This idea was planted about 4-5 months ago in reaction to Texas Republicans’ voter suppression bill. A friend and I were talking and he said something to the effect of, “Why is Houston even in the state at this point? Texas Republicans certainly don’t want us here.” All I could think was, “Why are we still here? Maybe it’s just time to get out.”
Originally, this was just a Houston idea, stemming from the voter suppression bill (see here). I then noted that Houston is more than capable of standing on its own economic legs (see here). In this story, a number of people raised some very well-thought-out objections which really forced me to think about my underlying reasoning. I delved into this reasoning over the weekend and came to this conclusion:
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.
I really wish I felt that radical action wasn’t needed because, at heart, I’m an institutionalist. I really wish I truly believed that we could elect people from the entire political spectrum who would then collectively develop a consensus that reflected true compromise. Oddly (and despite my recent criticism) I find myself wanting Joe Manchin’s belief in bipartisanship to be possible.
But it’s not and hasn’t been since Obama’s first term when Republicans decided they would do everything in their power to keep white men (preferably propertied) in power for as long as possible. In fact, it’s only gotten worse. Just consider the latest class of Republicans — Marjorie Taylor Greene and her ilk. They have no interest in governing, instead looking to score points to own the libs. It’s a joke at this point.
So, it’s time to fundamentally alter the power balance to where it really lays — in the cities. Let’s put two key pieces of data together. First:
We’re an urban and suburban party.
Joe Biden last week won 16% of the nation’s counties, but those counties account for 70% of nation’s economic activity, Brookings analysts report. By contrast, President Trump won 84% of counties, accounting for less than 30% of GDP.
We’re the reason the country is growing.
So, I think it’s time to fundamentally change the political calculus and figure out a way to make our power center — which supports the country’s economy — the fundamental political power source. If the Republicans want to do so with their counties, they are more than welcome to. But considering their combined economy is tiny and backward, they may want to stick around.
As I’ve mentioned before, I get this is a radical solution. But when red state governors are offering their citizens as cannon-fodder to own the libs, I just don’t see any other options. It’s time to fundamentally rig the game in our favor.