Now Draper is back with a more modest proposal to create three Californias, and he's managed to spend enough money and get enough signatures for it to appear on the November 2018 general-election ballot, cheek by jowl with more conventional initiatives on matters like gas and property taxes. It received more than 402,468 valid signatures, more than the amount required by state law, thanks to an ambitious campaign, called Cal 3, and financial backing from the early investor in Tesla, Skype, and Hotmail.
Californians will vote in November on whether or not to split the state into three separate states.
Vikram Amar, a professor and dean of the College of Law at the University of IL in Urbana-Champaign, said California's conservative-leaning inland empire (which would be part of the new Southern California) could swing Republican. Southern California would begin in Fresno and cover most of the southern state.
If a majority of California voters that cast ballots agree to divide the state into three, the plan would need approval from both houses of the California Legislation. Southern California would begin with Madera County in the Central Valley and then wind its way along the existing state's eastern and southern spine, comprising 12 counties and ultimately curving up the Pacific coast to grab San Diego and Orange counties.
Draper, who made his fortune investing in startup companies, is proposing that the state of 40 million people be split into three entities with roughly the same populations.
Will there soon be three Californias?
Graphic of the State of California shows the divisions of a proposed initiative to split the state into three states
"How would we pay for basic services, what are our basic services, how would we fund just basic state government", he said.
"That is a risk Democrats in California and Washington, D.C., will be loath to run", he said.
The reasons for wanting to split California up? Draper proposed similar measures in 2012 and 2014, but those efforts failed after election officials invalidated numerous signatures collected.
A breakup would be complex, as the state's businesses and universities - even its water system - are interconnected and dependent on one another.
The arguments for splitting up the state range from the usual smaller-is-better claims that California is too big and unwieldy to function efficiently, to the more qualitative arguments that the state's diversity ensures that significant communities are denied adequate representation and autonomy.
A CNN analysis in April found that even if California split into three states, it would still be underrepresented in the Senate compared with most of the US.