A native of eastern Oregon, McCaw is a mild-mannered, former high school math teacher who fosters children to help his community.
“We don’t think of ourselves as a secessionist movement. We see ourselves as a self-determination movement,” McCaw said of the Greater Idaho Movement, which seeks to move the Idaho state line west to include more than half of Oregon.
What would have previously been brushed off as a fringe proposition to add the predominantly Republican region of eastern Oregon into conservative Idaho has lunged forward in the Idaho state legislature. There have been plenty of other attempts across the country to break off pieces of states to try to join more politically analogous ones, but this one has advanced the furthest. The measure passed the state House last month and advanced to the state Senate, where it sits in committee, with the session expected to wrap by the end of March.
Critics see such efforts as a symptom of a bigger problem facing the US post Covid-19 pandemic – unprecedented hostility toward those who don’t share the same politics.