1. Who cares about the “world stage.” We’re supposed to be a republic, not an empire.
2. “How much power do you expect the break-away nation to have, with 50 million in it? It will have no military, no Navy, no Airforce, no standing army...” Without the red staes, there’d be no military. And 50 million people is still a respectable population. It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. The military histories of Israel and Vietnam, for example, prove this adage to be true.
3. “In 1964 Goldwater was trounced in all but one state. Conservatism was not defeated. In 1972 the Republican party won a massive victory.” Different demographic back then.
4. “This Benghazi/Petraeus scandal is going to come very close to taking him down.”
Libs said that about Iran-Contra. Our guys said that about Monica-gate. Both Presidents stayed on.
We can be what we are because we do carry some weight in the world. The American model or the American way of life carries a lot of conviction because of our position in the world.
Divide the country and half (or so) will immediately follow the European model. The rest will more gradually make its way in that direction, though some parts may end up under the sway of Asian or Latin American models.
Sure, it sounds nice to say "to hell with power or wealth, let's go for principle, even a much smaller territory," but split up the country and we'll start to look like a "failed state" and those principles won't even prevail in the smaller successor state that you might want.