Look at the electoral map. It seems that there are two countries now - a red one in the middle, a blue one on the west coast and the northeast and maybe the upper midwest. It's evident now that the Trumpists will go anywhere and pay any price - to preserve the noble cause of minority rule before it's lost - they don't mind
In response, how about regional federalism to clarify the thinking of the red states about minority rule? Trump wanted to make the unthinkable thinkable, and how he has succeeded, and how much more his successor.
So blue states that are so inclined create regional interstate legislative assemblies, that act as debate and negotiation forums to draft model legislation for each participating state, to be enacted by that state's legislature. Each state entering the assembly agrees to enact all model legislation endorsed by a supermajority of the regional assembly. There might be a regional assembly for the west coast, one for the mid-Atlantic and New England, and perhaps one for the upper Midwest.
Like-minded states cooperate more intentionally toward common goals like environmental policies, disaster response, firearms control, and state taxation schemes. It's filling the void left by a do-nothing Federal Congress not dealing with problems that are larger than one state.
There's nothing unconstitutional or illegal about that. Nothing is mandatory at the regional level; there is no enforcement or budget or taxation at that level. Representatives to regional assemblies are selected and paid by their states.
The regional assemblies could be thought of as uniform act activities involving a limited number of states, rather than as interstate compacts which would require Congressional approval, which the red states would withhold.
This is not secession, just a regional assembly to develop, by consensus, model legislation that should happen on a Federal level but won't because of minority obstructionism. The actual legislation takes place in each participating state.
One path to avoid is allowing the red states to call a constitutional convention. That convention, convened by a majority of minority-rule states choosing minority-rule delegates, can only make things worse. Don't expect minority-rule states to help the other states to get out from under minority rule.
At the Federal level, representatives of the regional assembly states become the biggest states-rights advocates ever - voting against Federal spending and taxation as the opportunity permits. As the regional assemblies develop their own consensus plans for taxation, and the participating states implement them, the Federal representatives from those states can vote to abolish the Federal income, estate, payroll, highway, etc. taxes. The red staters might go along gleefully at first.
When the subsidies stop flowing from the blue states to the red states, we'll see if the "states rights" advocates for slavery, then segregation, then suppression of voters, really believe in states rights when it comes to their pocketbooks. There is only one Silicon Valley, one Wall Street, one Hollywood. True, there is only one Permian Basin, but there are lots of global suppliers of cheap hydrocarbons to burn, and the regional assembly states would be leading the charge away from burning hydrocarbons anyway.
If after all that, the red states still feel they would be better off by themselves, maybe it's time to let that happen. It didn't work for the red states last time because the Confederacy was a feudal agrarian economy that was fast falling behind the rest of the developed world. This time it would be completely different because now they have - reality-TV!
If feudal agrarianism is the noble lost cause that the red states want to recover, let them have their own private fantasy world of magical thinking and faith in the divine right of kings. Time for the red states to get off blue-state welfare and stand on their own - as somebody else's natural resources and agriculture colonies!
Permanent Cultural Revolution - Mao and Trotsky would be so proud! That is even more than Putin hoped for America.
In case the country really does divide, one might expect that the red states will sell off all their Federal land to the highest bidder, for it to be logged, drilled, mined, and grazed to death. Federal and state and local income and estate taxes will be eliminated, benefiting the ruling class, along with sales and payroll and property taxes to benefit the serf class. Perhaps there will even be rebates to all taxpayers, much as Alaska does now with oil money.
But when the natural resources and money run out, there might be a day of reckoning.
I'm just a slave and everything's free. If I were free, then nothing would be free! -- Pseudolus
It would be interesting to see whether the three red subregions - the old slave/cotton south, the farmer/corn midwest, and the rancher/sagebrush west - have any genuine common interests once they are freed from the corrupting influence of the coastal elites' wealth. How will the corn/ethanol states fare surrounded by fracking oil and gas states?
The red-state ruling class will continue to blame the blue states for the misery of the red states, as it always has. But permanent cultural revolutionaries Trotsky and Mao, via surrogate Madame Mao, came to unhappy ends along with their permanent cultural revolutions, because most people are not interested in politics and revolution as a permanent preoccupation.
Republican voters need the government's help with their problems. But Republican voters will eventually realize that Republican donors are only interested in government to solve THEIR problems, while libertarian theoreticians don't want the government to be able to solve anybody's problems - and so they become anarchists in the end.
Utopian communities don't scale very well from small homogeneous to large heterogeneous. The American frontier was like that - a very violent place. Libertarianism only really works in small primitive agrarian and hunter-gatherer societies where there are no classes because there is no division of labor because there is so little to learn that everybody knows it all and needn't consult experts or authorities. Guns Germs and Steel comments that such societies are limited to something like 500-1000 participants. Even though for complex societies, libertarianism occasionally produces useful insights into how to make government more effective, sometimes by governing less, still the libertarian end state is unworkable in a technologically advanced economy. Even populists need a technologically deep state to run a technologically advanced economy.
If the day of reckoning for the red states leads to recognition that blue-state secession touted by the red-state ruling class was not such a good idea after all, how can it be undone? With malice toward none and charity toward all, all the red states have to do is enact a few constitutional amendments to permanently end minority rule -
Democratic universal suffrage must be the biggest threat to the Republican Party since Josef Stalin! But if the Republican Party were willing to redefine itself in word AND deed as a potential national majority party, then the blue states might be glad to resume their partnership with the red states in order to help them recover from their folly.
How might one launch such a process? Perhaps the governors of California, Washington, and Oregon should nominate a few legislators and technical experts to represent their state in an informal preliminary assembly, charging them to devise by consensus three model bills in key areas like climate, taxation, election process, or firearms, that are unlikely to be addressed effectively in a Republican-controlled Senate.
Then those three model bills would be reported back to the legislatures of the three states and, perhaps adopted. If all three states adopted all three bills in more or less the form suggested, then a more formal regional assembly would be appointed with a mandate to devise its permanent operating procedures and define its scope of activity. Members would eventually be elected and decisions would be by supermajority vote rather than unanimous consensus. If assembly representatives, technical experts, and administrators are to be paid, it would have to be by assessment of the states. A state could enter the assembly by passing all the model bills endorsed up to that point, and would leave the assembly by failing to pass one of the model bills within the designated approval period, or by failing to pay an assessment.
So it's all voluntary and does not infringe on any Constitutional Federal power, but rather manifests the Tenth Amendment -
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people .
The CalExit and Texas Secession movements of 2016 were Russian plots to stir up dissension and disunity in America. The fear was that Putin, by stoking both sides of every controversy, might succeed in dividing America into two weaker parts. Although the 2016 election results disheartened many voters, at least they could think that four years of Trump would set the majority straight, and after the 2018 election they felt confirmed.
But even though Biden won the 2020 presidential election by 43,000 popular votes in key states, Trump got 11 million more popular votes than in 2016, and Trumpists and Trumpism made gains in the House and state legislatures across the country. That means that redistricting for 2020-2030 will be gerrymandered to perpetuate Republican Trumpist minority rule. The Senate will likely remain in Republican control throughout Biden's term.
So either Putin had succeeded in his goal or he had wasted his resources because the division into two countries was already well underway without him, thanks to Goldwater, Thurmond, Nixon, Gingrich, and now Trump. Conflict and division are the only ways that Trump knows how to campaign or rule, and so he was the perfect embodiment of the 400 year tradition of Southern minority rule, and its perfect apostle to the rural gentiles in the midwest and mountain west.
The key lesson is that a very large part of the American electorate has no problem with minority rule and Trumpism and had just barely gotten tired of Donald J Trump's specific shortcomings.
That means that there is no plausible route to anything like majority rule any time soon, and thus the Republicans will just say no to anything they don't like until they regain control of the government. They can hold out because Republican major donors can live with "do-nothing" Congress better than Democrat voters. The next Trumpist candidate - probably not Donald J Trump though he doesn't know it yet - will likely be more capable and bold and will seize all the advantages Donald J Trump did not, to insure permanent minority rule.
That's the background to the conclusion that regional federalism is appropriate now even though it wasn't in 2016. Secession might be appropriate in the future, by mutual consent of red states and blue states.
Why would the red states do something so obviously against their own economic interests? The 2020 election proved that their voters value cultural interests above economic interests. They're more comfortable being economically poor in a static feudal white Christian patriarchy than economically better off in a dynamic diverse society. That's the triumph of ideology over self-interest. The ruling class prefers a static society because any change is a threat to somebody's power. The serfs prefer a static society if change threatens to lower their social status.
The last two centuries has been a disorienting blizzard of rapid change in all spheres of life, far faster than normal people can adjust or evolve, and you can't blame some people for trying to stop the world because they want to get off. But you can blame them for trying to force other people to join them.
Most voters have slight interest or none in politics. They just want to know the best course of action to improve their own lives, whether culturally or economically.
The elites that actually run the red states with unlimited dark money would be opposed to actual secession, but they'd have to explain to their voters that they didn't really mean all those things they said about the virtues of smaller government and lower taxes.
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