As a former resident of rural Colorado, I’ve been watching with avid interest the effort of a bunch of tiny rural counties to secede from the state to form “North Colorado.” Now (via Josh Marshall) I see there’s a similar story in Northern California. The justifications here are telling:

Supervisors in a far Northern California county where residents are fed up with what they see as a lack of representation at the state capitol and overregulation have voted in favor of separating from the state.

Here’s the North Colorado rationale:

“We really feel in northern and northeastern Colorado that we are ignored — citizens’ concerns are ignored, and we truly feel disenfranchised,” Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway told CBS4.

Notice this strange definition of “disenfranchised.” Are they being systematically deprived of their voting rights, by for example restricting rural forms of ID that can be used to vote, or closing down rural polling places, or eliminating early rural voting? No. Instead, their party lost an election, and they disagree with the policies implemented by the duly elected legislature.

This is particularly rich coming from a state like Colorado, which before 2008 had been fairly solidly Republican. If you were a liberal there, like my family, you knew you didn’t have much say in things, and you just took your lumps. That’s how the system works. But the minute the tables are turned, the immediate reaction is to, in a quite literal sense, overthrow the government. Give us our totally unregulated oil and gas drilling, they say, or we shall rend the state in twain. (They don’t seem very serious about it, but that’s the principle here.) And if they’re not trying to secede, it’s rural sheriffs declaring they won’t enforce the new gun control legislation.

All in all it’s indicative of a striking lack of faith in basic democratic principles.

Ryan Cooper

Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanlcooper. Ryan Cooper is a national correspondent at The Week. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New Republic, and The Nation.