The Political Effect of Splitting TX, CA

A recent article from Reason outlines the curious movement for California to split into 6 smaller states. Closely related is the historical curiosity that Texas maintains the right to split into 5 states, due to a provision in the annexing document.

This article outlines the way California would be sliced and diced if the current provision circulating gets approved. As one might expect, it’s a slicing based in a combination of geographic convenience and metropolitan centrism, in the way States and nations usually form.

The result would be a radical jump in Republican representation of the post-Californian states. Right now the urban areas overpower the rural areas, where the rural areas lean Republican. If the initiative were to pass, I would between two and four of the new subsections to become Republican. The population-based representation of the state in the U.S. House would swing right, and the Senatorial representation would swing right as a ratio, although it could introduce an absolute gain for Democrats or Republicans, depending on whether two, three, or four of the new subsections become Republican. It may even be possible to see an independent or Libertarians pop up.

Texas would also boost Republican power in both the Senate and House. Assuming the pattern of geocentrism combined with metropolitcan centrism, let’s look at Texas’ main urban areas:

  1. Houston/East
  2. Austin/Central
  3. Dallas/North
  4. San Antonio/South
  5. El Paso/West

Respectively, these districts lean:

  1. Democratic
  2. Republican
  3. Republican
  4. Democratic
  5. Republican

While a good gerrymandering could change any of these, I would expect representation to move in favor of Democrats as a ratio, but in favor of Republicans in absolute numbers of seats. Specifically, an increase in Republican Senate seats. Which is precisely what we need right now, although I don’t expect this to be a near-term thing.

Finally, consider the prospect of gerrymandering. There is none in California, as the petition being considered has pre-drawn maps. In Texas the same approach might be taken, or it might not. If the pre-drawn map approach is not taken there is an opportunity to manipulate districts, a technique known as gerrymandering, which will surely favor whichever party is in power at the time. Which will be Republicans. This could even result in an 8-seat bump for Republicans in the Senate!

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