For now, I will simply direct a plain message to all of the good liberals floating this idea with a nod and a wink: Hey, shut the fuck up. You’re not helping.
The fact that these proposals are written in a half-joking manner does not excuse them, in the same way that half-joked racism does not excuse the person caught saying it. The sentiment is real. And the sentiment behind the idea of blue state secession, broadly speaking, is this: “We are the states with all of the money. We are the states that pay most of the taxes to support the government programs that disproportionately help you, the poorer people in red states. We do this because we are good people. And yet you have the nerve to vote against all of it. Well, see how you like it without our help.”
This sentiment is covered with a fig leaf of concern-trolling: It’s not that we want to hurt you red state poor people, it’s that we’re concerned that you will hurt our blue state poor people. It is interesting, then, to note that the blue state secession movement mostly attracts the support not of the actual types of people who might be oppressed in Donald Trump’s America, but of very wealthy techies. Nothing more needs to be said about the fig leaf.
The impulse to bandy about the threat of secession is not rooted in concern for the vulnerable. It is a tantrum by rich people who are angry that their political power temporarily does not match their economic power. Think about how shallow a self-proclaimed liberal’s commitment to social justice has to be for them to say that the proper response to the ascent of a quasi-fascist amoral strongman is to cede him the majority of the nation’s territory and stop helping to support social programs for everyone not lucky enough to live in a coastal state. Ah, what brave commitment to justice for all! If 51% of your state voted for the bad man, we will condemn the other 49% to misery. That’s what good liberals are all about! We all remember how Abraham Lincoln became an American hero by telling the Confederacy: If you are uneducated enough to think that slavery is good, go be your own country. With time your slaves will certainly come to realize that blue states are preferable!
Even as a smug joke rather than a serious proposal, secessionist rhetoric isn’t much more attractive coming from the nominal left than it was from the 19th century slave power.