Not since West Virginia broke away from Virginia in 1863 has an existing State split up.
But as populations and political divisions increase between urban and rural Americans the issue is being discussed more and more.
And now, one state’s voters will decide this November whether to proceed with a plan to split into separate states, and the outcome could reshape the nation.
Today California is the most populous state in the union.
But the Cal 3 Initiative got enough signatures to appear on California’s ballot this November and it could radically change that.
The Cal 3 Initiative proposes breaking California into 3 states — Northern California, California, and Southern California — roughly dividing the state’s existing population into thirds.
If passed, the ballot initiative, sponsored by venture capitalist and Bitcoin Billionaire Tim Draper, would set into motion the lengthy process of approval by both houses of the California State Legislature — and ultimately the decision would be subject to approval by Congress.
Draper told the Los Angeles Times, “Three states will get us better infrastructure, better education and lower taxes. States will be more accountable to us and can cooperate and compete for citizens.”
This idea echoes that of the founding fathers who wanted states to act as individual “laboratories of democracy.”
If voters didn’t like the policies their state was implementing, they could vote with their feet by moving to a different state.
It stands in sharp contrast from today’s Democrats’ notion that everything in the United States should be ruled uniformly from the top-down at the federal level.
But when it comes down to it, the question remains: would Congress approve it?
It’s a long shot.
The Los Angeles Times notes:
Where California now has two seats in the 100-person U.S. Senate, the three states would have six seats in a 104-member chamber. That would dilute the power of other states and increase the power of what used to be a single state if its six senators banded together on various issues.
Presidential politics also could doom the proposal once it reached Washington. Vikram Amar, a law professor who has written extensively about Draper’s plans, pointed out last fall that the shift in California’s votes in the Electoral College — which have been awarded for a quarter-century to Democratic nominees — would be split between three states. And one of those states, based on past election results, could be won by a Republican.
Amar wrote that Democrats would be “very reluctant to run the risk” of supporting the proposal in Congress. “And risk aversion looms large in these matters, which helps explain why no new states have been added to the United States in over 50 years, and no new state has been created out of an existing state for more than 150 years,” he wrote.
Republicans wouldn’t like the idea of adding potentially four more Democrat Senators. But Southern California could be competitive, including in presidential elections, and that would scare Democrats even more.
Renewed Right’s analysis of the 2016 election results shows that Southern California could become a swing state. While Hillary Clinton won the region with 2,085,192 votes (54%), Donald Trump garnered 1,760,843 votes (46%) — and that’s without even campaigning in the state!
But given the long odds the initiative faces, why discuss it at all?
Well, the fact of the matter is, California’s current government is failing its citizens.
Between the danger posed by its Sanctuary City policies (see Kate Steinle), the over-taxation, and gross mismanagement of its tax dollars in Sacramento, California residents would have much to gain from dividing up the state and returning state governance to more local authorities.
This also isn’t the first initiative to break up California and it won’t likely be the last, regardless of the outcome.
Liberals are still bantering about the idea of “Calexit” — seceding from the United States altogether.
While many Americans might just as soon see Californians go their separate way, the Cal 3 Initiative may appear more reasonable to Californians.