Print Edition

  Email News Updates

Adios California. Will the Golden State secede or split up?

By Tom Morgan


Many in upstate New York would like a split here, too

Many Californians dream their State will secede from the U.S. That dream could become reality. And it might not be a bad idea.

The Golden State already behaves as another country. It passes laws that spite the U.S. government. It encourages more illegal immigrants to come. The state goes to extremes to protect the many illegals who live there. It proclaims its own clean-air standards. It tells auto makers what vehicles they can and cannot market in California. The state fights the mere suggestion of tamping the flow of illegals with a wall.

Lately California has made it illegal for residents to comply with U.S. laws it doesn’t like.

The gap between California’s policies and those of the U.S. government seems to widen by the year. The state’s pastime is to file lawsuits against our federal government.

Those who favor secession remind us the state’s economy is the 7th largest in the world. They tell us California has enough population and wealth to operate as another country.

I can imagine this happening. Millions of California voters make clear they don’t think much of the rest of this country. So be it.

If California became a country I imagine it would be as benign toward the U.S. as is Canada. The border would maybe be seamless. Maybe. One problem would be that the U.S. would want to screen travelers. That is because so many people in California are there illegally.

Trade between California and the U.S. would probably not change. Some folks would rush to live in the new country. Many would depart. Beyond that, lives on both sides of the border would probably not change much. For a while, that is.

Ultimately, California the country would probably merge with Mexico. That may seem far-fetched. But consider that within a decade or so the majority of Californians will be of Hispanic origin. And if California was a new country, millions more Mexicans would surely stream into such a friendly state. Legally or illegally. California barely notices the difference.

These days the state has no problems with illegals voting. Imagine it, then, as a country. With several million more illegals — many of them voting. With a growing majority of Hispanics. If you can imagine that, you should be able to imagine majorities voting for union with Mexico. And I believe Mexico would welcome it.

There are many Californians who would prefer something different than this. They want to break the state into two or more new states. One of the new states formed would be for the extreme progressives and high-tech types — basically, urban California. Another new state formed from California would be for rural and more conservative types.

Many people in New York and Illinois push for the same. Those efforts have merit, too. Clearly, some state governments neglect many of their citizens and the areas where they live. They do so because their legislatures are top-heavy with members from heavily populated areas.

Upstate New Yorkers will raise their hands at this suggestion. Imagine Upstate as a separate state. Do you think for a moment such a state would have allowed the hallowing out of its many upstate cities and towns? That is what took place. Do you think such a state would have greeted the closing of thousands of factories with ever-higher taxes and more business-choking regulations?

The evidence is overwhelming: Downstaters could give a damn about Upstate. Downstate representatives call the shots in Albany. And they care sweet little about Upstate’s woes. If they even know where the likes of Watertown, Oswego, Utica, Jamestown, Olean, Dansville, and Norwich are located. When the governor decides to pour money into depleted Buffalo his pals line their pockets with it. And the promised jobs evaporate.

An upstate legislature would look after Upstate far better than Albany does. Just as a downstate legislature would govern Illinois with more concern than Chicago machine pols do.

Would the U.S. suffer terribly if California seceded? Probably not much. Would Californians and New Yorkers suffer if their states divided? They would likely be better off. In the remaining states as well as the new states.

I would regard such developments as signs of health. Healthy countries flex and adapt to current realities. They modify their institutions and structures — to respond to, and make the most of, significant changes in their midst. Maybe the time is ripe for this country to flex a little.                          

Tom Morgan writes about political, financial, and other subjects from his home near Oneonta. You can write to Tom at Read more of his writing at

Thank You For Visiting