Friday, 8 November 2013

Another conservative scheme to steal the Senate


The Constitution bans states from seceding from the country – Article 1. But it does not ban portions of states splitting off to form new states. Several states, including Maine and West Virginia, were born that way.

Not long ago a number of arch-conservative counties in Colorado held a vote on whether to secede from Colorado and form a new state. The plan didn’t go anywhere. But we may see more efforts like this, by conservatives.

Conservatives can read the demographic writing on the wall and they know that the mass of Americans who reject their views is growing by the year. They know they can’t win fair democratic fights anymore. That is why they are gaming the system by trying to hijack democratic processes: using Citizens United by buy elections, preventing Democratic presidents from doing their job or appointing judges, keeping liberals out of the voting booth, using the filibuster to ensure that Democrats need 60 Senate votes to pass a bill while Republicans only need 51, gerrymandering House seats, trying to game the electoral college so that blue states are no longer winner-take-all, and so forth.

But this secession wrinkle is likely to be attractive to conservatives across the country, for two reasons. First, obviously they can carve out their own “people-like-us” states, where they can resist all efforts to drag them into the 21st century with laws protecting voting rights, marriages rights, women’s rights, environmental rights, health care, and other socialist claptrap like that.

And second, each time the conservative part of a state carves itself off from a blue state, they get to add two Republicans to the U.S. Senate. If western Pennsylvania carves itself off from Philadelphia, and southern Illinois secedes from Chicago, and northern Florida secedes from Miami, and southern Virginia secedes from the northern suburbs and so forth – something like ten new Republicans enter the Senate.


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