Last year, when we spoke to famous tech investor Tim Draper about his family’s influence in Silicon Valley, he mentioned his next venture would be trying to turn the Valley into its very own state. “I’ve already written up a constitution,” he said. He wasn’t kidding.
Sometime today or tomorrow, Draper will officially petition the state Attorney General with his idea to split California into six separate substates. Silicon Valley would be its own region, as would Southern California. Los Angeles and Santa Barbara would become part of “West California.”
Draper is serious and his ballot proposition is all about increasing representation in Washington with more senators, creating competition between the new states, resetting old-fashioned laws, making more state-appropriate laws, and so on.
Secessionist movements have come and gone in U.S. history as the political tides have washed over the country, and California has seen its fair share. But as well as Draper’s oddball idea, there are other solutions being mooted for fixing the distortion that Silicon Valley exerts in California, including Peter Thiel’s weird idea of creating a floating sovereign state that would operate under its own laws, including being able to attract international tech talent that is currently being failed by the U.S. immigration system.
There’s undeniably some charm to Draper’s idea. But would it actually work?