Liberal leaders in southern Arizona, tired of enduring conservative victories in their state legislature on everything from immigration to gun laws, have a plan: break away and form a separate state known as Baja Arizona. The idea has been around for years, but a new "Start Our State" effort is seeking a referendum to allow residents of liberal-leaning Pima County to vote on whether to secede. Could Baja Arizona become the 51st state?
In Arizona, anything can happen: Sure, it sounds "crazy," says E.J. Montini in The Arizona Republic. But the wacky conservatives in the state capital have transformed the "ridiculous" into the "plausible" by "trying to pass bills that would allow lawmakers to 'nullify' any federal law they didn't like." If state conservatives can essentially secede from the national government, there's no reason the people of Pima County can't break away from the rest of Arizona.
"Farce as reality: Baja Arizona, the 51st state?"
Dream on: This "will never happen," says Mark B. Evans in the Tucson Citizen. The obstacles to seceding are "enormous," and a campaign to establish a new state would cost tens of millions of dollars. That would be a huge "waste of time and money" that could be better spent on pushing reforms, such as term limits, that might actually whip the legislature into shape. These secessionist Baja Arizonans are "as nutty" as the conservatives they're rebelling against.
"Baja Arizona secession effort silly and distracting"
Even if they fail, this might do some good: The Baja Arizonans probably "know the odds are against them," says Osha Gray Davidson in Forbes. But even if they don't get their own state, they could still win. They're sending "a powerful message to prospective businesses that the region is different from the butt of late-night talk shows to the north." At least this way people might take them seriously while mocking the extremists in Phoenix.
"Will Baja Arizona become the 51st state?"
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