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Plan to split California into three states earns spot on November ballot (latimes.com)
50 points by spking 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 77 comments

The only real merit of the plan in my opinion is increased Senate representation to be more representative of people - land doesn't vote. However that would probably cause contagious state Balkinization instead of doing the proper thing and doing away with the colony uniting artifact of fixed representation - which is politically pretty unviable.

But this is at the cost of probable administrative efficiency to redundancy and loss of their large size leverage. The sponsors are naked about their bad intentions however - wanting to disrupt bargaining power for sheer selfish reasons. Preventing Medicare bargaining was bad for everyone except special interests.

If I remember correctly, the senators were originally not elected, but chosen by the state to represent the states' interests, while only the representatives were elected to represent the people's interests. That's why the number of senators doesn't jive with the populations. Each state is then equally represented and of equal importance in the senate.

> If I remember correctly, the senators were originally not elected, but chosen by the state to represent the states' interests, while only the representatives were elected to represent the people's interests.

The interests of a state based on popular sovereignty are, by definition, exactly the aggregate of the interests of its people. Appointment by state legislatures rather than direct election by state citizens was done because of many of the founders distrust for democracy and desire to build layers of insulation between the immediate popular will and policy decisions, but that's orthogonal to the reason for equal apportionment rather than population-wide apportionment, which was (like many features of the original Constitution that produce unequal representation of voting citizens) largely motivated by the desire to protect the institution of slavery by increasing the relative voting power—both in the Senate and in the Electoral College which was then tied to combined Congressional representation—of the slave state.

IMHO we really ought to repeal the 17th Amendment and return to state appointment of senators. The states need a voice in the federal government, and that voice is supposed to be the Senate.

But then, I'd also like to see legislatures appointing electors to the Electoral College …

>we really ought to repeal the 17th Amendment and return to state appointment of senators.

This sounds good in theory, but the reason they passed the 17A in the first place was because of widespread corruption in the Senate.

>But then, I'd also like to see legislatures appointing electors to the Electoral College …

That's not going to fix anything either. What they need to do is replace the Constitution and adopt a Westminster parliament like every other decent democratic republic out there. How many countries have a presidential system like ours? Only a few, and they're ones like El Salvador, not exactly countries you want to emulate.


The plan is a gerrymander that maximally concentrates people likely to vote Democratic into one state along the coast.

Democrats have had enough of gerrymandering, and California is pretty blue these days. This won't pass.

The state containing San Francisco would lean Democrat. The state containing Los Angeles would lean Democrat. The third state (San Diego, Fresno, Bakersfield) would lean Republican. That seems more representative to me?


Applying that logic to only California and not other states like Texas produces a partisan result.

If all red states were to be winner-take-all in the electoral college, and all blue states were to split their electors according to vote percentages, that would not be more "representative".

Ah, yes, I suppose the Democrats would gain Senators but lose Electoral College votes.

I don't see it. Currently the Democrats have two senators from California. Do the three-way split, and Democrats have two senators from California-SF and two from California-LA, and the Republicans have two senators from California-EverywhereElse. Democrats gained two senators, and Republicans gained two senators. That seems neutral to me.

You're right.

sentors would technically be the same count.

Currently California is +2 Dems

In the new plan it would most likely be +2 Dems +2 Rep +2 Dems = +2 Dems

So no new gain. Where it would hurt would be the electorate college. California has 55, now 1/3rd of that would go to Rep.

Sure but if I'm not mistaken they would gain 4 additional Senators (collectively) which would theoretically 'balance' the fracturing and likely loss of democrat house seats and/or electoral votes. Democrats have a greater disadvantage in the Senate currently so this could be good for them in the short term- they could swing the Senate under the current Congress which is a huge deal.

I don't have an opinion on whether that's better or worse, but there are pros and cons. I doubt it will happen but it's a more plausible debate than succession at least.

The issue is not just Senators. Splitting California is also an electoral college win for Republicans, and a state government win as well.

Secession would be a cowardly abandonment of those who are treated poorly in other states.

Bingo. It fractures a powerful adversary for the parties pushing this. This comes up all the time with NYC/Long Island and New York (but, curiously, not for Texas or Florida) for the same reason. There are advantages to controlling the largest state in the country, and that advantage would shift to Texas. Since in either outcome this causes distraction and dissension, it's already a victory.

There has been talk of splitting Texas into 5 states. Florida has had a South Florida split talks in the past.

New York City would be interesting because it seems like a split would really need to cross state lines which would make it really, really difficult.

"There has been talk of splitting Texas into 5 states" - 1845

"Florida has had a South Florida split talks in the past" - Municipal level

NY and CA are on a whole different level than anything else in recent history.

Where does it say the house district lines are changing?

So if a hostile foreign nation is looking to sow chaos and discord to ultimately pit Americans against each other during the election, which angle will they push on social media for this?

Both sides. The goal is the chaos and discord, not a particular outcome.

They would make the debate very strange, though. At least some of the agitation will sound literally foreign to our normal concerns.

Everyone is looking at the impact on national politics, but this won't pass because of state politics, particularly water politics. Southern California just doesn't get enough rain and if Northern California were separate, they'd vote, either directly by proposition or through representatives, to keep it all or sell it at market rates. Southern California agriculture interests can't let that happen.

"States will be more accountable to us and can cooperate and compete for citizens." Translation: a corporate tax race-to-the-bottom that ensures lower tax revenues for all three states with zero net-new jobs.

If California does split into different states such that Los Angeles and its water supply are in different states then you have an instant, protracted, bitter, and expensive interstate water rights dispute to pay for. I'm not sure either prospective California would be looking forward to that unless there is a plan in place to share water.

"Unfortunately, our website is currently unavailable in most European countries. We are engaged on the issue and committed to looking at options that support our full range of digital offerings to the EU market. We continue to identify technical compliance solutions that will provide all readers with our award-winning journalism."

Does anybody have a copy of the article?


Yay GDPR nonsense.

The website is also not served over TLS. Seems to me they don't bother much with keeping up with the landscape.

I lived there 10 years, and it was obvious the state had multiple different interests. The south wants the north's water, and doesn't pay anything for it. The south is farming; the north, technology. The far north is radical environmentalism; the rest only mildly so.

I always used to suggest they split it in two - at Monterey right down the middle, since both halves would want Monterey. There's a fault line splitting it already, so its a natural division as well!

I woke up a bit late today because I figured the other 14 million in Los Angeles and San Diego had today's farming chores covered.

Oh no you don't!

We split at Bakersfield as is custom, and the South gets to keep it.


It's amazing how much energy is consumed pumping water to southern California.

As a 5-generation Californian, I will address this in my native language:

"Dude, this is totally lame."

Why not go one step further and just create their own country, Republic of California. United States is too large as it is. Less is more.

If the state does split in three I think it will only take about five minutes for the counties who want to split off and form Jefferson to submit an initiative to split Northern California. Likewise, Orange County and San Diego, while more similar to each other in ideology than Los Angeles or San Francisco, will be chomping at the bit to disassociate from each other as well.

Honestly, I don't think the state will ever split, but if it does a simple split like the 3 Californias proposal would make the most sense.

As someone who grew up in Orange County - most of Orange County by land is closely culturally tied to Los Angeles, not San Diego.

The dividing line is the 55 freeway - everything south of the 55 is 'behind the orange curtain' everything north is part of LA, culturally.

> Three states will get us better infrastructure, better education and lower taxes

Note that “us” in this case refers to different states: the state containing SF will get better infrastructure and education (because of both priorities and money, and, in the case of education, even if it maintains statewide equal per-pupil funding, it won't be equalized with as many poorer regions.)

The bright red state that doesn't have SF or LA in it will get lower taxes, at least in the near term, but not better infrastructure or education (safety net programs with federal, state economy driven funding, will get bigger subsidies, though.)

The one with LA will probably see the least political change, because LA already dominates the unified state.

This has come up multiple times over the years and doesn’t have a chance. Good luck!

It will pass this time for the same reason that Brexit and the US presidential election had the outcomes they did.

Shall we place a wager? I'm willing to escrow money on this.

Gentleperson's wager. I hope that I'm wrong too much to want to benefit from it. I very much hope it doesn't pass, but I also don't know who is out there working to prevent the sort of tactics that achieved Brexit. It is astonishingly low hanging fruit for anyone that would benefit from this strategic outcome.

I would assume that if it ever happens, it would break into two states: Northern California and Southern California, divided roughly at the 36°30' North parallel, keeping existing county borders.

That would place San Francisco, Sacramento, Monterey and Fresno in Northern California, and Los Angeles, San Diego, and Bakersfield in Southern California.


Yeah, this makes sense - though I'd shift Inyo and Mono counties to Southern California to prevent contentious two state discussions about water rights.

Also as a Native Californian - I question the logic of any proposal that splits the LA area into two states. Orange County is an integral part of the Los Angeles region.

If they were just talking about splitting in to two states - Northern California, and Southern California it might be more viable, as there are distinct cultural lines in the state to be drawn - but three states makes no sense to me, especially with the boundaries drawn as they are.

As an outsider and someone who is not even remotely close to the situation this sounds like a politically motivated move that is justified by unfounded claims.

Likewise. The whole idea seems to be based on the current California government failing its citizens. And yet California is arguably the most prosperous and successful state in the nation. Why mess with that?

I’m pretty sure the answer to that rhetorical question is, because that success and prosperity has happened under liberal policies.

So what will be the economic engine of Southern California, without LA or SF? Fresno?!

San Diego is pretty Dynamic but Fresno would make sense for the inland empire.

Why not include San Francisco in the coastal state?

Because this is nothing more than attempt to add 4 more Senators that have a chance of being won by Republicans. It's the same reason why "Southern California" includes OC.

That's interesting, as I see it as an attempt to do the opposite and add more democrat seats. "Southern California" is realistically the only one of the three with the possibility of going red. If you were to remove San Francisco from "Northern California" and place it back in "California" then I could see it possibly going red at that point.

That doesn't make sense...

This would add a net of four more Senators, which only might go Republican. Considering that California is generally considered solidly blue as it stands, this would almost certainly result in the balance shifting toward the Democrats in the Senate.

Parts of California are reliably red. If you split them into their own state, their Senators, Representatives, and electoral votes would likely go red.

I totally get that - I'm very interested in gun rights, and have been at least cursorily aware of the issues in getting carry permits in various California jurisdictions.

My point is that the way the state is divided in this proposal all but guarantees that all three will be blue.

Actually, it'd be more effective on the presidential election.

Right now the electoral college votes in CA are basically guaranteed Democrat votes.

This would break that, affording at least 1/3rd of them to Republicans.

That's huge, and would likely ensure a Republican president for decades.

So it's essentially gerrymandering via the ballot box. Great.

It's basically an offer to trade a net +2 Dem. senators for some Rep. electoral votes.

Reminder that the prime supporter of this is the same person still vociferously defending Theranos and its odious leaders.

Splitting LA and OC is idiotic. OC is the suburbs of LA. Of course the whole thing is fairly unlikely and not really a good idea.

Not really, DC and Virginia are well integrated (economically). Northern New Jersey and NYC are integrated, despite state borders, so much so they even have common government bodies like the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

I’m all for states to split if it makes sense. Texas, New York (upstate vs downstate), and of course California. The needs are too disparate and varied and could be better served by more attuned regional governments.

I know I’ll seriously consider voting for the split. The politics are way too dysfunctional at the state level.

We already have too many states as it is (50). If any states split up, we need to have some others merge so the total never exceeds 50.

DC and northern Virginia should merge into a single state, but also include all of central Maryland (including Baltimore). Western MD should go to WV and eastern shore MD should combine with eastern shore VA and merge with Delaware.

New Jersey should be completely eliminated. Northern NJ should merge with NYC and other parts of its metro area and form a new state. Southern NJ should merge with Philly and form a new state.

CT (the part not taken by NYC), RI, and MA should merge. VT, NH, and Maine should merge. Wyoming should be broken apart and merged with the surrounding states.

CA should break apart, but should merge with the surrounding states: the southern part should merge with Las Vegas, for instance. The far northern part should merge with Oregon.

Here's an idea from the 70s about how to redraw the state boundaries: http://mentalfloss.com/article/57444/map-only-38-states

There is merit to this reorg. Unfortch, we’re not the U.K. so we can’t just decide this overnight. It would be monumental and it would never happen.

The splitting and merging in some cases would make sense, but would only be successful if done organically via grass roots.

>There is merit to this reorg. Unfortch, we’re not the U.K. so we can’t just decide this overnight. It would be monumental and it would never happen.

I agree completely. But it's costing us dearly. Just look at how bad public transit is in the DC area with the Metro system: this is caused by it being under the control of 3 states (counting DC as a state here). Having metro areas split over state boundaries causes massive problems like this, increases costs enormously, and makes the country uncompetitive. Eventually it's going to result in America not being the strongest economy in the world, and maybe even a not-so-important has-been like Britain. The politics in this country are fundamentally broken, and the long-term results of this are not going to be good.

I wouldn't call Jersey and NYC well integrated. If Jersey City was part of New York we'd be able to take the subway to Newark . Instead we get to deal with fake traffic on the GW because Jersey decided to elect Chris Christie.

As a New Yorker I'd be all for trading upstate NYC for part of north Jersey.

I more or less mean economically. The issue you illustrate exists in the Bay Area, San Mateo county didn’t sign on to Bart in the 50s and 60s when things were being planned out. We are still experiencing the ramifications of that. No state borders involved.

If the 7 extended to Newark my commute would be amazing...

Am I missing something here? One can easily take the NJ Transit from Penn Station to Newark.

PATH train anyone?

DC and Virginia are not well integrated. It was monumental effort to finally get sustained funding for Metro from all three jurisdictions that took over 40 years to accomplish.

Sounds good to me. Approved

Which of those three states has the water resources?

Russian trolls have pushed the Calexit secession campaign. I wonder if they’re involved in this as well.

I can't tell if this is /s or not..

Not at all. Russian involvement in Calexit is pretty well supported, just search. They’re out to weaken this country by exploiting existing political fault lines. Supporting a plan to split up our most successful and prosperous state fits right into their MO.

I know who you are (at least as an HN commenter), which is why I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt here. But when someone says "X is well known, just search", they're usually peddling some complete nonsense that happens to have a web page that Google knows about. The way you phrased that (and didn't actually supply any evidence) trips the BS detector, at least for me.

As I said, I give you the benefit of the doubt, because you don't post that way, and I don't think you meant to here. It's just an unfortunate phrasing, but I thought I'd mention it.

As to the substance of your statement: Yes, this fits the pattern. But I don't think they care whether they split California or not. Splitting it doesn't change things very much. (Unlike, say, presidential elections. And on that topic, it occurs to me that we got handed an absolutely horrible choice in 2016. Maybe we ought to be looking more closely for interference in the primaries, not just in the general election.)

I think the real goal is to create conflict. This is a nice topic to get everybody all wound up about. I think they'll try to amplify that. Whether or not they're behind the proposal, they'll try to rile up both sides.

One of the things to watch for is the reasons that are presented for people to become agitated. Since agitprop is not "organic" (for want of a better word), the reasons given for becoming outraged seem a bit... off. Foreign, even. You think, "everyone's freaking out about this, but it doesn't quite resonate with me". That's a hint that it may be manufactured outrage, rather than real.

It’s as easy as googling “calexit Russia” and seeing the parade of sources from reputable outlets. What’s the right phrasing for something like that? Or do I need to source everything?

You're right, it is that easy. The first one I found came from the BBC, which is generally regarded as reputable, by almost everybody on both sides of the Red/Blue war: https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-41853131

What's the right phrasing? The way you phrased it fit a pattern in my mind. That's not much of a concern if other people don't share that pattern. (Judging by the downvotes, not many do.) To placate me, you might say "just search, and pick a source that you consider reliable" - that eliminates the possibility of some fringe view whose only sources are fringe. But that's me - that works for a sample of one; any further applicability is uncertain.

> Or do I need to source everything?

That might be the answer. Posts are read more than they are written. If you google it, you save 10 or 1000 readers from having to google it. (Of course, if some of your readers consider BBC to be "fringe" or "part of the deep state" or whatever, the link you choose from the search may not satisfy them...)

I see what you mean. I’ll keep this in mind.

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