Ethics Alarms wrote about the efforts by some “blue” states, notably California, to unethically bully other states into bending to their partisan will in opposition to their own voters in this post from last month, condemning the practice. That essay involved California’s “black list” preventing state travel to others states that in California’s consistently warped assessment, “discriminates” against LGBTQ Americans—you know, like by not allowing biological men to instantly become female collegiate swimmers just by saying they are.
This is not the first coercive effort of its kind, nor will it be the last. Major League Baseball was convinced to move its All-Star Game in 2021 from Atlanta because a reasonable Georgia voting integrity law was falsely labeled as “voter suppression.” California was at it again last week, as Gov. Newsome called upon Hollywood production companies to stop filming in states such as Georgia or Oklahoma with strict anti-abortion laws. In other states, legislation is developing to block any state contracts with businesses in states with anti-LGBTQ legislation or pro-gun ownership laws, or that significantly limit abortion.
The July EA post concluded,
California’s attack on pluralism, democracy and federalism as well as its unethical efforts to try to influence governing decisions of other states is far, far worse that any imagined “discrimination” the Golden State claims to be reacting to. California has no respect for other states; it refuses to acknowledge that everyone doesn’t agree with California’s frequently warped vales and priorities and that there is nothing wrong with that; and it is deliberately acting as an agent of discord and division in the nation at a time when such conduct by a state, an official, or even a celebrity is particularly irresponsible.
California’s boycott list expresses exactly the same un-American spirit as bars, restaurants and other establishments that refuse service based on political views (Ethics Alarms has discussed that revolting trend many times)….
How can California’s toxic conduct be stopped? …This may be one of those rare exceptions where “tit for tat” becomes ethical as a last resort. The other states should consider taking retaliatory measures against California, and execute their own boycotts.
Now Jonathan Turley, the rapidly red-pilling Constitutional Law scholar from George Washington Law School in D.C., has proposed a formula to do exactly that. He writes in part,
The point of these campaigns is to pressure state officials to ignore the will of a majority of their citizens and pass laws to appeal to corporations and other states in a competitive market….For Democratic leaders like California Attorney General Rob Bonta, official boycotts on travel are simply a case of states acting like consumers and “aligning our dollars with our values.” However, it is more than that. It is speaking as a state to isolate and punish states with opposing views on abortion, transgender rights, gun rights and other policies. In a system based on federalism principles, we embraced the model of allowing each state to reach its own conclusions on divisive questions. The result can be consensus around moderate positions that escape both parties, which often are driven by the extremes on issues like abortion….
There is a way to end this madness. It is an Article 5-like alliance. [Earlier, Turley explains, “An attack on one is an attack on all.” That reference to Article 5 of the NATO treaty is a virtual mantra in Washington these days as “the bedrock of peace and security in Europe for over half a century.” But the benefits of such deterrence should not be lost on another group under increasing threat for their political alliances: America’s red states…]
While this would ideally be an agreement by all states, red states should pass legislation barring state business or travel with any state that engages in boycotts. The key would be that the agreement must stand on principle, allow no exceptions, and trigger immediate reciprocity: A travel ban on, say, Nebraska would result in a reciprocal ban not just from Nebraska but from every state in the alliance.
In this way, when a state like California targets a state like Utah, it will shoot itself with roughly half of the country. Eventually the administrative and competitive costs of such measures would become prohibitive.
California’s enormous economy has given leaders like Gov. Newsom a sense of impunity in targeting other states. There are now 17 states on California’s banned list under a 2016 law that automatically adds states which discriminate against or remove protections for people on the basis of sex, gender identity or sexual orientation. Imagine if those 17 states had automatic reciprocity laws — add any one of us to a boycott list, and you will be boycotted back by all.
…Evan Low, a California lawmaker who authored that state’s ban, put it simply: “The current culture war is not a game.” Indeed — which is why we should look to “the most successful military alliance in history” to end reckless incursions by neighboring states.