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Portland to vote on Texas travel ban

(AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and his City Council are upset. Oddly, it doesn’t have to do with the issue of Antifa terrorists beating people down in the streets and threatening journalists. No, they’re upset about something happening considerably further away. Something in Texas, to be specific. Since the passage of a new bill placing restrictions on abortions in the Lone Star State, Wheeler has been seeing red. And to demonstrate the collective liberal displeasure, Wheeler announced that the Council would be voting on Wednesday to determine if they would enact a ban on all government travel and other official business to and from Texas. I’m not sure how upset most rank and file Texans are going to be about having fewer people from Portland wandering around, but I suppose we should look into the details. (OPB)

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced on Friday that Portland City Council will vote on an emergency resolution on Wednesday with the intent to ban city business and employee travel related to the state of Texas.

The resolution was made in response to the state’s recent abortion laws that greatly restrict access to the procedure. In a statement from the city of Portland, the law was called unconstitutional…

The Portland City Council said in a statement, “It stands unified in its belief that all people should have the right to choose if and when they carry a pregnancy and that the decisions they make are complex, difficult, and unique to their circumstances.”

These domestic travel bans came into vogue just in the past decade and it’s virtually always the case that some blue state or municipality is upset about something that conservatives did somewhere far beyond their jurisdiction. They stomp their feet over things that don’t impact their own citizens one bit and announce in a huff that they will not be sending any of their money to these insufficiently woke locations. The reality is that it’s always little more than virtue signaling because they always leave themselves an out, allowing travel when it specifically benefits them.

When the local college sports team needs to travel to a banned location to compete in a major tournament, they always seem to find a loophole to allow it to happen. And if the ban is going to result in some businesses or officials not participating in some local activity that brings in a lot of revenue, they cluck their tongues and let the travel move forward anyway.

We’ve seen enough of these bans by this point, however, that I’m actually beginning to wonder if they might metastasize into something far more serious down the road. If the blue states wish to continue cutting themselves off in this fashion and actually become serious about it, we could be seeing a situation where two significant chunks of the population begin shutting down an impactful amount of interstate commerce, seeking to “punish” the other side with what amounts to a de facto embargo.

Those of you who stayed awake in American History class in high school are probably starting to recognize this plotline. It’s pretty much what was happening during the run-up to the Civil War. While most liberals will try to tell you that the war between the states was based 100% on the issue of slavery and nothing else, there was actually a significant period where the industrial north was holding the largely agricultural south hostage and controlling the majority of the cash flow. I’m starting to wonder if we’re seeing something similar developing.

Of course, even if we were, it would be challenging to stitch together two nations out of the United States along those divisions today. At least the antebellum south and the north were largely (though not entirely) divided along physical lines that could serve as borders. The red-blue divide in America today is far different. The west coast and a bit more than half of the east coast would need to hook up with a smattering of other blue states in the midwest and the center of the country. Some would doubtless be separated by “enemy territory.” It’s an interesting thought experiment if nothing else.

But for the time being, this will certainly remain an example of relatively meaningless barking from Wheeler’s office in an effort to drive some headlines. And as I said at the beginning, how many Texans are going to be upset about fewer Portland liberals coming to their state? They might even kick in some cash to convince you to stay away.