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An Idea Whose Time Has Come

The proponents of dividing California up into six states have enough signatures for the proposal to be on the ballot in 2016.  I think this is an idea we will see more of in many states.  Urban areas and non urban areas have been growing increasingly antithetical to each other in state after state, politically and culturally.  The problems of dividing states, which would have to be approved by Congress as well as state legislatures, are huge but I think the movement for this will grow, and not just on one side of the political ledger.  As for myself, I would love to see Illinois divide into two states:  The Land of Lincoln and whatever Chicago wants to call itself.  If such a measure is ever approved in one state, I think this movement will rapidly sweep across the country.  We will see.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

31 Comments

  1. The division of cantons occurred in Switzerland, for example Glarus and Appenzell, to prevent the domination of a permanent minority by a permanent majority, usually along religious lines and similar adjustments happened in the old Holy Roman Empire.
    Now, there are those that are arguing for a “Europe of the Regions,” based on principles of subsidiarity and solidarity.

  2. Think of five more governor moonbeams and ten more Barbara Boxers . . .

    I rather think that it’s time for the other 49 to throw out of the United States California.

  3. When you look at the red-blue spectrum, most non-urban areas tend to shift towards the red. The net gain would definitely be on the right. If “Chicagoland,” being the 6 or 7 counties in the Chicago MSA and three in NE Indiana were to split, the balance of power would increase by at least two more GOP Senators, as the new state would keep its two blueshirts, Indiana would tilt rightward enough to perpetually send two red jerseys and then Illinois would be free to do the same, boosting the count by +2.
    .
    Pennsylvania without Philadelphia, six Californias, Florida without Miami, New York State without NYC . . . there could be a net gain of 8 or ten GOP senators and an increase in conservative House seats as gerrymandered semi-urban areas were bordered off.
    .
    The next 5 years will see some pretty remarkable chnages.

  4. T Shaw said, “I rather think that it’s time for the other 49 to throw out of the United States California.”

    The United Soviet States of Californication have their allies in such notables as NY State Governor Andrew “I oppose clean, safe, economical nuclear power and fully support and advocate sodomy and baby murdering” Cuomo – you know, the divorced guy in New York who lives in open daylight with his concubine Sandra Day while publicly receiving Holy Communion from Bishop Hubbard.

    Moon beam governors are not relegated to just Californication. Nor are politicians like Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer. Take self-described socialist democrat Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont who was as instrumental in shutting down the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant as Jerry Brown was in nailing the coffin over the San Onofre nuclear power plants. And all are pro-sodomy, pro-abortion. True, the issues are not equivalent, but everywhere I look these people want to terminate life at birth and for the sick and aged, promote sterile sexual perversion, constrict energy supplies, restrict health care access, and stupidify public education.

  5. I live in DuPage county. Please keep me in Illinois; turn the cesspool of Cook county into a new state. This would be a swift neutering of Madigan and Cullerton. Name suggestion: Independent state of apostate Irishmen.

  6. I submit that just south of there… Mexico and Central America should apply for US statehood and then give our Navy Seals and Air Bourne Rangers, CIA, FBI, Spc. Ops. etc. etc. a year to pacify all criminals in the area. Immigration would become a moot point and a lot of nice family people down there would be safe for a change. But a lot of eggs would have to be broken and our world and the Catholic media has become a world of denial about such deaths.

  7. Sorry to be a bore, here, but it’s not strictly necessary to partition a demographic behemoth like California into a set of new states. Without consulting Congress and without complicating congressional representation, California can reconstitute itself into a confederation. Separate law codes, separate governments, and separate political lives, with some residual filaments connecting them but no more. You would continue to elect two U.S. Senators statewide, have some joint-commissions, and have a periodic convention of municipal councillors to propose constitutional amendments and perform some housekeeping functions. That’s all you need. Of course, there would be considerable frictional costs to setting up four or five state governments.

    I cannot figure the justification for the particular map the promoters have selected. From extant settlement patterns in the state, you can discern four or five natural components, and the ones they delineate are not these.

  8. I live in DuPage county. Please keep me in Illinois

    Here’s the population density map for Illinois:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fc/Illinois_population_map.png

    The red zone in the upper right-hand corner includes all of Cook, DuPage, and Lake Counties; much of Will County; and portions of McHenry, Kane, and Kendall Counties. Not shown but in the same soup is most of Lake County, Indiana and a fragment of Porter County, Indiana. Does not make much sense to partition Illinois and not include all the dense settlement which makes up greater Chicago. You have a first tier city lording it over a territory which has a population 3/4 small town and rural and has only 3d and 4th tier cities (bar that fragment of greater St. Louis). Two rather incongruous parts.

  9. “Without consulting Congress and without complicating congressional representation, California can reconstitute itself into a confederation.”

    Never pass muster with the Supremes in a million years Art based on the reapportionment cases.

  10. You have to look at more than just population Art. In the gubernatorial election of 2010 Quinn won three counties, Cook and two small ones in the Southern part of the state. Take Cook out of the equation and the rest of Illinois is fairly homogenous politically and culturally, certainly far more so than is the case today. Of course the fair way to decide this would be by referendums in each of the border counties between Land of Lincoln and Land of Clout.

  11. Never pass muster with the Supremes in a million years Art based on the reapportionment cases.

    I am not understanding you. It is not unusual even today for there to be boundary alterations in components of state governments, though it does not happen often in states where municipalities cover the carpet. I cannot figure how re-apportionment cases influence the delineation of county boundaries or the distribution of power between state, county, and municipal legislatures.

    California is allocated 53 congressional seats. That does not change. You have an all-state convention which either draws the districts or alternatively determines the cuts which intersect with the boundaries of the various components of the state while the component legislatures determine the intramural boundaries.

    As for any state-wide body, the members could proceed by weighted voting. Old style county legislatures in New York have fixed-boundary constituencies and proceed by weighted voting. Theses practices have been in place in New York since 1966.

  12. You have to look at more than just population Art. In the gubernatorial election of 2010 Quinn won three counties, Cook and two small ones in the Southern part of the state. Take Cook out of the equation and the rest of Illinois is fairly homogenous politically and culturally, certainly far more so than is the case today. Of course the fair way to decide this would be by referendums in each of the border counties between Land of Lincoln and Land of Clout.

    Population density is a simple metric which describes a physical reality which has social implications. You can use election returns, but what you end up doing is partitioning physical settlements and delineating as your new state a mess of urban slums. (That’s worked out real well in Wayne County, Michigan). The physical settlement apprehends all classes in the loci and is distinct from surrounding countryside (which has different issues, particularly at the local level).

  13. “I am not understanding you.”

    One man one vote Art. You could not set up dueling state governments within one state, whatever you call these new formed governments. States cannot even have the same system of representation in their legislatures that the federal Congress has with one chamber by population and one chamber by territory. The reapportionment cases simply do not allow anything other than each vote having equal weight within a state.

  14. “Population density is a simple metric which describes a physical reality which has social implications. You can use election returns, but what you end up doing is partitioning physical settlements and delineating as your new state a mess of urban slums.”

    Most Illinois cities have some run down areas but the only substantial slums are in Chicago and East Saint Louis.

  15. One man one vote Art. You could not set up dueling state governments within one state, whatever you call these new formed governments. States cannot even have the same system of representation in their legislatures that the federal Congress has with one chamber by population and one chamber by territory. The reapportionment cases simply do not allow anything other than each vote having equal weight within a state.

    I cannot see how this remark is at all responsive. How does a geographic distribution of authority (which every state has at the local level) violate an apportionment principle? You could not be referring to extant case law because no state has ever had this mode of intramural organization (certainly not since 1963).

  16. Will never happen. New York City proper has 8 million people. That’s more than the Dakotas, Nebraska, Montana, etc. etc. combined. They would want to be broken up in to at least 3 or 4 separate states. Austin and Houston would want to be their own state as well. So those hoping this would be some sort of electoral advantage for Republicans would quickly regret opening this Pandora’s box. The best solution is a red state blue state divorce.

  17. “How does a geographic distribution of authority (which every state has at the local level) violate an apportionment principle?”

    For the same reason Art that the upper chambers of legislatures cannot have a senator for each county, not an uncommon set up prior to the apportionment cases and now banned. You could not set up a scheme of multiple state governments within a state because, for example, a voter in Sacramento would not have any vote in regard to the state government overseeing Los Angeles. One man, one vote applies to state government and creating multiple state governments within a single state would nullify this principle. Setting up multiple law codes by each of these new multiple state governments would also raise insurmountable equal protection problems.

  18. “So those hoping this would be some sort of electoral advantage for Republicans would quickly regret opening this Pandora’s box.”

    That is not my goal Tom. My goal is to have more people with state governments reflecting their values. I assume that the new red states would quickly rise in affluence and the new blue states would sink beneath the weight of government they would impose and the businesses they would chase out to red states as a result.. As for dividing the country, that would be a disaster for all Americans.

  19. Donald,

    Ok, we’d have the state of Brooklyn, the state of Queens, the state of Manhattan, etc. etc. and yes I guess that would give those citizens of the newly founded states governments that reflect their values but I don’t see how that would change anything. BTW, why do you think dividing the country would be a disaster?

  20. “BTW, why do you think dividing the country would be a disaster?”

    War Tom. I do not think a peaceful destruction of the Union would be possible. I also do not think the division would stop with two. I think we would end up with weak squabbling micro nations that would invite aggression from abroad.

    “but I don’t see how that would change anything.”

    Look at Texas and California Tom and we see how different approaches to government make all the difference economically. Texas is attracting businesses and people from across the nation and California is shedding both.

  21. Ok..maybe more states would be advantageous. I think it’s worth a shot as it would be a cool natural experiment on what economic policies work the best. Plus, if you’re right, the State of Los Angeles would shed people and business and I could actually afford to get a nice little town home along the beach that I’ve been dreaming about.

  22. “I assume that the new red states would quickly rise in affluence and the new blue states would sink beneath the weight of government they would impose and the businesses they would chase out to red states as a result.”
    .
    Mr. McClarey: I think what would likely happen soon after would be that those in the blue states who can will move into the red states…but bring their blue state ideas with them and start building up a “blue state” mentality.

  23. “I assume the new red states would quickly rise in affluence”

    I wouldn’t assume that. If, say, downstate Illinois broke off from Chicago it would be cut off from what is, like it or not, the state’s biggest economic “engine” and it would probably pass through at least a decade or so of relatively hard times until its government and economy become truly established, and businesses could discern whether or not locating in the new state was really a good bet. On the other hand, splitting off from Chicago might protect the rest of the state (somewhat) from being sucked down the drain along with Chicago in the event that the Windy City undergoes a Detroit-style financial/fiscal implosion (possible but by no means certain).

    The strongest argument in favor of splitting Illinois or any other state, in my opinion, is NOT because rural and urban people “can’t get along”; it is because of the practical difficulty in attempting to impose one set of laws, regulations, and taxes on such divergent environments. I see it all the time in my day job which involves review of state regulations: rules that make perfect sense in an urban/suburban context prove to be unworkable in a small town/rural context, and vice versa.

  24. “but bring their blue state ideas with them and start building up a “blue state” mentality.”

    That is a popular trope now, but I don’t really see it long term, especially since the blue states are filled with people who view killing their progeny as a sacrament. What has tipped some states from red to blue is the impact of illegal aliens and their citizen progeny and even there that impact may be only temporary. The Colorado elections this fall will tell a lot on that score. Demographics may be destiny, but discerning the ultimate playing out of demographics is tricky and straight line progressions rarely occur in reality. We are already seeing demographic change working the other way in blue states like Michigan, and to a lesser extent Pennsylvania. Some traditionally blue states are now pretty solidly red including West Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri.

  25. “it would be cut off from what is, like it or not, the state’s biggest economic “engine””
    Why would that be? I doubt that even the powers that be up in Chicago would refuse the trade that has always existed between Chicago and the rest of Illinois. Of course, under the Constitution they would be prevented from erecting a trade barrier of any sort. Saint Louis and Indianapolis would reap the benefits of any attempt by Chicago to engage in monkey business regarding trade.

    “is because of the practical difficulty in attempting to impose one set of laws, regulations, and taxes on such divergent environments.”

    Correct. Under the old three person system of representation in the state legislature pre-1970, with its strange one minority party two majority party system, there was an effective balance of power between the sections of the state. Now Chicago rules the roost with ever growing anger and hopelessness downstate.

  26. Since I have cited the reapportionment cases several times in this thread I should note that I regard them as wrongly decided. They were clearly political questions that should have been decided in state legislatures rather than in Federal courts. I agree with my judicial hero Justice Felix Frankfurter, ironically one of the founders of the ACLU, who on the Supreme Court became the foremost champion of judicial restraint, who in his ringing dissent in Baker v. Carr wrote: “Plaintiffs here invoked the right to vote and have their vote counted, but they are permitted to vote and their vote is already counted. The complaint being made here is that their vote is not powerful enough. They should seek relief in the legislative system, not the courts.”

  27. By “cut off” I mean from the various state tax revenues Chicago-area commerce generates, for example, state income taxes paid by Chicago residents, sales tax on goods sold there, etc. I didn’t mean that there would be a literal trade barrier along I-80 or wherever the boundary would be, but simply that the new Illinois would not be reaping the same state tax revenues.

  28. Under the old three person system of representation in the state legislature pre-1970, with its strange one minority party two majority party system, there was an effective balance of power between the sections of the state.

    And who can we thank for eliminating that system? None other than our current governor, Pat Quinn, who in his younger days led the charge for the “Cutback Amendment” that got rid of that system in 1980. The 1970 Constitutional Convention kept that system.

  29. Or the same tax expenditures. A radical reduction in the number of units of government would help redress any initial shortfall. Lifelong residents of Illinois tend not to realize that the residents of many states do not endure the number of layers of government, often with duplicative functions, that we have in the Sucker State.

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