The signatures are gathering for a California secession, however unlikely it may be to occur.
Supporters of Californian independence have taken the first real step towards secession from the US, submitting a ballot proposal to the state attorney general. Should the option garner enough support, ‘Calexit’ might become an issue.
A group called ‘Yes California Independence Campaign’ filed their proposal with the attorney general’s office, asking to “prepare a circulating title and summary of the enclosed ballot measure: “Calexit: The California Independence Plebiscite of 2019.”
Secession supporters want to repeal the California Constitution’s wording as well as offer a “yes/no” question on California’s independence.
“In the Spring of 2019, Californians will go to the polls in a historic vote to decide by referendum if California should exit the Union, a #Calexit vote,” the group said on its website.
Before 2019, however, the idea must garner enough preliminary support via the November 2018 ballot. Under the group’s proposal, the Golden State would be cut loose if 50 percent of voters cast ballots and at least 55 percent of them support Calexit. In that case, they also want the “newly-independent Republic of California” to be able to join the United Nations.
For the separation vote to take place at all, the group first needs to make sure that the state’s constitution is changed.
As of now, Article III, Section 1 of the California Constitution reads that California is “an inseparable part” of the US, meaning that the so-called Calexit, a take-off of the British Brexit anti-EU vote, is illegal in the first place. This is what Yes California Independence Campaign wants to change and, thus, clear a path to independence.
Still, the group needs nearly a half-million signatures for the referendum to appear on the November 2018 gubernatorial ballot. It is now asking people to sign a petition for the vote be established.
California has a significant economy by itself, though it does have problems, such as water shortages.
California does have the largest single-state economy in Americait’s also the sixth largest in the world from a single municipality, and larger than the entirety of France’s economy. But the actual road to secession wouldn’t be easy, from all the assets and land owned by the federal government in the states to developing new institutions (like, say, its own military). And the state’s drought struggles likely won’t be made easier by having to fend for itself.
It all just seems like crazy California dreaming, but the possibility’s there. It’s just a very small one.
“There’s no precedent at all for it,” Joel Aberbach, a UCLA political science professor, told Mashable. “The people who are talking about that for the moment are mostly just venting.”
Aberbach cited obstacles dealing with the transition to independence, from the deep integration of California’s economy with the rest of the country’s to the challenges that would arise for international goods being shipped and traded through the California border.
Still, some are holding on to hope and Marcinelli isn’t fazed by the doubters who say secession just couldn’t happen.
“They said the same thing about the Brexit vote and they said the same thing about Trump getting elected,” he said. “A lot of the things people don’t expect are happening … People are sick and tired of the status quo. They want to see some change.”