It’s easy to look at California and imagine Churchill instead having said “Democracy is the worst form of government. No, really, it’s the fucking worst.” Between often electing unconventional politicians to high office, and a overly powerful ballot initiative system that makes it nearly impossible for even those few responsible leaders to govern, California is an example of democracy at its probable worst.
And that’s before you get to the eccentric rich people who like to exploit this system to do eccentric rich people things. This time it’s venture capital investor Tim Draper, who is funding a drive to split California into six states. The six states he’s proposing are pretty much what you expect (with a nod to earlier efforts of so-called Jefferson to secede from California and Oregon throughout the years). If you want to hear about the whole idea in an English accent, here’s a video from The Economist:
So, the plan would create six states:
- Jefferson, out of the rural north (but looks like sadly no Oregon)
- North California, out of Sonoma, Marin and Sacramento
- Silicon Valley, out of the Oakland/San Francisco/San Jose area;
- Central California, out of the San Joaquin Valley with some Fresno up in there
- West California, out of Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Santa Barbara
- South California, out of San Diego and the O.C.
And, there you go. Also, highlighting how crazy California is. Silicon Valley would end up beating Connecticut for richest state while the Central Valley would make Mississippi finally feel better by becoming the country’s poorest.
I’m no big fan of federalism and especially how lopsided the Senate is, so you’d think I might be a fan of the idea, because it would finally give California at least a kind-of proportional number of senators. It is silly, after all, that California, with over 38 million people, has the same number of senators as, say, Montana. Yes, California has one senator for 16 million people; Montana has one senator for 500,000 people (about the population of Fresno). Problem is, I’m no big fan of federalism, and this project would just eliminate all the major efficiencies of a state its size (much like parceling out responsibilities and powers to states from the federal government does). The video mentions the university system, water rights, but also means basic services like roads, and those damned programs the federal government makes states run, like ACA exchanges, Medicaid, welfare and education.
(I’d also like to note that it’s pretty clear that California doesn’t have five more people capable of being governor, if the past few elections are any clue.)
Don’t worry, though, this is just another Californian weird-political-story distraction. Even if Draper can convince Californians to buy into such a fool-hardy scheme, they’d still have to convince Congress. And just as Congress won’t abide giving D.C. two senators, there’s no way they’d give California ten more.
So why am I writing about it and giving attention to it instead of far more important (or relevant at all) stories? Because I’m sick of that fucking missing plane.