These Dis-United States
Special note: I wrote the following weeks ago. I meant it as a mostly lighthearted meditation on the mindset of Trump’s more virulent supporters.
Now, after the bloodshed at the Capitol, it seems in very bad taste, even a little obscenely so. I had vastly underestimated the Trumpists’ capacity for violence, as well as their taste for something like real fascism.
Still, I offer what follows as a museum piece. This is how the world looked to us before January 6, when suddenly what seemed at worst a joke was revealed to be, in fact, a threat to our liberty, and indeed, to the whole of the American republic.
So a while back I wrote about how the Right in general and Trumpsters in particular having been talking about seceding from the Union. If Trump (a.k.a., The God Emperor) isn’t going to be president of the United States, then, by Golly, they’ll set up their own country and he can be president there. Maybe the Reformed Confederated States Of Nobody But Really, Really Angry White People…or RCSONBRRAWP for short. It’ll look great on the stationary.)
Pretty obvious that nothing will come of it, but as I considered the thing, I suddenly recalled an article I’d seen on the same theme, but this one from the Left, from way back at the beginning of Trump’s term. Specifically, it was “It’s Time for a Bluexit, A declaration of independence from Trump's America” by Kevin Baker, in the New Republic, March 9, 2017.
Mr. Baker was not, of course, entirely serious. There was a bit of tongue in cheek going on. But, he made the interesting point that Trump’s supporters, and the Red States, could be setting themselves up for a seriously painful fall.
That’s because, they … the Deplorables, the Trumpsters, the Red Staters, and GOP … all want a super-reduced, small-government (“that you could drown in a bathtub”) and no Federal Taxes.
Okay, he says. Fine. Let’s give ‘em what they want. That means the Blue States withdraw all their resources from Washington. So, no more taxes from California, Massachusetts, and so on, going to D.C.
Then, let the Blue States form a league of their own. Not exactly a separate country, you understand, but rather an association of states with a common interest, sort of like the various commercial and regional associations that communities have formed in this country for a very long time.
Next, he says, let those Blue States pool their resources and use them exclusively for themselves.
What does that mean? It means that the GOP’s favorite states get very poor, very quickly. For quite some time now, Red States have not pulled their weight economically. They have relied on money from the Feds to make up for their own failing or faltering economies and/or their refusal to do the things that genuinely responsible communities do, like tax the rich and powerful.
Baker concludes with the interesting image of Red State America hoisted on its own petard. Having dispensed with the country, the Red Staters find they were in fact dependent upon it, and, as a result, either wither away into nothing, or else learn from their errors and go forward, now understanding the importance of an activist government.
The Red States Get Very Poor, Very Quickly
I suppose nothing like that will ever happen, particularly now that Trump is slated to be out of office in January (let’s all hope he actually leaves without making a fuss). And even if it did, well, it seems that most of the time, people don’t “learn from their errors and go forward.” They just assume they didn’t try hard enough. They assume that if, this time, if they are really sincere about not wearing masks and cutting sales and income taxes, this time they won’t get Covid and their state and local economies won’t collapse.
But, maybe…maybe…even without the drama of “secession,” something kind of like it will happen anyway.
Here’s the thing: Economics is pretty brutal. They don’t much care how libertarian your ideology may be. If something doesn’t work, then it doesn’t matter how often and closely you’ve read *Atlas Shrugged.* You just go bankrupt.
And the reality is that no matter how “business friendly” your state, eventually business… and all economic activity… requires things like schools, and roads, public safety, snowplows in winter, food safety inspections so that you don’t die of food poisoning or whatever every time you go out to lunch, and, as we’ve proved, something like CDC…a non-politicized CDC…that can detect plagues before they arrive, and fight pandemics with all the tools available to it.
If you do not have these things, then eventually…eventually…your economy fails, your population must leave in search of work, and your community becomes, at best, a ghost town…
Thus, the Red States may be facing a rather serious dilemma. And it isn’t whether they should leave the Union.
It’s whether the Union will give a damn…or even notice…if they die.
A quick note: I know that the Blue States are (some of them, anyway) actually losing some of their industry to less regulated, more “business friendly” states. California, for example, is seeing some of its more successful companies…like Tesla…moving to Austin, not far from where I am right now. And, also interesting, some of New York City’s more affluent inhabitants are headed to Florida, where they are somewhat safer from legal action. (That includes, btw, none other than Jared and Ivanka, who are said to moving to an exclusive island off the coast of Miami Beach. See below for details.)
So, yeah. That’s the truth.
The kicker is that it isn’t the only truth. Another, equally valid truth is that when those businesses arrive in such states, bringing with them their more valued employees, they soon start pushing for the kind of services they had back in California or wherever. The employees want them, and, very often, the businesses need them.
Meaning, the “business friendly” Red States start to go Blue.
Texas, for instance, is already showing signs of becoming distinctly purple. Maybe not blue, but purple. Thus in the last election, Biden got 46.5 % of the vote, not enough to win, but damn near half. And a glance at the election map for the state will show great blue patches wherever there is a prosperous city (Austin, Dallas, El Paso, etc.). Meanwhile, wherever there is a less affluent rural area, you see an ocean of red.
That’s got to make the GOP a wee bit nervous.
Until next time…
Onward and upward.
For the article on Bluexit, see: “Why Blue States Should Exit Red America,” By Kevin Baker, New Republic, https://newrepublic.com/article/140948/bluexit-blue-states-exit-trump-red-america
For details on Ivanka and Jared’s trip to Florida, see, “What could be behind Javanka's move to Billionaire's Bunker?” By Arwa Mahdawi, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/dec/16/what-could-be-behind-javankas-move-to-billionaires-bunker