This is part of a series for what western states should do. They range from serious to facetious. This falls in the latter category as there is virtually no chance of it happening due to the senate ramifications and/or the willingness of other states to bring in a part of the Gem State. But it should!
The thing is, Idaho already isn’t a state. Yes, they have a governor and two senators. They have a state legislature. They have a state government. What they don’t have is any semblance of state identity. Some states are split between urban and rural, north and south, or east and west. Idaho is split in three ways, though, and in each of the cases they have more in common and more regularly transact with neighboring states than they do with one another. Pocatello’s capital isn’t Boise, it’s Salt Lake City. Lewiston’s capital isn’t Boise, it’s Spokane. Boise’s capital is Boise, and Boise is the capital of the rest only on a technicality.
In the case of Eastern Idaho, it’s not only closer to SLC than it is Boise, and more tied to SLC because there are more services and larger economy, but it’s also very Mormon, culturally speaking. The most Mormon county in the country is not in Utah, but rather in Idaho. Pocatello is a slight exception to this, due to its union roots, willingness to vote Democratic, and the university that’s there. But it’s only a slight exception. And even most Pocatellans are more strongly anchored to Salt Lake City than Boise. They may not be as Mormon themselves, but they are still captive of Mormon culture. Idaho Falls is notably more Mormon, and Rexburg (home of BYU-Idaho) even moreso.
In the case of Southwestern Idaho, it more-or-less revolves around Boise. Boise is a different bird from the rest of Idaho in a number of respects.
Northern Idaho is far more isolated than the other two. Not just by culture, but by the map itself. Anyone who has made the drive from Couer d’Alene to Boise will attest what a horrible drive it is. Except for the fact that the state government is located there, there is far more reason to go to Spokane to meet your metropolitan needs. Northern Idaho is also blocked from Eastern Idaho because vast swaths of the middle of the state are national parks with limited road development. To get from Northern Idaho to Eastern Idaho, chances are you’re going through Montana.
Now, there are parts of Idaho that don’t fit neatly into any of the three sections of the state. Namely, Salmon, Sun Valley and Twin Falls. Sun Valley and Twin Falls are somewhat tied together and would do just as well being placed with Southwestern Idaho. They’re a bit of the odd-men-out there, but they’re not Mormon like Eastern Idaho. Sun Valley is also liberal and would probably prefer to be placed with Boise than the Mormons. So even though it would be outlying, it fits well enough. Salmon… is remote. It’s relatively Mormon, so it goes with Eastern Idaho.
Now, we can’t just split Idaho into three states because what about the senate?! This is where it gets complicated. Putting Eastern Idaho in with Utah makes the most amount of sense. Allowing Southwestern to fold in with Oregon would be one possibility, or perhaps allowing it to be its own state and taking some of Oregon with it. An Oregon that stretches from the Pacific to Twin Falls could be unwieldy. Montana gets by, but only barely. Western Oregonians might be more than content to hand off some of its Eastern Oregon bumpkins to someone else. You could do the same with Northern Idaho. You can pass it off to Montana or Washington (the latter making more sense), or you can take some land from each and let Spokane be a capital (it’s self-important enough to believe it is owed to them, after all). It all depends on how worried we are about the senate ramifications.
One way or another, though, Idaho ought to go.