#CalExit: Poll Shows 1 in 3 Californians Favor Secession from US
Nearly one in three Californians are in favor of their state seceding from the United States, according to a newly-released Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Reuters/Ipsos surveyed 500 Californians and found 32 percent of respondents in the nation’s most populous — and arguably most important — state support a peaceful withdrawal from the United States. The election and inauguration of President Donald Trump is largely responsible for the surge in separatist sentiment in the Golden State, where Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton received nearly twice as many votes as Trump. The Sacramento Bee reports as many as 1.2 million Californians are estimated to have participated in anti-Trump protests last weekend.
“There’s such hostility towards Trump that many citizens believe it would be smarter to leave than fight,” Steve Maviglio, a Democratic strategist who ran a campaign against a failed 2014 ballot proposal to break California into six states, told Reuters.
Secession began gaining popularity in California around the time Britain withdrew from the European Union last year, the so-called Brexit. In 2014, only 20 percent of Californians were separatists, compared with 24 percent of all Americans. Currently, 22 percent of Americans want their states to leave the union. A secessionist group called Yes California is seeking to seize the zeitgeist and has filed a proposed ballot initiative — dubbed #CalExit — asking voters to decide if the state should “become a free, sovereign, and independent country.” Yes California founder Louis Marinelli, who lives in Russia, recently opened a “California embassy” in Moscow.
The Yes California measure needs 585,000 signatures to qualify for the 2018 ballot.
“The United States of Deplorables would miss California much more than California would miss the United States of Deplorables,” San Diego resident Peter Stephensen told the San Diego Union-Tribune, a reference to when Hillary Clinton called half of Trump’s supporters a “basket of deplorables” during her failed 2016 presidential bid. “California is already a national leader… we already dominate the rest of the United States economically, and would be a formidable global player as an independent country.”
“I don’t think it’s likely to happen but if things get really bad it could be an option,” retired Sacramento transportation planner Stephen Miller told Reuters.
With 38.8 million inhabitants, California is by far the nation’s most populous state, and would rank 36th globally if it were an independent nation. California’s 2.4 trillion gross domestic product (GDP), also tops in the nation, would mean the state would be the world’s 6th-largest economy. The state is the world’s preeminent center of technological innovation and is a leading global player in agriculture, trade, finance, entertainment, energy, mining, research, education, manufacturing and tourism.
Even if Californians do vote to leave the United States, they would still face tremendously long odds as secession requires the approval of two-thirds of members of Congress and three-quarters of states to amend the US Constitution. “California is a huge economic engine for the rest of the country and the idea that other states would say okay go off on your own, is not only unlikely, it’s incredibly improbable,” political analyst Brian Sobel told KTVU.
Far more likely than secession is the prospect of a concerted campaign to oppose Trump’s policies and actions that do not conform with California’s progressive values. State leaders have already vowed to take action to protect undocumented immigrants and others, and to combat climate change in the face of a growing and potentially existential threat denied or downplayed by Trump administration officials.