Dividing California Into 6 States Would Create Political Consequences

Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 10:54 AM

By Andrea Billups

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While enough signatures have been gathered to put the latest initiative to divide California into six separate states on the ballot, the idea comes with a host of electoral consequences.

Although the measure promoted by venture capitalist Tim Draper has garnered lots of publicity, it seems a pipe dream but one that could give Democrats heightened power in the Senate and Hispanic voters a stronger voice overall, The New York Times reported.

The split would net 10 new Senate seats with the six states carrying 64 total electoral votes for a future presidential race. Four of those would lean Democratic while the others could prove far more competitive, the Times said, postulating that if the parties were to split them, Democrats could see a 62-48 Senate advantage.

"Today's Californians would go from being the most underrepresented by the Senate to slightly overrepresented," Nate Cohn of the Times wrote. "The people of Jefferson [in the northernmost portion of the state] would probably become America's most overrepresented citizens — just 949,000 people in possession of two competitive Senate seats, a competitive House seat and three competitive electoral votes."

The paper added that of the six new states created out of the current California, three would have gone solidly for President Barack Obama in 2012 — North California, Silicon Valley and West California, while Jefferson, Central California and South California would have likely seen much closer contests.

In an interview with Newsweek, Draper said support for his 2016 ballot initiative has already been overwhelming, earning more than enough signatures already.

"We needed to come up with 808,000," he told Newsweek. "We ended up with 1.3 million."

Not everyone, however, is applauding the maverick entrepreneur's efforts.

"This is a colossal and divisive waste of time, energy and money that will hurt the California brand," Democratic political strategist Steven Maviglio, who co-founded the opposition group OneCalifornia, said in an interview with Reuters.

Draper has defended his efforts, noting that California has become so diverse it has become ungovernable in its current form. He began submitting his signatures to the state this week.

"We've got all of these constituents, 38 million of us, all trying to talk to the same state," Draper said during a news conference Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.

"They're hearing noise coming from all different sides. There is not a concentrated effort to get jobs into the Central Valley because there are so many other issues around all of these different people."

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