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Eastern Oregon Conservatives Annoyed With Democracy, Wanna Join Deep-Red Idaho
This Greater Idaho Movement just won't go away.
It’s universally acknowledged that most right-wingers are entitled babies who hate when the world doesn’t always function according to their personally restrictive views. Conservative residents of eastern Oregon feel greatly put out because the majority of the state’s population supports Democrats and pro-democracy policies.
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“There’s just a pervasive sense that the values that the western side of the state holds are being imposed, in a kind of oppression, on the east,” said Nicole Howard, a professor of history at Eastern Oregon University in the city of La Grande. “And the belief held out here is that either they don’t get us or they don’t care.”
Look, most of Oregon’s population is in the northwest, and we’ve sort of got a democracy going on here. Oregon Democrats haven’t artificially gerrymandered their dominance like the right-wing fascists in Wisconsin. This is straightforward addition. Meanwhile, the entire southern United States is an ongoing example of white conservatives imposing what we generously call “values” on the Black population. Mississippi is 37 percent Black, and Louisiana 32 percent. The Republicans there don’t even try to understand Black residents and actively attempt to silence their voices. Hell, DC has the highest percentage of Black residents and is denied statehood and any congressional representation. So, it’s hard to empathize with whiny ass white conservatives in eastern Oregon.
They could just move next door to deep-red Idaho but that’s probably too hard. What if Idaho just took over the red part of Oregon? That’s apparently much easier.
The Greater Idaho Movement has been a mad right-wing dream for a while now. A couple years ago, Mike McCarter proposed stealing some of blue Oregon’s beachfront property and creating some Otisburgs along the new Idaho coast. That was not well-received. After all, the Democratic-controlled Oregon legislature would have to stop laughing long enough to approve the proposal, and the legislature won’t and never will.
Nonetheless, at least 12 counties in central and eastern Oregon have supported local ballot measures compelling county leaders to consider moving the border about 270 miles west. The existing proposal, more moderate than McCarter’s Bond villain scheme, would give Idaho custody of 14 Oregon counties, along with parts of others. Oregon would keep its two US senators and lose some of the more irksome Republican state lawmakers, who barely show up for work anyway.
Let’s not ignore the racial aspect of all this. Oregon is notoriously very white, but eastern Oregon makes Portland look like Zamunda. According to The Washington Post, “In nearly every county that has voted to explore joining Idaho, White residents account for more than 80 percent of the population.” Portland, in contrast, is an estimated 69.5 percent white, and that might explains some of the less-than-coded language from conservative lawmakers.
“What we’re looking for is local control, not foreign control,” said Oregon state Sen. Dennis Linthicum, a Republican former software engineer and cattle rancher. “And by foreign I mean Portland, Salem and the rest of those in the west who have decided they know better than we do how to run our lives.”
Portland and Salem aren’t “foreign” nations that have conquered American territory. They are Oregon cities, no matter what Republicans think.
There’s also a compelling financial reason why Oregon conservatives would prefer Idaho come to them, rather than simply moving to Idaho. Right-wingers who’ve moved to Idaho to escape the tyranny of abortion rights, decriminalized marijuana, and basic gun safety have contributed to rising housing costs in the Gem State. Wages are stagnating in rural Idaho. Escaping hippies comes with a steep price.
Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek has pledged to visit every county in the state as part of a “One Oregon Listening Tour,” which is actually pretty Portland. She released a statement saying she “recognizes that it is a wake-up call for the whole state when people are frustrated enough about not being heard to consider joining another state.”
Of course, Oregon conservatives might just suggest replacing Kotek with Roseanne Barr, like in that episode of “Portlandia.”
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