California shouldn't secede from the U.S.

As a Californian, I view the “Calexit” movement with amusement, since there is zero chance that Congress would ever provide enough votes to allow California to leave peacefully, and the alternative exit ramp would involve a modern-day civil war.

During my recent trips back to California, I have often debated with liberals over the idea. I point out that before they sign up for secession, there is a more serious, more tolerant way of giving Californians more choices: Let the sprawling, diverse state divide up into two or more states to ease tensions between farmers and coastal types, defuse the war of ideology between Left and Right, and allow more policy experimentation,

Efforts to divide California into more manageable and homogeneous parts are as old as the Bear Flag that was raised over the state capitol at statehood in 1850. When I was a legislative staffer in Sacramento in 1980, a state assemblyman named Stan Statham had a serious proposal that attracted bipartisan support. He recognized that California’s people (now 40 million) would be better served if its competing constituencies had more in common.

Lots of people have their favorite maps for new states. For decades, the natural dividing line ran due east from the coast, just north of Bakersfield; it emphasized the differences between northern and southern California. My favorite design was for three states: one centered on Los Angeles, one centered on San Francisco, and everyone else in a third state. More recently, in 2009, then GOP assemblyman Bill Maze proposed creating two states: a Coastal California state and an Inland California state. The big population centers of San Francisco and Los Angeles would be in the first, but the inland state would include some large coastal counties such as Orange (home of Disneyland) and San Diego.