It can’t be worse than “Old California,” right? A new year has come, and with it yet another new plan to split up the state of California. This plan differs from most in that it doesn’t attempt to leverage the cultural splits between the southern and northern parts of the most populous state in the union. Instead, it leverages the political differences, which makes New California both a rural and conservative rebellion to the overwhelming dominance of the Left and the urban cores of Los Angeles and San Francisco.
All hail New California! Well, in theory, anyway:
With the reading of their own version of a Declaration of Independence, founders of the state of New California took the first steps to what they hope will eventually lead to statehood.
To be clear, they don’t want to leave the United States, just California.
“Well, it’s been ungovernable for a long time. High taxes, education, you name it, and we’re rated around 48th or 50th from a business climate and standpoint in California,” said founder Robert Paul Preston.
The state of New California would incorporate most of the state’s rural counties, leaving the urban coastal counties to the current state of California.
This is a partition effort, very different movement than the secessionist project that was launched with Russian assistance last year. New California doesn’t want to exit the US; they want to become its 51st state. Their rebellion is focused on Sacramento, which would itself land near the most eastward point of the rump California left behind by it. The rural counties are tired of being politically dominated by Los Angeles and San Francisco and have decided to leave the coastal progressives to their own devices. That point gets made with a sledgehammer when perusing the New California website in descriptions of “Jerry Brown’s Failed Shadow Presidency” and a link to the derision of the California Left’s grip on reality in the right-wing Canada Free Press.
Unlike other California-splitting plans, this one might actually pique the curiosity of Republicans in Washington, if not outright support. The new state’s rural counties would undoubtedly make it a red state, giving the GOP two more seats in the Senate on which they can rely — or at least have more of a chance of winning than the two from California now. Democrats might balk for that reason too, but it’s not likely to get that far anyway. It’ll never get past the state legislature, and without that imprimatur, Congress will ignore it.
Three major impediments will arise in Sacramento. First, no state wants to admit that it’s ungovernable, and Democrats in California would argue that they’re well on the way to making the Golden State a progressive paradise. They aren’t going to allow rural counties to escape and make them look bad, even if it would mean largely tying up California Prime for progressives for the next 100 years.
Next, the rural counties form a significant tax base for a state that’s already facing budget and pension crises that are about to hit redlines. Even if they were inclined to cut a deal with “New California,” the legislature in Sacramento would force them to take on a very large share of both crises — and the rural counties would have very few options in handling those, except to raise taxes exorbitantly to pay that settlement. It would be worse for residents in those counties in the short run, even if it did make it more likely for them to survive with less damage in the long run.
But all of that is moot compared to the most compelling issue of all. Take a really good look at the New California map, and then consider where California gets its water. It primarily comes from the mountains in the east and the Colorado River, as well as rivers from the north — all sources that would instantly get taken out of Sacramento’s control once New California successfully secedes. That would cut off control of water from the biggest population centers on the West Coast and put it in the hands of the farmers from who they managed to wrest it away decades ago. There are also farmlands and ranches in what would be rump California that could no longer count on even a semi-friendly domestic government for its most vital resource.
That makes New California almost literally a pipe dream. An Article IV project requires the approval of the existing state legislature, which California will not grant to this project or any other plan which cuts off Los Angeles and San Francisco from its water. While some states have been born from others — Maine, Kentucky, and Tennessee — all of those involved approval from the “mother” state. The only one which didn’t was West Virginia, which seceded from Virginia when Virginia seceded from the Union in the Civil War, which made its legal case (and it did sue over the issue) somewhat less than consistent.
In other words, as miserable as California has become, there seems to be no escape for those who have little leverage to do anything to improve it. And believe me, I’m not unhappy to be in Minnesota making that observation, even at the present temperature of 3º.