Let's start here: Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper's plan to carve California into six separate states-- a proposal known as 'Six Californias' -- isn't likely to become a reality anytime soon or, probably, ever.
But, even if it never happens, the proposal creates any number of fascinating scenarios to examine for political junkies. And, no, we can't resist.
Let's start with the basics. The number of U.S. Senators would jump to 12 -- as each of the five new states would be allotted two Senators. As for the House, the addition of five new states would change the current dynamics but not dramatically; the most populous regions (which are heavily Democratic) would still have more representatives than the more sparsely populated ones.
"It seems like there is a net plus of safe Democratic seats in the Senate," said Rob Stutzman, a California-based GOP strategist, who added that while it seems far-fetched, the six-state plan is -- on its face -- plausible. "If you look at these proposed states in a vacuum, they all make sense."
Using 2012 presidential election vote tallies as a baseline, we've determined that the Six Californias would break down this way: 1) Three solidly blue states (North California, Silicon Valley, West California) 2) Three swing states (Jefferson, Central California and South California - two of which would lean Republican).
Unlike venture capitalists, voters don't calculate risk. They seek to minimize it. And splitting the state into six pieces carries obvious and arguably insurmountable political risks.
The nonpartisan and independent Legislative Analyst, in its 16-page analysis of Draper's proposed initiative, writes that California as a whole ranks 12th in per capita personal income among the 50 states. If divided as Draper proposes, the state of "Silicon Valley" would be the highest income state in the nation, and the state of "Central California" would be the lowest -- about $150 below Mississippi.
Jefferson California, a new state to be comprised of counties in the far north, would have not one campus in the University of California system if split off from the rest of the state as proposed. Just how would a family from Redding or Chico feel about paying $36,000 in out-of-state tuition to send their son or daughter to UC Davis?
Think of the thousands of business transactions that take place between Southern and Northern California each day. Many of those would now be between states, triggering federal regulation of interstate commerce.
How many Californians would need to file two, three, or more state income tax returns every year?
And how would the new state of Silicon Valley, which is a net importer of water, guarantee adequate water supplies to its residents and industries?