By Lewis Morris
Leftists have tried almost everything to cope with the 2016 election. They have attempted to delegitimize Donald Trump’s presidency by laying out a long list of increasingly implausible and nefarious excuses for his victory. They have gathered in the streets, smashed windows, torched public property, and turned our college campuses into battlefields the likes of which haven’t been seen since the 1960s. They have used the full power of the mainstream media to carry their anti-Trump message, fighting everything he does at every turn. Nothing’s worked.
But that doesn’t mean they won’t try a new strategy. They’re going federalist, calling on the doctrine of states’ rights to plead their case. This isn’t an instance of the adage, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ’em.” No, this time around, it’s more like “if you can’t beat ’em, leave ’em.” And California, as it does with most crazy liberal schemes, is leading the way.
The #Calexit movement is hoping to put a proposition before state voters this year to vote on seceding from the Union.
First they will need to gather 585,407 valid signatures to get their measure on the ballot. And to do that, they will need lots of volunteers. And they will need some cash. Estimates put the cost for such an initiative somewhere between $2 and $3 million.
“Yes California,” one group involved in the effort, claims to have 8,000 volunteers, thousands of printed petitions, and a few thousand in cash. Chances of success are slim to none. When put to the test, would California voters really want to leave the U.S. and form their own country? Most likely not, but the effort has gained a lot of media attention, particularly among the wishful thinkers who have grown increasingly desperate since Trump’s victory.
Kevin Baker of the New Republic goes even further, suggesting with a certain sinister glee that all the blue states should break off and form their own group.
Demonstrating a complete lack of understanding for our system of government and our political traditions, Baker whines on for thousands of words about how the blue states have supported the red states for decades with no appreciation, and they are now calling the game and admitting defeat in the age of Trump.
Baker falls short of advocating full independence. After all, leftists aren’t going to completely walk away from a federal government that unaccountably pours out money to so many leftist special interests. Then they would have to start working for themselves. Perish the thought.
Baker’s proposal is for the blue states to circle the wagons and keep their tax revenue for themselves, so that they can fund and fully appreciate all those fantastic statist entitlement programs that he thinks have done so well for this country. He conveniently declines to address the fact that it is these very entitlements that are driving the national debt.
The reasoning behind this idea, even if it is in jest, is terribly flawed. If the blue states are so popular, then why are record numbers of people leaving them for what Baker perceives to be the backward red states? Why are businesses clamoring to set up shop in red states and hire red state workers?
The American cities and states that are in the greatest financial peril are overwhelmingly Democrat. One-party Democrat machines have run Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, and the states they exist in for decades. And each one of those states is hemorrhaging tax dollars and losing people by the tens of thousands every year.
Baker and pretty much all leftists mistakenly believe that a large government is a better one. We need only look to Washington, DC, to know that isn’t true. The federal government is as large as it gets, and constantly it lurches from crisis to pitched battle and back.
Large government is indeed where the real problems lay. It’s not unappreciative and uneducated rubes in rural America, which self-righteous leftists like to treat as some Dark Forest filled with evil and racism and conspiracies and violence. This view is an example of what psychologists would call projection, when a person defends their own qualities by denying their existence in themselves and attributing them to others.
Leftists have exhibited their worst qualities for decades, pushing for an ever larger and more powerful federal government. A century ago, the progressive income tax and direct election of senators were two of the biggest blows to our federalist system. By removing the ability of state legislatures to elect senators, leftists made the upper chamber of Congress accountable to the national government and not their respective states. Washington has grown steadily more intrusive and more powerful ever since.
This is the very antithesis of federalism, yet now leftists are trying to claim the federalist mantle of themselves. They want the states to have the power to do their own thing, without the interference of the federal government. Of course, after Trump’s election, this was entirely predictable.
The motivation for this cosmic shift on the merits of federalism comes from an unyielding hate for the man in the White House. Maybe the reason behind the shift doesn’t matter. After all, if the outcome means that states will gain back some of the power they have lost over time, and the federal government consequently becomes less powerful, then it won’t be such a bad thing after all.
First published at The Patriot Post