The Bundy ranch and the political powerlessness of rural America

As government grows ever-larger, majority rule becomes more consequential for minority populations. The regulatory state grows, and rural Americans are left with little recourse. The courts won’t overturn regulatory actions absent a clearly-identified liberty interest (with the law granting wide discretion to federal agencies), in many states legislatures are dominated by urban voting blocs, and — particularly in the West — massive federal ownership of land means the voice of the local farmer or landowner is diluted into meaninglessness within the larger national debate.

With few options left within conventional politics, rural Americans are beginning to contemplate more dramatic measures, such as the state secession movements building in Colorado, Maryland, California, and elsewhere. The more viable state secession movements aim to limit urban control by literally removing rural counties from their states and forming new states around geographic regions of common interests.