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Should California be Broken Up?

A plan to divide California into three states will be on the state's referendum ballot in November. If it passes and is approved by Congress, it could potentially be a significant change for the better.

Map of the California partition plan that will be on the state's ballot this November.Map of the California partition plan that will be on the state's ballot this November.

A movement led by tech billionaire Tim Draper has succeeded in getting a plan to partition California into three states onto the state's referendum ballot this fall. If the initiative passes, it would still have to be approved by Congress under Article IV Section 3 of the Constitution, which at this point seems like an uphill battle. Still, none of the many other proposals to break up the nation's most populous state have gotten this far in recent years. Any division of California will necessarily involve some significant challenges. But the idea is nonetheless worthy of serious consideratoin. It has the potential to create major benefits for both Californians and the rest of the country.

Most of what I wrote about California partition back in 2011 still applies today:

Normally, dysfunctional state policies are constrained by the possibility of "voting with your feet." If a state imposes overly high taxes, adopts flawed regulations, or provides poor public services, people and businesses will tend to migrate elsewhere, thereby incentivizing the state government to clean up its act in order to preserve its tax base. For reasons I discussed in this article, foot voters usually have incentives to be better-informed and more rational in their decision-making than ballot-box voters.

In California's case, however, this dynamic has been undercut by the state's size and favorable geographic location. Because California is extremely large and controls most of the warm-weather coastal territory on the West Coast, people have been willing to put up with a lot of bad policies for the opportunity to live there. Competitive pressure on the state government would be much greater if there were three or four states occupying California's present territory instead of one.

In recent years, conditions in California have gotten so bad that the state has finally begun to experience a net outmigration to other states of approximately 140,000 per year. And the state government has belatedly begun to reform itself, with Democratic governor Jerry Brown proposing to cut spending and abolish the state's abusive redevelopment agencies. But these trends did not take hold until after the state had dug an extremely deep hole for itself that it will take years to dig out of. A smaller California that faced more interjurisdictional competition probably would not have become so dysfunctional to begin with. And if it did, it would have had to mend its ways sooner, since people would have started to leave earlier.

While, as I noted in the 2011, the Brown administration has presided over some useful reforms, California state government still has serious problems - including some of the nation's highest taxes and most stifling regulations of small business. And the state still experiences considerable net outmigration, despite its inherent attractiveness.

Today, I would add two additional points to my earlier analysis.

First, increasing interjurisdictional competition might incentivize one or more of the new states to cut back on the horrendous zoning restrictions that massively inflate the cost of housing in California, and cut off numerous working class and lower-middle class people from valuable job opportunities. Recently, a bill would that would have greatly improved the situation was defeated in the California state legislature. Heightened competitive pressure might lead at least one of the new states to enact something similar in order to increase its tax base by attracting more workers and businesses. That might incentivize one or both of the other two to cut back, as well. Increasing housing and job opportunities in California would be a massive boon to workers in other parts of the country, as well, some of whom might take the opportunity to move to the new Golden States. Given California's enormous size, reduced zoning there could help stimulate productivity and economic growth for the whole nation.

Second, because of its large size and diversity, California is one of the most extreme examples of a state where many regions chafe under policies imposed by a state government radically at odds with their values and interests. Breaking up the state into smaller pieces could make it easier to manage this diversity - as well as increase foot voting opportunities for residents who still feel dissatisfied, but don't want to leave the West Coast. The same analysis applies, even if with slightly lesser force, to other large and diverse states, such as Texas and New York.

Tim Draper's Cal 3 proposal might not be the best possible partition plan from the standpoint of increasing ideological diversity. Two of the new states it creates (one dominated Los Angeles and one by San Francisco/Silicon Valley) would likely turn out be at least as "blue" as the current California. Both Barack Obama in 2012 Hillary Clinton in 2016 won well over 60 percent of the vote in both of them. But the third new state (with San Diego as its largest city), would be a "purple" jurisdiction that Obama won by less than a point, and Hillary Clinton by a 52-42 margin. It would probably enact considerably more moderate policies than the others, thereby subjecting them to greater competition. And, of course, the two new "blue" states might well compete with each other, as well. That would not turn either into a red state. But it could incentivize both to reform some of their more dubious growth-inhibiting policies.

Regardless of the potential benefits for foot voters and others, the Cal 3 plan might still be rejected by Congress, even if it is approved by California voters. Congressional Democrats might oppose it for fear of possibly losing the new "purple" state's electoral votes. On the other hand, if both new blue states elect Democrats to the Senate, as seems likely, the Democratic Party might secure a net gain in senators if the new "purple" state elects even one Democrat out of its two. That might be enough to offset the electoral vote risk in the eyes of Democrats. In my view, the best way to prevent national political calculations from derailing partition would be to simultaneously also break up Texas in such a way that the net effect of the two divisions would be to leave the balance in the Senate unchanged, thereby taking national political calculations out of the equation, as much as possible. But that, obviously, involves challenges of its own, including getting the agreement of the Texas state government.

Any partition of California would also require dealing with some complex practical difficulties, such as dividing up the state debt, and determining such questions as whether residents of the other two states would still qualify for in-state tuition at UCLA and Berkeley. These difficulties should not be underestimated. But many can be handled through negotiation and mutually beneficial deals. For example, the three states could agree to give each other's residents in-state tuition benefits, at least for some time after partition.

Breaking up California will never be easy or costless. And reasonable people can certainly differ over whether the Cal 3 proposal is the best way to do it. But the potential rewards of partition are great enough to justify a serious search for ways to minimize possible downsides in order to make it happen.

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  • Stephen Lathrop||

    As usual when these schemes come up, I suggest taking it farther.

    Divide each of the two Dakotas into 9 states, with helpfully systematized names. For North Dakota, from west to east, and north to south, you would get: North West North Dakota; North North Dakota; North East North Dakota; West North Dakota; North Dakota; East North Dakota; South West North Dakota; South North Dakota; and South East North Dakota.

    Likewise for South Dakota—except in the center of its northern tier. There, to honor happenstance, and also to evoke the beauty, the history, and the mystery of one of this nation's greatest songs, the new state should be called, Shenandoah.

    The scheme of division should stipulate that as far as may be, each of the new states will be drawn to the same approximately-rectangular pattern, and be of approximately equal area.

    To make this balance politically, of course, some deeply blue state must also be subdivided into 18 new states. Problem there is, you can't make that work politically among larger states with rural hinterlands—that would give advantage to Republicans. New Jersey is the obvious choice. Within present New Jersey, all new state borders should be drawn along ridge tops and water courses—no rectangles, and unequal areas.

    Somin fans will readily see the advantages.

  • Longtobefree||

    "There, to honor happenstance, and also to evoke the beauty, the history, and the mystery of one of this nation's greatest songs, the new state should be called, Shenandoah."

    You will get a whole lot of disagreement from the Virginians on that one - - - - -

  • jph12||

    Those would be some awfully odd ballot measures for Californians to be voting on.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Lol, Jesus gave us North Dakota and it is sacrosanct!

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    I don't like that because it doesn't give us the chance for a University of Northern South Dakota at Hoople.

  • Junkie||

    There's zero chance of a Republican led Federal Government approving this.

    Look at what this does to the Senate: there would be 6 senators from what's now CA. 4 of them are guaranteed to be blue, the other 2 are purple but leaning more blue than red. From the Republican point of view, the least bad option would result in no net gain to either side (if they somehow get both purple state senators), at worst the Democrats are up 4.

    House wouldn't change significantly (right?).

    Electoral college... there's some chance they'd get votes from the purple state, but with an increasing Hispanic population it's going bluer and bluer, so that seems unlikely.

  • Variant||

    Agreed. This also doesn't help manage ideological differences in California itself. You'll still have SF and Sacramento dominating the rural portions of Northern California.

  • nonzenze||

    Because SF metro and Sacramento has a higher population than all the other counties in NorCal combined.

  • bernard11||

    You are ignoring the "acreage is entitled to representation" theory.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Right, because living in a rural area should mean giving up your right to be governed by your peers instead of the high and mighty city folk who know better.

  • Procyon Mustelid||

    Being a minority means you should be ruled by the majority.

    Doesn't help that the rural population skews elderly, with so many past the age where death should be mandatory.

  • DjDiverDan||

    "Being a minority means you should be ruled by the majority."

    You forgot to add the Trump proviso insisted upon by the Democratic Party -

    "Being a minority means you should be ruled by the majority, UNLESS the majority elects Trump or any other candidate which is unacceptable to the Democratic Party, in which case F#@K TRUMP (and F#@K anyone who voted for him)!"

  • loki13||

    "Being a minority means you should be ruled by the majority, UNLESS the majority elects Trump"

    The majority didn't elect Trump. Remember? I think what you meant to say is that if the minority succeeds in electing the President as a result of the electoral college, that's cool. Which, you know, it is, but it isn't as pithy.

    "and F#@K anyone who voted for him"

    Pretty much.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The majority didn't elect Hillary, either. She had a plurality barely larger than Trump's minority, and all of her edge over him and then some came from one state with a goofy 'primary' system that would be denounced as vote suppression if it weren't to the advantage of Democrats.

  • bernard11||

    WTF does California's primary system have to do with this?

    And why do you persist in your idea that California voters don't count? It's truly bizarre.

    Oh, and Hillary got 3 million more votes than Trump, 51.1% of the combined Clinton-Trump total. That's not a landslide, but it's more than "barely larger."

    Or do you think there were millions of illegal votes cast in CA? Hey if Trump says so, Brett believes it.

  • Careless||

    WTF does California's primary system have to do with this?

    There are two reasons for voters who like to vote for people who can win (not me, but most of you) not to vote: when the vote can't possibly make a difference (a voter for president in California), or, for example, a Republican supporting voter in a Californian general election with no non-Democrats. 2016 featured both. There were no Republicans allowed to run for Senate in California in 2016, and none in 7 of the House district elections (none like that for Ds)

  • ThePublius||

    thank you

  • loki13||

    "Being a minority means you should be ruled by the majority, UNLESS the majority elects Trump"

    The majority didn't elect Trump. Remember? I think what you meant to say is that if the minority succeeds in electing the President as a result of the electoral college, that's cool. Which, you know, it is, but it isn't as pithy.

    "and F#@K anyone who voted for him"

    Pretty much.

  • Procyon Mustelid||

    Trump won over 50% of the popular vote? That's news to me.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    The "popular vote" doesn't elect the president, the electoral college does and Trump certainly won a majority in the electoral college.

  • loki13||

    "The "popular vote" doesn't elect the president, the electoral college does and Trump certainly won a majority in the electoral college."

    And that is a sensible answer to an issue that no one was talking about, given we were discussing majority and minority rule. As was pointed out. But thanks!

    "and F#@K anyone who voted for him"

    Again, yes. Well, not in the literal sense. Please no possiblity of dating, sexy time, or procreation. But metaphorically.

  • ||

    Unless of course, the majority decides that it doesn't want you to be able to kill your unborn child or have gay sex/marriage, in which case, "The majority can't vote away a civil right!"

  • nonzenze||

    It means that your vote should count exactly equally with everyone else's. One man, one vote, no more, no less.

    It's kind of a framing issue: when our interests carry the majority, we naturally adopt the rhetoric of a mandate to rule democratically. When our interests do not, we adopt the right not be governed.

    To be sure, there is no problem with States like Ohio that adopt local control as a Constitutional mandate. Of course, the voters of Ohio could collectively amend to reverse this. The degree to which a State devolves political authority to its subdivisions is itself a political question.

  • NToJ||

    No one is giving up their rights. Rural voters have the same voice as city voters. They are outnumbered. There's no way to give the rural voters more voice without taking the voice from city voters.

  • ||

    The difference, of course, is that rural voters are happy to let city voters live and let live. City voters have an insatiable desire to control what rural voters do.

  • NToJ||

    "The difference, of course, is that rural voters are happy to let city voters live and let live."

    What planet do you live on? This just isn't true. It's never been true.

  • ||

    Oh, it's definitely true.

  • NToJ||

  • Sarcastr0||

    Or, say, all the posts on this thread about sticking it to the cities?

  • jph12||

    All? Show me just one.

  • ||

    That's the state legislature not letting the city busybodies regulate people within the cities who don't want to be regulated. Rural people want everyone left alone, and will use their power to force cities to leave people alone.

  • Procyon Mustelid||

    If they don't want to be regulated in the city, they need to move out of the city, become the majority in the city, or suck it up and get regulated whether they like it or not.

  • ||

    That's not the way liberty is supposed to work. The majority is not supposed to be able to remove the rights of the minority or powerless. Anyway, to follow up, "If you don't want to be regulated in the city, they need to lobby their state representatives to preempt the liberal busybody moves."

  • Procyon Mustelid||

    What good does your liberty do me?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    It's not intended to help them. It's a gerrymander designed to increase the number of Senate seats California has, while keeping it under Democratic control.

  • bernard11||

    Brett,

    The whole Senate is a gerrymander. As is the EC.

  • jph12||

    That's not how this works. That's not how any of this works.

  • Krayt||

    You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!

    (You're all enforcer cogs driven by one of several gigantic memeplexes: Republicans, Democrats, Christians, said memeplexes being clusters of memes that have evolved to drive the cogs to help it spread to other cogs, where the ultimate goal of the memeplex is to gain enough critical mass to grab the brass ring of power so it can skip persuasion and just force itself on reluctant cogs. No worries, the memeplex contains memes that stroke the goodness feel about this so the cogs don't get upset when violence is used in their names.)

  • jph12||

    Well now, isn't that special?

  • hmonrdick||

    I agree with Junkie's analysis of the present initiative, but that's only because the borders of the three new states have been drawn without any regard to the geographic cultural differences within California. Any new state that includes either the Bay Area and Sacramento on the one hand, or Los Angeles on the other, is necessarily going to be dominated by those two areas. A much more rational division of the State already exists, however. In the federal judicial system, California is divided into four Districts, the Northern, Eastern, Central and Southern, each of which contains reasonably homogenous populations. A slight tweaking of those Districts, to (for example) move the Southern District and Orange and San Bernardino Counties into the present Eastern District, while moving Sacramento, Yolo and Solano Counties from the present Eastern District into the present Northern District, would be much more likely to achieve the balance that ought to be the goal of this type of jiggering. Specifically, it would create two Blue States and one Red State rather than a single Blue State. Meaning 4 Blue Senators and 2 Red Senators, rather than 2 and 0. But that'll never happen because it makes too much sense!

  • Eidde||

    I'm just surprised that a state with so many believers in reincarnation has a county called Yolo.

  • SMP0328||

    If California was split, it should be into two States: Northern California and Southern California. NorCal would be a Red State and SoCal would be a Blue State. The ballot proposal would convert one Blue State into two or three Blue States. That destroys any chance of a Republican Congress or President Trump agreeing to such an idea.

    There is also a Constitutional issue not mentioned in the article. Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 permits Congress to admit new States into the Union. However, for a State to be increased or decreased in size consent must be granted by that State's legislature and by Congress. Do the voters of California count as the State's legislature or must consent be granted by the legislature that meets in Sacramento?

  • Junkie||

    NorCal would only be a red state if it's far enough North to avoid Sacramento/Bay Area, which would mean what... 10% of the population in it?

  • MarkW201||

    Going by congressional district maps, I'd say that such a state would have no more than 5-6% of the state's total population--it would have one complete district (out of 53) and parts of 3 others.

    You really can't draw a map breaking up California in a way which both 1) creates one or more safely Red states, and 2) creates new states that are all economically viable. This was the problem that caused Draper's earlier breakup proposals to sink like a stone.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    That destroys any chance of a Republican Congress or President Trump agreeing to such an idea.

    A Democratic Congress or Democratic president might be more sympathetic.

    We'll revisit this issue at the appropriate time.

  • kevrob||

    A 2-state split should yield Alta California and Central California. There's already a Baja California.

    A 3-state solution could have Central, Alta and Coastal California unless we just called the last one "Hollywoodland."

    Parts of NorCal might prefer to be placed in the state of Jefferson.

  • David Friedman||

    You write:

    Two of the new states it creates (one dominated Los Angeles and one by San Francisco/Silicon Valley) would likely turn out be at least as "blue" as the current California. ... But the third new state (with San Diego as its largest city)

    On your map, both Los Angeles and San Diego are in SoCal.

  • MarkW201||

    You can't tell this easily from the map here, but if you look up other maps of Draper's proposal which show county boundaries, the boundary between "California" and "Southern California" is right at the boundary line between Los Angeles County and Orange and Riverside Counties.

  • Rat on a train||

    San Pedro is clearly in Cal on the map. The line running NE from there is the LA/OC border.

  • Junkie||

    In the better detailed map I looked at, it was clear that LA County would be Cal, Orange County SoCal.

    Populations of each were similar (I think all in the 12-14 million range), with LA County dominating the rest of Cal.

  • ReaderY||

    The consent of the California legislature would also be required.

    "but no state shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State...without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress."

    U.S. Const Article IV, Section 3, para. 1.

  • jph12||

    According to Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona, the ballot measure should satisfy that requirement.

  • ReaderY||

    By its terms, the decision purported to decide the matter for only one of the 17 mentions of a state's legislature, involving elections.

    I agree with the dissent. If the a state's legislature is merely that which possesses its legislative power unconstrained, then a state state could, completely consistent with the US constitution, have a plebiscite delegating its entire legislative power to a commission, and provide further that the commission shall consist of a single member, who shall be appointed for life.

    Constitutional assignments of definite powers to legislatures and requiring their input and consent on certain key matters was a key bulwark against an American version of the German Enabling Act of 1933.

  • jph12||

    "By its terms, the decision purported to decide the matter for only one of the 17 mentions of a state's legislature, involving elections."

    That's why I said should, not would.

    "I agree with the dissent."

    I do too. But it's still the dissent.

    "If the a state's legislature is merely that which possesses its legislative power unconstrained, then a state state could, completely consistent with the US constitution, have a plebiscite delegating its entire legislative power to a commission, and provide further that the commission shall consist of a single member, who shall be appointed for life."

    You probably could.

    "Constitutional assignments of definite powers to legislatures and requiring their input and consent on certain key matters was a key bulwark against an American version of the German Enabling Act of 1933."

    Come on now, Anthony Kennedy isn't that bad.

    And the German Enabling Act was a constitutional amendment that passed both houses (with some shenanigans, of course) of the legislature and signed by the president. There's nothing in the Constitution that prevents that.

  • Perseus`||

    I thought that all of the ethnic diversity from open borders was supposed to produce Libertarian Nirvana in California: "Historically, the greater ethnic diversity of the US is one of the main reasons why we have a smaller welfare state than most European nations...Because people are most likely to support welfare programs when the money goes to recipients who are 'like us,' immigration actually undermines the welfare state rather than reinforces it."

    Yet "because of its large size and diversity, California is one of the most extreme examples of a state where many regions chafe under policies imposed by a state government radically at odds with their values and interests." As a result, Somin also advocates splitting California into several smaller, more homogeneous states, which are likely to expand their welfare states precisely because they are more homogeneous.

    It's all very confusing.

  • NToJ||

    Not really. He could also think that splitting them up will cause foot-voters to flee the high welfare states that remain, just like (as he noted) people are fleeing California generally right now.

  • santamonica811||

    NToJ,
    If 140K are leaving each year, and the population of Cal is currently 39,776,830; that means the departure rate is roughly 0.003519.

    If you live in a town of 100,000 people, and 350 leave in a year, I'm not convinced that this equals "fleeing."

    (If one is concerned about any net exodus, then that is a different matter, of course.)

    On the other hand, at this rate of 140K per year; in a bit over 140 years, we'll be at a much more manageable population of 10,000,000 for the state. I'll finally be able to find parking at the local beaches during summer months, thank God! Sadly, there will still be a Starbucks on every second corner.

  • jph12||

    "If 140K are leaving each year"

    I'm sure the departure rate is still relatively small, but that's the net from 2008, not the current number of departures.

  • Careless||

    It's actually a quite substantial portion of the Americans who were in California. California has been losing americans since 2000.

  • arclements||

    "In my view, the best way to prevent national political calculations from derailing partition would be to simultaneously also break up Texas in such a way that the net effect of the two divisions would be to leave the balance in the Senate unchanged, thereby taking national political calculations out of the equation, as much as possible. But that, obviously, involves challenges of its own, including getting the agreement of the Texas state government."

    The other side of that discussion is that Texas arguably has - and has had since 1845 - the unilateral right to divide itself. See 5 Stat. 797. ("New states of convenient size, not exceeding four in number, in addition to said State of Texas, and having sufficient population, may hereafter, by the consent of said State, be formed out of the territory thereof, which shall be entitled to admission under the provisions of the federal constitution.") As an enacted statute that remains unrepealed, it seems Texas division would suffer from one less problem than California division ... though given the state motto, I concur that getting Texas to agree would be problematic.

  • FlameCCT||

    Texas would be more likely to secede from the USA and become its own country again than to split into 5 separate States.

  • BigChiefWahoo||

    Leave Texas alone and make Chicago into a separate state.

  • mad_kalak||

    +1

  • Sarcastr0||

    So you want to switch to politically oppressing all the other liberal enclaves in Illinois?

  • Careless||

    Huh? The people around here (north end of Cook County) are mostly here because they fled the Chicago school system, not because they hate Chicago politics

  • jph12||

    But Sarcastr0 has assured us that there's nothing wrong with the Chicago school system. I guess I never realized how influential those 80s action movies are.

  • AmosArch||

    The fairest way would be to carve LA, Sacramento, and SF into one state of their own and the normal people get their own state. That way likeminded people can be together and represented. Gerrymandering 3 new blue states on the other hand is pretty dumb it goes without saying.

  • Michael Cook||

    Washington and Oregon should get the same treatment. Seattle and no more than two neighboring counties should becomes Cascadia. The rest would remain Washington. In Oregon Portland would become Portlandia (they are on track already) and the rest of Oregon would have a tremendous celebratory party. More than there being more U.S. Senators, both Oregon and Washington might end up with some genuine conservatives on state supreme courts for the first time in many decades.

  • VinniUSMC||

    No we're talking.

  • Sarcastr0||

    I won't be satisfied until we make a new state that is only Sarcastro, with two senators who are both also Sarcastro in different hats.

    It's the only way to assure my representation is genuine and democratic!

  • MarkW201||

    In Washington, this would never work once the Red counties realize that King County (Seattle) effectively subsidizes most of the rest of the state when it comes to the current distribution of state tax revenues. King County currently pays about $1.60 in state tax revenues for every dollar of state spending that comes back to the county. There are a couple of counties with tiny populations which have similar ratios, and a few "break even" counties--mostly contiguous with King County--which pay about $1 in taxes for every dollar of revenue. Otherwise, most other counties in Washington get well over $1 of state spending for every dollar of state taxes they pay.

    That means that a "Red" Washington would be faced with either 1) having to raise taxes on its residents substantially or 2) accepting massive cutbacks in all kinds of public services. That would put quite a damper on the "celebratory party."

    I suspect that the same thing would be true of Multnomah County and the rest of Oregon. In California, as Draper has already found, there is simply no way to divide the state up in a way that both 1) creates even one new safely Republican state, and 2) makes all the new states economically viable.

  • ||

    This false argument (whether made on the federal or state level) really gets old.

  • MarkW201||

    Sorry, but it is factually accurate, at least as regards Washington state, which publishes the date on this subject regularly.

  • ||

    Except that those data points always ignore the fact that many conservative suburban people commute into the cities to work. It also ignores the fact that much of the spending in the rural areas are required by the city people. This is especially true for municipal pensions, as an example.

  • MarkW201||

    In Washington, your first point does not matter, as most of those "conservative" suburbs are either also in King County, or are in those contiguous "break-even" counties. As for municipal pensions, those would, I believe, count as city government spending, not state, which is what I was referring to.

  • ||

    Except that the amounts of the pensions are much higher due to liberal governance. Gotta buy votes somehow.

  • RoyMo||

    I think you are overestimating the love the rest of the state has for Seattle, heck even King County is not completely enamored.

    I suspect much of the State is aware that regulation driven by the Emerald City's self regard is a major brake on their economic development and the prospect of poverty would not phase Eastern Washington since that would hardly be a new condition. Walla Walla might object to losing the prison income, but even the biggest loser, WSU, would probably prefer liberation from UW to the money it receives from Olympia. And they could probably make it all back by putting a toll on I-5 between Vancouver and Chehalis, heck if Seattle plays its cards right they might even lose Tacoma.

  • AmosArch||

    I agree with the usual Blue State subsidize Red State canard and I always get steamed when I think of how ultraliberals like Peter Thiel subsidize deadbeat conservatives like Peter Case of the West Virginian Communist Party. Don't you?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Where normal = half-educated, superstitious, backward, economically inadequate, bigoted

  • BigChiefWahoo||

    And, of course, you want to keep them that way by keeping them subjugated to the Metropolitan elite, eh, Rev? Are you one of the Oppressors, or just one of their useful idiots?

  • Sarcastr0||

    the Metropolitan elite

    This idea is like 100 years out of date.
    You do know where rich and powerful people live, right?

    It's not generally cities.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I want people to improve. To choose education over ignorance, science over dogma, tolerance over bigotry, progress over backwardness, reason over superstition, etc.

    I see no reason to amplify the lesser voices of our society.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    I see no reason to amplify the lesser voices of our society.

    Yes, hicklibs should be suppressed, violently if necessary.

  • Eidde||

    This would "break up" California like a Hydra...no thanks.

  • Smooth Like a Rhapsody||

    Who gets the water?

  • Longtobefree||

    Arizona gets to keep it - - - - -

  • santamonica811||

    This. Whenever I read stories about breaking up California, my first question is always, "But what about water rights?" It makes dividing the state almost a non-starter, since water is a zero-sum game, and there's not nearly enough to go around in this state.

    Don't get me wrong. If I were obscenely rich, I am not sure if I'd spend my millions climbing some Asian mountain, or pursuing some pipe dream of dividing up a state. Whatever floats yer boat. If it keeps Mr. D happy and occupied, then more power to him.

  • jph12||

    That's one of the beauties of the ballot measure--the legislature merely has to work out such mundane details after the fact.

  • CE||

    Water is a commodity. No one is going to cut off 12 million paying customers just to spite them.

    If the price gets too high, there's a reasonably-sized supply of water just a little to the west that just needs the salt taken out of it.

  • Peter Gerdes||

    I don't see how this increases the ability to vote with one's feet substantially.

    If one lives in one of the costal cities in 'Cal' it's almost surely easier for you to move to Seatle or Portland than it is to move into NorCal or Socal (though maybe San Diego is a small exception). You are unlikely to find an equivalent job or social enviornment in most of NorCal or SoCal.

    Conversely, if you live in NorCal or SoCal you probably don't live on the coast anyway.

  • Jerry B.||

    Hope breaking up states to get congressional majorities doesn't become popular. Geography tests and the number of stars on the flag could get out of hand.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Yeah, if anything, states should be broken up to allow the rural areas to get out from under the thumb of the city dwelling, self-desrcibed "elites" who seem to have no idea that life outside the city exists.

  • David Bremer||

    I grew up in a rural small town in Minnesota and now live in a Minneapolis suburb. I agree that city folk tend to have this paternalistic view toward the country rubes. However, don't kid yourself about which side is under the thumb of the other.

    For example, here in Minnesota, the Twin Cities generates much more revenue than out-state, but gets disproportionately less in state aid. In other words, the metro subsidizes the rural areas. And Twin Cities transit projects get rejected by rural legislators, but they see no problem spending tens of millions for highway projects in town with less than 5,000 people. I suspect Minnesota isn't alone in this dynamic.

    So there are also plenty of ways that the city folk are under the thumbs of rural voters who spend city money and prevent the cities from completing projects they'd like.

  • BigChiefWahoo||

    So I'd think the City Folk would be happy to take their greater economic power, etc., and form their own state, but isn't it usually the City political leaders who most oppose these kinds of reforms?

  • gormadoc||

    Part of the problem is that metro areas vote for statewide policies that make life in smaller towns untenable. My state raised the minimum wage dramatically (compared to the cost of living), mostly due to the metro voters, and smaller communities are chafing or dying from the effects, accelerating an already occurring process.

    Obviously rural areas will get more aid once you start making more and more of them unemployed so that city folk can earn more money.

  • JesseAz||

    So you don't think you get any benefit to the reduction in transportation costs of goods from rural areas to the city....

    Okay then.

  • MarkW201||

    The same is true, as I've noted upthread, for King County (Seattle) and most of the rest of Washington state.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Yeah, if anything, states should be broken up to allow the rural areas to get out from under the thumb of the city dwelling, self-desrcibed "elites" who seem to have no idea that life outside the city exists.


    Our system already provides structural amplification of rural voices. You believe our society's lessers -- lesser in number, lesser in education, lesser in economic achievement, lesser in research, lesser in progress, lesser in just about everything other than religion, intolerance, and backwardness -- deserve an even larger booster seat?
  • BigChiefWahoo||

    And the Rev wants to keep them that way through political subjugation, right? You're such a saint, Rev.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Being outvoted isn't political subjugation, it's democracy.

  • jph12||

    Some think Martin Luther King, Jr. was fighting against the subjugation of blacks in America, but Sarcastr0 knows better. It was just democracy that Martin Luther King, Jr. hated. And to think that we erected a monument to that fascist in the heart of our nation's capital. The shame.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I want them to improve.

    I do not want to amplify their voices, especially if they decline to improve.

  • NToJ||

    I don't know where you live, but the opposite of what you're describing is happening in Texas.

  • Krayt||

    ===Yeah, if anything, states should be broken up to allow the rural areas to get out from under the thumb of the city dwelling, self-desrcibed "elites" who seem to have no idea that life outside the city exists.===

    Sure they do! They know in detail how the hinterland yokels should use their land.

  • Longtobefree||

    No problem; redesign the flag with just red, and one big yellow star.

  • BillyG||

    I think the desired effect could be produced without the need for congress and only with a California State Constitutional Amendment. Essentially CA could subdivide itself into three Super Counties. Each county would be allocated its own quantity of representatives. Senators would be chosen based on all three. The existing state legislature and governor would be disolved and split into three, one per Super County.

    This would provide the desired effect without having to bother the rest of the country.

  • Longtobefree||

    A nice try, but too clearly a ploy to increase safe democratic seats in the senate.
    'Better' option for political balance is to create a new state, Oceania, by combining Hawaii, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Split the remaining California in two so that it pushes a republican increase in the senate and see how much gets yelled at.
    By the way, do all three of the new states get to write all new constitutions, or are they stuck with the socialist mess that CA now has?
    And whither the ninth district?

  • gormadoc||

    I'm pretty sure that Hawaii has different interests in governance than coastal California and also has enough on its plate, so that won't be happening.

  • OtisAH||

    "Clearly"? The effort is being and has been pushed by conservatives and Techbertarians.

  • Procyon Mustelid||

    The more broken up things are, the better in my mind. I don't care if it's Rhode Island or Wyoming, break it up.

  • RoyMo||

    Freedom for West Warwick and Gillette!

  • theobromophile||

    "In my view, the best way to prevent national political calculations from derailing partition would be to simultaneously also break up Texas in such a way that the net effect of the two divisions would be to leave the balance in the Senate unchanged, thereby taking national political calculations out of the equation, as much as possible."

    Why not break up New York State such that NYC and surrounding suburbs become one state and upstate NY, another state? In the decades or centuries to follow, Texas will shift politically, but the divisions between a megacity and rural areas will be more constant.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    When rural residents begin to pay their own way, and stop being an economic, political, moral, cultural, and educational drag on our nation, I will begin to consider arguments that their political power should be amplified more than it already is.

  • gormadoc||

    Have you heard of "inner cities"? They are dragging down the cities they are in, not people living far outside.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Have you heard of "inner cities"

    Guys, guys! I'm pretty sure cities are actually bad, based on all these documentary action films from the 1990s.

  • loki13||

    I've always know about the Concrete Jungle since the Lost Weekend, man.

    Immigrants, that's how they do, you know. Just driving around listening to raps and shooting all the jobs.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Guys, guys! I'm pretty sure cities are actually bad, based on all these documentary action films from the 1990s.

    Spoken by someone who's never actually lived in a barrio or ghetto.

    There's a reason white shitlib urban dwellers send their kids to charter or private schools, or do open enrollment, rather than the local public schools.

  • theobromophile||

    Here's the thing: rural counties think they are getting hosed and have no voice. Cities think they are carrying the burden. Split them up, and one side will be demonstrated to be correct, and the other, incorrect.

    There's also a difference between megacities (which are insanely expensive, traffic-filled, rife with income inequality, and without a middle class) and smaller cities. I don't think you can lump all "cities" together. San Fran, LA, and NYC are among the largest and most expensive cities in the country, and therefore, have an effect on their states that aren't the same as, say, Charlestown on SC.

  • kevrob||

    As someone who grew up on Long Island I can't think of a worse political fate than Nassau and Suffolk being yoked to the 5 boroughs like that. What is now suburban LI started out a daughter colony of Connecticut, and didn't get folded into what had been New Amsterdam until the Dutch traded it to the English. Besides quixotic proposals to make NYC its own state, there have been even more fanciful ones to take fair Pomonok, or parts of it, out of the Empire State. My favorite was the South Fork and various smaller islands becoming independent, as The Windmill Antilles. This "proposal" for Long Island statehood goes back to the 1840s.{ Scroll down to "Differences between the agricultural hinterland..." }

  • theobromophile||

    Good point about Long Island.

    Given that the DelMarVa peninsula has three states, Long Island could be New York and West New York.

  • ||

    "Why not break up New York State such that NYC and surrounding suburbs become one state and upstate NY, another " I've been dreaming about that for 60 years.

    But if we are redrawing lines, I'd like to point out that the best cultural match for upstate NY would be the province of Ontario (minus Toronto).

    It would be really fun (but admittedly pointless) for each of us to redraw all the lines to suit our preferences.

    One of the speculative possibilities would be to eliminate the concept of 50 states.

    Another one would be to divide the country into (dense) urban and everywhere else, abandoning the idea that a country must have contiguous borders, or that national boundaries must be geographic. That has the effect of substantially separating red from blue.

    In technology, we have science fiction to explore wild ideas. It would be fun to have a political future fiction genre also (or maybe there already is one that I don't know about.)

  • cja||

    I don't know how he decided on the borders, but San Franscisco would be happier with California; North California is a different demographic

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Without San Francisco, Northern California would be another low-population, low-quality, low-contribution, parasitic state whose voice would be structurally amplified for no sound reason.

  • cja||

    in other words: they're deplorables who shouldn't have their vote count?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Their votes should count. Their voices should not receive special amplification (at least, no more than the structural amplification of yahoo voices our system already features), however.

  • Krayt||

    Their voices should not be amplified because you don't like what they have to say and wish to keep them helpless and under your thumb, you mean.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I wish they would become educated and skilled. I wish they would renounce ignorance and superstition. I wish they would become productive members of society and adequate parents. I wish they would stop being such a drain and stain on America.

    Their voices should not be amplified because their voices are entitled to no more respect than anyone else's voice. This 'affirmative action for hicks in the sticks' rubbish is tiresome.

  • santamonica811||

    The more serious response to your question: Making the 3 new states' populations roughly equal was the first requirement. And the only way to do that is to sort of divvy up the larger cities among the 3. If you were to have a computer (ie, someone/something apolitical) do it, I think you'd end up with something like the map here.

  • Lastseer||

    If the Democrats win control of both the house and the senate, they'll immediately admit Puerto Rico as state, approve the Cal 3 proposal, and pick up some electoral votes (from PR + the new senators) and 8 new senators. Then there will never be another piece of federal red legislation ever. Soothsayer out!

  • Lastseer||

    Sorry 6 new senators.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Hush!

    It's better if the goobers never see it coming.

  • BigChiefWahoo||

    The Democrats may want to admit Puerto Rico as a state, but I don't think there is any consensus on that issue in Puerto Rico itself.

  • Sarcastr0||

    What, you think a little lack of consent will stop our evil plan?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    There will be no lack of consent. We already put Soros and Alinsky on it.

  • Lastseer||

    Puerto Rico already approved it twice, the most recent time in June of 2017. It's in congress now, waiting forever to be studied and scheduled.

  • RoyMo||

    And then civil war, of course I am a firm believer that a state shouldn't be split without some killing. If California wants to break up let it do so in the manner of Virginia.

    If that happens, I am sure that all Western Americans will do their part in ensuring the safety of the most vulnerable of Californians by securing and policing areas of safety and thus ensuring that California refugees remain in California so that they can contribute to any post war settlement. This will require more than establishing "No Fly Zones" and it will be with considerable sacrifice that California's neighbors take on the administration and defense of vulnerable regions such as the west bank of the Colorado, the Lake Tahoe-Truckee area, and of course South Jefferson where I myself pledge that as an Idaho volunteer I will assist Oregonians in securing South Jefferson. For the children...

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Idaho?

    For how many generations has your family been on the wrong end of bright flight?

  • santamonica811||

    Not me. I'm a' takin' my guns, and will be protecting the rights of the snail darters. We each have our priorities, I guess.

    "For the Darters!" will be my rallying cry.

  • bernard11||

    Well, if the Democrats do admit Puerto Rico they will be doing something the Republicans like.

    From the 2016 Republican platform:

    We support the right of the United States citizens of Puerto Rico to be admitted to the Union
    as a fully sovereign state.

  • loki13||

    Here's the thing. It isn't just California. Let's take the top 4 states. (All estimate as of July 1, 2016, rounded to the closest million)
    California - 39 million
    Texas - 28 million
    Florida - 21 million
    New York - 20 million

    (After those four, there is a big drop off to the next tier of states). Combined, those four states have approximately 108 million people ... more than 1/3 of the total US population.

    That is a massive, and continuing, representation issue. All of these states also have imbalances within their populations to some extent due to their size- New York has the upstate/City issue, Florida has the triple division (South Florida, the Tampa/Orlando Corridor, and Northern Fla.), etc.

  • California Right To Carry||

    California and the blue states should be stripped of statehood and then forbidden from forming territorial and local governments.

  • ||

    "In recent years, conditions in California have gotten so bad that the state has finally begun to experience a net outmigration to other states of approximately 140,000 per year."

    And yet, you're unable to see that the Hispanic immigration you fanatically support is the direct cause of that. Cognitive dissonance at its best.

  • apedad||

    Not sure what splitting CA would do in the long run.

    Red states are turning purple and eventually will turn blue (except for extreme cases like Tennissippi).

    Just look at VA and NC.

    Good ol' Midwestern CO and NM are blue and it's only a matter of time before most of the others follow.

    Progress is...in-progress.

    It's not linear and there will be set-backs.

    But all-in-all, we're heading in the right direction.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Bet on reason. Progress. Education. Tolerance. Science. Inclusivity. Modernity. Successful, modern communities that attract accomplished, decent people.

    Bet against backwardness. Ignorance. Intolerance. Dogma. Superstition. Insularity. Can't-keep-up communities on the wrong end of bright flight.

    I am content to watch time sift this.

  • DodgerBobH||

    Would current members of the California Bar be grandfathered into the bars of all three new states?

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Anyone who opposes this on "principle" simply doesn't understand American history—controlling the Senate was the most important thing for a political faction and admitting states was a tactic employed to control the Senate.

  • Sarcastr0||

    ...Does this mean I can't oppose slavery on principle?

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    As a Congressman Lincoln opposed the acquisition of new territory because of slavery concerns—more states with slavery would mean more slave state senators which would perpetuate slavery. Lincoln's belief was reasonable but expansion ended up leading to abolition.

  • TWW||

    Where does it end?

    Texas and NY are certainly poster children but what of Illinois, arguably the most egregious example of disenfranchisement Illinoisans not reside in the Chicago MSTA?

    Or eastern and western Pennsylvania. Or the Florida Panhandle, with cultural ties much closer to its neighbors in Alabama and Mississippi than to snowbird immigrants and Cuban refugees invading the mainland.

    And that doesn't even count the biggest fight of all; whether creole or Cajun cuisine will rule Louisiana!

  • ||

    Ideally, it would end with a new country with severe restrictions on the franchise.

  • Michael Cook||

    I was a conservative who commuted into Seattle for years in order to earn a much higher government pension than I could have in any red state, especially the one in which I was born.

    Now retired, my problem is that cosmopolitan lefty voters apparently consider myself and my retired teacher wife as dangerously close to the hated 1% (if 5% is really close to 1% anyhow) so they spend much more irresponsibly than drunken sailors and try to tax my wife and I out of our home or any dream of owning and licensing a newer car.

    The urban crazies hate cars. They outright steal money from gas taxes to lavishly subsidize the worst conceived and stupidly run mass transit boondoggles imaginable.

    The urban crazies love being a sanctuary city. They subsidize urban heroin encampments in Seattle at a cost of $1.5 billion and call it homelessness. They imply that it is the fault of capitalist real estate economics. Out in hick towns good houses sit empty, because rural people have less toleration and anonymity. If your personal problems become your neighbor's problem you get sent off to prison, maybe just disappear.

    Root hog or die, out in the country. In blue cities, problems are recycled, money, programs, tolerance abound.

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