Remember how back on Election Night last November, Republican Mitt Romney held a lead of more than 1 million in the popular vote and an edge of more than 20 Electoral College votes — until 8 p.m., when the GOP hit the California firewall of 55 electoral votes and a 21 percent margin in the popular vote going to the Democrat, President Obama?
The closing of California’s polls essentially brought all suspense to a halt, with every major network declaring Obama the winner less than 15 minutes later. Obama’s edge of more than 2 million votes here constituted most of his national margin.
All this caused a lot of folks in rock-ribbed Republican “red” states to wish California would just go away. “Why can’t California just break off and fall into the ocean?” whined one Texas columnist. Others in Republican-leaning states began circulating secession petitions in the fatuous hope of escaping the California influence that ensured them four more years of Obama.
But virtually none of those other states would do very well alone. California, meanwhile, might be just fine. This state has about one-eighth of America’s population, but pays roughly one-seventh of all federal taxes. Where about one-tenth of the national economy is tied to foreign trade, about one-fourth of California’s economy depends on trade with other countries...