has to vote in favor of accepting these counties as new state territory. Congress also has to vote for their approval on moving state lines, but it's not as rare of a thing as you'd think.
The United States has moved international and state borders with shocking regularity in our short history. From the original colonies to westward expansion, the Louisiana Purchase, the Mexican-American War, purchase of Alaska, Hawaii, US territories abroad, etc... but have they ever allowed state counties to secede from one state only to join another?
There are three counties in the Southwest corner of Oklahoma that once belonged to Texas. It was one big super-county called Greer, but prior to Oklahoma being admitted statehood, the Southern border was redrawn establishing the Red River as the boundary.
Even though it sounds weird today, with long-established borders that seem unwavering, they're just lines on a map that get redrawn every once in a while.
So, could Oklahoma counties up and decide they want to be part of Texas? Sure... but trading a lack of state income tax and decent roads for 3x property taxes wouldn't seem to be a move in our own self-interests.
All the same, Wichita Falls doesn't seem to be thought of as "Texas" even in Texan circles... It's not West Texas. It's not North Texas. It's just out in the middle of nowhere Texas. Perhaps Oklahoma should petition congress to take that land too.