The self-described “bad boys of Brexit” have a new breakup in mind. They have been recruited by a group of Republicans to lead a drive for a referendum in the 2018 midterm election to split California into two states.
The idea is to pit the conservative and rural eastern part of California against the more urban – and liberal – coast of the state against each other, The Sun reports.
The two men – Nigel Farage and “Leave.EU” millionaire Aaron Banks – have just left the United States after raising more than $1 million for what’s called “CalExit.” The two were recruited by GOP political strategist Gerry Gunster and Scott Baugh.
Their goal is to pit the rural east of California, which is more likely to vote Republican, against the ‘liberal coastal elites’ of the west coast including L.A and San Francisco.
But Republicans aren’t the only ones looking to split the state in two. There’s also a left-leaning “CalExit” campaign in the works.
Experts say they see a natural “east-west” political divide in the state. Residents in the eastern part of the state have always felt ignored and out-voted, particularly in national elections. With almost 40 million people, California’s 55 electoral college votes have gone to a Democratic Candidate in every election since Ronald Reagan.
Banks said: “It would be portrayed as the Hollywood elites versus the people, breaking up the bad government. Seventy-eight percent of people in California are unhappy with their government. It’s the world’s sixth-largest economy and it’s very badly run.”
The petition would take more than 365,000 signatures to get on the ballot and even then, a breakup of California would almost certainly never happen.
Still the idea does have it supporters. The National Review’s John Fund is one of them:
The new states would be far more in sync on policy. The coastal state would emphasize environmental values, the “next big thing” economy of Silicon Valley, and the multicultural diversity of L.A. The inland state would have vast water resources, abundant agricultural lands, and its own cutting-edge facilities in sectors ranging from aerospace to data processing.
Politically, the two states would provide an escape from the current political conformity of California, which is dominated by public-sector unions and progressive activists. Take the last governor’s race in 2014. Democrat Jerry Brown won reelection over Republican Neel Kashkari by 60 percent to 40 percent statewide. But in Inland California, they were separated by just a few thousand votes. The two Californias would include a progressive stronghold able to experiment (even more than the state already does) with new “small is beautiful” ideas; next to it would be a politically competitive state with many constituencies that would favor pro-growth policies. Tensions and gridlock under a two-state model would probably be reduced.
Nigel Farage reminds people that nobody thought the Brexit campaign would happen either – and the stakes couldn’t be any higher for California.
“This could be the greatest political showdown ever,” he said.
We will see.