A plan to split California into three different states is now officially eligible for the November midterm ballot. This is not a joke.
The “Cal3”initiative, sponsored by billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper, received more than 600,000 signatures from voters representing all 58 counties in the state.
“This is an unprecedented show of support on behalf of every corner of California to create three state governments that emphasize representation, responsiveness, reliability and regional identity,” Draper said in a statement.
The split, if it happened, would create three new states—California, Northern California, and Southern California. This plan is objectively stupid, but California also has a secessionist movement called Calexit, so another dumb idea is not that stunning.
But while Cal3 made it pretty far this time, the plan is likely to fall flat—again. Even if Californians vote “yes” in November, the plan also needs to pass the state legislature and the Congress. And getting there seems like a tall order: a whopping 72 percent of voters oppose the plan, according to a poll released in April by Survey USA.
This is not the first time Draper pushed to split up California. He proposed a similar, $5 million plan in 2014 to split the state into six pieces, but that plan never made the ballot. Although the 2014 campaign initially gathered more than a million signatures, election officials later found that a great portion of them were invalid, bringing the count 15,000 signatures short.
Draper believes splitting the state will reduce taxes and fix the failing school system and bad infrastructure, among other things.
However, critics say the plan will do quite the opposite. Here’s Steve Maviglio, a spokesperson for anti-Cal3 group OneCalifornia:
When Draper first suggested breaking California up into six pieces, the state legislative analyst warned that the split was a bad idea, saying that it would increase inequality on a number of levels. Changing the idea from a six-way split to a three-way split probably does not fix these flaws, to say the least.