In the fallout from the election of Donald J. Trump, many on the Left in California are pushing for California to secede from the United State. Beyond the fact that such a decision cannot be made unilaterally by a state (see: the Civil War) and would cause significant fiscal and geopolitical ripples (not to mention water and power issues for California given where much of both elements come from–Nevada and Colorado), America, without California, would render the Democratic Party a permanent minority party in Congress and erase the current Electoral College advantage the Democratic Party has on The White House.
Specifically, of California’s fifty-three members of the U.S. House of Representatives, thirty-seven members belong to the Democratic Party. Losing those members would drop the Democratic Party from 188 members today to 151 members going forward. Even assuming Democrats would win some of the reapportioned seats gained in the other forty-nine states, they certainly wouldn’t win all of those elections. Without California, the Democratic Party would stand little chance of taking back the U.S. House for a generation or more.
In the U.S. Senate, the removal of California’s two Senators (both Democrats) would bring the chamber down to ninety-eight members. The split between the parties would change from 54 Republicans to 46 Democrats/Independents to 54 Republicans to 44 Democrats/Independents. Once the new Congress convenes in 2017, the split would be 52 Republicans to 46 Democrats/Independents without California’s two Senators.
In 2018, the Democratic Party has to defend thirteen key seats compared to just two seats for the Republican Party. Of the thirteen seats, ten seats are in states won by Trump in 2016. Republicans just have to defend one seat in a state won by Hillary Clinton. Though a midterm election, the turnout in non-presidential years favors Republican candidates and the sheer number of seats to defend make it likely the Republican Party will pick-up senate seats in 2018.
As for the presidency, even though the loss of California wouldn’t have altered the outcomes in any of the presidential elections from 1992 to 2016, it would level the Electoral College playing field going forward. The Democrats have held a firm lock on states that voted for the Democratic candidate in every election since 1992. These states provided the Democrats with a base of 242 Electoral Votes. As a result, the Republicans needed to virtually run-the-table on the toss-up states to secure a thin Electoral College victory, which is why Republicans won only two of the last six presidential elections by a margin of one (2000) and sixteen (2004).
With California’s fifty-three Electoral Votes reapportioned to the other states* and the collapse of the “Blue Wall” in the Midwest, the Democrat’s base would dive to just 169 Electoral Votes consisting of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The Republicans would start with 182 Electoral Votes – thirteen more Electoral Votes than the Democrats – consisting of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
With 536 Electoral Votes, the winner would need to secure 269 Electoral Votes. Counting the potential demographic shift towards Democrats gained by Hispanic voters in Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada, the number of toss-up states would consist of thirteen states totaling 184 Electoral Votes: Arizona (13), Florida (33), Georgia (18), Iowa (7), Maine CD2 (1), Michigan (17), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), North Carolina (18), Ohio (20), Pennsylvania (22), Virginia (15), and Wisconsin (11).
With the number of Electoral Votes nearly allocated in thirds among “blue” states, “red” states, and “purple” states, presidential elections would be far more competitive than such elections have been over the last seven elections. That result isn’t a bad thing for America. With California in the mix, the Democrat base sits at 209 Electoral Votes, which puts them sixty-one votes short of a win versus 100 votes short in the mythical United States (without California).
What seems appealing to California Democrats would be catastrophic for Democrats in the other forty-nine states and the District of Columbia. Based on the above analysis, the Left would be insane to continue pushing or supporting such a self-defeating activity, especially given how they totally control state-wide politics in California, which allows them to continue to build the progressive nirvana they so desire.
For the Left, California dreaming could make things far worse than the status quo that gave them the presidency for sixteen out of the last twenty-eight years and periodic control of Congress.
*For purposes of this exercise, I reapportioned the fifty-three members of the U.S. House of Representatives by the 2015 population estimates from the U.S Census Bureau.