Jim Geraghty of National Review has another column today in the Morning Jolt on the subject of Calexit and why a bad idea such as that should be done away with quickly. While we may disagree entirely on the relative merits of setting California loose to go live some free range lifestyle as their own country, he does bring up one undeniable complication which the state’s residents would run headlong into if they chose this course of action. It all comes down to where they get their water now and how much they might regret seeing their beloved land turned back into a full blown desert if their suppliers suddenly weren’t feeling so generous.
An angle I didn’t get into in yesterday’s piece about secession chic among liberals and the “Calexit” campaign: The state’s extreme dependence upon water sources from beyond the state lines. About 65 percent of the water for Southern California comes from the Colorado River. Los Angeles, San Diego, all the agricultural production in that region… if you think there are tensions about water usage now, think about what it will be like when authorities and consumers in Arizona and Nevada control the water flow to a different country, a group of ex-Americans who chose to secede.
In an irate liberal response to the liberal suggestions of secession, Hamilton Nolan writes, “Donald Trump was just elected president. It is no longer safe to assume that wild, half-joking political ideas will not be realized.”
The fact that California is extremely dependent on the kindness of strangers to keep their water supply flowing is no secret and has been the subject of many learned essays over the years. Southern California in particular is, by nature, pretty much a desert. The recent drought cycle made this reality all the more apparent, even if one good rainy season seems to have alleviated the problem for the time being. But Southern California isn’t the only place where this is an issue. I have long held out hope that New York might someday find a way to split off the Big Apple and allow Gotham to become a state of its own. The benefits for those of us living in the upstate area would go without saying but it could prove to be a terrible plan for the denizens of the city. They get essentially all of their water through a series of massive aqueducts coming down from the Hudson Valley and beyond. One of the first things we would probably do if New York City split off would be to begin charging them for all of that water and draining every last cent out of them that we could.
The same thing would likely happen to California, but it would be even worse because it would involve “exporting” water to a foreign country. And if conditions between the United States and the new nation of Hollywood ever got too tense we could similarly squeeze off the supply.
But even if all of these dire warnings are justified, I think Jim is being a bit hasty in advising against it. I’m sure California would be just fine as a new nation. And just think how it would change the electoral landscape in the remaining 49 states. There likely wouldn’t be much discussion of questions regarding the popular vote versus the electoral vote in presidential elections after California was gone. For that matter, there probably wouldn’t even be much need for the Democratic Party anymore. The sad reality of all this is that the Democrats will never allow it to happen, no matter how badly the residents of California might like to try.
A better compromise would be to consider one of the other plans which have been under discussion wherein California would be chopped up into anywhere from 4 to 7 smaller states. Inevitably some of the states would wind up being red while others would remain blue. Either way, the electoral dominance of the Golden State would be at an end. With that in mind, warnings from Jim Geraghty aside, whether it’s subdivision or secession I’m pretty much on board with either of these plans.