I wanted to thank those that commented on my previous post regarding Houston seceding from Texas. They were very thought-provoking. I wanted to respectfully answer what seem to be the main objections or concerns. In doing so, my intention is most certainly not to begin some type of pie fight but instead to not only acknowledge those concerns but also to explain why I respectfully disagree with them.
First, my title was imprecise. The basic idea is that Houston leaves Texas and becomes its own state.
Second, several people correctly noted that there is a specific mechanism whereby a territory can become a state and that this posed problems for the idea of Houston becoming its own state. They are correct in their collective observations. I don’t have a specific solution to their objections at this time. Not to be too cavalier about it, I’m not overly concerned with this objection. As a lawyer, I can tell you that we often start a process or engagement without having a complete solution, only to discover it as the process moves forward. I feel confident that some solution is more than possible.
Third, several people argued that Houston becoming its own state was a tactical bridge too far. Instead, Democrats should work within traditional democratic institutions to continue the bluing of Texas. Some expressed concern that creating a city-state would begin a process whereby the US would essentially begin to permanently dissolve.
Unfortunately, I no longer believe that the traditional mechanisms of power are nearly as effective as they used to be. Just as importantly, I also think the US is already treading down a path whereby it is already broken in key ways.
The reason I have these two beliefs is that the Republican Party has transformed itself into a permanent roadblock towards progress, preventing the US from effectively functioning. Here is why:
1.) On January 6, they demonstrated that they are pro-coup. I am not historically savvy enough to offer a valid historical comparison of January 6 to another event. But I know a coup attempt when I see one. This was not the only pro-violence act condoned by Republicans. There was a recent attempt to kidnap the Governor of Michigan, along with armed people in a state capital in the NW. And these are not the only pro-violence acts or events that Republicans have endorsed.
2.) Republicans have embraced mass death as a political strategy. Republican governors are against vaccine and mask mandates for the simple reason that it allows the virus to spread, lowering Bidens’ approval numbers. There can be no other answer for their absolute madness regarding the virus.
So, our political opposition can now list violence and mass death as a governing strategy. This is occurring as the Democrats are trying to save lives. The two parties are so far apart as to be unable to work together.
Furthermore, traditional mechanisms of solving problems are broken.
Republicans have bought and paid for the court system. Any meaningful controversy will end at the Supreme Court, which will issue a pro-Republican ruling. Just consider the recent overruling of Roe v. Wade through the shadow docket. While there is currently some kind of panel that is studying the problem, they’ll issue a report and then nothing will happen.
The Senate is a joke. The proper response to the wave of Republican voter suppression bills is a national bill. Unfortunately, Joe Manchin is somehow convinced that the party which is engaging in suppression at the state level will magically come to the table in good faith at the national level. And he just can’t seem to make an exception in the filibuster for voting issues.
Put more concisely, our political opposition has already resorted to violence to obtain its ends while also rigging the system in pro-Republican ways — ways that the Democrats are unwilling to counter through the use of raw political power. If they aren’t going to do it now when they have majorities, it’s never going to happen.
The only way to change this is to completely and fundamentally alter the political power balance in the US. And that means converting Democratic urban-based power into real political power. If Houston can succeed in becoming its own state, it will then send two Senators to Congress. Considering that Houston is a blue city, those Senators will likely be Democrats, altering the Senate power balance. Houston as a state will control its redistricting process, which we can gerrymander in an anti-Republican way (and, no, I wouldn’t have an ethical problem with that). Now, extrapolate this process to other blue cities in red states. If Dems can do this 3-5 additional times, we can rebalance the national power balance in our favor.
Is this an extreme answer? Yes. But we live in extreme times. I never thought I’d see an attempted coup in the US. But it happened. And the Republicans have no problem with it. The only way to counter this is to engage in our own power play.
I wish I saw another viable answer. But I don’t.