Three Californias — Dreamin' or Nightmare?

A measure to split the Golden State in three has enough signatures to make the November ballot.

Robin Smith · Apr. 23, 2018

California, the most populous state in America, always manages to stay in the news. Whether it’s Democrats’ battle to protect criminal immigrants through the sanctuary state rebellion or boasting some of the highest tax rates in the nation (and then crying about their “fair share” after Republican tax reform), the Golden State is a bastion of far-left politics.

And if voters speak in the affirmative for CAL3 in the November referendum — and then Congress approves — the Left Coast could grow in its electoral blueness by creating three Californias.

Before you roll your eyes, states have reconfigured in America’s past. Granted, it’s been a while, but West Virginia was once part of Virginia, as was Kentucky. At our nation’s founding, on July 4, 1776, Tennessee was part of North Carolina. The evolution of territory that creates the federation of states that, together, create our nation has not been static. But is the prospect of having three states feasible, and is it really a good idea?

The CAL3 effort is led by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper, who purports to see greater efficiency, accountability and lower taxes. The billionaire has worked his proposal significantly closer to a vote since his initial efforts starting in 2014. Now, having far exceeded the 365,880 signatures required on a statewide petition for a referendum, Draper has submitted a filing showing 600,000 supportive names to bring the proposal to a vote this November.

Appearing last week on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Draper cheerfully lobbied that smaller governments would be able to address the failures of the mammoth state, citing the explosion of homelessness and a failed education system in California. “I think that these three new states are going to empower people to realize what’s possible in government. The education system is just about the worst in all 50 states, and it’s the biggest state,” Draper posited. He had responded in an email to an earlier Fox News interview, “This is a great opportunity for Californians who want better education, safer streets, better infrastructure, better healthcare, lower taxes, and want to be empowered and represented in government.”

So what’s the CAL3 plan? The singular state would be carved into three sections — Northern California, Southern California and California — that would all operate as separate governments divided at county lines that would attempt to balance population. Some Californians, based on the current fights regarding sanctuary status, may find it advantageous to revamp and reconstitute their government, but the electoral math yields two Left states, Northern California and California, separate from the more conservative Southern California through careful cartography.

Northern California, as proposed in the referendum, would begin at the Oregon-California line in the north and include all citizens down to San Jose, just south of San Francisco. Its new neighbor, California, would span from Monterey to Los Angeles, hugging the coastline leaving Southern California to hold Fresno, Bakersfield and San Diego.

But is Draper’s effort driven by the desire for accountable government or just more government under Democrat control?

In the new governments, the current populations would produce 18 U.S. representatives for Northern California, 16 for California and 19 for Southern California, to go along with two U.S. senators for each of the three states. Overall, the Electoral College would add four votes. Politically, Democrats gain a boost despite the division.

Will it happen? It’s been tried before, twice in California. The first was in 1859, when Californians wanted to split the state in two, but the War Between the States interrupted the effort. It happened again in 1941, when Northern Californians wanted to merge with Southern Oregonians to create a potential new state, Jefferson. Is the third time the charm?

Likely, no.

Not only must the voters of California support the measure, but the U.S. Senate and House would have to give it a thumbs up. That’s doubtful because other states might not be keen to dilute their own power in presidential politics. And Republicans are hardly keen to award Democrats at least two more senators.

Here’s a better idea, California. Instead of segregating your geography to reflect a homogenous set of Democrat ideas and to game the political math, why don’t you diversify your existing government to become more tolerant of ideas that actually work? Start with honoring existing laws that value citizenship and reducing the size of government, which should lower your tax burden and increase your working population — that, in turn, is a way to address those in the tent cities of the homeless and unemployed.

The real goal of increasing governments is to increase government power, not really empowering its citizens. Not only should voters say “No!” to CAL3, they should work against their existing failed state government. The California Dream has become a nightmare at the hands of radical leftists.

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