State of Resistance: Californians to Vote on Splitting into Three

Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper’s proposal to split California into three states qualified for the November ballot . . . which is nice, I guess? It’s not as ridiculous as Calexit, anyway.

Draper’s Three Californias scheme comes on the heels of his ill-fated Six Californias scheme, but both proposals are about as likely to succeed as I am likely to be coronated the King of Siam.

A Los Angeles Times story says: “California’s 168-year run as a single entity, hugging the continent’s edge for hundreds of miles and sprawling east across mountains and desert, could come to an end next year — as a controversial plan to split the Golden State into three new jurisdictions qualified Tuesday for the Nov. 6 ballot.”

But that isn’t quite correct. As the very next sentence points out: “If a majority of voters who cast ballots agree, a long and contentious process would begin for three separate states to take the place of California, with one primarily centered around Los Angeles and the other two divvying up the counties to the north and south. Completion of the radical plan — far from certain, given its many hurdles at judicial, state and federal levels — would make history.”

Draper argues—and he isn’t the first—that California is simply too big and too diverse to be governed effectively. He also notes that the interests of the wealthy coastal communities, notably Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley, often outweigh those of the vast interior of the state.

True, all true. And yet . . .

Even if voters approve and the legislature signs off, the idea faces a massive political roadblock in Congress. Again, from the Times story: “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.”

Can you imagine this (or any) Senate approving that? Neither can I. But it should be a fun exercise in direct democracy, a gift from the Progressive Era that keeps on giving.

About Ben Boychuk

Ben Boychuk is managing editor of American Greatness. He is a former weekly syndicated columnist with Tribune Media, and a veteran of several publications, including City Journal, Investor's Business Daily, and the Claremont Review of Books. He lives in California.

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