Escalating the Current Red/Blue State Civil War

Escalating the Current Red/Blue State Civil War

America has been slowly escalating the contest between the Red and Blue states. These states differ in traditional policies, religiosity, and parties, including attempts in red states to limit poor and minority voting. But since the accession of Trump to the throne (as he sees it), the differences have rapidly accelerated and intruded into more serious issues.


The first shots being fired, analogous to Ft. Sumpter, may have been the capture of a Democratic Supreme Court nomination by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. That was followed under President Trump by exercising the nuclear option to only require a Senate majority to appoint Justice Gorsuch.


Then there followed the draconian budget 2017 proposal including cuts to social programs, medical research, climate science, and science funding.
There seemed to be an increase in family-busting deportations, not just limiting them to criminals, as Obama had.


I am not trying to bypass the real American Civil War, which was motivated to free the 4 million slaves from their cruel servitude. That was preceded by 80 years of the US being divided, but politically balanced, with an equal accretion of slave versus free states.
Now we have Trump pledging to deport 11.5 million illegal immigrants, of which 5.5 million are from Mexico. Many of these live in California and, and have been here a long time.


Trump has threatened to cut off Federal Funds in whatever form he can to Sanctuary Cities and States, which are not really required to aid in deportations.
Trump has threatened to cut off all federal funds to the University of California, because one provocative conservative speaker from Breitbart had to be cancelled because of violent non-university demonstrators. That speaker was later fired from Breitbart due to his racism.


Then, there are the Trump and Republican healthcare bills, which would deny 24 million people affordable healthcare, or exclude members because of preconditions, or conditions not covered.


Governor Jerry Brown of California is leading a coalition to guarantee other nations that the Blue states will carry on with the Paris goals from the US.


Attorney General Jeff Sessions has targeted drug crimes with maximum enforcement. This is contrary to Blue states which have legalized marijuana, to the Obama policy of not jailing casual users and to treat opioids as a medical addiction problem, not a jail able crime. It now cost about $75,000 a year for imprisonment in California, about the same cost as a year at Harvard,


The latest, and I can’t say finally, was Trump’s unilateral withdrawing us from the Paris Climate Agreement, without agreement from the Blue states, with 40% of the US population, and hundreds of forward looking cities, which are committed and making strides to decrease greenhouse gases.


The Civil War has to be fought in the courts, and in future elections. But we can’t win in red states, that are still strongly committed to Trump. A fair fraction of the federal justices will still be appointed by Trump. Trump may still get to fill another one or two Supreme Court justices. He still has about 800 political agency appointments to make.


It is not possible for Blue States to afford to carry out all of the things that the Trump administration will cut. Trump will still be spending our denied taxes on military buildup, and may even cut out our fair share because of the sanctuary cities and states, as well as any perceived slights as the University of California threats.


Our best hope is that the Congress keeps the budget relatively steady. However, extending the budget for five months when a government shutdown loomed at the end of April was the only way out. There are still four months for congress to work on the 2018 budget. However again, the Senate can still carry out a filibuster on the budget, so there still has to be a compromise.


If the Congress continues to ignore possible Democratic compromises and to pass legislation by going more extreme to the Freedom Caucus, this makes a situation of taxation without representation.   The other solution is for the West Coast and the Northeast Coast to form the equivalent of autonomous regions, asserting states rights to have our own immigration policies, drug policies, clean energy, clean air, and clean water policies.  If the federal government denies us the return of our own federal taxes to support these programs, couldn’t it be reciprocal to not pay our full federal taxes in order to guarantee these programs?  Of course this is radical, but we also have our states’ and individual rights, that the Republicans have been traditionally asserting.  A lot of countries have autonomous regions.


About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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