California Democrats are trying to convince voters to ignore the “Cal 3” initiative, which would create three separate states. But it may be a risky strategy.
Prior to the California Secretary of State’s certification on June 12 of Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper’s “Cal 3” initiative for the November ballot, the Los Angeles Times referred to the effort as, “Rich Dude with More Dollars than Sense Launches Another Campaign to Break California Up.” In mid-May, the Survey USA poll forecast just 17 percent support for the three-state solution, and 72 percent opposition.
California’s Democrat elites doubted Draper’s political skills because he came up 55,000 signatures short of qualifying his “Six Californias” initiative to break up the Golden State into six states in 2013, despite personally funding the campaign with $5.27 million.
But Draper came back five years later, and for less than $1.8 million gathered almost 1 million more signatures than required to qualify Cal 3 for the November ballot.
Despite the success of the new effort in 2018, former state Assembly Speaker Democrat Fabian Núñez told the Los Angeles Times after Cal 3 qualified for the November ballot, “We shouldn’t be wasting time with this.”
Núñez argued: “It’s such a dumb idea, but it’s a real threat. Let’s suppose he puts up $50 million and it passes. Even if Congress votes it down, it starts a conversation that’s unnecessary. We should be talking about the real issues of healthcare access, energy, homelessness.”
But the latest Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll found none of Mr. Núñez’ priorities rated in the top five most important issues for California residents. More problematic for Democrats that have enjoyed eight years of near one-party rule in Sacramento, PPIC found 61 percent of Californians now express distrust in state government.
Since it became a state in 1850, there have been seven serious efforts to break up California. The California State Senate passed a bill in 1965 to create two states but could not pass the bill through the State Assembly. The State Assembly in 1992 passed a bill to split California into 3 states but could not gain agreement from the State Senate.
Tim Draper clearly has the venture capitalist’s drive to win. If he opens his checkbook in a big way for a Cal 3 viral marketing campaign, the initiative may become very competitive by November.