In case you’ve been living in a hole for the last week and a half, Californians are pretty pissed off about the result of the presidential election. Large protests have sprung up in virtually every major city and on many of the state’s college campuses. The State Senate recently sent out a statement essentially promising that it will do anything in its power to reject every attempt at federal intervention in California policy. And #notmypresident — a hashtag largely driven by California and Oregon residents — has been trending since hours after the election. Though these responses are not necessarily surprising following an unexpected election result, the amount of steam that the so-called “Calexit” movement has picked up is.
If you’re one of the 12 people who still have not heard about Calexit, it’s the idea that California (and possibly its surrounding states, though only Oregon and Washington are included frequently) should secede from the United States of America. The main rationale behind this is the fact that California rejected Donald Trump by a margin of roughly 62 percent to 33 percent, the largest difference of any state, and that the ideals of the vast majority of California’s nearly 40 million residents are not in line with the ideals of the country.
Secession is certainly not a new idea in California (not to mention Texas has been trying to secede since it became Texas), but already-existing secession organizations like yescalifornia.org have capitalized on the state’s dismay (most would say very successfully) and distributed info about secession via social media. The movement has slowly gained both popularity and credibility, and major national news outlets are even speculating about what a Calexit would look like.
Still, secession is extremely unlikely to succeed; it would not only have to gain a popular vote in a California referendum, but it would likely require a constitutional amendment. However, before taking the big picture into consideration, Californians should start with the most important question — that is, do we really want to secede?
I want to start out by saying that in theory, California would probably be the coolest nation ever created. Think environmental utopia. Think socialized health care. Think LGBTQ and racial/religious minority safe haven. Essentially, an independent California would be itself on steroids. And many residents believe that a separation from the Union would give California the ability to realize its full potential.
One of the most frequently cited statistics by proponents of secession is the size of California’s economy. As the sixth largest economy in the world in terms of GDP (and possibly fifth if we were to include Oregon and Washington), the state would still be a major player in world trade, especially in terms of agriculture and tech. Independence would give California the ability to set its own trade rules that match its unique economic circumstances and control the way its resources are managed on a more local scale. Pretty cool.
Other arguments for secession include the improvement of public schools through separation from federal curriculum and money allocation requirements (including a likely break from any creationism in public schools, might I add), the ability to handle our unique immigration challenge as we see fit and a break from the right-wing tax policies and ridiculous military spending that has sent the United States into a perpetual state of mass debt.
As a very liberal Californian from a suburb of the beautiful city of San Francisco, and as someone who has felt an increased sense of state pride (no pun intended) since the election, the new country of California seems like my kind of place. I’m not an economist and I’m not an anthropologist, but even I can see the various ways that a break from the United States could mean improvement for a unique state that craves a unique kind of social and economic policy. But despite this, I’m not going to tell you that you should embrace the Calexit movement and I’m not even going to tell you that I have. And I’m ready to explain why.
First, we have to consider the California residents who don’t agree with typical California values. As I mentioned before, Donald Trump captured 33 percent of California’s vote, meaning that roughly four million people were passionate enough to get up on election day and cast ballots for a conservative presidential candidate they knew was going to lose in their state. While it’s easy to simply cast these people aside and tell them that they should just leave or deal with the changes, we have to remember that the sheer size and biodiversity of our state means that there are entire regions of California that consistently vote conservative, and that it’s unrealistic to expect people to just pick up their things and go.
I’m not an economist and I’m not an anthropologist, but even I can see the various ways that a break from the United States could mean improvement for a unique state that craves a unique kind of social and economic policy.
Napa Valley, now considered one of the best (if not the best) producers of high quality wine in the world, is one of these conservative regions. Many California farmers identify as conservative as well. Let’s not forget that the booming economy that would allow California to remain an international power is partly reliant on these people.
Second, we have to consider the other liberals in the United States. While some claim that California does not have a say in choosing the president and that the results are often already determined before California’s votes are even counted, this is only because predictors assume that California’s 55 electoral votes will necessarily go to the Democratic candidate. A removal of these 55 electoral votes would make it a daunting task to elect Democratic candidates in the future, not to mention it would remove primarily Democratic representatives and senators from Congress.
A Calexit, especially in conjunction with the secession of Oregon or Washington, would mean that the Republican party would dominate the United States. California would then be primarily responsible for the ultra-right policies instituted in other liberal states like New York and Illinois, which would possibly include mass deportations, reversals of women’s rights and LGBTQ rights and extreme environmental deregulation. Our liberal utopia might share a border with one of the most conservative countries in the free world — a virtual Reaganistan.
Of course, it’s true that when I continue to see heated discussion about Calexit as a legitimate movement, it fires me up. It makes me realize that my state doesn’t take bigotry lightly. It makes me imagine the reality that such a movement could create. It makes me wonder where I would fit into that beautiful reality. But in the end, Calexit might only be a way of turning our backs on the problem and allowing it to exist elsewhere; this should not be the aim of a progressive movement.
So before making a decision about Calexit, remember to consider all the factors and ask yourself whether the movement can be formulated in a way that provides answers to the challenges I’ve presented above. If not, then maybe it’s not worth supporting.
Dylan Parisi wants you to really consider why you would support a Cal-exit.
California, Oregon and Washington should sprout some wings and fly away from a country (USA) that is holding us back from our destiny.
Only if the east coast can come too. Please.
i don’t see the wisdom in leaving one federal system for another. i’m for an independent California only.
East Coast is too different from Cascadia region and CA. They will form their own country once CA secedes.
You speak as though this one’s in the bag. Never going to happen!
If Trump really does start to use police force to expel 3-12M immigrants, I think it’s a given that CA will pass CalExit in 2018. It’s a majority minority state and a majority of residents are going to feel directly threatened by the US government. Once that happened, OR and WA would follow and join into a Cascadia state or merge with Canada. Which would leave NY + New England as well as CO + NM stuck on the losing end of some kind of New Afghanistan, where they would lose every single vote and have no control of anything.… Read more »
You seem to forget that to secede from the US, Calif would have to: 1. A Calif delegate would have to propose an amendment to the US Constitution 2. That proposal would need to pass by 2/3 of the Senate and 2/3 of the House of Reps. 3. Then 38 of the 50 state legislatures would have to approve. The republicans control 32 of the 50 state legislatures, so, Cal Exit is a pipe dream, and it ain’t going to happen. Besides, if you thought taxes here are high now, IF Calif did legally exit, the taxes they would need… Read more »
California needs the US like a fish needs a bicycle.
we’ll need them as trade partners and allies. what we don’t need are ohioans and alabamans and montanans to determine policy for Californians.
federalism is a failed experiment. those who get out the earliest will be better positioned.
If we have Supreme Court judges that respect states rights, then people from other states don’t determine all policies for California. California can recognize women’s reproductive rights as well as gay marriage and any up and coming transgender rights issues.
In theory CA can run itself completely differently from the US, but what’s the point in that? Why stay? What is the actual benefit of the US to CA?
Indeed, you are not an economist. Simply put, California can’t stand on its own legs. California is extremely progressive, sometimes unrealistically so, for instance, it has passed numerous pension, medicaid and retirement benefits that are grossly underfunded. The homeless population is growing in reaction to rising taxes, and taxes will still need to rise much higher to reach its utopian goal. Oh yeah, and there’s the drought.
Would you also argue that France can’t stand on its own legs? CA is a bigger economy than France and with the money CA saves on funding Red States, it can buy water until the desalination plants are up and running. It has no need of the US.
The interesting thing about this is that nobody looks at the economics of this. For starters, California can’t even meet its own energy demand, as it relies upon neighboring states to do so. If California secedes, how are they going to ration that? I’m guessing that they’d have to deny it to the poor in order to keep the wealthier people there, because if they don’t, then all of those technology companies in silicon valley are going to want to leave. I’d foresee third world status very quickly on just that point alone.
Thanks for the insightful comments. LOL.
I suppose we would stand in some special relation that is not afforded to other nations (assuming we become one) and are prevented from engaging in the apparently unheard of practices of trade and import (e.g., importing energy to meet our needs — kinda like the US currently does).
If this is your idea of a serious “look into economics” then either first open your eyes or close your mouth (in this keep your case fingers from keyboard).
Easy to fix – join Canada, a country with more energy and water than you need plus simular cultural values.
California belongs to Mexico, NOT to Canada. California, or “Alta California” as it was known before it was stolen from Mexico, must become a Mexican state. It has no connection to Canada whatsoever.
No, but CA is closer in culture to OR and WA. The West Coast can form Cascadia and join Canada together. Half the people living in OR and WA are from CA now anyway!
Many naysayers assume a hostile relationship with the USA, which is not intended. Water, energy, and other trade goods could be purchased, and CA has plenty of exports to contribute to balance of trade. The latest thinking is CA would remain on the US dollar (which as a traded currency can be used by anyone). What strikes me is that what the pro-exit group wants is very similar, structurally, to what CA would have under a strong Republican US govt with limited federal power and strong states. US citizens would retain that status unless they took action to change, which… Read more »
Actually, if a California secession were to succeed it would embolden– indeed force– other states like New York, then New England, etc. to follow suit. Domino theory in action. I’m surprised we haven’t yet heard of a NY secession movement. Only a matter of time.
LOL at this discussion. If you think the US would just “let California succeed” because they voted to leave, you are sorely mistaken. No freaking way is the US going to give up San Diego Ports, Marine bases, Vandenberg…….You people are complete idiots for even thinking this has a chance. Vote for it all you want, but I can tell you as a Veteran that the US military would utterly crush any attempt to succeed. Have a latte and think about that snowflakes.
Simple minds have simple thoughts.
Thanks for the laugh.
Have you actually LISTENED to the idiots in these red flyover states? They would actually say good riddance! What they actually WANT is a fact-free Christian Nation with no science or logic allowed. All someone with a megaphone has to do is suggest that they just need to get rid of the Evil Socialist Californians who are draining their banks by being lazy moochers (even though the opposite is true, CA funds red states) and they can all be rich! Have you paid any attention lately at all? Logic, facts, polls, democracy, journalism, absolutely everything — out the window! And… Read more »
No question the Union would disassemble. NY + NE are not going to stay in a union with red states that overrule them on everything.
I support California independence (along with Washington and Oregon), and as much as I am rabid liberal, I wouldn’t want the conservatives to leave. We need diversity of thought and an opposition voice. So for me, that’s one of Parisi’s arguments down. Second, if California or the whole west coast were to secede, I suspect that the liberal northeast would, too. So I don’t think we would need to worry about our independence wreaking havoc on their liberal societies at all. I think it would actually advance their causes. But there is a third way that would be better for… Read more »
I believe every state has a right to be independent, and that states with similar cultures have a right to form new alliances. But such changes have to be responsible. Most of the U.S. is opposed to open borders, so a separation of California has to require passports and a border maintained to keep those aliens in CA, where they are wanted. Likewise, there are many CA counties that want to form a state (of Jefferson) and stay within the U.S. That also makes sense. There is no reason for whipping up a lot of animosity. The Left coast of… Read more »
Totally agree. We have nothing in common anymore. Best to go our separate ways. And in the end, we will.
I feel like I have less in common with a deeply conservative rural Alabaman than an Icelander has with a Macedonian. And that Alabaman wants me to tell him how to think and live as I want him reciprocating the favor. Better to pull the plug as fast as possible, but as fast as possible might not be all that fast. My main reason for supporting a two-stage process (devolved power first, secession second) is that secession will probably take a long time, while devolution of power might happen much quicker. By my count, we could probably see 15-16 states… Read more »
We would have that already if we supported states’ rights more. That was the whole point of states’ rights. California could allow abortion, Utah could decide against. California can legalize marijuana, Hawaii can choose to keep it illegal. If states rights weren’t weakened, we on the Left would not be needing to freak out.
If states rights trump the union, what’s the point in the union?
Yeah, that makes sense. Like Catalonia autonomous region in Spain.
1. When the colonies rebelled against England, only about 1/3 of the people supported the movement for independence. About 1/3 were indifferent and the other third were Loyalists. No different from the 33% who voted for Trump. It’s doable. 2. I agree that the East Coast should think about leaving as well. As for liberals in the middle of the country–they can join us, or work within the Leftover states of America. 3. For 200 years we’ve had a formal contract with the rest of the country. It’s called the Constitution. There’s got to be a deal breaker. For me,… Read more »
Yep. This has all the portends of the end of the union. In my opinion, though, it’s all up to Trump. If he proceeds with the deportations and the muslim registry and he’s not impeached, he will have thrown a match on the situation and there’s no question CA will vote YES to leave. I think the union is now SO divided — and if Trump does these things it will be even more divided — that it will vote to let CA leave.
It won’t work because too many people will not want it. While there would have been a blowout for President either way, with no candidate for the U.S. Senate and most House and legislative seats uncompetitive a lot of Republicans just did not bother voting at all. Even so, the plastic bag ban only won 53-47. What happens when the million plus people who voted for Romney but did not go out to vote for Trump come out for a referendum to leave the Union? What about all of the Democrats who are upset but still will never want to… Read more »
Thanks for the prognostication Karnak.
CA is majority minority now. If Trump deports millions and creates a muslim registry, you will get close to 100% turnout of the minorities of the state of CA. The others simply don’t have the numbers to win if that happens.
The election has shown that we need a return to a less centralized government. California does not want to have its policies dictated by the South, nor do the South and Midwest want their policies dictated by California and New York. If the national government restricted itself to its constitutionally enumerated powers then none of us would have to worry about people who live a completely different lifestyle dictating to us.
You guys are ridiculous! If things don’t go the liberal way, you run! I’m so sick of the whining and crying, if You don’t like the results of the election, MOVE! Seriously, how about giving the next president a chance, we all gave OBAMA a chance and look where it’s got us.. get your heads out of your spoiled rotten, still living at home asses and accept That the people voted trump in or move, it’s that simple. You aren’t helping anything, in fact you’re causing my unnecessary Problems for your fellow Americans. Come on I didn’t break down and… Read more »
Observe the reasoned, nuanced, clear and mature thoughts of an American with the privilege of deciding (in part) what kind of country we have. Is this the kind of person we want to have any say in important decisions affecting our lives?
You are a prime reason a proposed move is warranted and possibly achievable. If one cannot avoid infestation of pests then one needs seriously to consider its time to change the mattress.
Given the string of non-sentences you have crafted, I think you need to take a very deep breath (and possibly a remedial English class) and re-start your prescribed medication . Can’t imagine what else to do — I have no idea how one goes about salvaging a defective mind. (Luminoisty and its kind are no help in this regard).
Sorry for your loss (or congenital absence).
Actually we would really like you to leave. Go form New Afghanistan somewhere else…
Also, I wasn’t this upset when Reagan or either Bush was elected because they weren’t fascists. The list of lies and massive offenses to democracy and human rights coming from Trump would be too numerous to list. Give him a chance? No way.
Why not join Canada instead of becoming independent? We’re aligned on most issues and the blue states are contiguous so as the U.S. becomes more and more ‘Trumpy’ they can just hop on board. We’re really way past the point of worrying about the red state feelings – they’re blocking action on climate change and health care so they can kill Muslims and make Trump and his buddies richer. They’re literally killing themselves, and taking us with them. Are we really going to continue to fork over a fortune to a government created by a minority, protected by the immoral,… Read more »
Canada? California rightfully belongs to Mexico. It used to be called “Alta California”. Mexico has a military and the means to retake the state and its valuable ports if California decides to secede. And that would be the right outcome. An injustice was done long ago and this is a good way to rectify it.
Maybe Mexico should join Canada too.
Frankly I like the idea. Canada still has something resembling civilization.
It’s odd how Parisi mentions Yes California – a PAC created by dissidents from the California National Party – but neglects to mention the CNP itself.
If California secedes it must immediately be absorbed into Mexico as a full fledged Mexican state. We all know that the US stole the entire US southwest from Mexico. This would be the appropriate time to return it.
Yes, so long as Mexico is returned to its rightful native owners first.
Wait until you get the bill for the interstate system owned by the federal government. Then when all Social Security checks stop coming, what are you going to do? What a harebrained idea.
Uh…. what about the fact that for every dollar California sends to DC, we get less than a dollar back? If we diverted all the money Californians pay in Federal taxes, Social Security, Medicare, etc. to our own coffers, we’d come out ahead. Do a little research before posting, please.
The whole idea of succession is utterly ridiculous nonsense that will simply never happen. This is the minority hardcore left (aka Bernie Sanders). Anyone think what would happen if California was invaded by a foreign country and did not have the support of the federal government? All major business (and high earning individuals) would most certainly leave. All that tourism revenue, making California the world’s 6th largest economy – GONE. Never gonna happen in a million years.
Please restate your argument rationally. It’s hard to argue or agree with you when your argument is so poorly stated.
Maybe you think it’s poorly stated because you like to overly complicate simple things. This will never happen – ever! In a vote, which is laughable to think we will ever vote on this – the majority of Californians will not vote to secede. It’s a small hardcore left minority who support this. The majority of Californians (although left leaning, sadly) are moderate and realize this is not a good idea. California and the federal government have a mutually beneficial relationship. I for one, do not consider any perceived “bigotry” towards Trump to be a “big deal.” What about the… Read more »
From BBT “overly complicate simple things”
Your substantial ability to simplify complexity results in thinking that represents the issues as mere caricatures.
Should have moved to Texas. You would have fit in seamlessly.
Focusing on the improbability of secession misses the point of the #Calexit movement. This is not a secession movement. It’s an independence movement. Independence can be achieved in many ways. A surge of support for California independence–whether expressed through a referendum, petitions, or polls–puts pressure on elected officials and candidates to make concessions. This has been proven by other independence movements around the world. Scotland’s recent independence movement resulted in the Scottish parliament gaining greater legislative powers. Catalan’s independence movement has resulted in greater autonomy for the region and more independence from Spain’s central government. A peaceful independence movement is… Read more »
I couldn’t agree more. Focussing on the far off possibility of secession means missing a very real immediate opportunity to gain greater independence and autonomy. Well put.
Dylan argues that California is responsible for the rest of America. Sounds a lot like America being responsible for the rest of the world.
I say lead by example. Let the conservatives move out and let progressives move into California. The future will show how it all plays out. The very LAST thing America needs is more of the same corruption of both parties. Something has to give. CalExit might actually save America by giving hope to many who have nothing going under Trump.
This author is extremely liberal and this piece is very subjective.
“this piece is very subjective.”
What would an opinion piece — discussing the not-yet-existent outcome(s) of a currently non-existent political maneuver — based solely on objective considerations consists in? How, in context, can anyone avoid subjectivity (e.g., beliefs, inferences, presumption…)?
Your comment is (a) an oxyMoron, (b) a penetrating glimpse into the obvious, or (c) both.
Ok. So lets assume Cal-Exit passes (pipe dream), who will they elect president??? I shudder at that thought. Whoopie Goldberg maybe??? Lol! The new White House would be CNN. OMG! This is scary stuff. Stop it already. Can’t we all juyst get along? Apparently not. Count me out. I guess the hot chocolate, crying rooms, coloring books, play doe, and therapy dogs didn’t work did it? Or maybe we just needed more, but could not afford it. I guess the media will have some fresh meat to tear apart for a few more weeks. What happens after that story gets… Read more »
Folk with your logical “skill” (and grammar, and spelling) are why we have now a Trump (one step removed from a Whoppie?), and why we need to thin our herd. If getting away from demented sheep is an answer, then it is worth examination and perhaps seriously pursuing.
God, the Nexus does need a moron filter.
I for one would love to see the map of California after you removed all US federal lands, because Calafornia wouldn’t be able to take them. They total 45% of the state. I am very liberal, but if Cal were to exit the US you bet I would consider it a foreign nation, and a giant security problem because it wouldn’t have any means of defending itself from attack by a hostile country. And that is a pretty tame view. I’m sure many US citizens would consider CA as a traitor state. Seriously it really seems that the people who… Read more »