Newsletter: In November, California will consider splitting into three states


It wouldn’t ever really happen, would it?

That’s the question Californians are asking themselves in the early hours after a hard-to-imagine initiative qualified for the November ballot: an effort to split the Golden State into thirds.

Sign up for the Essential Politics newsletter »



The proposal that has earned a spot on the Nov. 6 ballot would change the course of U.S. history: create three California states, two of them largely along north-south lines and a third that hugs the southern coast and anchored by Los Angeles.

The “Cal-3” initiative is the brainchild of Tim Draper, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who just a few years ago envisioned carving California into six states.

Yes, the proposal faces unbelievably high hurdles — both legally and politically. But Draper spent enough money to qualify his proposal for the ballot, and you can expect a political season full of questions about California’s future, some which could be valuable about defining what the state is really about and what its citizens want.

It’s worth noting that I’ve asked Draper a number of questions about what’s next for his ballot proposition. We’ll post updates on our Essential Politics news feed.


The world’s attention this week on the brief but historic summit between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un — one that Kim said would bring “major change” — now turns to what happens next.


And that’s a key question, as it already seems as though the two sides are already interpreting the meeting in Singapore differently.

After the two leaders signed a joint statement Tuesday that said North Korea would “work toward” denuclearization, the country’s official media said that Trump and Kim had the “shared recognition” that the process would be “step-by-step and simultaneous action,” language not in the leaders’ statement.

Those who have long watched the relationship (or lack of one) between the two countries seemed to say, in a sense: We’ve seen this movie before.

Republicans in Congress did something unusual in the era of Trump: They voiced skepticism about overtures to the totalitarian leader Kim.

One new element to what happened, an offering made by the president, is raising some alarms: the promise to end military exercises with South Korea.

There’s much more, as The Times’ team examined the historic meeting from all the angles — from the slick U.S. video some have called propaganda to my colleague Victoria Kim’s first-person account of how covering the assignment felt to her as a native of South Korea.


Tensions ran high on Capitol Hill late into Tuesday as a maverick group of GOP lawmakers came close, but failed, in forcing a vote on several proposals to revamp the nation’s immigration laws.

A key proposal was a solution to the dilemma faced by the so-called Dreamers.

But instead, House leaders crafted a plan to vote on funding for President Trump’s proposed border wall.


-- A South Carolina congressman (“nothing but trouble,” Trump called him) loses while a Nevada brothel owner wins: Tuesday was primary day in states across the nation.

-- In a rare apology by a Trump administration official, top White House trade advisor Peter Navarro on Tuesday walked back his inflammatory statement that there was a “special place in hell” reserved for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

-- White House chief economic advisor Larry Kudlow suffered a heart attack on Monday.


In the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats have invested heavily in Orange County congressional races they think could be instrumental in taking back the U.S. House. In the June 5 primary, Democratic candidates made gains in the more reliably Republican areas of the county, putting four congressional seats in play this fall.

Our politics and data teams break down each contest, precinct by precinct. These races, of course, are at the top of our ranking of the most competitive contests in California.

Don’t forget you can keep up with election results as the remaining ballots are counted. And if you live in Los Angeles County, see how your neighborhood voted.


-- GOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox says Trump is coming to California to campaign for him.

-- A panel of California election professionals warned this week of “voter fatigue” and said candidates who survived last week’s primary will have to hone their message to better address specific issues.

-- The dairy farm belonging to the family of Hanford Rep. David Valadao has been seized by lenders over unpaid loans.

-- Nonprofit hospitals across California have been providing less charity care to patients unable to afford their medical bills, and they say that proves that Obamacare is working.

-- A statewide ballot initiative to legalize sports betting in the state was proposed Monday for the November 2020 election.

-- Orange County Sen. Josh Newman angrily lashed out at Republicans in the California Senate on Monday, after voters recalled the Democrat from office last week.

-- A second member of California’s campaign watchdog agency has resigned, leaving the panel now two members short.

-- A dispute between Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers over how to pay for a crackdown on the illicit marijuana market in California has resulted in $14 million for the effort being left out of the proposed state budget.


Essential Politics is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday but will be on hiatus the week of June 18.

You can keep up with breaking news on our politics page throughout the day. And are you following us on Twitter at @latimespolitics?

Miss Monday’s newsletter? Here you go.

Please send thoughts, concerns and news tips to

Did someone forward you this? Sign up here to get Essential Politics in your inbox.