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Even more math: The "Chile Option" has nothing to do with farming

by: Dante Atkins

Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 03:30:20 AM PST

I interrupt your budget negotiation updates to bring you some...more math.

There was some discussion in a previous open thread about the so-called "Chile Option"--a move by certain conservative forces to split the state in two not based on North or South, but rather based on Coastal vs. Inland.  Now, the argument behind this is supposedly that California's bleeding-heart urban populations don't understand farming, which means that farmers need to protect themselves by casting off the coastal population--and the group is thus named "Citizens for Saving California Farming Industries."

The argument made by this campaign (as seen in Teddy Partridge's post linked above) attempts to use Proposition 2--the animal rights initiative--as an example of why the Coast has got to go:

But the measure passed by a nearly 2-1 margin because voters in the high-population counties (from San Francisco along the coast through Los Angeles) cast their emotional, warm and fuzzy votes in favor of it.  They never gave agriculture a thought.

It is definitely true that Proposition 2 passed with 63.5% of the vote.  But what happens if we "protect the farms" and strip out the votes of the 13 counties that the "Chile option" seeks to remove?

Well, the answer is...not much changes.  Removing the votes of the bleeding-heart coastal counties who know nothing about agriculture, the new vote totals are 59.2% yes, 40.8% no--still an absolute landslide.  Not surprising, after all, since Proposition 2 was only defeated in 11 of the 45 remaining counties--including by only a 1% margin in Fresno County, the only county that voted no that has any significant population.  And it stands to reason when one looks at the vote totals of the populous counties that are more conservative and thus not thrown into the "Coastal California" bleeding-heart subgroup:

Orange: 60% yes
San Diego: 65.5% yes
Riverside: 62.2% yes
San Bernardino: 61.6% yes
Sacramento: 59.3% yes
Solano: 65.2% yes

By contrast, Los Angeles County voted for the measure with 67.1% of the vote--a percentage not significantly far removed from some of these counties in the rural-aware California proposed under the Chile plan.

The bottom line is that if Prop 2 really is going to serve as an reason for pushing the Chile Option, one of two things must hold true:

a) it will be completely ineffective; or
b) it's really about the fact that they've given up on returning California to Republican rule and want to carve their own state out of it to have a better shot at it.

And really, given the fact that Orange and San Diego Counties--which voted heavily for Prop 2--tend to be politically conservative, I think it's pretty obvious that Prop 2 isn't the main motivation here.

Dante Atkins :: Even more math: The "Chile Option" has nothing to do with farming
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yeah, that whole argument was bizarre (0.00 / 0)
speaking as a denizen of his inland californian rump state, most farming counties voted for 2. i mean, shasta county? kern county? i suspect the guy was assuming that the coastal folks whose tails were being intentionally tweaked wouldn't bother to look at the election results. busted.

Wow, that map looks eerily familiar. (0.00 / 0)
Hmm... let me think... wasn't there another issue recently that pitted most of the liberal coastal counties against the conservative inland ones?

Oh yes, it's all coming back to me now.

Frankly, I have trouble seeing this red-county temper tantrum as a bad thing. If they wanna leave, let 'em.

I almost agree ... (0.00 / 0)
... with you.  My original comment on this idea is here.

Basically, why would anyone on the coast vote to separate themselves from their water supply?  

One problem with this particular split is the eastern portion -- as its own state -- would get two GOPigs in the U. S. Senate.  They have too much power as it is.  

Another problem is that Humboldt, Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, and Yolo Counties get lumped in with the wing nuts.  No, thanks.  

Now, if:

- we had a bunch of water desalting plants on the coast,

- all of the counties I just mentioned were included, and

- we could split into four states -- for example: the Redwood Empire, the Bay Area, the Central Coast, and Los Angeles,

then I'd go for it.  We would gain eight Democratic Senators to two GOPigs and Prop 8 would have failed in four states (all at once!).  And if San Diego and Riverside County grow solidly Democratic as they are trending, then we could split into six states and end up with 12 Democratic Senators!  

And while we are at it, let's consolidate North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas into one state.  There's not much difference among them.  Besides, the GOPigs should love it .. you know, less government:  four fewer states.

[ Parent ]
Interesting idea, but... (0.00 / 0)
"why would anyone on the coast vote to separate themselves from their water supply?"

Makes a lot more sense than the inlanders voting to separate themselves from the people who pay their welfare bills...

BTW, the list of counties that voted No on 8 does include Sonoma, Mendocino, Humboldt and Yolo (but not Solano, Ventura, or -- thanks to the inept SoCal-based No on 8 "leadership" -- Los Angeles).

Anyhoo, one problem with your scenario is: who gets stuck with Fresno*? A coastal/inland split makes that pretty clear; a four-way split, somewhat less so.

* no offense intended to the Central Valley dude/-tte. :)

[ Parent ]
The multi-split ... (0.00 / 0)
... would be one inland state and the four coastal states of the Redwood Empire, the Bay Area, and the Central Coast, and Los Angeles.  

With apologies to the folks around Lake Tahoe who would get stuck with the wing nuts (unless the Tahoe region could become a sixth state).

[ Parent ]
Or they could join Nevada... (0.00 / 0)
which is a blue state now. :)

Actually, Alpine County has been talking about this for years. They're essentially cut off from the rest of the state during snow season; the only reliable way into the county is via Nevada.

[ Parent ]
It's not about the animals (0.00 / 0)
It's about frightening the animals

Their new red state wouldn't be very red in general (0.00 / 0)
Those 45 counties collectively went for Obama over McCain, 53-47.  If they want to create a reliably conservative, ag-friendly state, they should narrow their list of counties: Glenn and Colusa, or Kings and Tulare...

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