1. I heard about the proposal to allow Austin to 'secede' from Texas last week....
....at a "Fiscal Cliff on Trial" at UMKC. A lady, with a son living in Austin, referred to it as a liberal enclave, "an island of blue in a sea of red."
The idea is interesting, since so many 'red' states do have 'islands of blue' within them in the form of liberal cities. An example is Lawrence, Kansas, home of the University of Kansas. My current home state of Missouri is sometimes referred to as: "Kansas City and St. Louis, with Alabama in between.
This might be an interesting theme for science fiction writers: Robert Heinlein, among others, has used the theme of a 'Balkanized' future United States broken up into smaller countries. You could have a future US broken up into other countries, with smaller, still first world areas along the coasts and northeast, and conservative, basically third world areas in the south and west.
Within those conservative, third world areas, there could be progressive cities functioning as independent city-states, somewhat like ancient Athens.