It is safe to say that this election broke the spirit, and maybe even the brains, of a lot of liberal Democrats.
Some frustrated blue-staters have dealt with the devastation by openly embracing the paleoconservative value of states’ rights as a way to resist Trumpism. The “Calexit” campaign, for example, proposes that the country’s largest state should separate from the rest of the union, presumably to create some sort of utopia where you can become a billionaire because of an app or be killed by a speedy death penalty.
Kevin Baker took shrieking secessionism to new heights in a 4,700-word piece for the New Republic called “Bluexit,” in which he sarcastically argued in a letter to a “Red State Trump Voter,” addressed from him, a “Blue State Patriot,” that Clinton states should wash their hands of states that voted for Trump altogether.
It’s typical liberal defeatism: instead of digging into the reasons why some states in America have become so red—systemic voter-suppression tactics and gerrymandering all across the country, the decline of unions, the failure of decades of neoliberal economic policies—and offering solutions for how to fix that problem, Baker instead said that blue states should leave the states who voted for Trump to their own devices.
Baker suggested that blue states pull as much money as they can out of the federal government, getting rid of federal programs like Social Security and Medicare and replacing them with their own state-run versions. He argued for abolishing the federal income tax, and even said we should get rid of FEMA. People in hurricane-hit states like Louisiana and Mississippi would evidently be on their own.
With an influx in this new money from killing essential programs, blue states would redirect funding into their own, better programs. Setting aside the fact that the “states do it better” argument is exactly the same one that libertarians have been making for 50 years with absolutely no evidence to back it up, it’s a highly questionable proposition that even the most liberal states would turn into blue islands of progress. Are we really going to trust Democrats like austerity-hawk Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy to pick up the slack on public services?