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Venture capitalist Tim Draper's effort to divide the state of California into 6....count 'em....6 individual states has until July 18th to gather 807,000+ petition signatures. If the necessary signatures are gathered in time, voters in California may be voting to fragment their state this November or November 2016.
California’s Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, announced this week that Mr Draper could start collecting voters’ signatures to support his ballot initiative.
It's kind of amazing to me the lengths very rich Americans will go to get their way. I know it shouldn't, but it still does....amaze.
The big question over this petition is....why? Why divide the most populated state into six new states?
Mr Draper: "The strongest argument for Six Californias is that we are not well-represented."
Not sure who the "we" is in that assertion. California has traditionally been a Democratic state....a blue state.....so I suppose Draper's "we" consists of....California's non-Democrats. Voters in California have elected majority Democratic representation into state government using that pesky one person-one vote democratic vehicle of, you know, elections. However, apparently, Mr Draper doesn't like the outcome of those democratically held elections......thus, his initiative for six Californias. Here's a map of the new 6-Californias proposal.
You may recall this effort from northern California counties last year....
In September 2013, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted in favour of secession from the state, with a view to forming a 51st state, called Jefferson, in the rural area around the border between California and Oregon.
What this all looks like is frustrated conservative California voters who no longer want to abide by the results of the democratic process. A bit similar, I would argue, to the Tea Party's rejection of the democratically elected President Barack Obama.
Venture capitalist Tim Draper's previous political activity included this attempt to destroy California's public school system.....a perennially Republican policy....
This is not his first foray into the political realm: in 2000 he spent tens of millions of dollars to campaign for a school-voucher system in California, requiring the state to fund private-school places for children to the tune of $4,000 (£2,400) a year. That proposal failed at the ballot box.
I don't think anyone in California believes that Draper's divided-California plan will win the day. The new California states would need approval from the U.S. Congress. The new California states would add 10 U.S. senators to the Senate.....a highly unlikely proposition.
More than anything, I think Draper's initiative in California illustrates how far conservative Americans will go to avoid democratic governance. If a majority of your state keeps electing Democrats, then the solution is not to PERSUADE voters to vote for alternatives to Democrats through better and smarter public policy ideas.....instead, the solution is to dilute the majority Democratic votes in the state by carefully redistricting the state into six distinct states.
This is similar to the GOP's 2010 redistricting efforts in U.S. congressional districts. Because conservatives realize that their policies are unpopular with a majority of national voters, they gamed the redistricting system in 2010 to the point where, nationally, voters chose Democratic representatives over Republican representatives by a cumulative vote margin of 1.3 million....and yet Republicans control the U.S. House by a total of 32 members.
I do not believe that Tim Draper's initiative will succeed. But I do think that the initiative itself fits with other conservative efforts to nullify the democratic process. Vote and voter suppression efforts, primarily in states controlled by Republicans. The record of no-holds-barred obstructionism by minority GOP senators in the U.S. Senate. Red state efforts to nullify federal laws conservatives don't like. The efforts by Republicans to shut down the federal government....because they could. The brinkmanship method of representation which twice brought our country close to the default edge. All these pieces are part of a whole.
Maybe permanent division and fragmentation is the future of the U.S. Not like it hasn't happened before. Maybe what we've been seeing these past years from conservative efforts to negate the democratic process will wind up in retrospect as the beginning of the end of the United part of the United States. Maybe this too will pass.
But it is important to understand why this is happening. It is happening because the majority of Americans no longer believe or place trust in the Republican Party. Americans, by a wide margin, favor the policies of the Democratic Party......tax policy, minimum wage, gun control, immigration, women's rights, health care, voting rights.....and on and on.
Rather than reform itself into a more popular political party, conservatives, seemingly, would rather change the rules, change the number of states, withdraw from the Union altogether, interfere with the right to vote, redistrict representation until the minority has the majority, and when all else fails.....nullify anything Republicans don't like.
What Republicans are actually fending off, what they are really fighting against, what they have made their own enemy......is democracy itself.