The dumbest way to secede

Minnesota Republicans must be desperately bored. They’ve been steamrolled this year, so they’re itching for something to do. Something…destructive and stupid. So one of them has come up with an idea he calls “The Rocks and Cows Act“.

Representative Matt Grossell (R – Clearbrook) along with fellow Greater Minnesota Representatives have introduced the Rocks and Cows Act. Members with districts along the affected borders have been especially supportive of this bill. This Legislation would create a State Boundary Adjustment Planning Commission to study and make recommendations on a pathway for North and South Dakota to annex desiring counties into their respective borders.

It’s a novel strategy for secession — we’ll let the border counties nibble at the idea, defecting one at a time to North and South Dakota. It would certainly generate an interesting western border for the state! Those are counties full of rural hicks and MAGAts, so they might even go for it. I notice they aren’t proposing that northern counties have the option to secede and join Canada, though.

Economic relief and hearing the voices of rural communities are important goals of this legislation. As taxes continue to raise and decision-making gets centralized around the metro many are looking for some independence. “We are standing up for the future of our families as Minnesota trends towards such extremes on tax and social policy.” Said Rep. Grossell on the motivation for leading the charge on the Rocks and Cows Act.

The economic argument is total nonsense. These are all lightly populated farm counties, and are basically revenue sinks for the state. They pay fewer taxes than the benefits they get from being associated with the rich counties on the east side.

The real game here is resentment of social policies — Minnesota respects gay and trans rights, and is protecting the right to abortion. That’s what the Republicans really hate. The Dakotas are nasty, conservative states with some of the most regressive policies in the country, so only a slimy troll would want to be part of that.

I notice that Grossell represents Clearwater county, which is not on the border (neither is Stevens county, where I live). He’s not going to disappear his constituents out from under his feet, and he’d probably rather not have to commute to work in Bismarck. Hey, you want to be a North Dakotan? Pack up and move there.

By the way, the governor of North Dakota, Doug Burgum (who?) has announced his candidacy for the presidency of the USA. He doesn’t stand a chance. He’s another negligible and over-confident nitwit rushing to join the early stampede of wacky nobodies trying to get some attention. He’s also a horrible person.

As governor of the state’s fourth-least populous state, he signed measures this year advancing conservative policies on culture war issues. They include prohibiting schools and government from requiring teachers and employees from referring to transgender people by their preferred pronouns, barring transgender girls and women from competing in women’s sports, and banning abortion with few exceptions up to six weeks’ gestation, before most women know they are pregnant.

That’s what Grossell admires.


  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    …towards such extremes on tax and social policy.

    Yes, it’s the social policy that bothers them. Too much equality and inclusion.

  2. says

    I’m just here to remind everyone that the last time part of the United States seceded there was a whole ass war about it and those who seceded ended up losing said war.

  3. says

    Sounds like the Greater Idaho movement here in the PNW. The counties that want to break away have no idea how screwed they’ll be without the money and support of the urban centers. In the case here in Oregon, if those counties do join Idaho, not only do they have to start paying sales tax but minimum wage is cut in half. Roads and other infrastructure will deteriorate from lack of funding. Simply put, these rural counties need the cities more than the cities need the rural counties.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    A perfect opportunity for gerrymandering!
    Play your cards right and you will get rid of the least productive and most MAGA-infested badlands.
    There is not even a rule that says a state must “hang together” so you can get rid of pockets of land with high rates of bigotry, or excessive raditation from the old bomb tests, or both.

    The Dakotas would end up looking like true bantustans, like Bophutatswana.

  5. microraptor says

    Ray Ceeya @3: Also, all the pot growing operations and dispensaries will have to close. And they’re among the most profitable dispensaries in the state, since Idaho is the only state that Oregon shares a border with where pot is still illegal.

    And all of that is ignoring that Idaho simply doesn’t want to add a bunch of new, extremely poor counties to itself.

  6. says

    This reminds me of the idiocy of conservatives living in upstate NY. For decades they have been screaming that everything from the lower Hudson on down should be its own state. They hate NYC. Fortunately, they haven’t gotten much traction on that “idea”. For the uninitiated, upstate NY is a sea of red in which float numerous blue areas called “cities”.

    The practical question for MN is, if those border counties left to join the Dakotas, would the population loss be enough that the state as a whole would lose seats in the House (and would ND and SD gain seats)? Maybe it doesn’t matter due to gerrymandering. For the US Senate and the MN statehouse though, you might be in a better position if they left.

    A bit off topic, but everyone here understands the problem with gerrymandering. It seems to me that a possible way of reducing the impact is to increase the number of House seats. Right now, we have the same number of seats as we did in 1960, but the population has nearly doubled. That means each member represents nearly twice as many people. If we doubled the number of seats (tying it to the population), it would be harder to “pack and crack” districts.

  7. Pierce R. Butler says

    LMFTFY: … another negligible and over-confident nitwit rushing to join the early stampede of wacky nobodies trying to get the vice-presidential nomination.

  8. chuckonpiggott says

    There are several counties in Western MD who sometimes agitate about joining WV. They would definitely lose a lot. The subsidies they get from the populace parts of MD are worth far more than WV could even think of. People only want to get out from “under the thumb” of those liberals in the east, and now with a Black governor oh my.

  9. wzrd1 says

    Republicans, the only party that incessantly tries their level best to shred the entire US Constitution.
    But then, nothing is excessive for those who find treason not enough.

  10. says

    The wtwingnuts want to create a separate state out of Eastern Oregon. There is a cult faction that wants to breakoff part of California, too. Sorry PZ, for all the decent attributes of Minn. there are a lot of noisy, violent rtwingnuts in your state, too. Scarizona sucks. I am still trying to find a decent, peaceful place to live where the climate and rtwingnuts won’t kill me. Scarizona is facing more election BS from Scary Lake and freaks that demand to hand count hundreds of thousands of ballots in 2 days. Per and other sources, violent hate groups are growing in size and influence. Welcome to the apocalypse.

  11. wzrd1 says

    @10, they can be as violent as they want. One HIMARS battery vs their AK’s and AR’s, my money’s on the rockets.
    Kind of hard to be a problem to a launcher that’s 40 – 300 miles away and can erase an entire 1km x 1km grid square. Add in a wing of B-52’s and one can turn a lake into a great lake. Then, there’s around 3 million total service members (counting IRR and ready reserve and NG), tens of thousands of tactically trained agents from assorted agencies. And I’ve not even brought up artillery and other branches aircraft.
    Given what I’ve saw on the range, suffice it to say that this retiree isn’t exceptionally concerned.

  12. says


    Not 1960. 1929. By statute.

    And on the floor of the House, one of the rationales was to ensure that the prestige of being a Congresscritter remained undiminished.

    No, I am not paying for a new keyboard after you read that. Damage to your nasal passages from snorting a carbonated beverage is also your problem.

    The fundamental problem has been that there’s a block of states that have had relatively steady or even declining populations that fear losing the ability to get their “one representative minimum” into positions of power if the size of the House increases — and they lose the benefit of how the “one representative minimum” and rounding errors result in… well… the same distortions created by the Senate, but easier to hide.

  13. wzrd1 says

    Well, that’d be complicated. North and South Dakota were admitted to the union in their essentially current state, after territories were divided.
    The only state to my knowledge that was split after admission to the union was West Virginia, splitting from Virginia during the Civil War and being admitted during.
    The very story of life, “It’s complicated”.

  14. birgerjohansson says

    If Puerto Rico wants to join as a state, is it the house or the senate that has to approve of it?

  15. wzrd1 says

    Both houses would do so, either by direct act or more historically common, via an Enabling Act and at least once, then shuttled off to POTUS for final authorization.
    The Constitution authorizes Congress to admit new states, but there’s no defined procedure on how to do so, hence the variability.
    Puerto Rico did vote to become a state, but the vote was a bit controversial and somewhat disputed, plus was quite some time ago, so I’d suggest reholding the referendum. They’d then have to, if applying for admission, create a new state constitution and any other stipulations that may be included in the Enabling Act.
    But, Constitutionally, Congress could simply produce an Act that declares them a state and simply call it done.
    Personally, I advocate for rendering my flag obsolete by needing another star added. But, there are costs to go along with statehood that a protectorate or territory do not experience, such as federal income tax isn’t currently required to be paid, but were they to become a state, would be required.

    While I was in Djibouti, I served alongside the Puerto Rico National Guard. They were supporting our antipiracy mission and their contributions were exceptionally good.

  16. antigone10 says

    @wzrd1 The history of the Dakotas and their statehood is one of corruption, fraud, and downright lies. Naturally, when I was a wee Antigone they taught us none of that in ND state history, choosing instead to talk about the railroad monopolies screwed over the poor citizens of the Dakotas*, and how we are just so culturally different than SD**.

    Rural areas of Minnesota get more tax money per capita than the metro. Demonstrably. Unfortunately, they are under the impression that they don’t, quite possibly because they have zero idea how expensive government services are out in rural areas. It is very, very annoying.

    *To be totally fair, those monopolies did. To also be totally fair, the citizens voted for it. And continue to vote for it. Again and again and again.
    ** They are not.