In September, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted to secede from the State of California. "Many proposed laws are unconstitutional and deny us our God-given rights," said one attendee at the council meeting. "We need our own state so we can make laws that fit our way of life." A few weeks later, the Modoc County Board of Supervisors voted to join Siskiyou in the new state of Jefferson, voting 4-0 to leave California.
The board votes didn't mean much legally -- the federal government and state government of California would have to recognize the new proposed state of Jefferson. But symbolically, the vote recognizes the growing incompatibility of leftist governance and conservative populations, and vice versa. California is the United States writ small: a state increasingly dominated by Democrats at the top levels, but remaining largely red locally; a state with a massive gap between the major metropolitan areas, which trend deeply blue, and the more rural conservative areas. Increasingly, the two populations simply can't work together.
And thus conservatives are leaving. More and more business have taken off for Texas, New Mexico, Nevada. Three companies a week left California for Texas from 1990 to 2010 (about one company left Texas for California each week during that same period). California's population growth has been driven largely by illegal immigration. The breadbasket of California in the San Joaquin Valley has been devastated by a combination of federal and state environmental regulations.
Conservatives in California still have someplace to go. But what happens when states begin falling, one after another, for the Democratic playbook? As California drives itself deeper into the mire, even leftists are unsatisfied with its style of living -- and they're leaving. Between 1995 and 2000, California lost nearly 67,000 residents to Texas, and lost 94,000 to Arizona; California also lost 55,000 to Colorado. Those emigrants probably voted heavily Democrat in California. Now they've moved to new states, where they will undoubtedly copycat the same destructive practices that drove them from their original homes.
After all, that's what happened to California. California used to be a reliably middle-of-the-road state -- it was home to both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. But from 1955 to 1960, California absorbed large liberal populations from states like New York (nearly 99,000) and Illinois (100,000). That trend continued and was exacerbated by immigration across the southern border. The Republican Party didn't help itself any with Proposition 187 under the governorship of Pete Wilson, which targeted public services for illegal immigrants. Now California is perhaps the bluest state in the nation, even though on the local level, it remains largely red.
So what happens when people run out of places to run? What happens when all of America's major metro areas go blue and those populations control states with conservative rural populations? What happens when those conservatives get sick of paying for the excesses of leftist governance?
Exactly what's happening in California? And while California's secessionists may seem like a frivolity now, they may be an early warning of what's to come if Americans cannot reunite around common political principles.