Gavin Newsom Declares California a ‘Nation-State’
April 12, 2020 10:41 PM   Subscribe

What is the difference, conceptually, between a state deploying its power to protect its population’s health and a state using it to protect its population’s democratic rights? This is not the first time Gavin Newsom has referred to California as a "nation-state".

When Newsom first became governor, State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, said California has little choice but to act on its own. “The federal government is no longer a reliable partner in delivering health care, in supporting immigrants, supporting LGBT people, in protecting the environment, so we need to forge our own path,” Wiener said. “We can do everything in our power to protect our state, but we need a reliable federal partner. And right now we don’t have that.”

Gavin Newsom has held daily press briefings, and made headlines when he announced on Rachel Maddow that he had signed a deal with a consortia of nonprofits and a California company to produce 200 million masks per month overseas. After the announcement, #presidentnewsom started trending.

Newsom also announced the launch of theProject Roomkey initiative, "to provide safe isolation capacity for tens of thousands of people experiencing homelessness in California in order to protect them and the state from COVID-19". The logistics are more complicated than it seems at first glance.

Newsom announced the creation of the California Health Corps on National Doctors Day, appealing to the state's retired medical professionals and medical professionals nearing graduation completion to volunteer to provide assistance. (They would be paid and provided with medical malpractice insurance.)

Although Gavin Newsom ran on single payer, it seems that covid-19 has decimated his ambitions of getting healthcare coverage for every Californian, due to ongoing costs and the uncertainty of California's economic outlook in the near-future.
posted by toastyk (111 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
 
83% of Californians approve of Newsom's handling of the current emergency. That breaks down to 90% of Democrats, 75% of Independents, and 72% of Republicans.

I've definitely noticed Newsom's "nation-state" language and I approve of it, both of in terms of what it suggests about California going its own way in this crisis, and in terms of conveying the magnitude of the resources and challenges California has to deal with. The Bloomberg article says it's unsubtle language, but I disagree. It's subtle to the likes of Trump, who I can practically guarantee doesn't understand the full implications of it; Newsom's ass-kissing seems to have kept Trump happy enough to not entirely notice that Newsom's ready and able to run a nation within a nation here on the West Coast.

In short, I'm very, very grateful to be living in California right now. Also grateful to be living in Los Angeles County, where a whopping 95% of residents approve of the Stay at Home order. This survey has an 84% approval rating for Newsom, and 85% for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. Trump has an approval rating of 38%.
posted by yasaman at 11:14 PM on April 12 [55 favorites]


I’m curious to see how the FBI/FEMA PPE-seizure protocol will view those 200 million N95 masks being imported into California.

The SEIU thought they had a line on a supply of 39 million masks they could import. They found out it was a hoax only because the FBI was looking into how to seize the shipment for FEMA.
posted by darkstar at 11:16 PM on April 12 [18 favorites]


"Nation-state" is not, historically, good language. It doesn't mean "a U.S. state effectively functioning as an independent nation," it means "a country ('state') defined by the purported ethnicity ('nation') of its citizens." It's a concept opposed to both that of empires and that of countries that don't consider the ethnicity of their citizens relevant to citizenship.
posted by praemunire at 11:30 PM on April 12 [10 favorites]


If he’s willing to ally with WA and OR I don’t care what he calls it; I’m in,
posted by matildaben at 11:54 PM on April 12 [39 favorites]


It’s a linguistically bold move to attempt to use this particular dog whistle for good but I’m hopeful about what may come of it.

I think this is what makes it both subtle and unsubtle. There’s plausible deniability in the words but to go there is, wow.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:35 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


I also take a lot of joy in seeing the Newsoms and Pelosis of the world get under Trump’s skin and puppet him around a bit, even when he doesn’t realise it’s happening.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:38 AM on April 13 [15 favorites]


Trump is pure evil, rank corruption and incompetence, and I'm all for anyone at a national level being brave enough to call out him and the civil service he destroyed, which has gotten thousands of innocent people killed.

But it bears mentioning that secessionist movements are funded by Russia to destabilize democracies across the world.

The Brexit movement to separate the UK from the EU is known to have been backed by businessmen who are funded by Russian banks, and who have sued journalists to keep that information from being made more public. Front National in France (now renamed to Rassemblement National), and other extreme-right political parties in other countries in Europe receive logistical and financial backing from Kremlin banks, in exchange for voicing Eurosceptic positions. Far-right parties have long traded Russian support for efforts to destabilize Europe as a financial and military entity.

California, itself, is not immune, whether it is through deliberate social media warfare, or trolling from "useful idiots" who get paid to push Russia's agenda to raise social and political dischord.

It may unintentionally benefit Trump's agenda to have Californian left-wing politicians voice seditionist language, which those people could never act upon in any serious way, short of another actual civil war.

Newsom and reps are almost certainly not acting on orders from Russia, but these are smart people who should be very careful about language and consider how that language might, in the long run, defeat their attempts to defend Californians from the abuses and corruption of the Trump government.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 1:04 AM on April 13 [41 favorites]


I don't want to declare independence in my lifetime, but I want to use my lifetime to place California in the conditions where independence is attainable.

Careful with that.
posted by Cardinal Fang at 1:08 AM on April 13 [1 favorite]


Texas' alleged right to secede has helped it among the Rs, both in state and beyond. Happy to see California throw its weight around...

...even if it can't leave the country, either.
posted by andreaazure at 1:42 AM on April 13


Well, this is not helpful.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:13 AM on April 13 [1 favorite]


Ecotopia but without the war games hmm...off to ponder from my enclave in Berkeley.
posted by pipoquinha at 2:49 AM on April 13 [4 favorites]


Let us know where y'all want us to ship all these statues.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 4:48 AM on April 13


It sets my 'external manipulation' alarms off, mostly because I know Russia's trolling internet professional shit-stirrers have pushed groups calling for Californian independence, and I assume that anything they push for is something that will be bad for the US.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:33 AM on April 13 [4 favorites]


[One deleted. A) Do not use medicalized language in pejorative way; real, live people who are sharing this space with you suffer from medical conditions, and this sort of shitty rhetoric suggests that they are bad, useless or unwanted because of that. B) Real live people who are sharing this space with you also live in geographic areas that are not yours; this also does not make them bad, useless, or unwanted. Dial the hateful language and assumptions way back.]
posted by taz (staff) at 5:38 AM on April 13 [23 favorites]


California's stricter safety and environmental laws are often the only thing protecting the rest of the US's residents from toxic and dangerous products. Its secession will make it easier for multinational corporations to make and import these for distribution to the remainder of the US.
posted by at by at 5:57 AM on April 13 [9 favorites]


The reason California's regulations affect the rest of the country is California's purchasing power and the expense of maintaining multiple production lines, CA and non-CA. That economic factor would still be there with an independent California. Except DC will not be able to override CA's regulations and inflict smog on them.
posted by ocschwar at 6:09 AM on April 13 [6 favorites]


If he’s willing to ally with WA and OR I don’t care what he calls it; I’m in,
posted by matildaben at 11:54 PM on April 12 [3 favorites +] [!]


Ecotopia but without the war games hmm...off to ponder from my enclave in Berkeley.
posted by pipoquinha at 2:49 AM on April 13 [2 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Yes, this was the first thing I thought of, too. Though the book Ecotopia has the kind of problems any book written by a hippie white dude in the 70s does, as a story about how the West Coast basically secedes from a corrupt/pollution-crazed US. I honestly never expected actual history to get anywhere close to that, and yet here we are.
posted by emjaybee at 6:11 AM on April 13 [3 favorites]


But it bears mentioning that secessionist movements are funded by Russia to destabilize democracies across the world.


Trump, out of the kindness of his pure and benevolent heart, has stopped actively trying to kill people in my state of Massachusetts, in the last 48 hours. So at least from where I am, it might be time to stop talking about Neo-secessionism. But if I have to choose between giving Putin the prize of watching New England secede, or giving him the pleasure of watching New England go down with the rest of this sinking ship, I'd prefer to give him the former victory. What this means for California now is that they will be producing/importing more PPE using California's rainy day fund, and guarding it with Guardsmen and police to prevent federal seizure.
posted by ocschwar at 6:29 AM on April 13 [24 favorites]


You sound like a Brexiter. One of their main arguments was always "why should we, as wealthy Great Britain, pay money into a shared EU budget so it can be spent by those feckless Greeks and grabby Poles and Romanians?".

In a weird way, I can imagine a state of mind where, having been blamed for every conceivable social ill, and generally being seen as a loathsome morass of godless heathens for, I don't know, at least as long as I've been alive, Californians might be getting tired of being shit on by every GOP politician looking to score easy points with their non-Californian constituents, often as a way to keep said constituents distracted while gutting the kind of social benefits they might enjoy in, say, California?

I mean, I get what you're saying, that any kind of movement centered around the idea of throwing off the yoke of supporting poorer states is all kinds of fraught, but if you wanted to go through any of the standard Brexit talking points about the EU, I think statements about California by non-Californians would map closer to the Leave folks than Californians talking about, say, Alabama.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:24 AM on April 13 [37 favorites]


I didn't like "California should secede!" sentiments when I lived there and I don't like them now. I also think Newsom is a sliver-tongued opportunistic narcissist who would throw his best friend in a wood chipper for a vote. But, much like a stopped clock, he is occasionally on the right side of history. I'm glad he is making the people of California feel safe and protected.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:25 AM on April 13 [17 favorites]


Newsom is a silver-tongued opportunistic narcissist who would throw his best friend in a wood chipper for a vote.

Amen.

I've been searching for this comment for almost 15 years without knowing that I was.
posted by cron at 7:32 AM on April 13 [9 favorites]


but he's a competent silver-tongued opportunistic narcissist who would throw his best friend in a wood chipper for a vote
posted by entropicamericana at 7:36 AM on April 13 [26 favorites]


Once this crisis is over, we can have a nice chat about the balance of power between states and the federal government, or how California using its buying power is harming other states that don't have the same resources. Until then, my deeply-held principle that governors should not make statements that sound secessionist in nature takes a back seat to my deeply-held principle that human life is valuable. If Trump and the GOP want the worst features of a free market approach (buying power supersedes need) and the worst features of central planning (petty President directs resources to states that don't need them but happen to have Republican governors) then Newsom's refusal to unilaterally disarm when he's able to use the free market to save the lives of Californians is the only ethical choice.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:37 AM on April 13 [25 favorites]


Newsom's not dog whistling secession. There's absolutely no way the centrist Democrats who run California would ever do something so radical. Also there's no way that would work in the US: it'd be violent and bloody and very one sided. No one outside a lunatic fringe wants it.

OTOH, here in California we recognize we have a lot of power as the largest state (economic and population). We already do a lot of things for ourselves here because we want to do them our own way. And this current health crisis is an extreme version of that. The US federal government is not acting effectively. Partly because of the monster at the helm, partly just because of federal bureaucratic incompetence after years of Republican sabotage. To the extent California makes its own policies about Coronavirus it will. So far it's working pretty well for us.

The bummer is we send enormous amounts of tax revenue to the federal government and apparently we're going to get very little of it back in the form of medical help. Equipment, funding for studies, funding for contact tracing, relief funds. Any way that Trump and the GOP can screw California they will. We're kind of used to it.

The next big political evolution about Covid-19 will be how we start undoing this lockdown and get people back to their normal lives and their work. My guess is Trump will do something early and rash and stupid and California will ignore it, prolong our state lockdown. That's going to be hard to maintain though; folks want to get out again, and Californias have been cooped up longer than most.

I'm hoping California also leads the way on aggressive testing and contact tracing as a strategy to get people back to their lives. A version of what's working in South Korea and China tailored to American culture and politics. But so far there's no signs California is planning that. And given how far behind we are in testing, I'm concerned it may not happen. We're at least starting in a good place with our relatively small caseload.
posted by Nelson at 7:42 AM on April 13 [14 favorites]


> Newsom's not dog whistling secession. There's absolutely no way the centrist Democrats who run California would ever do something so radical. Also there's no way that would work in the US: it'd be violent and bloody and very one sided. No one outside a lunatic fringe wants it.

Your second and third sentences do not follow from the first. He is absolutely dog-whistling secession, and it's brilliant. The only language POTUS45 speaks is power, and Newsom is making a power play. He could quietly keep buying the resources his state needs and/or sharing them with other states in need, but instead, he's making a big show of it in the hopes that the administration sees that pitting states against each other is a lose-lose proposition.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:45 AM on April 13 [1 favorite]


Newsom may be a silver-tongued narcissist, but he is also a politically shrewd narcissist who's good at strategy and subtlety when it's warranted, which is not something that can be said for most politicians. There's something to be said for the lifer politicians working their way up the ladder.

Newsom has been consistent in emphasizing the collegiality and relationships between the states in his statements and actions. He's not advocating violent overthrow - he's being consistent in using California's economic power to both help Californians and help other states, as indicated by his sending currently unused ventilators to New York, New Jersey, Illinois. Honestly, he's reminding Americans what federalism is supposed to look like, what a "United States" is supposed to be.
posted by toastyk at 7:46 AM on April 13 [39 favorites]


California is not a nation-state, but it has long been a leading indicator for the direction the rest of the US is headed. If you look back a decade or more, California was written off as a dysfunctional, ungovernable train wreck. Today its state government is seen as a model of effectiveness.

What did California government get right a decade ago, to set it on this path? I can think of two things: it reformed the redistricting process to end gerrymandering. It also relaxed supermajority requirements in the legislature.

To the extent these kinds of reforms can be, and are being replicated across the country, it gives me some hope for the next decade in US national politics.
posted by ContinuousWave at 7:50 AM on April 13 [22 favorites]


What did California government get right a decade ago, to set it on this path?

They re-elected Jerry Brown!
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:56 AM on April 13 [23 favorites]


Yeah I don't think it's secession either, I think he's more embracing the fact that we have the economy and population of a wealthy, mid sized independent country. The pedant in me has problems with using "nation state" which is a historical term not super applicable to what he's trying to say.

I basically agree on Newsom's ambition/opportunism but when his form of angling for votes is allowing gay marriage back as mayor, embracing the lockdown here early, or shipping ventilators to New York, I'll take it over a lot of alternatives. Both statewide and nationally.
posted by mark k at 7:58 AM on April 13 [11 favorites]


WA, OR and CA, if not entirely battered to bits by the US Army when attemptinng to secede, would immediately have to go to war with their own eastern two thirds. Not the dream.
posted by taterpie at 8:00 AM on April 13 [3 favorites]


If we are going to compare this situation to Brexit, then it’s important to note that California is not the UK here. California is the EU. The GOP is the UK, and they have been shitting on Cali for decades, so they don’t get to be all surprised pikachu when California says “your behavior is unacceptable”
posted by chuntered inelegantly from a sedentary position at 8:01 AM on April 13 [33 favorites]


The East Coast, Always in the Spotlight, Owes a Debt to the West (NYT link). We made it! "The concentration of media and commentators in Washington and New York has often meant that what happens in the West is overlooked or minimized. It is a function of the time difference — the three Pacific states are three hours behind New York — and the sheer physical distance."
posted by toastyk at 8:07 AM on April 13


I do not think there is a scenario in which California or the West Coast successfully secedes from the Union without substantial bloodshed unless the Union is substantially weaker in the near future. Revolutions usually go to the side that has the most support in the existing military, and even in a scenario where the entirety of the state militias and even federal troops stationed on the West Coast declare their loyalty to the new state, it's hard to imagine the remainder of the US Armed Forces not massively overpowering the new state. Even our current federal debacle hasn't indicated that the US military is inclined to part ways with the civil administration.

With that said, I do believe that California, Oregon and Washington (my home state) are better prepared for self governance in many ways than other parts of the country would be.
posted by skookumsaurus rex at 8:19 AM on April 13 [3 favorites]


Apropos of nothing, I'm on a bunch of intergovernmental committees and working groups. These are working level, policy and regulation, mutual cooperation operations, that sort of thing. Fairly low level. Typically these have national government reps, one person from Norway, another from Japan, and so on. The US usually is represented by US Feds, California and sometimes Texas as separate entities. They drill down on the differences even to the operations levels.

And they may disagree on anything more than the different countries do. Totally different regimes in some cases.
posted by bonehead at 8:22 AM on April 13 [9 favorites]


I'll put it this way: I didn't like Newsom before and had to vote for him anyway, but he is actually getting my respect for how he is handling this. Good job, sir.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:30 AM on April 13 [18 favorites]


When the West Coast secedes, the first thing they’ll do is somehow shave off the counties that don’t want to leave the Union. The right wingers can keep the cognitive dissonance of their confederate flags and second amendment blood oaths.
posted by bilabial at 8:31 AM on April 13 [3 favorites]


"Hey, you guys know we're actually in the room, right?"--the more-diverse-than-you-think, not-entirely-full-of-illiterate-racist-aholes-but-currently-gerrymandered-beyond-comprehension, South. "Also, secession can go . . . not exactly the way you think . Ask me how I know."
posted by thivaia at 8:36 AM on April 13 [32 favorites]


If you can, get your political leaders to pose on horseback, wearing a big hat. That’ll give you some more good options for statuary later on.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:38 AM on April 13 [5 favorites]


We'll just re-purpose statues of Union soldiers like everyone else
posted by InfidelZombie at 8:45 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


But it bears mentioning that secessionist movements are funded by Russia to destabilize democracies across the world.

On the one hand, I absolutely am with you in that the breakup of the Union would be a huge boon to America's enemies and almost certainly some kind of catastrophe for those of us who live here.

Yet, at the same time, at a time of legitimate crisis, when our state and many other blue states legitimately need the assistance of the federal government, we're being told to go take a hike. The federal government has done nothing for us, apart from siphon valuable supplies for the president's similarly ineffective cronies.

If the Union isn't here for us now, when would they ever be?
posted by billjings at 8:46 AM on April 13 [25 favorites]


I’m sorry. That was knee jerky and also jerky of me. I am very aware that the eastern counties of Washington have lots of liberal minded folks whose votes are being discounted and not counted by the systems in those places. And I also was aware as I was typing my admittedly snarky comment that those folks can’t ‘just’ relocate closer to the coast.

I was rude and inappropriate and as soon as I pressed Post Comment I had regrets. This is a good reminder for me to remember THINK and HALT.
posted by bilabial at 8:47 AM on April 13 [6 favorites]


If anyone is breaking up the union it would be Trump and his insane reality TV strategy of making them bid on crucial items they need during a pandemic. Not to see which state is prettiest. But which state will fucking live.
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 8:54 AM on April 13 [9 favorites]


Your second and third sentences do not follow from the first. He is absolutely dog-whistling secession, and it's brilliant. The only language POTUS45 speaks is power, and Newsom is making a power play. He could quietly keep buying the resources his state needs and/or sharing them with other states in need, but instead, he's making a big show of it in the hopes that the administration sees that pitting states against each other is a lose-lose proposition.

This is a wishful dream since Trump's management style is strictly direct competition subordinates. It's the only way he knows how to operate, even though it's probably OK for a real estate company with separate autonomous places, but horrible if you want to coordinate any sort of response or overcome a challenge (see Sears under Eddie Lampert).

So having states fight each other isn't a problem to Trump, it's how he wants to run things.
posted by jmauro at 8:54 AM on April 13 [5 favorites]


I think it is not particularly useful to consider California in terms of either the US Civil War or Brexit. The circumstances are simply nothing at all alike, not in the least because California is not going to attempt to leave the union regardless of the rhetoric from the governor. But also important is the fact that unlike Brexit, California actually is paying "more than its due," and is fighting to protect immigrants. And unlike the US Civil War, well, fucking everything.
posted by Nothing at 8:58 AM on April 13 [27 favorites]


The pedant in me has problems with using "nation state" which is a historical term not super applicable to what he's trying to say.

Historically, it's also associated with "ethnic cleansing" and anti-Semitism, which is not a pedantic thing to be concerned about. I don't think Newsom is trying to dog-whistle in this way, but this is not language we want to revive or encourage.
posted by praemunire at 9:13 AM on April 13 [5 favorites]


They re-elected Jerry Brown!

they have come for your uncool niece
posted by poffin boffin at 9:15 AM on April 13 [19 favorites]


"The concentration of media and commentators in Washington and New York has often meant that what happens in the West is overlooked or minimized.


The west coast isn't handling COVID that exceptionally, except vs the east coast. For example TX has 1/3 the deaths of CA at 2/3 the population. It'd be insane to say that the US should copy what they are doing.
Maybe the deaths are coming, but the data on the peaks is at best inconclusive. And it's not like they are the favorite of the Feds - they are fighting about shutting down their overflow hospitals before the peaks. Montana, NM, and other states are doing equally as well, basically on their own.

And only in the mind of NY is the west coast 'overlooked'.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:18 AM on April 13 [1 favorite]


The west coast isn't handling COVID that exceptionally, except vs the east coast.

What does THAT even mean? So the two places where 80% of nation actually lives has been hit hardest. Because that’s where the population density is. They’ve done everything right under the circumstances.

Are you trying to argue that the Midwest and south, like Florida, which state politicians that continue to argue that this is all a god damned hoax are “handing this better?” What?

Washington State is handling this crisis preemptively and superbly. Which, if I’m not mistaken, is on the west coast.

What are you even saying here?
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 9:29 AM on April 13 [23 favorites]


If the Union isn't here for us now, when would they ever be?

when it's not run by a corrupt, senile, self-serving asshole. even Bush sent an emergency relief package to New York City after the 9/11 attacks, and AFAIK never threatened to defund FEMA for mishandling its response to Hurricane Katrina.

the solution isn't to leave the union; it's to remove the cancers currently in control of it.
posted by Old Kentucky Shark at 9:40 AM on April 13 [7 favorites]


"Hey, you guys know we're actually in the room, right?"--the more-diverse-than-you-think, not-entirely-full-of-illiterate-racist-aholes-but-currently-gerrymandered-beyond-comprehension, South. "Also, secession can go . . . not exactly the way you think . Ask me how I know."

*waves* Hi! We're trying!

Now, I would argue that any efficiency at handling infectiveness in Texas is coming less from our worthless, godforsaken governor and more from our fleet of solid mayors in our major metropolitan cities who made decent decisions quickly. The UT system also reacted sensibly, quickly, and with a maximum of communication with students and faculty. (Possible upside of the governor--Trump doesn't hate us, I guess, and we're purple enough now that Ted Cruz is wailing to anyone in the GOP who will listen that the party leadership needs to pay attention. So we're not dealing with the frankly appalling seizures of medical supplies, at least.) The UT system also reacted sensibly, quickly, and with a maximum of communication with students and faculty.

But so far, neither the Lege nor Asshole Abbot have successfully overriden those mayors and administrators from making solid decisions for their constituencies, and because Texas has so many megacities that is actually holding for now. We will see if the megachurches can be prevented from doing stupid shit by public backlash as they appeal to Abbot. Everything else right now is a matter of hunkering down to wait.
posted by sciatrix at 9:40 AM on April 13 [3 favorites]


this is not language we want to revive or encourage.
posted by praemunire

I agree, historical analogies aside, 'Cultural' also: ,"...the California Health Commission was given jurisdiction over any facet of society related to health. They used this power to control the market, selling products like sanitation kits and germ resistant suits and requiring businesses like diners and hotels to be CHC approved."

I applaud his effort to do what is best for his state, but the language of gubernatorial power is abit much, governor's have more power now then anytime in our history, post 1880.
posted by clavdivs at 9:43 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


the two places where 80% of nation actually lives

East Coast, 36%; West Coast, 15.3%. So just barely over half as of 2010.

We seem to be drifting into another one of those unedifying US regionalism threads, so the particular slanders in this thread against the "Midwest" (a category that in this context somehow mysteriously excludes Chicago and Detroit) are probably better left unaddressed. In any event, the idea that California of all places has been sidelined from national attention is facially absurd. (Speaking of coastal states, though, I sure would like more attention on how Washington uniquely improved its doubling time weeks before of the rest of the country.)

Back to the OP, would it be fair to say that Newsom is using somewhat irresponsible language to describe a responsible (and non-secessionist) course of action?
posted by Not A Thing at 10:13 AM on April 13 [7 favorites]


Well, let's see:

He's withholding information about imports and manufacturing in order to protect materials from federal seizure. He's conducting his own foreign policy like he's sovereign, and speaking with other governors like they are his sovereign peers. One of those peers already used state police officers to guard material against the risk of federal seizure.

There's little further to go before we're seceding outright.
posted by ocschwar at 10:23 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


I guess you can call me a fabian secessionist- I don't want to declare independence in my lifetime, but I want to use my lifetime to place California in the conditions where independence is attainable. The South has been a tumor upon our prosperity for overlong. The federation does not benefit, nor does it protect us.

The South is a massive and heavily racialized underclass being dominated, exploited, and extracted from by a white supremacist ruling class that systematically brutalizes and oppresses them for their own gain.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:30 AM on April 13 [23 favorites]


Newsom has done very well in this crisis, as have other West Coast governors. London Breed (San Francisco's mayor) has done an incredible job. One thing that has helped -- CA state leaders, CA congressional leaders, and mayors of major CA cities have all cooperated very effectively. It helps not to have a ridiculous personal feud get in the way of saving lives.

It's funny about Newsom -- I voted against him consistently when he was running for Mayor of SF, and then was pleasantly surprised by his time in office, even if I disagreed with him about a bunch of stuff. I get where folks who think of him as nothing but an opportunist are coming from -- but I think that while he's ambitious (Governors usually are), he's a lot more idealistic than folks give him credit for.

California should not secede, of course. We'd be in better shape in this crisis if we had competent, rational Federal leaders rather than relying on state leaders some of whom are great and some of whom are not. But we don't have that Federal leadership, so I'm grateful we here in CA have good state leadership.
posted by feckless at 10:33 AM on April 13 [10 favorites]


They sucked his brains out!: "The Brexit movement to separate the UK from the EU is known to have been backed by businessmen who are funded by Russian banks"

To be fair the US is currently being RUN by an asshat who fits this definition. So, really, California is not the problem here. Right?
posted by caution live frogs at 10:39 AM on April 13 [2 favorites]


newsom and becerra have made much of their tenures about trying to goad and bother trump, which i think is where this nation-state stuff is coming from. i dont think california govt, much less its people, have any ill will toward the other states or even that any serious beef with the feds will outlast trump himself. this is about newsom (and to a lesser degree becerra) versus trump. which is great! i hope newsom pisses off trump so much that it distracts him and lets pelosi have some breathing room to undermine him in washington.

in terms of the virus response, our lower death toll has been fantastic. but testing is still pretty much unattainable unless you are already sick. this extended lockdown we have been under--longer than anywhere else in the country--needs to serve a purpose more than just slowing the spread or else the largely uninfected population will all catch it when we are forced to reopen midsummer so that people can afford to eat. (there isnt gonna be another 1200 bucks every month and not everyone gets unemployment.)
without mass testing, we are only halfway there.
posted by wibari at 10:57 AM on April 13 [6 favorites]


East Coast, 36%; West Coast, 15.3%. So just barely over half as of 2010

Your right. I was being deliberately hyperbolic. Boy. You really got me.

Only about 170 or so million people out of 328 million live in narrow swaths of land on the coasts.

My beef was the implication that this coasts were fucking this up. Where Real America states like true blue Montana we’re doing a bang up job.

And. Yeah. I resent that. Because MORE people live on coasts. The coastal cities hold huge, dense, chunks of populations.

And it’s a fact that this administration has been, since its inception, inventing revanchist strategies, propaganda and punitive policies targeting those liberal populated coastal areas.

And this has intensified during this pandemic. To deny THAT is “facially absurd.”
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 11:01 AM on April 13 [9 favorites]


CA hasn't been sidelined, but most of the attention that I've seen California receive is negative: wildfires, massive amounts of homeless, income inequality, housing issues, droughts, etc. Not to mention, a large part of the country still considers us to be total kooks. I've had people of all ages tell me that Californians are "weird" the first time I meet them and they found out I'm from CA. The general impression I get is that people love to point out how disastrous this state is.

And of course, CA has its problems. We have a ton of people, a diverse economy and have tons of cultural issues. It's not a utopia.

However, it's finally a breath of fresh air when credit is finally given to the state's leadership, as well as the leaders in our cities and counties, who saw the crisis coming and were decisive in taking action. Business leaders were great too, in getting people to work from home as early as the first week of March. I also thought Newsom was a ribbon-cutter politician but I'm so glad that I was wrong.

So when the narrative shifts to how CA is doing ok or that Newsom is doing a great job, forgive us for feeling relieved. Forgive us for feeling good when we and other West Coast states can send ventilators to other places in need. We've just gotten so much flack for being CA, but goddammit we do a lot of things right too.
posted by extramundane at 11:38 AM on April 13 [27 favorites]


If we were on the green, this thread would be wall-to-wall DTMFA.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 11:51 AM on April 13 [7 favorites]


> London Breed (San Francisco's mayor) has done an incredible job.

Don't believe the hype. Read this, much more accurate reporting, about what's going on here and who to credit.
posted by gingerbeer at 11:51 AM on April 13 [4 favorites]


I dunno - a white population that thrives because of historically intractable land use and taxation models propped up by an immigrant underclass that is routinely demonized by state authority, all of it girded by an myopic sense of superiority that everyone outside our borders finds distasteful at best? Sounds more UK than EU to me.
posted by 99_ at 11:56 AM on April 13 [4 favorites]


If decent people in the South can't unseat them in the South, then the rest of us might have to draw a border.

You can try, but I don’t think Rhode Island is gonna let you guys through.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:05 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


What did California government get right a decade ago, to set it on this path?

They re-elected Jerry Brown!


I had to check that I didn't post this comment.
posted by kendrak at 12:27 PM on April 13 [6 favorites]


[Comment removed - let's stick to sharing health information that is sourced and citeable. See the MeFi COVID FAQ if you have questions.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:29 PM on April 13


Newsom was just asked about the "nation-state" terminology at his daily briefing. His response is basically that he means it in terms of the size and diversity of California and its economy.
posted by yasaman at 12:30 PM on April 13 [4 favorites]


Anyway I was delighted that Newsom sent the students home, instead of them sending the Covid 19 home and back again, over and over again. The whole shutting down of California has ripped the nasty air of of the Los Angeles area, my town's air is so blue and crisp after spending years as number 4 or 5 worst cities for air. In my back yard this morning, I only heard birds, and I am near a highway, airport, medical center, fire station, and an ambulance hub. I love California!
posted by Oyéah at 12:35 PM on April 13 [3 favorites]


Don't believe the hype. Read this, much more accurate reporting, about what's going on here and who to credit.

It really burns people to give London Breed credit for anything, doesn't it.
posted by feckless at 12:37 PM on April 13 [9 favorites]


It really burns people to give London Breed credit for anything, doesn't it.

Sorry, did you read the article?
So, we should praise Mayor Breed for what she did and what she’s done. But not for what she didn’t do and hasn’t done — and will not do.

We must not allow a false narrative to become cemented and then serve as a foundation. We must not allow this false narrative to obscure — and buttress criticisms against — how this city is conducting its business.
The takeaway, for anyone who doesn't want to read to the end:
Articles like the one in The Atlantic play into San Francisco’s natural sense of exceptionalism. And, in this case, that isn’t just uncalled for and factually indefensible. It’s also dangerous.

It allows us to ignore the written evidence and see things as we’d simply wish they were. San Francisco is doing better because we are better. It allows us to ignore the dearth of testing and insufficient contact tracing and false starts and reversals on housing the homeless and the melodrama on acquiring hotel rooms and the indignant responses to calls for transparency.

It allows us to shrug our shoulders and write off the shelter outbreak as inevitable — when it didn’t have to be.

We can do better. We must do better. Lives are at stake. We aren’t out of this yet.

That, too, is an incontrovertible fact.
posted by Lexica at 12:42 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


Prior to this pandemic I have always found the discussion of California's secession repugnant.

But after the last two months, I just don't know how much longer the good people of the US need to put up with this shit. I know that secession or eliminating the Senate or eliminating the Electoral College are not really possible. And yet I don't see how current situation is tenable either. The federal government is eschewing science during a pandemic and then routing supplies to preferred states. That is not a recipe for domestic tranquility.
posted by great_radio at 12:42 PM on April 13 [10 favorites]


Washington, Oregon and California announce Western States Pact
We are announcing that California, Oregon and Washington have agreed to work together on a shared approach for reopening our economies – one that identifies clear indicators for communities to restart public life and business.
posted by Nelson at 12:48 PM on April 13 [15 favorites]


i dont think california govt, much less its people, have any ill will toward the other states or even that any serious beef with the feds will outlast trump himself.

Speak for yourself.

Newsom just announced we're working with Oregon and Washington State on a framework on how we're going to re-open our states, when the time is right. We're basically on our own, but we are willing to help our neighbors to the north.

Most of the other states of the union could not, and likely would not, help out California if for some reason they happened to be in a position to do so. Shitting on California and what it stands for is basically the entire political platform of most of the country, so forgive me for not partaking in your feelings of unity and brotherhood.
posted by sideshow at 12:49 PM on April 13 [13 favorites]


Sorry, did you read the article?

I did read the desperate attempt to attempt to find some possible way of not giving Breed full credit for her leadership, yes. Which is consistent with how some local folks have been treating her from early on, including blocking her from staying on as acting Mayor because she was a "tool of rich white men," in favor of a ... rich white man.

Not that there shouldn't be criticism! The plan for dealing with homeless folks in SF has been flaily at best and I'm glad people are pushing her on it. But doing a close reading of documents to somehow prove she wasn't *really* first is just sad.
posted by feckless at 12:49 PM on April 13 [3 favorites]


Just a few minutes ago during Governor Newsom's daily coronavirus epidemic briefing, a reporter asked Newson directly about his use of "nation-state"; the question was probably inspired by the recent Bloomberg article that linked it to secession. Newsom explained that the term refers to California's population size & diversity and its economic & technical resources, with a good helping of California boosterism. He made a reference to the Bloomberg article without naming the site, something about some people taking his use of the phrase literally to create political divisiveness.
Rather than a subtle reference to secession, I'm much more willing to believe it's about establishing an entry in his resume when he runs in the Democratic primary for president in 2024.
posted by King Sky Prawn at 12:50 PM on April 13


Related to the new Western States Pact, there's also a Covid Corridor pact of six Northeastern states forming. Both of these actions are seen to be in direct reaction to a recent policy Tweet of Trump's where he baselessly asserted absolute authority over the "decision to open up the states". The President has no such authority. Meanwhile the adults who actually run the states are agreeing to work together to manage things. Talk about devolution of powers!
posted by Nelson at 12:58 PM on April 13 [5 favorites]


Newsom has consistently provided messages of unity, to, in his words "meet this moment".

Also, his presidential ambitions have been apparent since Day 1, but I don't really care as long as he's a competent leader.

Anyway I was never his number one fan, and I don't think his handling of this crisis was perfect, but I think he has been much smarter and more adept politically at this than many other people right now.
posted by toastyk at 1:00 PM on April 13 [6 favorites]


Speak for yourself...We're basically on our own

fair enough.. i don't like it when other states shit on us either. i just don't see anywhere near the sort of "us or them" mentality here as you see on right wing media with respect to the "heartland." californians just don't think that way, at least not in my experience.

maybe we should! i honestly don't know anymore. although it would be a fraught enterprise considering how skewed the power in DC is toward rural and small states, which gives them the political power to back up their heartland BS.
posted by wibari at 1:19 PM on April 13 [3 favorites]


[image: don draper and michael ginsberg in an elevator]

other states: i feel bad for you
california: i don't think about you at all
posted by entropicamericana at 1:23 PM on April 13 [9 favorites]


but he's a competent silver-tongued opportunistic narcissist who would throw his best friend in a wood chipper for a vote

And now we have a natural experiment to show us how that is demonstrably better than an incompetent silver-tongued opportunistic narcissist who would throw his best friend in a wood chipper for a vote.

(I'm being very generous to Mr. Trump with the "silver-tongued" bit. It seems to work for his supporters.)
posted by Naberius at 1:24 PM on April 13 [6 favorites]


Without California's electoral votes, a Democrat would probably never again get elected president. Unless Texas and California make a deal and go together.
posted by 445supermag at 1:58 PM on April 13


> He's withholding information about imports and manufacturing in order to protect materials from federal seizure. He's conducting his own foreign policy like he's sovereign, and speaking with other governors like they are his sovereign peers. One of those peers already used state police officers to guard material against the risk of federal seizure.

> There's little further to go before we're seceding outright.


I see a lot of room between asserting state powers & seceding from the federal system. Western Pact currency? Post office? Local & state police & Sherrif's deputies not just not cooperating with ICE, but assisting in defense of people against fake warrants? Expelling ICE, FBI & Marshall service? Using the Ag Inspection stations for border control?

Trump/McConnell-ism has shown how much our governments rely on norms, not just written rules. The state-federal relationship does, too and there's a lot of room to take the power of the 5th largest economy and use it in a way that makes people gasp, but not be able to do anything about it.

Besides environmental laws (which other states have adopted, so even mfgs that don't do California emissions everywhere don't get all 49 other states), California has some other differences: a more expansive right to free speech and (like New York) protection for legal activity when not at work (can't fire for going to a Biden rally).
posted by ASCII Costanza head at 2:05 PM on April 13 [7 favorites]


yes, fine, except outside of maybe the cities, the west is also full of constitutionalist sheriffs and i bet you'll never guess who they think is the best, most constitutional president ever!
posted by entropicamericana at 2:09 PM on April 13 [4 favorites]


The South is a massive and heavily racialized underclass being dominated, exploited, and extracted from by a white supremacist ruling class that systematically brutalizes and oppresses them for their own gain.

Right on. The South doesn't need to be dropped, it needs to be liberated. Solidarity is the only way to solve these issues, not bourgeois separatism.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:40 PM on April 13 [19 favorites]


yep, plenty of urban Democrats behind the lines in these red/flyover states waiting not only for liberation, but for activation. (Most definitely not alienation)
posted by HyperBlue at 2:46 PM on April 13 [8 favorites]


I have a Gavin Newsom story. Whilst he was Mayor of San Francisco a colleague of mine from another Non-Profit and I had occasion to meet with him. He, as far as we knew, was not told she is blind. The meeting had nothing to do with blindness or even disability. At the close of the meeting he whipped out his business card and her card was in Braille. Yeah I know it was his team but it told me he hires right. She was thunderstruck. Gave me a soft spot for the man
posted by pipoquinha at 3:27 PM on April 13 [24 favorites]


Besides environmental laws (which other states have adopted, so even mfgs that don't do California emissions everywhere don't get all 49 other states)

If 45 has his way, many of these laws (e.g., emissions restrictions) will be preempted. Then it won't be a question of norms.

It appears that he is deliberately withholding necessary medical supplies from states he dislikes in favor of routing it to states he favors politically (or possibly hopes to enrich himself via). That strikes at the fundamental basis of any kind of social contract: that the state will protect your life. I know that many, many people have always been unjustly excluded from that benefit, but if this is now the dynamic on a state-by-state basis, it really does call into question the whole point of the union.
posted by praemunire at 3:59 PM on April 13 [8 favorites]


The thing about Newsom- and there are good criticisms to be had- is that he is *shockingly competent* in a way few Politicians are left, right, or center. AOC seems to be from a similar vein of competence, if more to the left. He hires well, he's wonky in a way that isn't sexy but works very well, and he takes measured risks that more often then not pan out, but otherwise stays the reasoned path. And when I was a little kid my best friend's mothers got married at city hall because of him, even though it was overturned later and I don't care if some people say that was a "ploy" it set things in motion and if Gavin Newsom hadn't tried to legalize gay marriage in 2004 I doubt we'd have it legalized at the federal level. I have my criticisms of him, but especially in this crisis, him and Breed have me proud to be a Californian, and a San Franciscan.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 4:10 PM on April 13 [34 favorites]


Shitting on California and what it stands for is basically the entire political platform of most of the country


considering how skewed the power in DC is toward rural and small states

As a former Californian and current resident of the DC, I would note that
A: No, in fact shitting on "California and what it stands for" doesn't have much to do with "most" of the country. Most of the country does not actually consist of the revanchist right wing who shit on California. They do not have a majority. And "what it stands for" is also not something that all Californians agree on by any means.
B: The Federal Government is not the District of Columbia. DC is a place. We are in fact to the left of California as a whole. We have extremely limited federal representation, and it is bullshit. If you feel federal power is skewed toward rural and small states, consider how skewed it is for those of us who don't live in states.
posted by aspersioncast at 5:00 PM on April 13 [5 favorites]


They re-elected Jerry Brown!

We also passed new redistricting laws in 2008 and 2010, and increased tax rates on wealthy Californians in 2012. And this fall we’re coming for Prop 13 without raising property taxes on homeowners.
posted by donatella at 5:07 PM on April 13 [13 favorites]


Which is a shame, the thing should be phased out in its entirety. Even the homeowner part is a wealth transfer to the well-off from the poor.
posted by Justinian at 10:41 PM on April 13 [1 favorite]


If he’s willing to ally with WA and OR I don’t care what he calls it; I’m in,

I spent the first half of my life in California (Northern — this used to be a significant distinction, not sure now) and the second half of my life in Seattle. Whenever there’s discussion of secession — and there has been a lot over the last 20 years — if California is included, it’s Northern California only. These discussions seem to focus more on culture than economics and I think it’s a valid basis for discussion. WA, OR and BC and NoCal in some scenarios seem focused on strong, competent government with progressive goals. I am not sure any of the other players in the west coast secessionist movement really want LA or San Diego. Not to look down on them, there are just very different cultural issues at play in SoCal that threaten the unity of a coalition. Yes, there are far right weirdos in the eastern parts of each of our states, but they are small groups that don’t influence widespread sentiment.

WA governor Jay Inslee has been amazing. If only we could do the presidential primaries over again. His choice to focus exclusively on climate change was really an attempt to make this a big campaign issue as it deserves to be and this is admirable. But the man also has Very Serious healthcare and economic chops and he would have made a fantastic all around progressive candidate.

As far as secession goes...there are significant practical problems that have yet to be resolved should the Grand People’s Republic of Cascadia come about. We are largely energy independent and largely food independent. We just want the Feds to stay out of our way with things like a public option on the health exchange and environmental standards. But it’s getting increasingly difficult to see what we share culturally and politically with places like Alabama and why we should send money from our prosperous economy there when their elected representatives act to condemn and stop us from doing the things that make us prosperous.

Yes, there are loads of good people in the awful parts of the country, fighting the white male bible thumping dumb person hegemony but I have been at meetings where literally it has been discussed how we evacuate such people who want to relocate here.

In summary, we are a state, I’d like to be a nation state because I hear much more appropriate solutions to Big Problems from local and state officials than anyone else.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:42 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


california-canada comparison, fwiw:
California and Canada are roughly the same size and have nearly identical numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths.

California:

39.5 million people
22,409 cases
633 deaths

Canada:

37.6 million people
23,719 cases
674 deaths
separately, i think there is a bit of 'spheres of influence' competition between LA-SF ('hollywood' and 'silicon valley') vs. NY-DC ('wall street' and 'k street') writ large. maybe aspects of those underlying power dynamics can inform some tensions in governance at issue here?
posted by kliuless at 11:07 PM on April 13


There's a middle ground between normal statehood and full-blown secession too, and that seems more like what his language has been getting at. Reliable Federal Partner sounds more like what a reservation says when they want to make clear the sovereignty part of things than it does a revolution.

Coming from one of the fly-over states where Pelosi has been used as a GOP fundraising boogeyman since I've been alive and aware, I can totally understand feeling like your state is used primarily as a punching bag, it's a mutual exchange. I will be informing the half dozen forest firefighters I know who live in those worthless places that they don't need to bother leaving their families and homes behind to help put out the fires there every year in the future, the west coast has it handled. A lot of people will be glad about that and it can spare more of them for other fires that aren't happening as close to the homes of as many millionaires.

I'm also deeply curious how the liberal bastion of California the Nation would decide to handle native rights and issues, given that they'd suddenly either have enclaves of differently sovereign peoples with treaties with a now-foreign nation or have to take on and adapt those federal treaties, or maybe even negotiate new ones. I'm certain that California would honestly examine those relationships and come to a productive and superior situation, heck, I'm sure it's at the top of the list. Might even be able to talk reparations! Exciting.

I'm not pro-secession, but I am pro-talking-about-secession. Helps make clearer how interconnected the nation is and it is fun. I also enjoy hearing about how the west coast is food independant like half a decade after we were all equally worried about the state running out of fresh water for almond trees, it's just thrilling. I'm thrilled.
posted by neonrev at 11:38 PM on April 13 [3 favorites]


[I would strongly suggest that if discussion is goal here, people just straightforwardly explain the various issues they see, pro and con, rather than doing the sarcastic sneering and contempt thing. If discussion isn't the goal, Twitter is probably a better venue for driveby potshots.]
posted by taz (staff) at 12:30 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]


As a freshwater ecologist, I am intrigued by how long California thinks it would last after it secedes and loses all of its rights to the water from the Colorado River, which provides more than half of the water for Southern California. California would have to renegotiate the existing treaty with both the US and Mexico, and I would assume Mexico would look at this as an excellent opportunity for them to get back what they view as water stolen from them for more than a century.

A trick of geography--where the water is versus where people have chosen to live--means California can't be independent. You have to learn to live with the rest of us, even those of us who you despise because of where we live elsewhere in the US.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:24 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]


the solution isn't to leave the union; it's to remove the cancers currently in control of it

But what if, as we're seeing, those "corrupt, senile, self-serving asshole(s)" are actually a feature, not a bug? What if, as we're seeing, those cancers are digging in, in broad daylight and opening cutting off the avenues to removing them from power? Without some serious adjustment to how things work (by things, I mean the Senate, and by work, I mean Wyoming, for example, and the comparative handful of residents there having equal say in the Senate to California, and its population), we end up at that moment where (supposedly 2030, I don't have the article with the projections at hand) 30 percent of the population will control 70 Senate seats. That's not tenable, but the folks working on amassing those 70 seats certainly don't seem like they're about to say, aw shucks, let's make things more fair.

It feels like were edging towards that, and it definitely seems like that, with Trump confiscating/blocking materials and equipment from blue states and redirecting them to states run by cronies who know to lick the boot when its offered.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:48 AM on April 14 [3 favorites]


California. Big place. Lots of people live where the water isn't and despise nobody for living across a border. Some people live where the water is - and have to fight to keep it, granted, frequently generating anti rest-of-State feelings reminiscent of wider "anti-California" sentiment.

Just who despises whom and whyever that could be gets complicated.

I agree that the intricacies and improbabilities of forming a non-genocidal Ecotopia would be fascinating, in large part because confronting the working details of our utopias can reveal both some underlying horrorshow assumptions and some amazing solid goals we can pursue now.

Maybe that's a separate post from what Newsom (now with Brown and Inslee) is aiming to do in facing down a hostile federal administration.
posted by to wound the autumnal city at 7:07 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


would strongly suggest that if discussion is goal here, people just straightforwardly explain the various issues they see, pro and con

The issue is that governors are having to defy federal authority in order to save lives in their home states, in response to policies driven by active malice. This is way beyond mutual condescension.
posted by ocschwar at 7:24 AM on April 14 [4 favorites]


Gavin Newsom getting more scrutiny over the mask deal from legislators. I have to admit, I'm wary of the deal, given the reports of bad quality PPE from Chinese manufacturers provided to other countries. I'd feel better if he had inked a deal with Taiwan's manufacturing, but that may just be too politically explosive.
posted by toastyk at 8:40 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


> California and Canada are roughly the same size and have nearly identical numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Same size in terms of population, but not in terms of density.
Canada square mileage: 3.855 million mi²

California square mileage: 163,696 mi²
There are other ways in which these two "nation-states" are quite dissimilar. Social density is one of them.
posted by mistersquid at 9:27 AM on April 14


I will be informing the half dozen forest firefighters I know who live in those worthless places that they don't need to bother leaving their families and homes behind to help put out the fires there every year in the future, the west coast has it handled. A lot of people will be glad about that and it can spare more of them for other fires that aren't happening as close to the homes of as many millionaires.


So I know people who barely survived those fires, and I know other mefites know people who died in them. And Paradise CA was hardly a town of millionaires. I'm not sure what the point of this comment is, besides salt our grief.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:33 AM on April 14 [5 favorites]


A trick of geography--where the water is versus where people have chosen to live--means California can't be independent. You have to learn to live with the rest of us, even those of us who you despise because of where we live elsewhere in the US.

Trust me, Californians have learned. We produce a lot for the rest of the country, that's why our economy is so large and varied. Without that water, we'd be in for hardship, but the rest of the country would pay much more... for things like produce (the state supplies the 2/3 of the country's nuts and fruits and 1/3 of the country's produce). We depend on others, but people shouldn't forget that they also depend on CA for a hell of a lot too.

We also don't despise people due to where they live. What we really hate is when it's mostly us doing our own thing and getting shit on for it by others outside our state because apparently we are a bunch of loonies out west with "crazy" ideas. The funny thing is, usually ten years later, other states follow suite. Nice.
posted by extramundane at 9:40 AM on April 14 [6 favorites]


look, i love california and consider myself californian first and american second (especially post 2016), but our agribusiness industry is all kind of fraught and not anything we should brag about
posted by entropicamericana at 10:10 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]


Not bragging. We have our troubles, but the fact is it's a huge part of our economy and the nation's economy. If we lost that water from the Colorado River, or suffered a longer series of droughts... that's a lot of livelihoods affected here in the state, and others outside the state suffer as well.
posted by extramundane at 10:18 AM on April 14 [1 favorite]


As a native Oregonian and a Seattle transplant, I've always resented California. But I resent DC more - and since 2017, exponentially more. So good luck President Newsom.
posted by Glibpaxman at 10:38 AM on April 14 [2 favorites]


Same size in terms of population, but not in terms of density.
Raw landmass comparison between California and Canada can be misleading. Just like most of California’s population is concentrated near the Pacific coast, most of Canada’s population is huddled up against its southern border. I bet if you did the math you’d find that the density experienced by a typical resident of each is similar.
posted by migurski at 1:06 PM on April 14


Same size in terms of population, but not in terms of density.

In terms of urban/rural split, Canada and the US are within a percent almost identical, roughly 82% to 80% respectively. California is higher, at 95% urban.

Population density wise, LA is in its own class, but SF and the GTA are very, very similar.

California is significantly more urban, and LA is significantly more dense in terms of population, but Canada compares pretty directly with central and northern California.

But sure, if you take the population number and divide it by the land area, the two number are quite different. Those figures are also quite meaningless in terms of potential viral impacts.
posted by bonehead at 12:07 PM on April 16


San Francisco Chronicle Op-Ed: Should Joe Biden pass the baton to Gavin Newsom ... for 2020?
posted by Apocryphon at 7:17 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


Now we have news that Illinois has organized covert flights to secure PPE.

CA. IL. MA. WA. OR. "Canada" is rising.
posted by ocschwar at 9:49 AM on April 19


We Are Living in a Failed State by George Packer

The coronavirus didn’t break America. It revealed what was already broken.
posted by great_radio at 11:12 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


Gavin Newsom's Nation-State:

“This narrative of punching above our weight, this narrative around being a nation-state—that narrative is a big part of the California spirit, of being dreamers and doers, this entrepreneurialism that the future happens here first,” he said. “There’s a pride in that; there’s perhaps an arrogance at times.” But, he added, “I think all of that is built into the DNA, and is all part of the sauce at the moment.”

“About 40 percent of the state is more likely to listen to Trump than to him,” the Newsom aide told me, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to be candid. “Part of his rhetoric was not alienating those folks—knowing that they would have to take real sacrifice—in order to build trust with that part of the state, so that they would pay attention to him when it came time to take mandatory action.”
posted by toastyk at 11:09 AM on April 22


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