I’d Like To See A New California
The long standing political split between rural Californians and city-dwellers on the Pacific coast has petitioners wondering if the fractured state will need to start a war.
Joel Kotkin of Chapman University in Orange, California, has been speaking with conservative media about the cultural and political trouble for people living in a state with such a stark contrast between city and rural folks.
“The worst thing in the world to be is the red part of a blue state.”
New California Movement
A movement has formed in at least 35 counties on the left coast. Their goal is to create two states out of the current Californian landscape. Other plans are on the table, including ones that would split the state into three or even six new states.
Proponents of the New California Movement want to remind the rest of America that these states would still be largest than many east coast states, and still more populous than western states.
Joel Kotkin, who recently wrote a new book called The Human City: Urbanism ForThe Rest Of Us, says that the drive to split the state apart is powered by policies that “make sense in San Francisco, but [don’t] make sense in Fresno,” including the $15 minimum wage hike. He and others believe that the people in charge of California (that’s you, Gov. Jerry Brown) are “fundamentally authoritarian” and they don’t have “a lot of tolerance for any kind of economic or political diversity.”
That is, the people making all the big decisions are making decisions that they believe work for the entire state despite all evidence to the contrary.
Similar Movement in New York
In 2009 and 2011, Republican state senator Joseph Robach submitted bills that would push for a referendum to discuss succession that would split upstate from the city. The most recent large scale rally in support of this action happened in 2015 and was supported by people who were challenged by the Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo who made his policies based on what was good for New York City.
Allowed By Constitution?
A new paper released by Prof. Glenn Reynolds of the University of Tennessee covers the legal aspects of these state-splitting movements. The paper, entitled Splitsylvania: State Secession and What to Do About It discusses Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution.
The article allows new states to become a part of the union, but a new state to be formed out of an old state requires consent from the state’s legislature as well as the federal Congress. So, it’s difficult, but not impossible.
History of State Splits
In 1791, Vermont split apart from New York.
In 1820, Maine split from Massachusetts.
The Civil War prompted West Virginia to split from Virginia in 1863. Since then, there have been no new states formed through Article IV.
Prof. Reynolds says:
“…for most of the country’s history we added a new state every couple of decades…now we act as if 50 is set in stone. There’s a plausible argument that we would be better off with more states. It would be more representative.”
Reynolds argues that the reasoning for Californians in the county wanting to be freed from their hippie communist counterparts on the coast stem from a Supreme Court case in 1864 that declared that state legislatures are portioned out according to population, not geographically. So, with a sparser population, rural Californians will always be overruled by the Democrats in the big cities. As well, state legislatures have been encroaching on federal and Constitutional issues by limiting natural rights over environmental usage and firearms, as well as over aspects of daily life that nobody in the rural areas wanted to see so drastically changed.
Quickie History of California
The land mass now known as California has been populated for the last 13,000-15,000 years by indigenous people.
Europeans, starting with Hernán Cortés started exploring the coast by the 16th century. During this time, California was misunderstood to be an island. The first mention of “The Island of California” dates from 1510, and the map below dates from 1650. It error was replicated in other maps until the 18th century. At this time, the error seems to stem from a misunderstanding of the Baja California Peninsula.
Inland settlement by Europeans began in the 18th century, and the land mass was under Spanish rule until 1821. Due to the Spanish influence, missions were posted by Catholic groups and began to spread non-native species of plants and animals.
From 1821-1846 California was under Mexican rule. Revolution led to American governance and the 1848 gold rush brought new people to the land. California was relatively untouched by the Civil War but many citizens traveled to fight for the Union. By 1864, the state was voting Republican.
It’s gone a bit downhill from there. I hear from California Republicans all the time that they don’t even bother to show up to the polls anymore because they know they’ll be crushed regardless.
According to recent budgets, California has joined New Mexico to become a majority Latino state.
Sources: Fox News, Pew Research