Mises Wire

Dear Biden Supporters, It’s Not Too Late to Secede

Four years ago, I wrote an open letter to the dismayed supporters of Hillary Clinton in the wake of her loss to Donald Trump. Before celebrating Biden’s win in this year’s election, it’s important to reflect back on the past four years. Remember your frustration, your anger, your fear of someone you believed was unhinged and dangerous being in control of all of the immense powers that are now vested with the federal government of the United States of America. Now ask yourselves this: Do you want that to happen again?

Despite the Biden victory, the Democrat Party at the time of this writing not only failed to change the makeup of the Senate, they lost ground in the House and even lost a governor to the Republicans. Further, the Biden win was not delivered by an outpouring of support by the coveted minority demographics, which Trump won in larger numbers across every ethnic category compared to the prior election, including an astounding doubling of the LGBTQ vote, but by a shift in the voting patterns of white men. Couple this with the complete lack of any real enthusiasm for the prospect of a Biden presidency, and it’s apparent that the Democrat president-elect didn’t win on the strength of the Democrat platform but because enough people were put off by President Trump’s abrasive behavior.

In other words, the Blue Wave not only failed to manifest, it turned into a slightly lower tide.

Because of these trends, short of something major happening over the next four years or the Republicans nominating another Donald Trump–style candidate, a Biden presidency is looking to be a one and done, with a Republican likely finding his way back to office in 2025.

But why is it I’m here, raining on your parades? Simple, it’s to give you advice on how to blunt the pain of this inevitability.


The best way to remove the pain of a future political opponent controlling the machine is to shut down the machine. And by this I mean radically decentralize. As it stands, very little done at the level of DC cannot be done, and done better, at the state level. As it stands, most federal spending is little more than collecting taxes from states and sending it back with instructions on how to use it. Nothing needs to be recreated since the state organs manage the day-to-day operation of all the various programs, and there would be an immediate benefit once the federal bureaucracy has been removed from the equation. All they’re doing, after all, is tumbling the money the state could collect directly itself and skimming off the expenses for all the bureaucrats.

For example, Social Security can be handled by the individual states. Despite the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) claims to the contrary, Social Security is entirely bankrupt and has no assets beyond promises to tax future workers to cover claims, either directly through the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) taxes or through the general fund via the Treasury bonds it claims as assets. Since the assets are fake IOUs, there isn’t anything to transfer back to the individual States. The only difference between the current method and a state-run method is that the tax collection is no longer funneled through a federal-level agency.

Further, by decentralizing, individual states would no longer be at the whims of an unfavored politician’s decisions in Washington. For instance, if the federal government didn’t have a Department of Fish and Wildlife and didn’t have a Bureau of Land Management owning vast tracts of land in states like Washington, the recent stress over the removal of the gray wolf from the federal endangered species listing wouldn’t exist. Certainly, the states could maintain protection of the wolf on state lands, but these laws are not applicable to federal lands. By closing the US Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Bureau of Land Management and returning all the federal lands to the states, Washington could better manage and protect the gray wolf population without having to hope for a friendly administration roughly twenty-five hundred miles away to agree with them.

From a strategic standpoint, Biden could easily do this, as he could force Republicans to accept these small-government proposals to maintain the illusion that they’re supporters of a small federal government and states’ rights. A Democrat president and Republican Senate is a perfect setup for this as Republicans will be forced to agree to maintain their position as small-government proponents (despite immediately abandoning it when in power).

Why, in other words, would you want some future administration not friendly toward your interests controlling the current government, let alone some future expansion you’ve dreamed about with a Biden presidency? Instead of asking him to push for universal healthcare or vast federal law enforcement reforms, why not demand he eliminate that interference from DC so you can easily do it yourself at home? These new agencies will just end up in the hands of a Republican president within the next decade.

Consider Secession

The problem with decentralization is that anything decentralized can be easily centralized again. Closing the Department of Homeland Security or the Drug Enforcement Agency could just be a mere speed bump when a future administration deigns to build them back up again. A much more permanent solution would be to secede from the Union and go it as an independent nation. This way, residents of California, with their lopsided support of Biden, aren’t going to have to hope that their preferred candidate isn’t tainted by the corruption by party members in Pennsylvania. Californians also wouldn’t have to rely on the unlikely prospect of a uniquely unlikable candidate like Donald Trump driving a large percentage of the electorate to the Dems in Wisconsin. Rather, by seceding, with the blessings of a friendly president, the states along the Pacific Coast and in the Northeast can safely insulate themselves from fickle Ohio and Arizona voters who can easily swing national elections to the other party.

The United States is already uniquely situated for a clean split as governance structures exist at the State level. As noted above, States are already handling nearly everything done at the DC level, so the institutions exist to handle this. Breaking up into ten to twelve different nations would not only be a relatively smooth process, it would lead to a happy electorate, as they’re no longer having to compete with culturally different people all over the continent for central policy. California will no longer have to hope that a friendly administration in DC will keep high-speed rail funded while losing the local funding it could have used to the federal maw.

Further, this idea is no longer a radical notion pushed by a few Texans or weird “The South Shall Rise Again” types. It’s gaining traction on all segments of the political spectrum, so it will be just that much easier to gain agreement on a mutual split.

A Golden Opportunity

Biden supporters, this is your opportunity. Instead of endeavoring to gain a short-term endorphin rush of winning, you should push for either radical decentralization or full secession. By doing so, you’ll set yourself up to never have to worry about a Donald Trump coming to power and save yourself another four to eight years of heartache and stress. Can you imagine a world where you’ll never have to worry about a Republican taking over again? That world is not possible if you insist on growing federal power and keeping the Union intact. If anything, that will only make the next Republican administration that much more unbearable for you to live under.

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Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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