If You “Take Out California”

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

California may not need to declare independence from the Union. Leading Republicans may just kick us out. They’re already claiming we’re not real Americans, whose voting choices don’t matter.

The latest person to remove California from the U.S. is Senator Mike Braun, Republican of Indiana, which I’m told is a smaller state somewhere in the middle of the country.

Mr. Braun is among those Republicans disputing the election results without evidence. And when pressed, he explained that the election was quite close, if you don’t California. 

“When you look at how close the election was, basically a tie vote in the popular vote if you take out the margin of difference in California,” Braun said, according to the Indianapolis Star.

I suppose he has a point. Biden’s electoral margin owes a debt to his big margin in California. But Californians, at least for the moment, are Americans, with the right to vote. We aren’t a separate country.

The U.S. is very lucky to still have us. Without California, the authoritarians who have taken over the Republican party probably would have ended American democracy by now. 

It’s actually a very good thing that California has made the election decisive. In other recent elections, our strong Democratic lean has actually made national elections very close, and the American election system is weak and not very good at handling close elections.

In the 2020 election, we performed the public service of keeping the election from being close—except in the fever dreams of GOP types imagining election fraud. So Indianans and other Americans might offer a note of thanks—for as long as we remain part of this nation.

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