51st state is dumb idea
The idea of splitting Washington apart based on voting patterns is ridiculous, but the suggestion continues to come up. After last month’s elections highlighted the difference between rural “Red” and urban “Blue” regions, some conservatives lamented that liberal western Washington residents tend to set the political direction.
Specifically, Initiative 1639 – which placed new restrictions on buying and storing certain guns – was approved with dominant “yes” votes in the Seattle area and other Puget Sound counties. Its approval is a sore spot for many rural residents with deep-seated views on gun rights.
But that’s no reason to try and create a Republican utopia east of the Cascades. One of the reasons the idea endures is that Republican Rep. Matt Shea of Spokane Valley continues to push it. He even has a name for his 51st state – Liberty. There is a website devoted to its creation, complete with state flag, seal and draft constitution.
Yet it makes no sense. Surely residents of our beautiful, dry and sunny side would pay more in taxes and receive less services. State revenue generated by Puget Sound giants like Boeing, Amazon and Microsoft helps everyone.
And together, both sides of the state make a great team. For example, we have a strong agriculture base and they have the ports needed to get crops to market.
Besides, King County does not rule every election. Initiative 1631, which would have charged a fee on carbon pollution to help battle climate change, was defeated.
We are better off finding ways to work together than retreating into political bubbles.