If you follow politics, you’ve probably heard by now about the proposed California referendum that could split the Golden State into three states.
The measure, proposed by billionaire Tim Draper, isn’t necessarily new. Draper’s forces had previously tried to get a measure to split California into multiple states onto the ballots in 2014 and 2016, but didn’t get enough signatures.
This year, roughly 600,000 signatures were collected, easily surpassing the 365,880 needed to put a referendum to a statewide vote.
The proposal would split California into three states: California, which would encompass Los Angeles, Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and have 12.3 million residents; Southern California, which would include Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Tulare counties and a population of 13.9 million people; and Northern California, which would include the rest of the state’s 40 counties, including San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and count 13.3 million individuals among its numbers.
For conservatives entranced by the possibility of Calexit, proposed after President Donald Trump’s victory in 2016, the idea of splitting California up for better representation might seem like a good idea.
You shouldn’t buy it, though. As Red State notes, it’s nothing more than the ultimate gerrymander designed to increase the liberal stranglehold on the Golden State.
It’s worth noting that no matter what California voters do at the polls this November, it’s unlikely the measure would pass, at least for now. In Article 4, Section 3 of the Constitution, it states that “no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.”
The Trump administration will veto such a split, for reasons to be laid out later. That means it would need two-thirds of both houses of Congress to override the veto, something that clearly won’t happen. If the Democrats controlled both houses and the presidency, however, this plan would be on the fast track to recognition, were Californians to vote for it.
Should this move to split California into three states be blocked?
Draper and his allies have tried to paint the California split as mostly a vote to change California’s broken state politics. There’s no indication it would do that. It would, however, affect national politics in a huge way.
What’s now California, which has two senators like any other state, would instead get six — and it’s unlikely that any of them would be conservative.
“Of those six senators, the four senators from Northern California and (new) California would be uber-progressive communists in perpetuity,” Red State notes.
“In addition, it is not guaranteed that Southern California would have even one conservative senator, and most probably have two RINO’s along the same lines of Arizona or Mississippi, or even split like Florida. And with the current balance in the Senate, adding two more progressive senators to the mix, along with the worst-case scenario of one conservative + one RINO, would present a chill on the current structure that would make it near-impossible to get anything done from even a moderate-right stance, and help propel the anti-American legislation that would nail the coffin into any legislative relief.”
Then there’s the House. Red State estimates Southern California would get 20 seats in the reapportionment, with 19 seats for Northern California and 17 seats for California classic.
There’s a catch to this, as usual: “California is made up of districts that are currently near-100% Democrat-controlled districts, while Northern California currently has about 70% Democrat-controlled districts,” Red State notes. “However, with the new states able to control their district configuration, it would make it more likely that Northern California is going to gerrymander the sprawling conservative population into fewer districts, ensuring that progressives control 16 or 17 of the 19 seats.”
Furthermore, Minnesota, Texas and Washington would end up losing seats under this plan. Two of those three states — Minnesota and Washington — would likely gerrymander their districts so the GOP would lose a seat, resulting in a likely cumulative loss of one seat.
And that’s all a best-case scenario, assuming that Southern California (or whatever it decides to rename itself after the split, should it happen; the San Francisco Chronicle notes the new states would be able to vote on a name for themselves) remains conservative. That’s far from certain, particularly given immigration patterns.
There are a number of other issues posed by this split, from apportioning the state’s ginormous debt and pension responsibilities to deciding how water rights are doled out. However, the biggest issue should be the fact this is one giant gerrymander, little more than a naked attempt to throw the balance of Congress in the favor of the Democrats.
Again, it’s worth noting what I previously stated: Unless the Democrats get both houses of Congress in November and Trump refuses to veto this — all three of which are unlikely to happen together — any change to California isn’t going to happen.
However, that’s not to say it won’t appear at a later date, particularly if there’s a Democrat in office. So if you ever needed a reason to keep conservatives in office, this blatant power grab ought to do it.
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