Thinking about #CalExit

November 27, 2016
1 min read

There is a secession movement afoot in California. The cynic in me thinks that this issue was settled in 1865, but to many people, things are never settled until they’re settled in the way that they like.
What would this last election look like without California? To start with, we need to recalculate the Electoral College. As a refresher, the States select a number of Electors based on how many Representatives and Senators they have. To arrive at that count, each State gets two Senators and at least one Representative. Other Representatives are allocated according to the population of each State. Since 1941, the Method of Equal Proportions has been used to calculate how many Representatives are allocated to each State, with a limit of 435 for the entire country. Using the population figures that the Census Department used for allocation following the 2010 Census (pdf), what would happen if California was no longer a State? Assuming we keep 435 Representatives, here is how the Electoral College changes:

State Electors (with California) Electors (without California) Change
Alabama 9 10 +1
Alaska 3 3
Arizona 11 12 +1
Arkansas 6 7 +1
California 55 N/A -55
Colorado 9 10 +1
Connecticut 7 8 +1
Delaware 3 4 +1
District of Columbia 3 3
Florida 29 32 +3
Georgia 16 18 +2
Hawaii 4 4
Idaho 4 5 +1
Illinois 20 23 +1
Indiana 11 12 +1
Iowa 6 7 +1
Kansas 6 7 +1
Kentucky 8 9 +1
Louisiana 8 9 +1
Maine 4 4
Maryland 10 11 +1
Massachusetts 11 12 +1
Michigan 16 18 +2
Minnesota 10 11 +1
Mississippi 6 7 +1
Missouri 10 12 +2
Montana 3 4 +1
Nebraska 5 5
Nevada 6 6
New Hampshire 4 4
New Jersey 14 16 +2
New Mexico 5 5
New York 29 33 +4
North Carolina 15 17 +2
North Dakota 3 3
Ohio 18 21 +3
Oklahoma 7 8 +1
Oregon 7 8 +1
Pennsylvania 20 22 +2
Rhode Island 4 4
South Carolina 9 9
South Dakota 3 3
Tennessee 11 12 +1
Texas 38 42 +4
Utah 6 6
Vermont 3 3
Virginia 13 15 +2
Washington 12 13 +1
West Virginia 5 5
Wisconsin 10 11 +1
Wyoming 3 3

Thirty-four states get more Electoral Votes.
Looking at the popular and electoral vote totals (Retrieved from the election authority of each state, or, if that was not available, a large newspaper in the state capital on Wednesday, November 23, 2016):

Popular Votes (Clinton) Popular Votes (Trump) Electoral Votes (Clinton) Electoral Votes (Trump)
With California 122,364,488 120,634,627 232 306
Without California 114,504,641 116,511,641 196 340

There would have been an even stronger Electoral Vote landslide for Trump if California was not part of the Union. And not only that, he would have gotten a plurality of the popular vote. To sum up:


  1. I’d insist on keeping the port of San Diego and enough land to bridge the gap from San Diego to Arizona. The U.S. needs a Pacific port for commerce and national security.

  2. And this is exactly the reason why the national Democrat party would never allow California to secede. If California left, there would never again be another Democrat president, or even a Democrat majority in the House of Representatives.
    A further consideration, if you will, of this secession idea is the various utlity needs the state has. If I am not mistaken, a lot of California’s water (at least in southern California, around LA) is piped in from other places.
    If allowed to go off on its own, the country of California would more than likely tax itself out of existence within 10 years, as businesses, industries and even the wealthier citizens (movie stars, for example) leave California to avoid the higher taxation and regulatory fees which would necessarily be imposed to finance all of the state’s various social and environmental programs.
    It would be an extremely foolish move on its part to secede, but I would say good riddance to bad rubbish.

  3. DaveK, I think you’re right in that the national party wouldn’t like the consequences of California Dreamin’.
    And I’m sure that the Trump administration would negotiate access to a Pacific port in exchange for the utilities.

  4. It wouldn’t go that cleanly, of course. To borrow an old saying from our friends to the north: “If America is divisible, so is California.”
    I doubt alll the Okies in Kern County would care to be ruled by a bunch of Godless Communists if they had a way of splitting off from them. Similarly, the coastal slither of Ecotopia would probably want nothing to do with a bunch of knuckledragging meat-eating rednecks. And of course Chicago, Boston, and New York City would probably start to get ideas of their own…

  5. Why would the San Diego port be more special than say Portland or Seattle? Port of Portland was home to the Kaiser shipyards back during the WWII era. That is not insignificant. Is it the warmer temps? Just curious here. You guys are probably the best suited as to the pros and cons regarding this subject.

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