Known simply as “Calexit,” the movement for California to secede from the United States is gaining momentum, especially since the election of President Donald Trump. While the idea has been around for years, an official proposal was sent to California’s Secretary of State Office late last week.
A group called Yes California is behind the latest Calexit initiative. Per a report from the Sacramento Bee, the organization needs over 585,400 registered voter signatures over the next 180 days to get the measure, known as “California Nationhood,” on the 2018 ballot. While the group was created nearly two years ago, support for the Calexit movement exploded just after Donald Trump was elected the U.S. president in November.
“California and America are different cultures, very different. Donald Trump never would have been a candidate here, not even a party nominee. Do we need more evidence than that?” Marcus Ruiz Evans, a Yes California spokesperson, told the Daily News.
For Calexit to succeed, Californians would need to repeal parts of the state’s constitution requiring California be an “inseparable part of the United States” and recognizing the U.S. Supreme Court as the “supreme law of the land.” If the constitution were ultimately re-worded, the Bear Republic would essentially govern itself.
Should the Calexit proposal get on the 2018 ballot and approved by voters, another special election would be held in March 2019 to confirm Californians really want to form their own independent nation. According to recent polls, a majority of California residents like the idea of secession. Only 55 percent of registered voters need to approve the Calexit measure for it to pass.
CALIFORNIA: Are you ready to secede from the United States? #Calexit— Yes California (@YesCalifornia) November 9, 2016
However, even if Calexit gets past the necessary voter approvals, there are still major legal hurdles to jump. For California to leave the union, an amendment to the U.S. Constitution would have to be written, and three-quarters of the U.S. states, as well as two-thirds of Congress, would need to support it.
“There’s lot of evidence suggesting the 35 states who all voted for Trump have very different values and don’t like California. They don’t like immigrants, don’t like accents. They don’t believe in LGBT rights, women’s rights,” said Evans, as cited by the Daily News.
So far, Yes California has yet to raise any money to support the Calexit campaign. However, Evans says the group has 7,000 volunteers ready and eager to hit the streets to get the necessary signatures.
According to Yes California’s Calexit Blue Book, the reasons for the Bear Republic to secede and become a free nation are simple. The newly independent country would not be subject to U.S. trade policy, allowing California to keep all taxes paid by citizens. The new nation would also control all the natural resources as well as create its own rules for immigration, healthcare, education, and the environment.
Calls for withdrawal from the United States are not unprecedented. Similar to Calexit, a secession movement in Texas, dubbed “Texit,” gained significant traction last year.
Inspired by the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union in 2016, many residents of Texas rallied to leave the U.S. and form an independent country. Citing the Texas state constitution, members of the Texas Nationalist Movement pointed out there is no law that prevents the state from leaving the union. However, an 1869 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court prevents states from unilaterally breaking away.
Despite legal hurdles, there have been previous attempts by some states to secede from the United States. The most famous, of course, is when 11 southern states tried to leave the union and form their own nation. The idea ignited the bloodiest war in American history, the Civil War.
While Calexit seems to be supported by a majority of Californians, it’s not likely to become reality. While it is entirely possible the initiative will make it to the ballot and approved by more than 50 percent of voters, legal experts find it unlikely other states and the U.S. Congress will go along with the idea.
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