Green Room

Is California “ungovernable” after 40 years of Democratic domination?

posted at 3:20 pm on February 22, 2014 by

Well, maybe, although there’s a solution for it that’s slightly less extreme than splitting California into six new states. The age-old impulse to partition the Golden State took a new direction, thanks to a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, who has won approval to collect signatures for his new ballot measure, which has precisely zero chance of ultimately succeeding. Instead of two states, Tim Draper wants a half-dozen out of California:

A plan to divide California into six separate US states is closer to making it on to a November ballot, with organizers gaining approval to collect signatures.

The seemingly far-fetched initiative, sponsored by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper, claims “political representation of California’s diverse population and economies has rendered the state nearly ungovernable.”

And on Tuesday, the California Secretary of State’s office gave the movement a boost, saying that proponents “may begin collecting petition signatures.”

He’ll need over 800,000 signatures before mid-July to make the ballot, but that’s not going to be the big hurdle. Neither will the election, although it’s doubtful it will get that far, because Californians aren’t going to vote to dismember the state. And even if they did, Congress is not going to add 10 more Senate seats for Californians to hold.

So yes, this is a pipe dream at best. But it does raise some interesting questions about California, because Draper’s certainly correct that the state has chronically incompetent governance. Instead of dismembering California, though, maybe voters should stop electing Democrats to state offices and overwhelming Democratic majorities to the legislature, as they have for decades (especially the legislature). No one was complaining about the state being “ungovernable” when Republicans won statewide offices, and when Ronald Reagan was governor.

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Comment pages: 1 2

I don’t understand how California could get past this clause

no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State

However, Maine and West Virginia got past this clause, so maybe the Constitution has always been more of a guideline than anything else. I understand the North used the Civil War as an excuse for West Virginia, but that hardly seems reasonable.

Al in St. Lou on February 23, 2014 at 12:19 PM

You left some important text out of the clause. The Constitution actually says

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, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned, as well as of the Congress.

So if everyone agrees including Congress, it’s permitted. That’s what happened with Maine; Massachusetts agreed to permit the secession if Main voters approved, they did, and Congress passed a bill approving it as part of the Missouri Compromise. Maine didn’t “get past” anything.

I haven’t looked up West Virginia, but I think at the time Virginia had already seceded, so it could be argued that it was no longer a state and this clause didn’t apply.

ajb3 on February 24, 2014 at 8:55 PM

Comment pages: 1 2