Skip to comments.Batty Secession Schemes Gain a Foothold Among Rural Conservatives
Posted on 10/05/2013 11:49:56 AM PDT by RKBA Democrat
Conservative activists in five rural Maryland counties are fed up with what they see as the tyranny of a democratically elected state government they dont control. Theyre so frustrated that they want to secede and form their own deep red state.
Bizarre as it seems, the effort is part of a trend. In Colorado, up to 10 rural counties want to break off and form a new state called Northern Colorado. A handful of counties in Kansas and Nebraska are reportedly thinking about joining them. Several counties in Northern California are hoping to combine with a chunk of Southern Oregon to form the state of Jefferson an old idea that apparently hasnt gone out of fashion. And folks in Michigans Upper Peninsula fed up with Lansing have also been kicking around the idea of cutting loose.
The media have framed these stories as a symptom of a growing rural-urban divide, and thats true. Gun safety laws enacted after the Sandy Hook shootings sparked the move in both Colorado and Maryland. Marriage equality for gays and lesbians, and differences over energy policy, immigration (over which state governments have little control) and taxes are often cited as irreconcilable differences by these secession advocates.
But its also another sign of the difficulty that a group which dominated American politics just a generation ago a group political scientist Alan Abramowitz narrowed down to married white people who identify as Christians are having adapting to a country thats becoming more diverse and embracing a different, more liberal set of cultural values. As Michael Rosenwald noted in The Washington Post, with secessionists, the term final straw comes up a lot.
An analysis of Census data by Moyers & Company found that non-Hispanic whites make up 93.5 percent of the rebellious Colorado counties, a higher share than the 87.7 percent of the rest of the states population. Unsurprisingly, theres also a significant partisan gap only around 39 percent of those living in the break-away North voted for Obama in 2012, while the rest of the state supported him by a 52-46 margin, according to an analysis of election returns.
Those divides are even more dramatic in Maryland, where a 26-point gap in presidential preferences separates the five counties considering secession from the rest of the state. Breakaway Maryland is 85 percent white, while whites make up just 51 percent of the population in the rest of the counties, according to a Washington Post analysis.
Its certainly true that with less than 20 percent of the population now living in rural America, the policy preferences of conservatives living in the countryside or in small towns are often overshadowed by large majorities who live in cities and their suburbs. But thats true of a lot of Americans liberal hipsters in Austin, Texas, dont have much say in their states governance either, to cite just one example among many. But as Jason Bane of the blog ColoradoPols told a local Fox affiliate in Colorado, in a democracy, there are lots of other people who have viewpoints, and they dont all throw a tantrum just because a vote doesnt go their way.
But this contempt for democracy makes sense when one considers some of the messaging conservatives in rural America are exposed to on a regular basis messages they get from right-leaning politicians, Fox News and talk-radio. At a 2008 rally in rural North Carolina, Sarah Palin famously coined the term real America to describe these small towns that we get to visit. From the same stage, Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC), said, Liberals hate real Americans that work, and accomplish, and achieve, and believe in God. Soon after, conservative talk-radio host Chris Plant asked, Can you still be a real American if you believe that the regimes that govern in Western Europe are a better way forward than the system that we have here? His callers were emphatic that you cannot.
It wasnt a new narrative its been a central part of conservative rhetoric at least since Richard Nixon came on the scene railing against East Coast elites. Its one thing to hold a minority viewpoint among your fellow citizens, but something else entirely something intolerable if theyre not really Americans in the first place.
Or consider the belief, widespread on the right, that the nations founders would be modern conservatives were they alive today, and that the Constitution codified small government principles. Its a myth the founders agreed on very little, and during the Constitutional Convention of 1787, it was the Federalists, who favored a strong central government, that prevailed over the anti-Federalists who championed states rights and wanted to give only limited power to the central government.
But its a powerful myth, and if one believes that ones political opponents are violating the nations founding principles, its easy to dismiss the legitimacy of their positions. Scott Strzelczyk, the Maryland activist organizing that states secession campaign, lamented in February that the rules that govern government the Constitution are ignored and government does whatever it desires.
Finally, theres a narrative that has been pushed relentlessly for over a generation that these real Americans are competing on a sharply uneven playing field that the game of democracy is hopelessly rigged against them by a biased media, academia and other institutions at the center of our political lives. If you believe that this is a center-right nation, your policy preferences are the default and youre only losing because the deck is stacked against you, then breaking away from the majority with a small population of like-minded people seems like a perfectly rational recourse.
Unfortunately, these activists are in for a rude awakening. The movement has been roundly mocked. And it faces almost insurmountable obstacles in order to secede, theyd need not only the approval of their state legislatures, but that of the United States Congress as well.
But as Jamie Raskin, a Democratic Maryland state senator and constitutional law expert put it, the rhetoric of secession today is the language of a protest movement, not a serious campaign to change political geography.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. Mahatma Gandhi
Very Well put.
What is more American than the right of self determination. Should West Maryland or Colorado simply kneel over and take what the Politicians in the Capital give them, when they have no voice there?
When the real Americans really get enough, they’ll let you know....but don’t depend on getting regular supplies of food, fuel and electricity.
Personal Liberty adherents vs. Statist voter slaves on the dole.
Well there you go. It’s all about racist gun loving bible thumpers.
Another 79 yr old one percenter who won’t retire and let some deserving journo school grad with $100 grand in student loans have a decent job, LOL.
This movement is not bizarre, it is 100% predictable if you pay attention to population density and how it affects culture and behavior. These secessionists are liberal vs. conservative, but that is not the root cause. It is rural vs. city.
Scotus 1964 decision Reynolds v. Sims.
A majority of black-robes sentenced entire states to the tyranny of their city mobs.
It is reasonable to want to keep the Constitution and freedoms that distinguish America from socialist countries. The fanatical leftists who love the socialist stuff should move to a socialist wonderland of their choice, instead of forcing the rest of us to give up what America is, and is supposed to be. There are plenty of countries that don’t have the 2nd Amendment or the 1st. Go, be happy.
Obama supported the Hawaiian secessionists. But that holds to his anti-imperialist worldview.
Federalists supported a strong federal government? BS. Compared to the anti-federalists, to be sure, but certainly not compared to today’s liberals. There’s your myth.
The new mayor of Jackson MS is also a secessionist, a black fiery racist secessionist and segregationalist to boot
notice any media caring to mention him??
They keep pushing for Communism in Amerika because they claim that “real Communism hasn’t been tried yet”.
Why don’t they go to a country that already HAS Communism and push for “reform Communism”?
Why subvert a system that is nothing LIKE Communism?
Oh yeah? How about the Defense of Marriage Act?
Bingo, and well said. I wait for the GOP to frame the debate in that way. Well, I’m not really waiting for them, but it sure would be effective and a change from always being on the defensive.
You stay classy, obscure blogger guy ...
Aren't there homosexuals somewhere that Bill should be exposing just about now ...
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If Hawaii seceded from the union, then which of the remaining 56 [sic] states would Hussein claim he was born in?
Most states since colonial times had a house of their legislature based on county representation.
So yes, rural counties represented in state senates were able to stop the wild democracy of state assemblies dominated by large cities.
Our Scotus didn't like that. Neither would have happened if the states still appointed senators.