‘Six Californias’ Ballot Measure Wants To Give Us 55 States


Recently a noted Silicon Valley technology investor named Tim Draper floated a plan titled ‘Six Californias’ meant to split California into, you guessed it, six separate states. His argument boils down to the fact that California is larger and more populous than any other state in the union and is ungovernable as a result of this.

These sorts of ballot measures are introduced all the time. Texas is always talking about splitting up or seceding (it seems to be in their DNA), parts of Upstate New York always want to split from New York City and Long Island, and just this past November a ballot initiative that would have created a North Colorado was defeated. So how will California be different? Well, it really won’t.

Draper argues that large portions of California are not properly represented due to the fact that “vast parts of our state are poorly served by a representative government dominated by a large number of elected representatives from a small part of our state.”

Essentially Draper is arguing that there is not adequate representation for certain demographics and that the divides between the differing portions of the states are too large. Cities naturally have different needs than rural areas. Sounds like what they really need is the widely loved electoral college.

The divide between the needs of urban and rural goes back to the founding of our nation. Thomas Jefferson famously voted to allow for a national bank in return for moving the capital from New York City to the sweltering dome of humidity we know today as Washington, DC.

All of the arguments made by Draper have been made before and made more eloquently. Not one similar proposal has ever been passed by the electorate.

Even if Draper’s proposal should break this trend, there is no legal precedent for what he is proposing. Changing the number of states is a power given only to the Congress. Even if it passes, given the state of deadlock our Congress is currently in, this is dead in the water.

This plan would theoretically increase the amount of representation California gets in the US Senate, with most of those theoretical seats going to Democrats. Our Republican House would never bring such a thing up for a vote. Not only that but the entire point of the Senate is to give the smaller states a larger voice. The House of Representatives is there to allow for proportional representation.

Even if Congress did decide to allow California to split into six different states, thereby increasing the number of seats in the Senate, there is one major problem people seem to forget: Water.

While the Northern portions of California have ample water, the southern sections have limited resources available to them. States fighting over water is nothing new. Just this year Florida and Georgia have been fighting in court over the use of the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint rivers which supply their tri-state area with fresh water.

Additionally (and strangely), Draper makes a note that “Individuals can move between states more freely.” Is he going through customs as he goes from LA to San Francisco? If so, I can only imagine how tight security must be on the Nevada border. God forbid anyone or anything sneak over that border, we have to keep what happens in Vegas in Vegas.

To top it all off Draper proposes “crowdsourcing” a new constitution and state flower for each new state. How else could such a thing be done? Maybe through, I don’t know, a vote? We could make a day out of it, maybe we can call it “election day”. What a novel concept!

California, it’s probably not a good idea to take tips on running a democracy from someone that doesn’t even seem to understand how it works. Like most proposals of this kind, Draper’s ‘Six Californias’ plan seems destined to fail and subsequently implode on itself.

John Zurz

John Zurz

John Zurz

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