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Red State Secession From USA Is A Great Idea – OpEd

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Texas Republican Party Chair Allen West has joined blow-hard right-wing radio whackjob Rush Limbaugh in suggesting that Republican-governed states (like Texas, Wyoming, Nebraska, Utah, Montana, Alabama, Mississippi and others) should “band together” and secede from the Union.

Some have expressed outrage at such a suggestion, but really, since it’s going to be next to impossible to get rid of the Electoral College that has enabled Republicans to capture the White House for three of the last five election cycles despite losing the popular vote, we’re stuck with having far too many right-wing presidents. We’re also stuck with the consolation prize of, when we do manage to elect a Democrat to the White House, ending up with some namby-pamby Democratic wimp like Obama or Biden. Then too, there is the Senate, where the reactionary, even fascistic GOP has a virtual lock on the majority thanks Constitution assigning two seats per state, regardless of population. This means California’s 55 million mostly Democratic voters and Wyoming’s 300,000 mostly Republican voters each get only the same two senators to send to Washington.

If some of the reddest states were to secede and go off to form their own country, the remaining US would inevitably be a much better place. This is not just because the trog politicians who dominate the Senate and the White House would be removed to some new Red States of America (RSA) capital (hint: it won’t be Richmond, which was the capital of the Confederacy, since Virginia is now a reliably “blue” state), as delightful as that would be. More importantly, the remaining states of a likely bi-coastal USA would also be instantly divested of a huge number — tens of millions! — of wilfully ignorant, dogmatically religious, gun-obsessed, anti-science, racist, sexist, homophobic and anti-abortion dregs of humanity.

A roughly 25-state USA would also be suddenly much richer — and much better able to fund long-unmet human needs. That’s because most of the income and the tax base of the United States is in those 25 states.

Because the Republican states like Texas, Missouri, Alabama, Montana, South Carolina, Florida, and Kansas, are militantly anti-union, wages in those and other Red states are significantly lower than in the Democratic-led states, here most unionized workers can be found. As a result, tax collections by the IRS that go to fund federal programs are much higher from those states. Yet on a per capita basis, because of higher levels of poverty in Republican states, and poorer state programs for health care, public assistance, etc., federal transfer payments for federally funded or supported programs like SMAP (Food Stamps), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), subsidized insurance under the Affordable Care Act, and Medicaid, are significantly higher to red states in aggregate. Red states also get more money per capita in other federal programs whether it’s military pay going to troops on bases that are much more prevalent in red states than blue ones, highway funding, disaster relief funding, etc., than do blue states.

A report by the SUNY Rockefeller Institute of Government found that the people and corporations of eight US states paid more in taxes to the federal government than they received in federal funding. Six of those states, all Democratic-run (New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Colorado and Minnesota), were significant net payers of taxes to Washington. The only exceptions were the Republican states Utah and Nebraska, which were also net taxpayers, although not by much. The rest of the states, mostly Red, were net receivers of benefits from Uncle Sam.

What this means is that if the Red states were to pull out of the USA, and go on their own, all but two of them — those being rather small ones in population — which are net payers of taxes to Washington, or in other words 23 of them, including the huge states of Texas and Florida, would be deprived of significant federal funds that they currently count on.

Here’s another way to look at it: In 2016, according to a study by WalletHub, 13 of the top 15 states that are most dependent upon federal funds to support their people and their annual budgetary needs voted for Trump.

We’re talking here about hundreds of billions of dollars annually transferred from the people and companies of some states — mostly reliably Democratic in their voting histories — to a large number of states — mostly reliably Republican in their voting histories. That’s hundreds of billions of dollars that those states, were they to secede, would no longer be receiving, and, equally important, hundreds of billions that the people and companies of the remaining states of the USA would no longer need to be forking over in taxes.

That, by the way, includes federal student loans — currently the lifeblood of universities public and private. A lot of the federal funding for those loans and Pell Grants to students comes from the federal government and, because wages and populations are higher in the Blue states, it’s a huge subsidy paid by Blue state taxpayers which would no longer be available. So the universities of the mostly southern and midwestern and mountain states would suddenly be strapped for students and their tuition, leading to a further dumbing down of those states populations, as their states became even less attractive than they are already to high-skill-requiring companies looking to expand.

Farm states of the midwest would be particularly hard-hit by seceding as farmers would lose their federal crop support payments. Highways, which are hugely expensive to maintain, would crumble as states with low populations but lots of wide open spaces needing roads and highways, had to start coming up with the funds for construction, maintenance and repair from their own tax bases instead of getting it from the taxes of New Yorkers and Bay Staters.

The Southern and midwestern states that benefit from all the income and contractor funds flowing into their big military bases and installations would suddenly find those bases being shut down and moved into the downsized USA.

And now for the really good part. With the Red states and their low-wage, low-education populations and their huge infrastructure needs removed from the federal budget, the remaining states of the USA, the ones that keep voting Democratic but getting stuck with Republican government in Washington, would suddenly be freed of that dead weight of troglodyte politicians. Suddenly they’d find themselves awash in funding for things like a single-payer Canadian-style health care system that would eliminate all the risk and cost of getting sick, and the votes in Congress to pass such a reform. They’d be able to make college free to all at state institutions. They might even, with the Republican lock on Congress gone, be able to finally tackle America’s long obsession with military spending .

I can say this because much of the reason that pro-militarist neoliberals have been running the Democratic Party for at least the last 44 years because Republicans have been so dominant nationally. Genuinely progressive or (heaven forfend!) socialist candidates have been unable to win national office because neoliberals in party leadership would always argue that it would take a “middle-of-the-road” candidate in swing states,Red states, or even narrowly Democratic states, to defeat a Republican. In a Blue-state USA, that would no longer be true. In short order, the Democratic Party in a Blue-state USA would shift wa-a-ay over to the left, and become a social democratic party — perhaps a fairly radical one. And its candidates could expect to campaign and win control of both houses of Congress and to elect presidents. (Just look at Bernie Sanders — he was winning primaries everywhere until he got to South Carolina, and then he was singed, and then came the Southern-cominated Super Tuesday primaries and he was cooked and out of the game.)

The big problem after the US splits apart into a USA and an RSA would still be immigration, but it wouldn’t be people coming across the Rio Grande that would be the issue. It would be the poorest people in the secessionist states, abandoned by the right-wing leadership of the RSA, trying to slip into the US to survive that would be the problem.

We could probably deter a lot of the least desirable of these hard-luck redneck migrants just by having signs at the border crossings saying, “Drop your guns before seeking asylum or forget it!” Although let’s face it, there would be those who’d try to sneak across. Spotting southern accents would be easy enough, but those who could imitate northern or West Coast accents could be harder to spot them.

On the other hand, most on coming into a gleaming new Blue state USA, with its high-speed rail lines, free municipal transportation systems, free health care, and free education, would probably decide that ditching the hidden-carry weapons and signing up for citizenship would be a good bargain.

If that didn’t work, we could build a beautiful wall along the borders.

So bring it on, Chairman West, and Rush, you charlatan! Push for secession of Red State America. We’d love to see y’all go off on your own.*

* Be warned, though:  We will, like Moscow did during the breakup of the Soviet Union, will be moving all nuclear weapons, as well as most of the Navy’s ships, the Air Force’s planes and missiles, and the Army’s and Marine’s heavy weaponry, to the US, where hopefully we’ll be mothballing most of them.  Nobody as irresponsible with personal weapons as you folks are should be left in possession of such things. There may be some other stuff subject to negotiation too, like the CDC, which we’ll be moving up north, but I’m sure you won’t miss it. 

Dave Lindorff

Dave Lindorff is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. He is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective. Lindorff is a contributor to "Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion" (AK Press) and the author the author of “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press). He can be reached at [email protected]

16 thoughts on “Red State Secession From USA Is A Great Idea – OpEd

  • December 19, 2020 at 3:07 am
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    Bro I think you missed the mark regarding immigration. Secession would trigger waves of young and liberal people from the RSA to the USA. The long term trend of youth, talent and ambition moving to the blue cities would accelerate as kids in the proposed RSA freak out about their futures. And we can entice them to do so.

    Reply
  • December 19, 2020 at 4:46 am
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    Spot on. You are so right the red states need us we do not need them!

    Reply
  • December 19, 2020 at 7:58 am
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    If what you say is true, why is everyone leaving California and New York to come to Texas? Is it our deregulated energy policy, or our tax policy, or that we favor self reliance versus personal govt assistance, or that businesses choose to be here?

    I’m extremely confused. The piece you are missing is that these states getting aid are the smart ones…the federal govt distributes funds by getting states to agree to overarching laws in order to get those funds. States like Texas fought this for years because the citizens did not want the govt over reach because it centralizes the power of the many to the few. But after the numbers got bigger and bigger, they finally said “fine”. Now that these states are getting a disproportionate amount of the money (which I am not sure you really proved – but I will take it at face value), people like you say go ahead and secede.

    Be careful what you ask for. I highly doubt it would turn out like you think.

    Reply
    • December 26, 2020 at 8:32 pm
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      The main point of the article that I think is cogent is that the new slimmed down USA would not have to deal with less educated, or evangelical, or patriarchal/misogynistic conservatives. Conservatives who tank the USA economy with historical regularity.

      Reply
      • January 14, 2021 at 4:25 pm
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        Because of articles like this, you’ll have to forgive conservatives if when Biden constantly preaches unity, all conservatives hear is “get on board with everything we like, let go of everything you believe in and subjugate yourselves to our ever increasing radicalism…..then maybe there will be unity.” It doesn’t seem as though your side of the isle REALLY wants this “healing” leftists keep talking about so much as unchecked power and zero dissenting opinion. The people you are so condescending towards have their own hopes and dreams as well, belittling everyone who doesn’t agree with your ideology really doesn’t scream unity to me. This is the reason the left is just as responsible for the state of things as the right. We aren’t blameless, but neither are you….not by a long shot.

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      • January 16, 2021 at 5:10 pm
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        Very true. It would not have to deal with less educated, or evangelical, or patriarchal/misogynistic conservatives. Instead you will have highly-educated, highly cultured people from the ghettos where Democrat Congressmen dream of living

        Reply
      • February 2, 2021 at 7:40 pm
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        Conservatives tank the economy? We just had the best four years in our countries history. Of course that was due to Trumps efforts. Not your age old republican party. The democratic party is gone. The republican party is in shambles. I beleive that if the red states succeeded. They would actually do better than the blue states. There will be growing pains. But I think if Trump was the red states president. We would thrive. The blue states wouldn`t. Terrible policies would sink the blue states.

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      • April 22, 2021 at 1:53 am
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        I think you meant to say the liberal free loaders that sit home and want the government to give them cheese.

        Reply
    • January 27, 2021 at 12:53 am
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      this reply kind of proves Dave Lindorf’s point

      Reply
  • December 20, 2020 at 8:57 am
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    It would be wonderful if we could have an amicable divorce.

    And i think both sides will be much better off, simply because neither would have to foot the bill for all our totally unnecessary and counterproductive foreign adventures. I think it will be much harder to peddle war in a downsized country.

    But a word of caution is that the Democrats have no intention of passing medicare for all; the Democrats have controlled CA with large majorities for a long time, and medicare-for-all is popular here, but the legislature always has found excuses not to implement it. However, in a downsized country, there will hopefully be fewer places for the rulers to hide, and we just might get it, just maybe.

    Reply
    • January 31, 2021 at 7:36 pm
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      Never have I ever read something so stained by and comprised of the ideas and opinions of other ignoramuses. I’m sorry, but I’m not sure that people like you really know how the world works. The workforce will move to where they don’t have to pay for their lazy neighbors and where they can retain the right to protect themselves from those who want what they have. You would have to watch as your roads crumbled and construction came to a halt. Businessmen like Elon Musk moving their enterprises to where they don’t lose their hats in over-the-top taxes. Your rendition of this, I’m afraid, is sadly misguided. No hard feelings, though, really. You have been taught to hate us, to call us deplorable, to write us off as uneducated and even domestic terrorists. This isn’t your fault. You’re just saying what you have been told.

      Reply
  • December 20, 2020 at 2:17 pm
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    A correction is needed: California population is 40M, with 22M registered voters. Your point holds, however, because registered voters in low-population states like WY, MT, ID, ND, SD, etc are below half a million each. The other point I would like to make is that many Southerners cherish their history of actual secession. We don’t have to do much to encourage it since it already exists and they can visualize it. To be helpful, we should act shocked, apalled, and outraged so that their experience is enhanced and they are filled with the zeal it will take to fully carry it out.

    Reply
    • April 4, 2021 at 3:34 pm
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      “A correction is needed”???
      Yes, California and South Dakota each have 2 Senators.
      But California has 53 (!) US representatives in the House, while SD has only 1.
      The population proportionate House representation is designed to balance the equal representation in the Senate, but liberals like to leave out that part when complaining about the Senate, or the Electoral College.

      Our founding fathers intended to create a Representative Republic, NOT a simple Democracy, where the mob rule of the majority would overwhelm those in the minority.

      Reply
  • January 8, 2021 at 12:23 am
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    I read your whole post and would love for the red states to succeed. There are a lot of people with a victim mentality sucking up federal funds. They can leave and go to the blue states or actually work a job and learn how to make a living yourself. I know that is a weird concept now days; is old souls grew up expecting nothing and working for everything we have. Not expecting the government to get us through life until we die. So take your blue states and live your liberals dreams. I can not stand to be around liberals anymore than you around conservatives.

    Reply
  • January 15, 2021 at 8:07 pm
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    This silly article’s rhetorical tone and logical consistency are worthy of Breitbart.
    In a capitalistic system, the liberal class exists for the purpose of protecting precisely those proles the author’s privilege so eagerly despises. If there existed in this country a liberal class worthy of the name, every child born would have plenty of good clean food and water, appropriate clothing, safe shelter, all the healthcare it needed, and all the education it could absorb. rich idiots will suck up all the money and power if they are not prevented from doing so by a privileged intermediary class that understands what’s at stake. our underclass brothers, of every race and ethnicity, are woefully ignorant, a prey to hucksters and cant-peddlers, and many are feral with disgust for liberalism and its institutions– because what passes for liberalism long ago sold its principles and its purpose for its bigger kennel, its monogrammed food dish, and its lighter, longer chain. We’ll see how that works out for liberalism when the mean dogs show up. Shouldn’t be long now.

    Reply
  • June 3, 2021 at 10:38 pm
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    Most readers will not research the subject and offer an array of opinions that mostly sour on the idea. If the House goes to the Republicans in 2022 (a very real possibility due to voter suppression laws), representative democracy will be over. They will impeach Joe Biden most likely based on false claims related to Hunter Biden. Since it will be hard for the Trump Party to regain the Senate, Biden will remain in office. However, the Republicans will then control the outcome of the 2024 Presidential election, if we get that far. Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, a moderate, stated a short time ago: “Disenfranchised Democratic voters will not sit idly by. They may refuse to pay their taxes. Many will take to the streets. Some might become violent, and our whole political system could become paralyzed and start to unravel.

    Reply

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