One of the things I really liked about White's America is the way it puts Ohio front in center. I am not an Ohioan, and I have no especial affection for it, but I do always feel that it has been denied its place in the sun. Arguably, its one of the prime reasons the Revolution was fought - its fertile soil, its central position (close to the East Coast and providing access to the Misissippi via the Ohio), its proximity to natural resources to be transformed into worked goods - and it was the prohibition of settlement in the Ohio Country that was at least partially responsible for the Revolution.The idea of the majority of America reuniting and being unambiguously American-ic/-ish/-like in culture, but NOT containing the original east coast homeland “America” started from, is deliciously ironic. I tend to unite my Americas from Atlantic to Rockies but this is far too good to not consider.
And then what happens? Why, nothing but that old coot makes the Louisiana Purchase, America Manifests its Destiny and opens so much land that Ohio doesn't even get enough time to fill up with the settlers that had been jonesing to homestead there for ~30 years. Well whatever, it does rise to become one of the more influential of the Midwestern States and through much of the 19th and 20th century, that could translate into real influence. From 1820 to 1920, it consistently ranked among the top 5 most populous states, and spent most of that time in the top 3. Sure it was largely rural (that Ohio Valley fertility tho), but it had a few mighty industrial and commercial centers of its own in Columbus, Toledo, Cincinnati, Cleveland. Sure they were overshadowed in the Midwest by the likes of Chicago and St Louis, and of course couldn't compare to the great ports of the East Coast, but they were respectably major cities in their own right, and in the case of Cleveland truly rose to the level of national importance. The State had a lot of promise.
So what happens next? The same rot that strikes the rest of the Midwest comes, the coal and steel industry declines, manufacturing in general declines. The cities of the Midwest, like a lot of the 2nd-rate or lower 1st rate cities across the country), they decline to 2nd or 3rd, a decline which continues to this day, seemingly with no hope for recovery in most cases. Ohio's not tremendously different from a lot of states, especially a lot of Midwestern states, but something about tis tremendous promise makes its fall from grace all the more tragic.
Like Napoleon did with France, White sought to resore Ohio to its "Natural Borders(tm"