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Blue State Secessionism Is Stupid And Reactionary

[ 367 ] March 14, 2017 |

President-Jefferson-Davis

Agree 100% with this:

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.

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  1. Brett says:

    If any state could make it as a separate country it would be California, but it’s still a stupid idea, and I think most folks know that. Even if they get the referendum on the ballot, it will go down hard at election time.

    I hope.

    • C.V. Danes says:

      And if it succeeded, it would merely concentrate the blue-red divide at the state level. And as Germany and many others have demonstrated historically, a single state can be overthrown quite easily.

    • Tom in BK says:

      If John McPhee has taught me nothing else, it’s that California would be doomed without the rest of the states funneling it water.

      • los says:

        Most water is used by ag, while ag doesn’t contribute a huge portion of ca gdp.
        IIRC reading that old locked-in water “rights” have protected (or locked in?) ag from a “freemarket” water market.
        IIRC a court decision decades ago, the percentage of Colorado River water is already scheduled to drop.
        There will be seller of that water who will also want sales income. Assuming court decision goes out, I’d expect less quantity at higher price sold to CA.

        But whose water is it now?
        Colorado state would want to blueexit.

        Water is a mess.

    • los says:

      but it’s still a stupid idea,

      at third glance, but not at first or second glance.

      and I think most folks know that. Even if they get the referendum on the ballot, it will go down hard at election time.

      1. The Proposition (though I haven’t looked for a draft version) will lose, because it’s literally a radical change, and
      2. CA will be among the best survivors of Trumpism, thus inadequately desperate for radical change.

      • C.V. Danes says:

        Besides, what would it gain? A good many people in California (and any combination of blue states) are conservative, so you would merely turn the blue-red divide into a fight at the state level without the stabilizing effect of the federal government. What you would do is make it much easier to flip California red, and then where would you be?

        • los says:

          good many people in California… are conservative

          Lowish %, and declining.

          Many people haven’t looked at a CA map.
          This page seems to have been written in early or mid-2012.
          http://www.ppic.org/main/publication_quick.asp?i=1007
          CA state population-based map shows weak red

          We created five opinion-based groupings of our geographic places:

          Loyal Liberal: Very liberal on both social and fiscal issues (18% of the state’s population);
          Moderate Liberal: Moderately liberal on both social and fiscal issues (24%);
          Conservative Liberal: Conservative on social issues and moderately liberal on fiscal issues (25%);
          Moderate Conservative: Moderately liberal on social issues and conservative on fiscal issues (17%);
          Committed Conservative: Conservative on both social and fiscal issues (15%).

          Most of the economically-troubled counties are red counties. Orange County is an exception… and internationally notorious as home of kooky dilettantes, e.g., Dana Rohrabacher… who is California’s Michele Bachmann.
          I think Riverside is economically OK because it is one of LA’s overflows

        • los says:

          BTW, the world is becoming “smaller” with more specialization, so splitting into smaller nations seems backwards.

        • los says:

          What you would do is make it much easier to flip California red

          After Calexit, I suspect the California Republican party would be even more likely to die.

          CA created independent redistricting in the 2000s, so even if the Koch Party could one day afford to buy enough state offices for a wacked out party (Republican Party), creating a gerrymandered stranglehold on elections would cost more per voter than other (also less populous) states.

          I think that this map shows that the Koch Party is forced to buy Democratic party politicians
          Figure 6. Democratic voters are quite conservative in some parts of the state

          _________
          name looks Kochian, but contributors look like standard PBS “corporate minded” sponsors

      • bender says:

        The initiative does nothing except remove a clause from the state constitution which states that federal law is supreme over state law. According to the backers, that clause would invalidate any future referenda on secession.

        Were the initiative to pass, all it would accomplish is to remove one obstacle to secession at some time in the future. It won’t change anything at all; federal law is still supreme whether the state constitution says so explicitly or not.

        If it gets enough signatures to get on the ballot, and if the court doesn’t throw it out, and if it passes, it will simply be a way for Californians to express their displeasure at the federal government. I was ready to sign the petition myself until I found out who the backers are.

  2. Snarki, child of Loki says:

    Hey, no secession for blue states.

    And those rebel red states that yak about secession? No, they’re NOT ALLOWED to secede.

    They must be ejected. Forcefully.

    Hey, what good is having nuclear weapons if you’re not going to use them, amirite?

  3. DamnYankees says:

    I’ve thought about this a decent amount, especially following the initial EO about immigration which made everyone get terrified. And while I agree secession is stupid as generally proposed and under our current conditions, I think there is a serious discussion to be had around what would have to happen in order for secession by a blue state, like CA, to make real sense.

    Like, what if in response to a terrorist attack combined with a war, Trump and the GOP Congress were to somehow pass a law literally kicking out all immigrants – all of them. Any country, any immigration status – student visa or green card. Married to a citizen? Parent of a citizen? Don’t care. Everybody out.

    While this isn’t likely it’s more likely under this government than anyone would have reasonably thought possible. What if this happens? Not enough? What about if this happens, and at the same time, a bunch of states like WI and MI and PA actually follow through and gerrymander their electoral votes, and then we lose in 2020 in a way which makes it obvious that winning going forward is going to functionally impossible.

    All of this is again unlikely. And maybe secession would *still* be a bad idea. But I don’t think its bad or crazy to talk about it on internet message boards.

    • vic rattlehead says:

      Well, the scenario you outline would be pretty fucking bad. So bad that secession wouldn’t really be a big deal because we’d all already be fucked anyway. So I guess there are scenarios where shit gets so awful that secession seems like a nothingburger in comparison. But that’s not what we have now so I’m not sure how useful the thought experiment is.

      • DamnYankees says:

        But that’s not what we have now so I’m not sure how useful the thought experiment is.

        Well, as someone with an immigrant spouse, I sort of have no choice but to try to think ahead about if it could become that bad, and make plans accordingly. For me, personally, that means less secession and more expatriation, but still, same thoughts.

      • catclub says:

        If Trump had not already used nuclear weapons, he certainly would against renegade states.

    • Joe_JP says:

      Trump and the GOP Congress were to somehow pass a law literally kicking out all immigrants – all of them.

      We can play a parlor game here of unlikely things. What if the Browns win the Super Bowl in next season? The extreme way you phrase it is simply not reasonably likely.

      But, even if it happens, being part of the U.S. would provide this vast group some limited degree of protection that will not be there once secession occurs. The same would apply to American citizens generally if Trump wins in 2020 based on some electoral vote rule change.

      There also will be a certain unity of interests and identity between red and blue states here. Division into two nations would harm people in the blue states have close relations to, including let’s say over 40% who didn’t vote for Trump in the state of Texas. Disunion very well also might lead to additional violence.

      It’s okay to have thought experiments to determine when secession is appropriate. Lest we forget, the United States was part of a wider nation once. I don’t think 1865 necessarily for all time ended the possibility of it happening here. But, we are from what I can tell far from it being a sound idea.

      • DamnYankees says:

        We can play a parlor game here of unlikely things. What if the Browns win the Super Bowl in next season? The extreme way you phrase it is simply not reasonably likely.

        Under current conditions? No, not likely. But you have the #2 man in the White House who hates Muslims and Chinese people and wants a war with both.

        Again, I put the odds of this as “not high”. But its still too high for comfort, and high enough that the mind wanders…

        • Joe_JP says:

          Under current conditions? No, not likely. But you have the #2 man in the White House who hates Muslims and Chinese people and wants a war with both.

          Which is less broad than your hypo, plus you have to get Congress to okay it, and have it actually work. And, even if that occurs, a “we are okay here in NY and CA, heck with you in Texas” seems unjust.

          So, when I think about it, secession still seems a bad idea.

    • JohnT says:

      To generalise your point which I think is interesting: Under what conditions would the North East/California have a moral right to secede?
      I am not an American so have no dog in this fight. In other countries secession happens because the secessionists think of themselves as a fundamentally different nation from their compatriots (Slovakia, Croatia, South Sudan, potentially Catalonia and Scotland etc). I guess that is hard to apply in the US. But as DY says, there are probably some conditions so bad that they would justify secession. It seems to me worth talking about what they are, if only to understand what it is that defines the nation as a whole and its right to exist.

      • Joe_JP says:

        I am not an American so have no dog in this fight.

        The international effects of these things, especially given the size of the places involved in the U.S., probably would lead to many foreigners having a dog in the fight.

        At least, such was the case during secession movements of the past in the US in 1776 and 1861.

      • Marlowe says:

        In other countries secession happens because the secessionists think of themselves as a fundamentally different nation from their compatriots (Slovakia, Croatia, South Sudan, potentially Catalonia and Scotland etc). I guess that is hard to apply in the US.

        OK, succession is probably a bad idea and a non-starter. But, but, but. I’m a 63-year old Jewish liberal who has spent my entire life in New York City (born in Brooklyn) or northern New Jersey, literally just across the river in Hudson County. (With the arguable exception of a seven year sojourn at two enclaves of elite, liberal academia in Central New York.) If you don’t think I think that I’m living in a fundamentally different nation from, say, Texas or Alabama, or that most of those in Texas or Alabama don’t feel the same way, you don’t know the US very well. (Woody Allen in Annie Hall: “Don’t you see the rest of the country looks upon New York like we’re left-wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers? I think of us that way sometimes and I live here.”)

        • DamnYankees says:

          (Woody Allen in Annie Hall: “Don’t you see the rest of the country looks upon New York like we’re left-wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers? I think of us that way sometimes and I live here.”)

          Goddam that’s a great line.

        • econoclast says:

          The US is not unique in this regard. Every country has its Trump voters. Right-wing populism appeals to a fundamental fact of human nature. Le Pen, Wilders, Farage, Putin, all bear a family resemblance. (Even Erdogan in Turkey, or Modi in India have some similarities.) The only difference is that Trump voters are a slightly bigger group (probably thanks to racism), and the electoral system gives them a disproportionate say.

          And Texas is not that different from the rest of the US. The blue part is a bit smaller, and the red part is a bit bigger. Dallas is more like New York City than it is like Tyler or Midland.

          • Abbey Bartlet says:

            The only difference is that Trump voters are a slightly bigger group (probably thanks to racism), and the electoral system gives them a disproportionate say.

            Also due to racism.

          • Marlowe says:

            Tyler, Midland, or Dallas. They’re all the same foreign country to this NYC boy.

            • Abbey Bartlet says:

              Tyler, Midland, or Dallas. They’re all the same foreign country to this NYC boy.

              The claims about big cities in the South being soooo different from the rest of the South is true, but it doesn’t mean they’re at all like big cities elsewhere.

              • MyNameIsZweig says:

                I was just going to make this same point. Dallas sure beats, say, Fort Stockton, but in terms of the political and social climate, it’s definitely no Seattle or Boston or Chicago.

            • djw says:

              Tyler, Midland, or Dallas. They’re all the same foreign country to this NYC boy.

              But that’s your provincialism, not reality.

              The primary divide in this country is demographic and urban/non-urban, not blue and red states. The latter is little more than an artifact of the former.

              • Abbey Bartlet says:

                But that’s your provincialism, not reality.

                The primary divide in this country is demographic and urban/non-urban, not blue and red states. The latter is little more than an artifact of the former.

                I’m sorry, but no. That may be the primary divide nationwide, but Dallas is absolutely a different country from NYC.

                To take two places I’ve lived:
                Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA: 870,000 people, 85% white, 7.7% black, 4% Latinx. Median age 39.7; median income $43,250.
                Tulsa MSA: 937,000 people, 76% white, 9.8% black, 8.4% Latinx. Median age 37.8; median income $38,261.

                Those are not wildly disparate demographics, but holy fuck are those wildly different places.

    • Hayden Arse says:

      all of them. Any country, any immigration status – student visa or green card. Married to a citizen? Parent of a citizen? Don’t care. Everybody out.

      It would probably be cheaper than divorcing Melania.

    • C.V. Danes says:

      The fact is, California or any grouping of states cannot just up and secede without going to war. Secession requires approval of 3/4 of the states.

      That being said, what would it gain? A good many people in California (and any combination of blue states) are conservative, so you would merely turn the blue-red divide into a fight at the state level without the stabilizing effect of the federal government. What you would do is make it much easier to flip California red, and then where would you be?

    • los says:

      PA has been gerrymandered a long time.
      Search shows GOP gerrymandered WI and MI, presumably after 2010.
      Worst districts: OH, FL, NC, TX, LA, PA

      At least two redstate have regerrymandered between their census gerrymanders, to reset the bias.

      Are there any GOP states that aren’t gerrymandered? Gerrymandering is GOP Standard Practice.

  4. efgoldman says:

    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.

    I am retired, and my income is social security plus a small 401k, and you know what? I’d like to carve all the traitor states and all the deep red fuck the poors, fuck the blacks, fuck the browns, fuck the women (sort of) states right the fuck out, fuck them all. If they’re so fucking stupid, and ignorant, and greedy, and racist, and misogynist, and hateful to live in polite society, why should we let them, and PAY FOR IT?!

    Fuckem

    • enlightenedbum says:

      Because of the terrible effects it would have on people we care about in those states. Lots of black people in the South smug northern (white) liberals want to kick out. Same with LGBT, etc.

      The secessionist impulse is such a privileged one I can’t even with it.

      • EliHawk says:

        THIS. Even the most reactionary, pro-GOP state is at least a quarter Dem. And even the smug, privileged, northern white liberal state (looking at you Vermont) is a third Trump voters. The idea that we’re all Blue and Red unanimously is moronic.

        • Lost Left Coaster says:

          Right. I mean, the problem with these red states is that they treat certain populations of people (women, immigrants, African Americans, LGBT, etc.) so poorly. So we throw those states out and give those states even more room to implement extreme and destructive policies against their populations?

          That is counter-solidarity; precisely why this “let’s secede” or “let them secede” talk is destructive.

        • Abbey Bartlet says:

          Somewhere around 4 million people voted for him in California.

        • djw says:

          Yeah, the seccessionist-curious crowd needs to read up on the horrors of partition when the yadda yadda yadda away this not insignificant problem for their fantasy.

          • MyNameIsZweig says:

            I’m amazed at how many people I talk to have never heard anything at all about how the 1947 partition went down. They just give me these blank stares when I bring it up in these secession-curious conversations.

      • Linnaeus says:

        Lots of black people in the South smug northern (white) liberals want to kick out. Same with LGBT, etc.

        The blue state “secessionists” always seem to forget this part. Hm.

        • los says:

          blue state “secessionists” always seem to forget this part

          Some are overlooking that facet, but many considering blueexit have incorporated that problem in the scenarios:

          1. Initial hyper-pessimistic, short of defeatist scenario: Blueexit is an expensive bare survival solution when the alternative is all states succumbing to totalitarianism. Acknowledges that many people are lost, yet at least many others survive.

          2. More realistic, and less horrendous scenario: Huge red to blue exodus, something like the 1930s “dustbowl okies” or southern blacks moving to midwest cities.

    • Lost Left Coaster says:

      So…your logic is that since, let’s say, Alabama is such a racist state, that we should therefore push it out of the union and let the black people who are stuck living there deal with the consequences?

      • efgoldman says:

        So…your logic is that since, let’s say….

        No, my logic is, at my age I’m allowed to vent, and those fucking people (a substantial proportion of the white people in those states) brought it on themselves, and I’m fucking tired of, not only putting up with it, but paying for it.
        I don’t have a big enough saw, anyway.

        • Lost Left Coaster says:

          Okay fair enough.

        • Hob says:

          Well no shit, you’re allowed to vent. And everyone is allowed to think you’re doing it in a really asshole way.

          When you say “I’d like to carve all the traitor states and all the deep red fuck the poors, fuck the blacks, fuck the browns, fuck the women (sort of) states right the fuck out, fuck them all”… you are saying that you’re totally fine with them fucking the poors, etc. You just want them to have to wave a different flag while they do it, so you can feel satisfied that you got the bigots out of your face.

          This isn’t at all complicated; it’s not about the deeper implications of what you’re saying. It’s that you’re using oppressed groups as an excuse for your anger and then in the very same sentence making it clear that you don’t give a shit about those groups. If that’s how you really feel, “venting” or not, why should anyone here regard you as an ally in any way?

        • Sebastian_h says:

          Maybe he is trying to illustrate how Trump voter logic works. Proposals aren’t about implementation and consequences, they are about venting. It’s a brilliant and empathetic parody…

    • Dennis Orphen says:

      Dear efg:

      For you.

      Bonus Track. (Leon Ware, RIP)

      Yours Truly,
      Dennis Orphen
      Dining al fresco
      Gold Country, CA
      USA

    • Gregor Sansa says:

      The fugitive slave act is intolerable. We in New England should secede now, in 1851, because the Slave Power will never relinquish their hold on the federal government without a fight. So if they want to whip their slaves to death, fuck 'em, we can simply turn our backs on that.

  5. JustinVC says:

    California seceding would kill the rest of us, sure. But if it was enough states with enough land, and it was peaceful, and there was presumably open borders between the two countries and granting of citizenship to all US Citizens who requested it within a certain number of years – you know people can move, right?

    • DamnYankees says:

      Not sure this is a great argument – I mean, there’s free right of movement between states, and that doesn’t exactly satisfy liberals about any given state banning abortion (for example).

      The ability to move to a place that’s not as terrible doesn’t mean the terrible place is perfectly ok and we shouldn’t try to improve it.

      • JustinVC says:

        I’m more of a federalist than most liberals, I suppose. And I’m not pro-secessionist. I just find the “but it leaves the people who don’t live in red states screwed” argument unconvincing.

        I mean, we’re all going to be upended by major reshaping of the country. At some point, if we’re doing it, it’s not out of convenience. Arguments that it will be temporarily inconvenient, even seriously inconvenient, to a large number of people don’t sound like a strong argument given the broader and bigger issues.

        Or, to put it another way, did Czechs living in Slovakia mean we should have kept Czechoslovakia around? What about Serbs living in Bosnia?

        • RabbitIslandHermit says:

          Czechoslovakia is an interesting case because the majority of both countries was opposed to a split, but it happened anyways because certain politicians wanted to be bigger fish in smaller ponds.

          • djw says:

            Right. It’s not history’s greatest travesty or anything, but it was basically a deal between two political factions who thought it would make it easier for them to retain political power going forward. My understanding is that on those terms it basically kinda worked, and it didn’t produce significant negative consequences that one might have plausibly feared, but it’s not like there was some noble or worthy goal was accomplished by it, on either side, and it wasn’t done in a particularly democratic way.

      • JustinVC says:

        PS – of course we should try and improve it. But if the population of red states and the population of blue states have become of such two different cultures, basic principles of nationalism say it should make sense that we have two different countries rather than unending strife.

        • JustinVC says:

          PPS – by if, I mean if. I don’t think we’ve reached that stage (yet), though we’re certainly heading in that general direction, and quickly.

          • MyNameIsZweig says:

            Yeah, this kind of mirrors my own thinking on this. I think California (where I live) seceding is a stupid and unworkable idea for all the reasons we’ve been talking about here at LGM for the last few months now. But on the other hand, it’s really, really hard for me to picture anything undoing the damage that 30 years of hate radio and Fox News and BlightFart have done to our ability to cohere as a society. Those fuckers on the other side are so angry and so resentful and so combative and so damn stubborn that I just cannot see any kind of “coming together” that wouldn’t involve an unacceptable amount of compromise from our side.

            So yeah, it boils down to two questions for me – how do we know if we’re past the point where the divide between red and blue can never be bridged (like you, I don’t think we are there yet, but it doesn’t feel that far off to me), and what do we do about it when we get to that point?

            • los says:

              damage that 30 years of hate radio and Fox News and BlightFart have done to our ability to cohere as a society.

              Combined with the damage to democracy and legitimate government, which will accelerate for lack of any offsetting sanity from purple and blue states.

              .
              There’s a strong chance that the belligerently violent psychology of Trump, Allen West, Kurt Schittler, Michael “Savage”, Hannity, et al will dominate foreign policy of the relic states:

              1. First, after persistent economic depression and repeatedly rejecting international assistance with microbial epidemics, the relic states will turn outward. They will lose a Civil War against the blueexit nation and Mexico.

              2. Then, if blueexit nation fails to impose Marshall Plan and new Constitution (including Emancipation) on the relic states…
              the south will disintegrate into a range of failed state types…
              1970s Cambodia; East Germany; Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.
              Texas+Oklahoma with oil revenue will at best resemble Saddam Hussein’s Iraq (war with Iran and Kuwait); ISIL/ISIS’s Iraq at worst.
              The most enlightened relic state will resemble Mexico with its refugees from Central America.
              Southern Floridians will try paddling to Cuba.

              3. The relic states will begin turning on themselves – Chad, Sudan, Rwanda, Liberia, Burma, Afghanistan…

    • rea says:

      Californians do not own California. We, the People of the United States do.

    • Bill Murray says:

      you know people can move, right?

      Isn’t this the Republican unemployment pitch?

      • JustinVC says:

        It’s not a bad pitch, but I don’t think it’s a Republican one. If anything, it’s the white rural racists who are resistant to going where the jobs are.

    • Joe_JP says:

      you know people can move, right

      The conditions are far from gimmees if you look at past secession movements but this “vote with your feet” argument presumes a true freedom of movement — factoring in cost, various connections to a certain area including family members, etc. — that is somewhat limited in reality.

      • JustinVC says:

        See my response above referencing other deunification processes. I think that’s a fair argument in general, but given the magnitude of any argument that might justify secession, it seems like a rather small one. Like claiming that the administrative costs in having two governments is inefficient. Well, yes, but…

        • Joe_JP says:

          The comment:

          But if it was enough states with enough land, and it was peaceful, and there was presumably open borders between the two countries and granting of citizenship to all US Citizens who requested it within a certain number of years – you know people can move, right?

          Secession as with anything of that magnitude would have to be looked upon in a cost/benefit fashion. So, if it is on balance worth it, fine, but “you know people can move” is a bit too blithe, thus my comment.

          • JustinVC says:

            It was a comment in response to the argument that secession is just a nonstarter and crazy because of poor people in red States, full stop end of discussion.

  6. AMK says:

    It is a tantrum by rich people who are angry that their political power temporarily does not match their economic power.

    This is….not true, since most very wealthy blue-state liberals know full well that left to its own devices, even a Manchin Administration would markedly diminish their economic power (higher taxes, more regulations) and political power (more campaign finance rules).

  7. Lost Left Coaster says:

    I was born in California, though I haven’t lived there for years. But I have many friends who share, jokingly, half-jokingly, or un-jokingly, articles and posts calling for California secession. And I want it to stop. Right now. It’s never going to happen, for one, so it’s a waste of breath. But it is so counter to the kind of nationwide solidarity we need right now to defeat Trump.

    California has a chance to help lead the USA out of madness; it should rise to the occasion and take it.

    • The Lorax says:

      I agree. I am a Californian. I love this state. I’m also an American, and I love America. The joking feels like that at fuckthesouth.com . Or like the not-my-president stuff. No, he is our president. As was GWB. And California is a state in the United States. Now let’s get to work on protecting the vulnerable all over the country.

      • efgoldman says:

        No, he is our president.

        No he isn’t. Fuck him and everybody who voted for him. Fuck you, too, if you really believe that.

        • MyNameIsZweig says:

          Yeah, there is no way in which he can legitimately claim to represent me as president. He didn’t win my vote, my city’s vote, my state’s electoral votes, or even a plurality of votes nationwide. He’s president because over two centuries ago, a bunch of assholes decided that regular people couldn’t be trusted with the burden and responsibility of voting for their presidents, and so they built an electoral system that reflected that.

          • Hob says:

            “He’s president because over two centuries ago, a bunch of assholes decided that regular people couldn’t be trusted with the burden and responsibility of voting for their presidents, and so they built an electoral system that reflected that.”

            Which, under the Constitution we have now, is the definition of legitimately being president. The “didn’t win a plurality of votes nationwide” is part of how it’s been defined, stupid as that is. The rest – “my vote, my city’s vote” – is irrelevant anyway; representative government has never, ever meant that you’re only represented by the candidate you voted for.

            I seriously don’t understand how people think statements like yours are meaningful. “He is the president” isn’t a praiseful value judgment; it’s a statement about who occupies that office right now. It doesn’t mean you have to like it. “He shouldn’t have won and he’s really horrible, therefore he’s not really the office-holder” is just the kind of pointless posturing that wingnuts do.

            • econoclast says:

              Who gives a shit? The rules are the rules because we consider them legitimate. The first step to changing them is to regard them is illegitimate.

              • Hob says:

                The first step to changing them is to say they’re dumb and bad and should be changed. I don’t care how you want to phrase it. It’s still the case that Trump is the freaking president, and saying “he’s not really the president because he’s really terrible” is not a meaningful thing to say… especially if it’s combined with an even stupider premise like “if I and the people in my own city and state didn’t vote for him then he can’t be the president”, which makes no sense at all.

            • PohranicniStraze says:

              just the kind of pointless posturing that wingnuts do.

              Until I see the original, vault copy of his long-form birth certificate, the hospital copy with his tiny, tiny footprints, and tax records from birth to death, I will stick with my theory that Trump is actually an illegal immigrant from Swaziland with a rare skin condition that causes orangeness, and therefore not a natural-born citizen and ineligible for the presidency.

              Pence is obviously one of the lizardpeople.

              • Snarki, child of Loki says:

                Trump’s non-official “souvenir” birth certificate was released back when Trump started on his birther path.

                It said that Trump was born in a hospital in JAMAICA.

                Explains why he’s such a jerk chicken, doesn’t it?

          • Dennis Orphen says:

            Also, can I see those ballots like I can see my old ballots looking across Stark St. when I’m coming out of Sassy’s Holocene?

    • Dennis Orphen says:

      California has a chance to help lead the USA out of madness; it should rise to the occasion and take it

      Remind me of an old joke about a lightbulb and an indeterminate number of psychologists.

    • Snarki, child of Loki says:

      I’m sure there’s a stash of old bumper-stickers that can be repurposed:

      US OUT OF GUATEMALA CALIFORNIA!

      Reduce, reuse, recycle, right comrades?

  8. JonH says:

    The 30 year old president of the Yes California secession group is… an American resident of Russia, who has received backing and office space from right-wing Russian groups.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/21/us/yes-california-calexit-marinelli-russia.html?_r=0

  9. vic rattlehead says:

    I’m Florida born and raised, and now a New Yorker. You can’t get much farther east than where I’ve lived my whole life and still be in the United States. So I say this not as a Californian or west coaster.

    I get it. I really do. I don’t want to lose California’s reps in the house (well, you guys can keep Issa) or your EC votes, but I sympathize. I guess it depends on how bad it gets-at some point you’ve got to saw off the necrotic limb.

    All that being said, while I don’t want secession, I hope California throws its considerable weight around as much as possible to derail the Republican agenda.

    • Abbey Bartlet says:

      I hope California throws its considerable weight around as much as possible to derail the Republican agenda.

      And as one A. Hamilton noted, via one L.-M. Miranda: “[We] have the banks.”

    • StellaB says:

      Issa probably will not return in 2019.

      We deserve to have proportional representation in the House just like the Constitution says we should. I don’t know what other leverage there is beyond threatening to secede, even if secession is a bad idea. Even stupid, fucking Texas deserves proportional representation.

      • Mark Field says:

        We can actually get that if we (ever again) control all 3 branches. Increasing the size of the House to, say, the size of Parliament (657) would do it. That can be done by legislative vote, no Constitutional restriction.

        • Gregor Sansa says:

          No, increasing the size of the house wouldn’t make it proportional. It would reduce the unfair Republican advantage in percentage terms but perhaps not in numerical or difficulty-to-overcome terms.

          You don’t get proportional representation without proportional representation. And if California wants to throw its weight around and force proportional representation, then great, but the threat should be “we’re gonna split up into 9 little states, with 6 of them solidly Democratic and one competitive”, not “we’re gonna secede”.

          • Mark Field says:

            Increasing the House size as I suggest would get us very close to proportional. As of now, there are 325 million people in the US. Divide by 657 to get an average district of 495000.* That’s less than the population of the least populous state, which is WY at 585000. That means WY would have 1 Representative (as it does now), but now with a remainder rather than getting one just because every state must have at least one even though it lacks the minimum population size for a district.

            Right now, WY has one Representative, while TX has 38 for its 26.6 million residents. So TX now gets 38 times the representation despite having 45 times the population. In the expanded House, TX would get roughly 53 Representatives, turning the representation disparity completely around.

            As for the rest of your comment, I’m not quite sure what it means. I read it as referring to the Senate, which I wasn’t talking about. Otherwise I don’t see the point of splitting up CA (or TX) into smaller states. I also don’t understand what “difficulty to overcome” means.

            *It’s not quite that simple for various reasons, such as rounding, but it gives a good idea.

            • Gregor Sansa says:

              Number of representatives per capita across states is not a very important measure of proportionality. Much more important is number of party representatives per party voter — partisan proportionality. You don’t get perfect proportionality there until you have a voting method designed to do so.

              Yes, splitting CA up would be about the senate. Permanent Democratic control of the Senate would be a real threat to Republicans. Yes, I know that it would need federal approval, which would not be forthcoming without Democratic control of at least 2 branches… but the same goes for secession.

              “Difficulty to overcome” means: how much of a popular vote advantage would Democrats need to get a majority of the House? Smaller districts would not actually help very much in this regard.

          • mds says:

            but the threat should be “we’re gonna split up into 9 little states, with 6 of them solidly Democratic and one competitive”, not “we’re gonna secede”.

            Secession as usually formulated doesn’t require federal permission. Creating new states does. Threatening to split up into smaller states is, if anything, even emptier a threat.

            Anyway, reducing the size of Congressional districts would make California’s share of the House more proportional in total population terms vis-à-vis someplace like Wyoming. Which wouldn’t make it autmatically proportional in terms of partisan preference, of course, but it might still help a bit in certain very populous blue areas. Increasing the size of the House is something that should be supported on the merits regardless, and was SOP for almost a century-and-a-half. Which is not to say we should keep first-past-the-post either, just that pitching a new voting system might be a slightly harder sell than “Make the House more representative again.”

  10. The way rich blue-staters talk about red-staters sometimes reminds me very much of the way European colonial powers used to talk about the “benighted natives” in the lands they’d conquered:

    “We are bringing civilization to these people, and they rebel? The temerity!”

    • Patick Spens says:

      But you see, conservatives are actually degenerate subhumans so our mean spirited bigotry is cool and good, actually.

      • efgoldman says:

        conservatives are actually degenerate subhumans

        If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, votes like a duck….

        • Good point, efgoldman.

          What we really need is a truly decisive way to put those ignoramuses in their place. A Final Solution to the redneck problem, so to speak.

          More seriously: We need to stop thinking of whole swathes of our own country as Our Cultural Enemies.

          • Abbey Bartlet says:

            A Final Solution to the redneck problem, so to speak.

            Fuck off.

            • MyNameIsZweig says:

              Seconded.

            • You did read the very next line, right?

              My point is that seeing approximately half your fellow citizens as irredeemable and intractable foes leads to dark places indeed.

              Responding to Trump/Bannon’s culture warring with equal and opposite culture warring is going to end in tears. And “tears” in a country armed with nuclear weapons will be bitter tears indeed.

              The alternative is, why aren’t we committing ourselves to persuade as many red-staters as possible to vote for us? For that matter, why aren’t we committing ourselves to giving them (economic and pro-labor) reasons to vote for us?

              • Abbey Bartlet says:

                why aren’t we committing ourselves to persuade as many red-staters as possible to vote for us?

                BECAUSE WE ARE NOT WILLING TO OFFER THEM PUBLIC LYNCHINGS.

                For that matter, why aren’t we committing ourselves to giving them (economic and pro-labor) reasons to vote for us?

                WE DID. THEY DON’T WANT THAT. THEY WANT PUBLIC LYNCHINGS.

                • Abbey – so everyone who voted for Donald Trump is a Klan member, or will be as soon as a recruiter shows up at their house and signs them up?

                  Let’s be a little clearer on what we mean when we say “racist.” Do we make any distinction at all between Klan/White Nationalist types, and the vast majority of people of every race and educational level who have subtler but still socially corrosive racial biases in their heart of hearts?

                  If you’re a well-educated, white professional person who lives in a nicer neighborhood, let me ask you something: was at least part of the reason you bought a house where you did the fact that the neighborhood was advertised as “exclusive?”

                  Who or what was being “excluded,” and why?

                  If we demand that all political parties purge themselves of all racists, the remaining voters in both parties wouldn’t fill Yankee Stadium, and the United States will cease to be a participatory democracy in any meaningful sense.

                  This kind of racism pervades American life and crosses ideological boundaries, and depends for its vitality on ignorance. I don’t just mean “ignorant hicks in red states” but ignorant app developers in San Francisco, ignorant college professors in New York, ignorant organic produce buyers in Chicago, ignorant artists in Boulder, Colorado, and ignorant everybody else, emphatically including me.

                  What we ignorant people don’t know, or at least haven’t fully, deeply realized, is that people of every race are intrinsically just like us, in every respect. “They” love their children just as much as “we” do, they suffer and bleed and ponder the abyss and love and strive and feel joy in exactly the same way as “we” do. (This, by the way, is the entire point of the Black Lives Matter movement.) All of us suffer because of this ignorance, and I want to alleviate that suffering.

                  The only thing that will decisively undermine the ignorance I’m talking about is knowledge. By that I don’t mean “education” in the formal sense, I mean acquiring knowledge in a deeper and more experiential sense — not just “learning about” people of different races, but having them integrated into the structure of your life.

                  For example, during the Second World War, there were chronic and serious labor shortages throughout the economy, and particularly for blue-collar type jobs — welders, machinists, pipe-fitters, production line workers, and so on. Early in the war, necessity dealt a serious blow to the pervasive employment discrimination of the day — if you showed up at the factory gates and had two arms, two legs and could see straight, you were immediately hired, trained and put to work, regardless of your ancestry.

                  While there were sometimes serious racial tensions in the production facilities, they actually lessened through time, because blacks (say) were transformed from an alien and threatening “them,” to a guy named Jake who worked at the work station before yours on the production line , and whose yells of “C’mon, Dave — you’re slowin’ me down!” had become a running joke that you both enjoy, and your supervisor appreciates you both for your hard work.

                • Abbey Bartlet says:

                  Maybe we should pay minorities to move to rural white areas to open the eyes of the bigots.

                • vacuumslayer says:

                  I’m laughing (sadly) as I remember Clinton trying to appeal to their better angels. To say “you’re not like Donald.” And they were like “YES WE ARE!!!”

                • Origami Isopod says:

                  Let’s be a little clearer on what we mean when we say “racist.” Do we make any distinction at all between Klan/White Nationalist types, and the vast majority of people of every race and educational level who have subtler but still socially corrosive racial biases in their heart of hearts?

                  No. Because both are the problem.

                  Also, there’s a major difference between viewing half your fellow citizens with disgust because of their ideology, and viewing them with disgust because of their skin color, genital configuration, religion (or lack thereof), sexual orientation or identity.

              • Lev says:

                Pro-labor stances would go over real great in the South, which is attracting manufacturing precisely because they get paid less and don’t have to worry so much about worker safety. They seem eager for this to continue, as Loomis’s posts on Southern unionization show. And I’m not sure any economic benefit is more crucial than health care, which we gave them against their express wishes. And then they voted for a fascist for our troubles.

                The fact that these things seem so backward and crazy to us just shows how irreconcilable the two sides are. What we see as the fundamental building blocks of a stable, prosperous society they see as its undoing. Of course, I don’t think they’re right: the ultimate effect of red state economics is a race to the bottom and income inequality, making it harder for anyone to have prosperity. But nevertheless, try telling them that. I’m sure they’ll listen.

          • vacuumslayer says:

            Well, then you better go talk to the those swathes. They can go first, mmk?

          • vacuumslayer says:

            What we really need is a truly decisive way to put those ignoramuses in their place. A Final Solution to the redneck problem, so to speak.

            Trolling like this is a great way to get deleted, then banned. So by all means, keep it up.

          • Dennis Orphen says:

            They think of me as their cultural enemy. As I said before in other posts, you don’t have to declare war on something to find yourself at war. You can find yourself at war when war is declared on you.

        • UserGoogol says:

          Republicans are very clearly humans. They meet all the obvious biological criteria thereof. They are bad, but the human species has a pretty shoddy track record for decency across the board. If we’re allowed to make exceptions for compassion if people are indecent, well we’d have quite a lot of exceptions.

    • cpinva says:

      well, when they consistently act like assholes, what else are we to do? at least we aren’t discussing a “Final Solution” of them, we’re just tired of having to live with their stupidity, and cleaning up the messes their stupidity causes them to make.

    • Chetsky says:

      I grew up in a small Texas town. In that small Texas town, gay children would pretend to be straight, b/c y’know, they feared for their lives. And I, a brown-skinned man, pretended to be asexual, b/c, y’know, fear for one’s life. And guess what? I got attacked in pys ed class for it.

      So, y’know, FUCK YOU WITH A RUSTY TANK BARREL.

      There are a lot of people in those states who *are* benighted. Matthew Shepard deserved to live. James Byrd Jr. deserved to live. Those benighted people decided otherwise.

      Don’t tell me about how I’m supposed to make nicey-nice with them, until you tell me how such atrocities will be stopped.

      • Chetsky says:

        ETA: and why would I get attacked for pretending to be asexual? B/c they thought I was gay (and told me so). Just thinking thru it is insanity-making.

      • tell me how such atrocities will be stopped.

        Dr King may be of help here:

        You may be in Selma, Alabama, and you may have a sheriff by the name of Jim Clark who calls you all kinds of names and inflicts upon you the most tragic brutality. And you just keep on marching and standing up for what is right. But as you look at Mr. Clark you know he’s that way because somebody taught him that. You know he’s that way because his culture has so patterned things that he’s grown up thinking that he’s superior and Negroes are inferior. You know that even his church didn’t help him out to clarify his views too much on that problem. And so he ended up being taught something that he grew up believing.

        And so you, out of love, stand up because you want to redeem him and the object is never to annihilate your opponent but to convert him and bring him to that brighter day when he can stand up and see that all men are brothers. This is something of what the non-violent method says. And so this is what we try to do. We haven’t always been true to it but we have tried. Some, out of anger, have strayed away. But by and large we’ve stayed with it.

        Somehow, we’ve lived with it at its best and been able to look into the face of our most violent opponent and say we will match your capacity to inflict suffering with our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will and we will still love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws because non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good so throw us in jail and we will still love you. Threaten our children and bomb our churches and our homes and, as difficult as it is, we will still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities at the midnight hour and drag us out on some wayside road and beat us and leave us half dead and we will still love you. But be assured we will wear you down with all the lashings that we suffer. One day we will win our freedom. We will not only win freedom for ourselves, we will so appeal to your heart and your conscience that we will win you in the process. And our victory will be a double victory.

        • Origami Isopod says:

          Yeah, we should all just aspire to be angels like MLK was. That’s totally viable and doesn’t at all neglect to take into consideration the varying temperaments and psychological strengths of various people.

          Nah. You know what? Punch more Nazis, punch more white supremacists, and punch more concern trolls.

          • Abbey Bartlet says:

            Yeah, we should all just aspire to be angels like MLK was. That’s totally viable and doesn’t at all neglect to take into consideration the varying temperaments and psychological strengths of various people.

            And it worked out so well for him, too.

            • liberalrob says:

              He has a national holiday and hundreds of streets named after him. I don’t think there’s a James Earl Ray Elementary School anywhere in the country.

              Yes, he got assassinated. And his dream still seems far away. But at least we know that it’s possible to have that dream, and he gets credit for that long after his death. So all in all I think it worked out pretty well for him. Considering the moral shithole of a country he was forced to work with.

          • Punch more Nazis, punch more white supremacists, and punch more concern trolls.

            I’m sensing that when it comes time to expand our coalition enough to actually win, you maybe should not be on the sales team.

            Not everyone in red states is a racist monster (that I even have to type that is discouraging.)

            • Abbey Bartlet says:

              Origami Isopod:

              Punch more Nazis, punch more white supremacists, and punch more concern trolls.

              mftalbot:

              Not everyone in red states is a racist monster (that I even have to type that is discouraging.)

              I don’t know what about OI’s statement makes you think you do.

            • ap77 says:

              Not everyone in red states is a racist monster (that I even have to type that is discouraging.)

              Nobody is saying that they are. But the Trump supporters there? Yes, they’re racist monsters. Same as the Trump supporters in blue states.

              • Nobody is saying that they are. But the Trump supporters there? Yes, they’re racist monsters. Same as the Trump supporters in blue states.

                Depends what you mean by “supporters.”

                Some of his voters are full-on white supremacists, sure, but a non-trivial fraction are people who live in small towns all across America, red and blue states alike, that have been decimated by the loss of whatever the founding local industry was in that particular place – in coal country by the decline of coal as natural gas and renewables have led to one mine closure after another, in parts of the Southeast by the decimation of the American furniture and apparel industries by ruinously cheap goods from overseas, and the Main Streets whose business districts have surrendered their customers to Walmart, and thus hollowed out the civic structure that small businesses provide.

                His voters include millions of veterans of our recent wars who have come home to economically decimated towns that have no place for them to work, and beyond the standard “thank you for your service” (which many of the combat vets of my acquaintance are starting to get really annoyed by) seem to have little to offer them.

                His voters also include people in big, rich, deep-blue cities – people in the 70 percent of the population who do not have college degrees, and whose job opportunities in a place like San Francisco pay so little that many sleep in their cars, or packed two and three to a bedroom, because they can’t afford the rent, and can’t afford to commute in from some place cheaper either. Their lives are a more or less constant economic emergency, and many of them voted for the guy who seemed to be the only one who promised to relieve their pain.

                I personally know Trump voters who are repelled by him, but voted for him because the policies of the Democrats seemed to have nothing to offer them.

                Donald Trump won enough of those voters (particularly midwestern former Obama voters) to win the election by saying explicitly that he was going to bring those jobs back. Or, as the invaluable Atrios paraphrased Trump’s message:

                Show me a problem, and I’ll fix it. Not set up a plan to adjust the framework to tweak the incentives to modestly change the market outcomes. Just fix it.

                I saw Hillary Clinton, more than once, say (in a “can-you-believe-these-people??” tone) that “those jobs are never coming back!” When it came time to talk about HER plan to replace the missing jobs that have devastated whole communities in the industrial north, it sounded an awful lot like “…set up a plan to adjust the framework to tweak the incentives to modestly change the market outcomes…” rather than a practical, creative way to solve the problem. I think that, more than anything else, cost her the election.

                The great tragedy, of course, is that he is going to break their hearts. That might be a great opportunity for the left, if we stand ready to offer them actual, substantive help.

                • ap77 says:

                  No, sorry – the great tragedy is not going to be that Trump hurts the fee fees of his voters. The great tragedy is what Trump is going to do to the rest of the country and the rest of the world that didn’t vote to enable this insane imbecile.

                  The way I see it, if you vote for an authoritarian racist nutjob, then in a very real sense you are an authoritarian racist nutjob. It makes no difference to me whatsoever if these people justify it to themselves by saying “but he’ll bring the jobz back!!”

                  You can coddle them and try to “understand” them if you like, I guess. As for me, they are my enemy, from this day until my last day.

                • Abbey Bartlet says:

                  Depends what you mean by “supporters.”

                  People who supported him.

                  Some of his voters are full-on white supremacists,

                  And all of his voters voted for it.

                  sure, but a non-trivial fraction are people who live in small towns all across America, red and blue states alike, that have been decimated by the loss of whatever the founding local industry was in that particular place – in coal country by the decline of coal as natural gas and renewables have led to one mine closure after another, in parts of the Southeast by the decimation of the American furniture and apparel industries by ruinously cheap goods from overseas, and the Main Streets whose business districts have surrendered their customers to Walmart, and thus hollowed out the civic structure that small businesses provide.

                  And all of that hurt rural black people even more, yet they managed to not vote for him.

                  His voters include millions of veterans of our recent wars who have come home to economically decimated towns that have no place for them to work, and beyond the standard “thank you for your service” (which many of the combat vets of my acquaintance are starting to get really annoyed by) seem to have little to offer them.

                  And?? They think a draft dodger is going to help them somehow?? Jesus fuck.

                  His voters also include people in big, rich, deep-blue cities – people in the 70 percent of the population who do not have college degrees, and whose job opportunities in a place like San Francisco pay so little that many sleep in their cars, or packed two and three to a bedroom, because they can’t afford the rent, and can’t afford to commute in from some place cheaper either. Their lives are a more or less constant economic emergency, and many of them voted for the guy who seemed to be the only one who promised to relieve their pain.

                  And all of that hurts urban black people even more, yet they managed to not vote for him.

                  I personally know Trump voters who are repelled by him, but voted for him because the policies of the Democrats seemed to have nothing to offer them.

                  That’s unfortunate. I personally wouldn’t vote for a white supremacist who sexually assaulted women no matter how nice his policies seemed, but I guess I just don’t understand their feelings.

                  Donald Trump won enough of those voters (particularly midwestern former Obama voters) to win the election by saying explicitly that he was going to bring those jobs back. Or, as the invaluable Atrios paraphrased Trump’s message:

                  Show me a problem, and I’ll fix it. Not set up a plan to adjust the framework to tweak the incentives to modestly change the market outcomes. Just fix it.

                  Should we start lying to them? Because I’m not really on board with that. PS He won them because he said explicitly that he was going to bring racism back.

                  I saw Hillary Clinton, more than once, say (in a “can-you-believe-these-people??” tone) that “those jobs are never coming back!” When it came time to talk about HER plan to replace the missing jobs that have devastated whole communities in the industrial north, it sounded an awful lot like “…set up a plan to adjust the framework to tweak the incentives to modestly change the market outcomes…” rather than a practical, creative way to solve the problem. I think that, more than anything else, cost her the election.

                  You’re right. She should have lied to them.

                  The great tragedy, of course, is that he is going to break their hearts. That might be a great opportunity for the left, if we stand ready to offer them actual, substantive help.

                  BOO FUCKITY HOO.

                  I don’t give a shit about their hearts or any other part of them. There are goddamn swastikas all over America because of what they did. People have already died because of what they did. Their hearts can break into a thousand tiny little pieces and I won’t feel one bit sorry for them.

                • Rob in CT says:

                  This is all well and good, but I think it should be remembered that the GOP got fucking shellacked in 2008 and lost again in 2012 when they thought they’d win, and after a nanosecond of introspection when they considered reaching out to minority voters they doubled down instead.

                  And won. POTUS was really, really close but they also hold lots of other offices and are doing damage b/c of it. And they didn’t get there by “reaching out.” They got there by lying, demonizing, etc.

                  That whole “oh, don’t be such meanies to Trump voters” thing? Ok, I mean it makes sense if you want their votes not to rip them, right? Except Conservatives do nothing but rip liberals and it seems to work for them.

                  So how does that all fit together in your mind?

                • Abbey – I don’t disagree with you as much as you seem to think I do.

                  Where I do disagree is that you seem to assign the very worst motives to every Trump voter.

                  Look – I love the narrative where “we” are the side of undimmed enlightenment and “they” are the side of uniformly irredeemable evil and darkness. That ain’t the truth, though.

                  The truth is, we don’t have a big enough coalition of voters to reliably give us a governing majority (i.e., Democratic president and Congress), and I don’t see this changing for the foreseeable future unless we act to expand our coalition.

                  The “Coalition of the Ascendant” that is the current target demographic of the Democratic Party is composed of highly-educated voters, particularly in the bigger, more cosmopolitan “Alpha” and near-alpha cities (New York, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, etc.) plus racial and cultural minorities (POC, LGBTQQA, et al.)

                  Added together, that is roughly 50% of the country. What that means is that in “wave” years (e.g., 2006, 2008), we may get a governing majority, but the more usual, typical case will be that the presidency and/or at least one house of Congress will be in Republican hands, which the last 6 years have amply shown is enough to make any significant progress on issues Democrats care about extremely unlikely, at best.

                  We need more people to be reliable, loyal democratic voters, so that the worst case is we have 50% plus a smidge, and the usual case is we have a governing majority. That is the only way to make progressive change that won’t be repealed the next time a Republican takes the White House (and for that matter, will make it unlikely for a Republican to gain the White House to begin with).

                  Where are our opportunities for expansion?
                  That’s the second lesson of this year’s disaster:

                  The Democratic Party is not doing nearly enough for working class voters.

                  Notice I didn’t say, “white” working class. I said working class, period. Of every ethnicity. Let me define what I mean by working class: “people living the usual situation of the 70% of the country that does not have a college degree.”

                  If you look at a graph of income by educational attainment, you will see that people of that description have been getting poorer for roughly 40 years.

                  If you use any reasonable proxy for the wildly-theoretical, absolute maximum percentage of Americans that can possibly get a college degree — making unicorns-farting-rainbows-level optimistic assumptions about uniformly well-funded and excellent public schools, pervasive, no-cost tutoring, universal and free SAT prep, already-complete solutions to all other social problems that interfere with educational excellence, and so on — the number is not much above 50%, and the more realistic (but still highly-ambitious, way-long-term-project) number is probably somewhere around 35%. (Again, the current number is 30%.)

                  So even under the reasonably-achievable, best-case scenario, the vast majority of Americans are:

                  A.People who will never get a college degree, and;

                  B. The people who’ve been losing ground the last 30-40 years.

                  Again, this is 70% of the country. This is the only source of enough votes to be decisive.

                  Notice that I said, “the usual situation”. You might point out that there are people who don’t have college degrees who are doing just fine (e.g., Bill Gates) and you’d be right. The thing is, people like Bill Gates, and for that matter the more typical example like, say, a guy who went from being a carpenter to a successful contractor, are not the typical case, most of the time. The vast, VAST bulk of people who do not have college degrees have been either running in place or slipping backwards the last 30-40 years.

                  That “vast majority of Americans who will never get a college degree” includes millions of ex-manufacturing workers who used to make a good living by making things here in the U.S. For decades, the economy offered them a way to use their skills and gifts and afford the basics of life, plus a little fun. It is increasingly the case that our economic system has no real place for them. Those with less than a college degree have precious few ways to support a family in anything approaching comfort. And even these avenues are vanishing.

                  The Democrats need a renewed commitment to such folks.

                  Some of those folks are Trump voters – don’t you think that at least some of them are reachable?

                • Abbey Bartlet says:

                  Where I do disagree is that you seem to assign the very worst motives to every Trump voter.

                  I don’t care about their motives, I care about the consequences of their actions.

                • I don’t care about their motives, I care about the consequences of their actions.

                  Then we’re on the same page. I’d like nothing more than to kick their asses ASAP and reverse the damage Trump & company are going to do in the next four years.

                  What I’m trying to do in this thread is suggest a method for doing so – and in my view that pretty unavoidably means persuading *some* Trump voters to switch sides next time.

      • Dennis Orphen says:

        Exactly the comment I was going to make above before reading down this far, complete with the Matthew Shepard reference (I was going to phrase it, ‘so he (Shepard) deserved it cuz he was gay?’ Sometimes you are at war because war is declared on you, and I would rather switch than fight, so to speak.

  11. Murc says:

    A year ago I would have wholeheartedly agreed with this without reservation.

    Now I only 90% agree with it. Because there’s now a part of me that thinks “sometimes you have to cut the arm off to save the patient. It isn’t that you hate all the good, healthy tissue in the arm that doesn’t have gangrene. It’s that trying to preserve it means you die.”

    • SatanicPanic says:

      I am 90% opposed, but like you, I wonder how this nation is governed. 50 years from now, California will be a mix of people, Wyoming and Iowa will still white, scared, and with a population barely able to keep the lights on. But they’ll still have the same number of senators. In practice how does this work?

      • Mark Field says:

        As long as democratic change remains reasonably possible, secession isn’t a good idea. If (when?) the Rs jury-rig the system so that even large majorities can’t gain control, then democracy will have failed and we can consider other options.

        • cpinva says:

          if the demographic trend lines are even reasonably accurate, even gerrymandering won’t save the republicans. so there is that to look forward to.

          • Abbey Bartlet says:

            It seems like they may be about to kill off a lot of old people, too.

            • Dennis Orphen says:

              Where I live in rural California, the most irrationally deluded Republicans are the young people. And they breed like you mail your Christmas cards, early and often.

          • SatanicPanic says:

            OK, but what about the Senate?

            • Mark Field says:

              There’s no justification for the Senate, but I don’t know that it alone justifies secession. If the Dems can consistently win the House (and they would if they expand the size as I proposed), and if they can take the Presidency a fair percentage of the time (fair determined by their popular vote; again, expanding the House will make this more likely), then I suspect the Senate will not pose a huge problem.

      • BiloSagdiyev says:

        Keep in mind that Los Angeles was first promoted as a haven for Anlgo-Saxon Protestants, far away from THE BLACKS and the bloody Cath-o-lics and the swarthy Eastern Europeans of Cleveland etc etc. So unless Idaho, MT, and WY just go full on Nazi, any white flight there might just be subverted by the predictable, oh so predictable situation that well-off white folks who flee LA for that region don’t want to mow their own lawn, change their own motor oil, wash their own car, make their own meals, etc etc.

    • Snarki, child of Loki says:

      How many deep-red states have to go full-on fascist, before you say “that’s it, either we kill those assholes or we leave”?

      Not that “both” isn’t an option.

    • McAllen says:

      The thing is, though, if we get to the point where things get that bad it would be both more moral and probably more successful to have a nationwide revolution than to attempt to secede.

    • Hob says:

      Would you feel differently if you knew that after you cut off the arm, the arm would continue being right next to you at all times anyway, supernaturally clinging to its gangrenous life, doing its own horrible things to whatever’s in reach, and constantly looking for ways to maim and zombify the rest of you?

      I.e., what the CSA had demonstrated its behavior would have been if it had successfully seceded.

  12. Nick never Nick says:

    At its base, this is really the question of how much allegiance we owe to the random political or social organizations that we’re born into. Maybe the practical answer is as obvious as the OP thinks, but I don’t think that the philosophical answer is. And, as pointed out above, suppose that the secession of a state, say California, has a very good effect on the people who live there? If, for example, Washington expelled all illegal aliens and California seceded to prevent that from happening to its people — certainly, that would be bad for non-Californians, who would lose a major force for liberalism in American politics; but it would be good for Californians. Why is the circle of solidarity drawn around America, for example, and not California?

    Of course, as pointed out, the question is only interesting in the abstract, practically it’s stupid.

  13. Jay B says:

    Well, we’re clearly two states now, interlocked, but distinct. One is a white nationalist state in service to an extraction-based oligarchy. Some of the people in that state are “Democrats” but most are “conservative”. Another state is roughly the Democratic coalition, concentrated in the cities, service-and-tech industry dominant. Our aims, needs and goals are very much different. There is little or no commonality on issues that range from the separation of church and state to voting rights, to equality to climate change.

    So if we don’t support a two-state solution, basically, and I get it. How do we reconcile these disparate aims and goals? I mean, sure 30 percent of Oklahomans don’t support anti-science and pro-fracking realities that are being foisted on them anyway. And about the same amount of Californians would like to put Mexicans in camps. But what is there to be done when the consent of the governed is not respected, even a little?

  14. It wouldn’t be as simple as tipping our hats and saying, “So long.” There is no legal mechanism for it, for one thing, which was one reason the Confederacy took the approach that it did. Since the approach the Confederacy took was, I think we can agree, treasonous, there is no reason to think that today’s Red States would see it any differently, particularly once they realized what their economy would look like without the blue states. Given the fact that the military is largely based in, and comprised of, the Southern states and citizens thereof things have the potential for getting ugly right quick. Then there’s the matter of foreign recognition. International law generally denies the quality of “state” to a secessionist entity. How would trade be handled? What of matters like debt, and currency? What about immigration policy? Would we simply let anyone from a Red State move to New Jersey?

    In the end this is even stupider than the old, “I’m moving to Canada,” ploy. No you aren’t, chump, and what makes you think the Canadians would have you?

    • Murc says:

      There is no legal mechanism for it, for one thing

      This isn’t true. There’s a clear legal mechanism for secession.

      Since the approach the Confederacy took was, I think we can agree, treasonous, there is no reason to think that today’s Red States would see it any differently

      The problem with the Confederacy wasn’t the treason. I have nothing against treason. This country was founded in a mass act of treason. Some of the greatest people in world history have been traitors.

      It was the reason the Confederates had for becoming traitors that was, shall we say, problematic.

      • Nick056 says:

        There is absolutely not a clear legal mechanism for secession.

        • Murc says:

          There 100% is. You can do anything through the amendment process.

          • Nick056 says:

            That’s like telling someone you know of a clear legal mechanism to pay no income tax, and then saying your big secret is … change the tax code.

            • Murc says:

              Yes? That would, in fact, be a clear legal mechanism to paying no income tax.

              • liberalrob says:

                Yeah, not a good analogy.

                The reason there is no legal mechanism for secession is there is no process spelled out in the Constitution for it. There is such a process for getting laws changed or repealed. A constitutional amendment could establish such a mechanism (just as one established the income tax, and as one established and another repealed Prohibition) but since there isn’t such an amendment either in effect or pending, and it’s highly unlikely one would pass via the mechanisms for so doing, that issue is moot.

        • JohnT says:

          I believe that the traditional legal mechanism is
          1. Band together in sufficient numbers to:
          2. Kill enough of those who disagree with secession until they:
          3. Sign a nice legal treaty agreeing the legal terms of secession.

    • ColBatGuano says:

      once they realized what their economy would look like without the blue states.

      While secession is an unworkable and dumb idea, this is the part that bugs me the most. Those red states would be in far worse (excluding Texas maybe) condition without the transfer of funds from blue states. They get to indulge their racist fantasies on our dime. I’m not sure there is any way to change this, but getting dictated to by states that would be empty but for our tax dollars is infuriating.

    • Lurker says:

      +1

      I am old enough to remember the break-up of Soviet Union. It happened behind the border, with surprisingly little bloodshed, but the economic and social results were disastrous. Oh yes, it was a prison of nations, a totalitarian dictatorship with no concern for human rights. Yet, it was also a functioning economic entity, and the internal trade and the infrastructure were severely disrupted. Their GDP fell by 50%, and all former Soviet republics had a period of extremely unrestful political life, though there was surprisingly little bloodshed. The common man on the street saw their standard of living plummet horribly, while a number of criminals got rich very fast.

      Even in Soviet Union, which was a horrible country, the breakup should have been much more orderly. I would counsel you to think about the consequences of demolishing one of the best-functioning economic units in the world very seriously. Even if you managed to avoid a nuclear civil war, the results wouldn’t be pretty.

  15. Gwen says:

    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.

    Who said the point was to help?

    The one guy I know on FB who is actually pro-secession, spent months ranting about how Hillary was awful and Jill Stein was our only hope. Then of course after the inauguration he posted a bunch of selfies at the various marches on 1/20 and 1/21.

    “Secession” is another Yippee politics-as-consumerism scam, and the people embracing it are not, shall-we-say, tethered. It’s a way to make noise and to get noticed and to feel cooler-than-those-boring-old-Democrat-losers, not to actually “help” any real people.

  16. Paul Campos says:

    This is an academic point in the worst sense, but as a formal legal matter unilateral secession on the part of a state is clearly illegal under federal law.

    A California referendum would have no legal effect, or at least none that the federal government would recognize.

    • Joe_JP says:

      A California referendum would have no legal effect, or at least none that the federal government would recognize.

      Yeah. I do think it would be of limited value as a finding of the opinion of the people of the state. As would such a referendum passed in Puerto Rico, e.g., on if the people of that community wish to be a state or to be independent.

    • tsam says:

      If only there was a precedent to point to to illustrate this.

      • Paul Campos says:

        In all semi-seriousness, the formal legality of secession was more of an open question prior to the Reconstruction era. Again this is obviously irrelevant as a practical matter (as indeed it was in 1861).

        • tsam says:

          Yeah–my point is more to illustrate that secession is a pretty much unqualified stupid idea, even without any discussion of legality. There’s lots of history, not just in the USA, that makes it pretty clear that central governments don’t like to just hand over giant swaths of territory, especially ones that isolate them from a 2000(?) mile coast line. The whole idea is completely batty, and I don’t like people even talking about it.

    • Hell, the federal government doesn’t recognize something as anodyne as legalized marijuana; no way it’s buying into secession.

    • Nick056 says:

      I believe Texas v White, written by Salmon P. Chase, also formally established the US as an indestructible union of indestructible states.

      • Joe_JP says:

        Even taking that opinion as gospel, it noted:

        There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States.

        Texas itself came into this country by means of congressional authorization — not by treaty. The Civil War was an unsuccessful revolution. By this logic, separation by consent of both sides might have been possible.

        • Nick056 says:

          This is true. And for that matter Congressional radicals were fine with the theory that the states had become legally separate, because that increased their authority to set terms for reconstruction via readmission, whereas returning states in rebellion to Unionists gives relatively more discretion to the president. On the Court, Chase had somewhat different incentives.

          I think that Texas v White is on balance a troubled decision if for no other reason than its status as a political document by a radical Republican and former Lincoln Treasury Secretary with storied views on the Constitution (“freedom national”). But law is law, and as far as I know that is still 147-year-old precedent on unilateral secession.

          • Joe_JP says:

            states had become legally separate, because that increased their authority to set terms for reconstruction via readmission

            A major argument was that they lost their status as “states” because a republican form of government was denied so Congress, e.g., could refuse seating of representatives and senators. The area would in effect be U.S. territory. This wouldn’t necessarily be the same as full separation, which would rob the U.S. of power over them at all.

            Anyway, law changes over time, but the basic principle appears to be true today — there is no constitutional power of states to secede on their own. But, like other things, that might change like understandings of federal power significantly changed between 1870 and the 1930s. We aren’t there yet.

      • rea says:

        Lincoln argued that the country existed under the Articles of Confederation before adopting the Constitution, and that the Articles specify “perpetual union.”

        • Just_Dropping_By says:

          The flaw in that theory is that I don’t think SCOTUS recognizes the Articles of Confederation as having any legal effect post-Constitution other than as an interpretive tool for the Constitution.

          • Lurker says:

            Even so, this statement is a strong guide for the interpretation of “more perfect union”. If the union created by the Articles was perpetual, and the one created by Constitution is even more perfect, how could it be less perpetual?

  17. xq says:

    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.

    Nolan gives no evidence for this.

    Most polling on succession doesn’t include crosstabs, but this Reuters poll does: http://polling.reuters.com/#poll/TM350Y14/filters/SC_RACE:1/dates/20161206-20170120/type/overall

    White Democrats oppose succession 63 to 23
    Blacks Democrats oppose succession 53 to 21
    Hispanic Democrats oppose succession 42 to 32

    You shouldn’t equate who is loud about a position on the internet with who supports that position. The sample size isn’t large enough to look by state, but given the results above I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Hispanics in CA support succession much more than whites opposed to Trump.

    (None of this changes that it’s a terrible idea)

  18. NewishLawyer says:

    1. To the extent that this is venting, I see no problem.

    2. To the extent that people really think this will happen, they are naïve idiots without a clue. There is no way the US lets CA secede because of our Pacific shoreline, economic power, etc. Plus Civil War 2.0 is going to be much worse than the original. Hi chemical warfare!

    • Gwen says:

      ::pulls out map::

      ::relabels L.A. County as “New West Texas.”::

    • McAllen says:

      My problem with venting/joking about this is that it’s coming from a line of thought where red states are filled 100% with stupid Trump voters whose primary sin is hurting blue states. It is not blue staters who suffer the most from red states; it is margianilzed groups in red states, since we have to deal both with Trump and our red state governments.

      • Dennis Orphen says:

        People in abusive relationships have to get out. One reason they don’t is they don’t have a place to go. Perhaps we should give them one if the abuser will not change.

        • so-in-so says:

          Also plenty of “red state” people here in blue states, who neither want to leave the other red staters nor to move.

          How many people in red states who would suffer would pick up and move to blue states with no property, no support network and no job? That all worked real well when India and Pakistan split too. Except for the millions who died trying to get to the other side.

        • tsam says:

          We can defang the abusers too. If they fuck up again, we punch them in the tallywhacker

  19. Captain Oblivious says:

    Every blue state secessionist should be asked:

    (a) What is the legal/constitutional theory to support this that also does not justify the Confederacy?

    (b) What are you going to do if the federal government sends in the army to take over your state? Are you willing to die for your cause?

    (c) What have you done to help the Democratic party function better and win more seats at all levels in these red states you hate so much?

    (d) For that matter, do you yourself even bother to vote in every state and local election?

    (e) How much money have you donated to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU?

    (f) When was the last time you went to a town hall or called a politician?

    • DamnYankees says:

      (a) What is the legal/constitutional theory to support this that also does not justify the Confederacy?

      Just taking this one – the problem with the confederacy wasn’t the treason, so much. It was what the treason was on behalf of.

      No one pretends like there’s a constitutional justification for rebellion or revolution. Those are extralegal action.

    • SatanicPanic says:

      (c) What have you done to help the Democratic party function better and win more seats at all levels in these red states you hate so much?

      I can give solid answers to most of the rest of these, but this one? What kind of answer is there?

    • Lee Rudolph says:

      Are you willing to die for your cause?

      Well…if I was a mite younger, and a mite purtier, I might be willing to fraternaize for my cause, if you get my drift.

    • Jon_H11 says:

      I’m definitely in the minority, and I agree with Scott’s sentiment if not his reasoning, but

      (a) The Confederacy was unjustified because it was created to propagate an institution which was manifestly, abhorrently immoral, in terms of legal/constitutional theory, the constitution doesn’t say anything, either for or against, succession or leaving the Union, and Chase’s court opinion in Texas v. White on it is pretty pathetic.

      (b) I’ve argued this before, but there is no necessity, and I’d say no likelihood, that a civil war would be the result of a successful separatist movement in a contemporary, industrialized country (was England going to siege Edinburgh if the 2014 referendum had gone a few points the other way? If Quebec really pushed for it and had success would Trudeau send in the tanks?

      That said, yes, right now, and in any feasible situation I can see, it’s stupid and counter productive to even write think pieces about it. But this whole “separatists are inherently treasonous and any semi-successful separatist movement would lead to catastrophic civil war” notion is silly and based on one event in one country where these things in fact obtained.

      • djw says:

        was England going to siege Edinburgh if the 2014 referendum had gone a few points the other way? If Quebec really pushed for it and had success would Trudeau send in the tanks?

        Well, sure, if somehow we arrived at a political moment where the national government authorized a referendum on succession in a given territory that they had some theoretical intention of actually honoring, should it pass, then I could envision a potentially peaceful divorce. Perhaps it’s a failure of imagination on my part, but a plausible path from our present circumstances to such a referendum being offered up is very difficult to envision.

        • bender says:

          The condition in which I can envision secession is one in which the referendum is recognition de jure of circumstances which already exist de facto. What I am talking about is a greatly weakened federal government which has lost the capacity to govern some of its states either because they are too remote to collect taxes and enforce federal law in, or are too fractious to make it worth the trouble and expense to rule them. If leaving those states to their own devices and their own alliances with foreign powers does not pose a military threat to the remaining United States (which definitely was not the case in 1860), then wayward sisters, go in peace.

          The parallel is not dissolution of the United Kingdom. It is the contraction of the Roman Empire from the late Third Century onward. The process by which Oregon and California became states is not completely different from the way Brittania became a province. We have better roads, and California is richer than Brittania, but things can change.

        • Jon_H11 says:

          20 years down the line. California becomes increasingly pluralist while the rest of America outside the coasts becomes futuro-alt-right/Bannonites. Split national government, California pushes for devolution, wins in “states rights” fanatic courts whose only balancing power are liberals sympathetic to Cali. Pushes it a few steps further for a nationhood referendum taking western OR and WA counties with them…

          Remember it was a little over 20 years ago that a Dem president signed DOMA into law and WV and AR were blue-leaning purples.

      • Dennis Orphen says:

        Hey, I’m going to smoke a huge joint of weed that I grew myself later tonight (if I remember, and don’t fall asleep reading I, Claudius first, like the last two nights (seriously). How much more immoral can you get than that?

    • AMK says:

      (a) There isn’t, any more than there is a “theory” to “justify” the Gulf States, North Korea, etc that practice modern slavery. But because the circumstances that would make a partition a real possibility represent a failure of the legal/constitutional order anyway, this is beside the point.

      (b) Yes, but it would only be a violent transition if only one or two blue states went at it. If they all went, there would be a negotiated split. Too many blue-state soldiers and officers; national guards; not big enough military.

      (c) Nothing besides donate money, because I don’t live in a red state. But this would be beside the point in the circumstances we’re describing

      (d) Yes

      (e) I’ve donated to both

      (d) Three weeks ago

  20. DamnYankees says:

    [DELETED]

  21. Harkov311 says:

    As someone from a state that did once secede, I can say with certainty that it was a stupid, horrible idea then, and is still both of those things now. Not to mention extremely illegal (see Texas v. White)

  22. tsam says:

    I wonder how many of these dumbfucks that think secession isn’t the dumbest idea ever are aware that there is a precedent for this sort of thing that wasn’t the whimsical fairy tale they like to think sawing off California or the West Coast would be.

    • SatanicPanic says:

      I’m not on board with the idea, but there are precedents for this that aren’t all doom and gloom. Slovenia leaving Yugoslavia, the breakup of Czechoslovakia, and some (obviously not all) of the states leaving the USSR are examples. It helps if the independence seekers are dealing with a dysfunctional federal government. Huh, I wonder what nation is heading towards a dysfunctional federal government?

      Again, not saying I want this to happen (because I agree it would be abandoning a lot of people to a horrible fate), but it’s not the dumbest idea ever and I suspect it is going to get more attractive, not less.

  23. Frank Wilhoit says:

    It is worse than this, because there are no blue states; there are only blue counties.

    Today’s nano-giggle: I tried to call an 800 number yesterday morning, and got a message saying that my account was not authorized to do that. I called my provider; there ensued an oblique conversation that made no sense to either side, until it surfaced that they were assuming I was trying to call from outside the U.S., as that was the “only” circumstance in which that error message was supposed to happen. For one brief, shining, moment, I thought that Ohio might have seceded overnight…. It all turned out to have been due to the snowstorm.

    • djw says:

      It is worse than this, because there are no blue states; there are only blue counties.

      I’ll go further: there are red and blue demographics; red and blue states are little more than artifact of their ratios. That is not a recipe for a velvet divorce.

  24. veleda_k says:

    I agree that blue state secessionism is stupid and reactionary, but I don’t agree with all of Nolan’s reasoning. Any time I’ve seen anyone bring up the tax disparity it hasn’t been about, “We’re rich so we own you.” It’s been about, “You whine endlessly about your taxes going to the welfare queens and the strapping young bucks in Cadillacs, but we’re the ones subsidizing you.” Or, “You keep insisting you’re the real America, and coastal cities don’t count, but you’re dependent on our tax dollars to stay alive.”

    Maybe I’ve just been lucky enough to miss that particularity gross attitude.

    • Abbey Bartlet says:

      Yikes. I missed that. I’ve only seen what you’ve seen as well.

    • Snarki, child of Loki says:

      Hey, just send those whining red-state goobers a tax bill from their blue-state benefactors.

      Yes, I expect they will respond with incoherent white-hot rage, but it will be a teachable moment.

    • so-in-so says:

      Yes,this is mostly how I encounter it; frustration at being called “takers” when blue states are net contributors. I suspect those red staters who aren’t just lying are still under the impression that the cities survive on the backs of small farmers grubbing out an existence in the mid west, and would all starve but for the “real Americans” growing the food.

      I suppose a more realistic scenario would be secession coming as a result of a civil war, or the Federal government is starved out but for the military, and that gets tied down in foreign wars. If I wanted a plausible story for The Free State of California I’d probably go that route (sucks for all the characters involved, though)

  25. anonymous says:

    Since we’re talking fantasy, I think it makes much more sense for the West Coast and Northeast to join Canada rather than become its own country or countries.

    It saves on having to rebuild new national infrastructures from scratch by making use of Canada’s.

    The whole idea of secession will never happen but if we’re going to go there, why not consider Blue States joining Canada instead?

  26. Pyramid Scheme says:

    What about a negotiated exit, sort of like a mediated divorce? You know, it’s just not working out…..

    Seriously though, as political preferences get more and more divergent, why can’t we have the discussion? I don’t mean secession per se, but perhaps breaking up the United States into four or so nations, roughly a center-right northeast, a Confederacy (or whatever they would call themselves), a Very conservative libertarian interior west, and a Left-coast liberal state? Is harmless conjecture “not helping”?

    • Snarki, child of Loki says:

      Okay, here’s the scenario:

      Trump sells Alaska back to the Russians. They also want to take over Georgia, but the Dems insist that in that case they also take Alabama, to avoid breaking up the set.

      With fewer states, the RWNJs finally get enough on board to call a constitutional convention. Someone slips in a provision that states can secede if they put gold-fringed flags in ALL of their courtrooms, burn a cross in front of their state capitol and whisper “Jeff Davis” three times at midnight.

      Everything breaks apart after Trump crowns himself Emperor Donald (first of his name).

      There are no survivors.

      • liberalrob says:

        Trump will never sell Alaska back to the Russians as long as there is oil under the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. So no need to worry.

        I for one welcome our new White Walker overlords…

    • Lev says:

      I agree, and I have indeed thought of something along these lines, though I would insist on full autonomy for majority-minority areas in the South as part of it. Much as that might sting the pride of the likes of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, it’s probably be a better deal than what they’re getting now with him as AG and Trump as president.

    • msdc says:

      I don’t mean secession per se, but perhaps breaking up the United States into four or so nations, roughly a center-right northeast,

      Progressive satire, self-caricature, or troll?

      What’s the difference?

  27. Abbey Bartlet says:

    The idea that we should teach the red states a lesson is Bernout logic: “We’ll punish red states/the Dems for not giving us our candidate by burning down the whole system, never mind that the people who will be hurt the most are the marginalized groups we claim to care for.”

    Not coincidentally, I see a whole lot of the same people pushing this.

  28. Bloix says:

    It’s a stupid idea because it will never happen.
    But it’s not a stupid idea for people in New York and New Jersey and Massachusetts and Illinois and California to realize that they and not the yahoos in Arkansas and Kentucky are the “real America.”
    And it’s not a stupid idea for people in NY etc to understand that they are subsidizing the racism and sexism and anti-science and war-mongering and fundamentalism and raw stupidity that rules Oklahoma and Kansas and now all of us.
    We got a glimpse of the truth when 67 Republicans voted No on federal emergency relief to the victims of Superstorm Sandy. They hate us.
    When stupid evil people hate your fucking guts and still take your money it’s worth understanding what’s really going on.

  29. BethRich52 says:

    Maybe I missed it somehow, but I didn’t see anyone here mention that the U.S. Military is pretty well-established in California. Have you ever been to San Diego, for example?

  30. AGM says:

    Ignoring the rest of the US, It is hard to imagine a way that California wouldn’t be better off with a peaceful succession. Even putting aside current political circumstances and that over half of non-California US thought Donald Trump would make a fine president. The bigger problem is that US political institutions are ridiculous and anti-democratic by design and there is no will to change them (and, even if there was, the mechanism to do so is also ridiculous and anti-democratic). California with good government and without US military spending would be a net gain for human welfare.

  31. CDT says:

    If nothing else, California proposing a peaceful secession with free migration in advance would be a good wame-up call. Huge difference between violent treason to defend slavery and peaceful secession.

  32. Harry R. Sohl says:

    When you’re drowning, you don’t try to get the albatross around your neck to vote in its own best interests. You dump it.

  33. Bronze says:

    Consider the reverse of this situation: Puerto Rico is holding a vote on June 11 to vote for either Statehood or Independence/Free Association, no option for commonwealth. How will the current hurricane of terror and bullcrap that is US domestic politics be affected if they vote for Statehood? From what I understand statehood would have to be approved by congress, and I don’t know the Republicans would like giving anyone else crucial votes in the senate.

    • jim, some guy in iowa says:

      the rs would probably be okay with creating Central Dakota or Eastern Montana as states. Puerto Rico less so I imagine

    • bender says:

      Oh, thank you for the reminder. That is going to be an exciting plebiscite, if that’s what it is. Interesting timing. I daresay statehood under the Trump administration looks less attractive to the PRs than it did under Obama.

      Big fun whichever way it goes. So Puerto Rico votes for nationhood. Trump is just going to let them go? He doesn’t like rejection, or losing property, or criticism of any kind.

      Puerto Rico wants to be a state. Another state of poor, brown, Spanish speaking islanders who reliably vote Democratic. Hawaii only got statehood by pairing up with Alaska. Congress and the WH will welcome our 51st state with open arms.

      Prediction–whichever way it goes, the GOP will say the vote was rigged.

      would be fun debate to watch–a bunch of poor, brown, Spanish-speaking want to become a state. They are actually volunteering for it, unlike the Hawaiians.

  34. AlanInSF says:

    That’s one long-winded straw man.

  35. Lev says:

    I don’t think there’s any harm in idle speculation–the Tea Party regularly engaged in impractical flights of fancy over, say, repealing the direct election of senators. Didn’t distract them from lockstep opposition to Obama.

    But I’m not convinced it’s fully idle speculation. For one thing, I see the Madisonian Constitution as being on its last legs, and we should be thinking long-term about what we’re going to do if/when that happens. It’s not built for partisan polarization and frequently gives the opposition party chances to blow the whole thing to pieces if they want to, and given the path of Republicans from Clinton (pointless investigations while still making deals) to Obama (no deals but usually did the minimal amount to avoid disaster), I don’t see how the next step isn’t for them to not even do the minimum. I foresee a future situation where Republicans force a Democratic President–say Cory Booker–to break the Constitution to avoid economic calamity. Or perhaps he wouldn’t and the US would suffer a different breakdown. Regardless, Obama was wrong, the fever isn’t going to break. In fact, as the country slips away from them, I expect the right wing to get progressively crazier.

    So as an endgame for when it breathes its last, a couple of separate independent states isn’t the worst possible outcome. Probably more likely to happen than a parliamentary democracy. Better design for a democratic government, but good luck getting either side to trust the other enough to grant them unfettered power.

  36. JustinRunia says:

    OK sure, but I can still rail on about neutering the Senate along the lines of Britain’s Parliament Act of 1913, right? That actually addresses the “deadbeat state” problem without disturbing the territorial integrity of the US!

    • JustinRunia says:

      Also: it’s interesting that the US and Europe are grappling with the same problem from opposite sides–people in the US cherry-picking when Federalism is applicable, or what Federalism even friggin means, post-Civil War, and people in the EU trying to make meaningful policy decisions when they lack the ability to enforce those decisions at the country level. Mix in the current state of race, sex and gender, and you end up so very far from the End of History…

      • liberalrob says:

        The EU is basically a model for what the world would look like if the U.N. were truly given enough power to be the “one world government” of conservatives’ nightmares.

        • Porlock Junior says:

          Ah, if only I had had Internet access to read this thread in 1954 when I took the Yes side in a debate on whether the UN should become a world government.

          (The other debate topic was socialized medicine. You kids just don’t know what crazy stuff we talked about I-cant-believe-it-was 60+ years ago.)

  37. Lord Jesus Perm says:

    It shouldn’t surprise me that this hasn’t been brought up, but for all of the talk about “saving the patient” and calling the Southern states the Confederacy, 60% of the black people in the US live in the Southeast. 8 of the 10 states with the largest black populations are in this region. The five states with the largest Latino populations are all in the Southwest, and only one of them is blue. This is to say nothing of the white people in these states who vote Democrat, but whose only sin here is to live in the “wrong” place. Your desire to secede leaves a lot of people hurt and left on the outside looking in. But I’m sure y’all already knew that.

    I’d really respect cats a lot more if we did away with the perfume around a lot of the arguing and just came right out and said, “I don’t give a damn about marginalized groups, just the good liberals that live in my immediate circle.” It shouldn’t need to be said that people can’t really help where they live, or that a lot of them simply can’t just pick up and move to places that white liberals find acceptable. So when allegedly intelligent people are entertaining ways in which secession would be a real and viable thing, it tells me everything I need to know about them. Given that that describes about 90% of the comments in this thread, there’s a lot of y’all that look funny in the light right now.

  38. Rob in CT says:

    Agreed.

    You know what else it is? DEFEATIST.

    Fuck that shit. This is our country.

    • Dennis Orphen says:

      My mother used to tell me that if I didn’t want to live by the rules in my parents house I was free to leave. Encouraged even. Her point was to behave like a polite and kind human being or get lost.

      Love you mom.

  39. Chetsky says:

    I agree that secession (say, CA) is foolish. But then, what will happen when/if Bannonazi continues and intensifies his efforts to detain/deport undocumented immigrants in CA?

    Millions of Californians have family in that category. Are they supposed to sit still for it? And what happens when the (possibly massive) demos turn to violence (say, to break those people out of ICE detention)? Does Jerry Brown help Dampnut’s forces? Does Brown order the state police to resist ICE?

    It’s one thing when it’s a few people here-and-there. And maybe the answer is: “it’ll always only be a few people”. But I’m not so convinced of that. If ICE rounds up a few thousand undocumented in LA, what’ll happen next?

    • AMK says:

      Right. These things tend to escalate quickly when they happen.

    • liberalrob says:

      People will form human chains blocking all entrances/exits to the ICE detention centers, seek restraining orders in court, bring lawsuits for excessive use of force if any of the removals or protests get violent, that sort of thing.

      Or they won’t.

  40. Dennis Orphen says:

    Okay, as a resident of California, formerly from Portland OR, and formerly of Seattle WA before that, I am fully convinced to stay in the abusive relationship. I dig the whole lonely are the brave thing anyway, it’s really what I’m best at. But don’t be surprised when the bed gets burnt.

  41. Joe_JP says:

    One comment:

    Yeah, there is no way in which he can legitimately claim to represent me as president. He didn’t win my vote, my city’s vote, my state’s electoral votes, or even a plurality of votes nationwide. He’s president because over two centuries ago, a bunch of assholes decided that regular people couldn’t be trusted with the burden and responsibility of voting for their presidents, and so they built an electoral system that reflected that.

    This can be taken too far. Obama didn’t win many a vote, many of a city and state vote. He still could “claim to represent” people as President. Likewise, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand didn’t receive 100% of the vote of NY or even the vote of each county. She should can “claim to represent” the people of NY.

    The final concern is the electoral vote system in place. But, various things were in place in 1787 that changed. Just citing it like things were set in stone is wrong too. The rules continued to be in place up to the present day. John Quincy Adams didn’t win a plurality in 1824. I still think he could legitimately claim to represent the country, granting the rules in place.

    People can argue the election of 2016 was tainted in various ways so that Trump did not win in a legitimate fashion. But, merely because he didn’t win the popular vote wouldn’t be my rule. Also, various reasons are in place not to accept Trump as warranting the room for discretion a POTUS usually is thought to deserve. This includes honorifics, so he’s Mr. Trump to me. Or, asshole.

    He holds an office though. I think “he isn’t my POTUS” includes all of the above; at least, that is how I read it. Because wishing isn’t doing — in a basic raw legal sense, he is one.

  42. Joe_JP says:

    Meanwhile …

    Rachel Maddow MSNBC‏Verified account @maddow

    BREAKING: We’ve got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC.

    (Seriously).

    Also, various red/purple state senators [including Kaine] reportedly still up in the air on Gorsuch. [Buzzfeed] His hearings start next week, which is somewhat under the radar with so much happening.

  43. Bloix says:

    It occurs to me that I was reading an article about the ability of states to call a new Constitutional Convention. “A major state-level push is planned during 2017 for a constitutional convention.”

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-republican-constitution-amendment-20161205-story.html

    If that happens, all bets are off. If there’s a new hard-right Constitution, why wouldn’t California secede?

    • mds says:

      They wouldn’t get three quarters of the states to ratify what two-thirds of them came up with. And no, you can’t call an Article V constitutional convention that proceeds to nullify the ratification requirement of Article V. There’s no constitutional mechanism for a completely freewheeling “start from scratch” convention process. I’ve never understood this particular doomsday scenario where the GOP gets to 2/3 of state governments, and immediately staples a Dominionist constitution over the entirety of the previous one. (The dudes in Philadelphia acted illegally to do just that, but they still had to have everyone go along with the result for practical reasons.)

      Then again, if they tried to do this regardless, we’d have the secession scenario pretty much thrust upon us, as you say.

      • liberalrob says:

        They wouldn’t get three quarters of the states to ratify what two-thirds of them came up with.

        Math tells me three quarters of 50 is 38 (rounding up). Republicans control how many state legislatures?

        Republicans now hold an all-time high of 68 out of 99 state legislative chambers, The Associated Press reported. Republicans also have control of both chambers in 33 states, up from 31.

        • mds says:

          Math tells me that 33 < 38, and the calendar tells me that 2017 is this year. Even if Virgina's governorship goes R, 34 is still less than 38. But still, feel free to add a "… yet." to the end of my sentence.

          Of course, if the GOP keeps gaining complete control of even more state governments at this point, we're completely screwed regardless.

  44. Dennis Orphen says:

    John Stewart’s Daydream Believer just came on the stereo at the bar I’m drinking at in California. It’s a cover version sung by an immigrant.

  45. witlesschum says:

    My personal impractical political fantasy is that white people simply need to be barred from voting for something along the lines of 90 years. That’s about half the time we kept other people from voting, so it works both for punishing us for our bad behavior and for protecting the country from us. Works like a prison sentence.

    I think it’s nicer than secession, since I’m white and willing to take one for the team, and equally likely to happen, so let’s go with this.

    • Abbey Bartlet says:

      Last time I tried to offer my plan wherein white men are disenfranchised for 132 years and black men are disenfranchised for 50 years there was much clutching of pearls.

      • pseudalicious says:

        black men are disenfranchised for 50 years

        *Frysquint*

        • Abbey Bartlet says:

          Black men got the right to vote 50 years before black or white women did…

          I am open to just disenfranchising white dudes.

          • Nick056 says:

            Are you seriously of the opinion that anything like a majority of black men had a meaningful “right” to vote for 50 years prior to womens’ suffrage? About 400 people were murdered in just the years from 1868-1871 in order to suppress the black male franchise.

            • witlesschum says:

              I was calculating mine using 1964 for that reason, but its indisputably true that more black men could and did vote freely during that time than women of any race; just not in the former Confederacy and associated states.

              If we’re quibbling about details for some reason, it’s also true that some western states stopped preventing women from voting long before the constitutional amendment. I don’t think we need to get all detailed in a way that lets the female members of the Cheney hive vote more than other people because Wyoming was better 130 years ago or so though.

              • Abbey Bartlet says:

                In the original conversation a friend and I had we tried to work out how you’d account for Jim Crow, and then there were various forms of disenfranchisement going on now (something like 1/3rd of black men in Alabama!), and the various states that did enfranchise women before 1920….it got complicated fast. We decided the practical thing to do was to just go with the 15th and 19th as the appropriate dates.

      • witlesschum says:

        These seem like two great tastes that go great together to me.

  46. jim, some guy in iowa says:

    (makes note to self to read “The Grapes of Wrath”)

  47. SheBlindedMeWithScience says:

    I understand, it would feel good, but not realistic. What changes that? The fact that Steve King, whose salary is paid by us, from a homogeneous state (relatively speaking), can espouse white nationalist views with no repercussions? Would secession ever be a viable threat to suggest? Perhaps not, but I’m fed up…

  48. No Longer Middle Aged Man says:

    I’ll play. Secession would have to be bargained, presumably in Congress. Trump is president. He’s from NY. So he couldn’t be president of the group of states that didn’t include NY – that would be Pence. Instead …

  49. The Pale Scot says:

    Just need to change a few tax laws.

    Make state income taxes paid deductible from the federal tax bill. Since someone always says “state taxes are already deductible” what I mean is;

    fed taxes 10000

    State taxes 8000

    10000-8000= 2000 paid to the feds.

    Blue states and red states can run themselves as they see fit, just not with any help from the feds

    • Rob in CT says:

      This is a terrible idea. Fucking up the funding of the federal government is not something that helps liberalism.

      Of course, Conservatives want to do the opposite: remove the current deductibility of state income taxes so as to punish blue states.

  50. ddworak1 says:

    All bets are off if we get to a gerrymandered Constitutional Convention that passes a series of amendments that enshrine the current Dominionist oligarchy into the Constitution. And if you don’t think it will get to that I have two words for you: President Trump.

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