I posted it after reading the first few paragraphs, then went back to read the rest.
Interesting analysis! I have a hard time thinking California could overtake the Pacific Northwest, though, because we have an awful lot of military resources here...
Reading it again, I have a few observations. First, I am actually impressed by the detail and will be digging up the Quora source to read the entire thing. However, I think there are some variables not accounted for that could shift their results.
1. It accounts for the fighting forces being just military population when accounting for power balances. States like Texas are blessed with both a large military population and an armed civilian population, but there are some states like Pennsylvania that are being underestimated due to the percentage of the civilian population armed. (Hunting culture).
2. I believe alliances would build a lot faster than estimated here. I think with Texas, for example, you would have an almost immediate alliance with Oklahoma (assumed in this article) as well as Arkansas and Louisiana. Oklahoma would also then domino to alliances with Nebraska and Kansas. A Louisiana alliance would quickly bring in Mississippi. There would be less fighting to establish this central Republic.
3. There is an over-estimation of people’s state loyalties. Not every state has populations willing to fight under their State’s flag. You would find loyal populations to their State in Texas, New York, Alaska, Tennessee, and a few others, but I doubt that as many would be willing to fight for their State in places like Oregon. You also would have quick divisions in States where there is a cultural divide with high density population centers and rural areas. California would be quickly split as would New York and Michigan. The agriculture and production areas won’t be as willing to support the high density population areas that aren’t contributing back.
4. Texas stand-alone power grid. It will quickly bring in more alliances.
5. Lack of accounting for international involvement. Assuming other countries wouldn’t be involved is a mistake. Many countries are dependent on the US and will want a quick stake in who they suppose will be the victor. The Texas Republic that would include much of the heartland and the nation’s agriculture exports, would quickly gain alliances from Central and South America as well as, of all places, Africa, where it supplies a large amount of grain. California would have Asia support, probably to a less extent than Texas would have from the rest of the Americas though. Much of Europe would ally with the North East States except Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic which would surprisingly ally with Texas. (from personal observations regarding of how the people there view Texans). Canada would probably split along with the US, allying with States of whom they have strong economic ties.
6. Middle Eastern nations may become involved to try to secure ports and infrastructure so they can continue to sell oil. They will also be involved in destabilizing other areas. I can see Saudi Arabia possibly providing some support to Virginia, California, and Texas. They would probably quickly sell resource support to the highest bidder and cut off the others.
7. Texas doesn’t just have her own oil fields and access to the Gulf (a lot of States have oil fields) but what we have is a lot more exploration and production companies based here. That may be another deciding factor in greater alliances from States who don’t have their own energy infrastructure.
8. The Mississippi and other river-ways may also provide more strategic influence and create more allies than is estimated here. The Mississippi doesn’t do much good to the South if St. Louis finds a way to dam her and redirect much of her flow.
9. Loyalties to corporations may over-ride some State loyalties, especially for corporations that supply national communications infrastructure. States may be bidding for corporate loyalty to keep some of these services flowing. Verizon could become the next Umbrella Corporation.
I can probably think of a lot more... I’m sure this will be an epic thread.