Brennan: California incites division

By Tom Brennan |

If California somehow manages to divide itself into three states, some small-population states like Alaska may consider seceding.

It’s an unlikely scenario, for sure, but a California billionaire is pushing hard for it and a measure to carve up the state will be on the California election ballot this November.

The problem such a development would create for smaller rural states is that the United States Senate would fall permanently under the control of urban left-wing nuts and untangling the mess would take several generations, if it ever could be fixed.

The urban/rural split in Congress was dramatically demonstrated in the last presidential election when Republican Donald Trump was able to beat the favored Hillary Clinton on Electoral College votes even though she exceeded his ballot total by nearly three million votes. The collective will of the states won the day over individual votes, as the 12th Amendment determined it should.

The movement to divide California has been talked about in that state for many years and been before its assembly three times, fortunately failing each time. Its leading advocate is billionaire Tim Draper, who argued for a time that California — the nation’s most populous state, with more than 39 million residents — should be divided into six states.

That idea has failed at the ballot box twice so Draper has decided to settle for dividing the place into three states, Northern California (with San Francisco as its largest city), California (with Los Angeles as its largest city) and Southern California (centered on San Diego). Each would have about the same number of residents.

Some pundits argue that splitting up California would weaken Democrats’ hold on the nation’s voting base, but since each of the three states would have millions of residents that seems a stretch. More likely the nation would be faced with three states (and six votes in the Senate instead of two) with a strong urban orientation. That would make the urban states of the nation an indomitable force in the nation’s capital.

The good news is that the size of the California delegation in the U.S. House would be unchanged at 53 members. That would be small consolation for its iron grip on the Senate, leaving the urban states able to wield a heavy hand in allocating the nation’s financial resources among the states. Right now California’s delegation in the House includes 14 Republicans and 39 Democrats, including minority leader Nancy Pelosi. With that mix a long-term reality in Congress, good luck to rural states like Alaska.

Even if California’s voters go for the idea in November, such a measure would face strong opposition in Congress, where it would likely die. But just dealing with such a wacky proposal could make for a prolonged silly season in Washington.Draper was an early investor and big winner in three major companies, Tesla, Skype and Hotmail. Over the years he has spent millions in pushing to break California into multiple states. This time he and other backers gathered more than 400,000 signatures to get the measure on California’s November ballot

Draper and his supporters argue that California isn’t fairly represented with just two senators in Congress. And dividing up the state would allow the legislatures of the three new states to make better and more sensible decisions for their constituents. Draper told the Los Angeles Times: “Three states will get us better infrastructure, better education and lower taxes.”

Granted such a move could help soften California’s current image as something of a collection of crackpots, but better and more sensible decisions seems a stretch.


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