Brexit Breathes New Life Into ‘Calexit,’ California’s Secession Movement

Following United Kingdom’s successful referendum to leave the European Union last week, support for independence movements across the U.S. are picking up steam. Support for California’s secessionists are on the rise and Brexit-inspired hashtags like #Calexit are flooding social media sites.

The Washington Times reports the pro-California secessionist leader Louis Marinelli said the Brexit vote makes “Calexit” not such a crazy idea in the 21st-century.

“This is an example of an independence movement occurring in the Western world, a modern-day, 21st-century [case] of a political entity seceding from a political union,” said Marinelli.

“And so now Californians who hear the word ‘secession,’ they don’t have to think of the Civil War anymore. Now they have a modern day example of how it can happen peacefully and legally and constitutionally, and that’s the path and process we intend to mimic here in California.”

Marinelli, who’s originally from Buffalo, New York, and calls himself a “California immigrant,” strikes commonalities between Brexit and Calexit movements. According to Newsweek, Marinelli believes both British and Californians feel disenfranchised by politicians in distant capitals, Brussels and Washington D.C., strangled by over-regulation on trade and don’t feel they get enough value for their tax dollars.

California currently has a GDP of $2.3 trillion and would be the world’s eighth largest economy, just above Italy, if it were its own county. The 31st state also has the largest population in the county and one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world.

Despite possessing the most economic power in the union, California’s representation in Congress is minimal compared to the 40 million residents living in the state. The Golden State sends two Senators to the U.S. Senate, just like any other state, and holds 53 out of the 435 representatives in the House.

“Our dream is to have California become its own country separate from the United States,” said Marinelli to Vice News. “We think the country system is broken, and we don’t feel that our future is best if we remain in that system.”

Yes California,” which is Marinelli’s secessionist movement website and paid for by the super PAC Yes California Independence Committee, said they’re working on a simple “leave or stay” referendum to be placed on California’s ballot by 2020.

“On November 3, 2020, Californians will go to the polls to elect the next president of the United States along with the California delegation to the District of Columbia,” the Yes California website writes. “While voting, you will also answer the question: ‘Should California be an independent country?’ We are waiting until the 2020 presidential election ask this question in order to ensure as high a voter turnout as possible so we have an honest referendum result.”

According to Newsweek, “Yes California” is still a fringe political movement with nearly 7,000 Facebook likes and 565 Twitter followers.

“We have a lot of people sending us messages and a lot of people want to find our online digital version of our independence referendum,” said Mr. Marinelli. “We have a lot of people who have joined our Facebook page, a lot of people who are talking about this issue on Twitter. The #Calexit hashtag, for example, has begun organically. There’s another one called #Caleavefornia.”

The movement could gain new interest follow a Donald Trump win in November. California Governor Jerry Brown inadvertently inspired Calexit supporters when he jokes that if Trump is elected, he will “have to build a wall around California to defend ourselves from the rest of this country.”

“It’s a double-edged sword,” Marinelli says about a Trump presidency’s impact on “Yes California.” It will help our momentum but we don’t want to issue ill will to the rest of the country. But both [Trump and Clinton] represent the oligarchy. Our group recognize both candidates have reason to cause California to leave.

[Photo by Rich Pedroncelli/AP Images]

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