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Steve Bannon Thinks California Will Secede From The United States In 10 To 15 Years

Steve Bannon. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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Steve Bannon spoke at the California GOP Convention in Anaheim Friday night, using his 40-minute speech to criticize the Republicans' approach to winning California, claiming that unless Republicans won back the state, "10 or 15 years from now the folks in Silicon Valley and the progressive left in this state is going to try to secede from the union."

The L.A. Times reports Bannon made this comment while mentioning the number of California-based progressive efforts to counteract President Trump's administration, including the recent passing of the nation's most comprehensive so-called "sanctuary state" bill. "We have a problem with understanding how to win. Nothing else matters," he told the convention attendees.

He also took time to find fault in two major California industries: Hollywood and Silicon Valley. SFGate reports Bannon criticized trade deals with China, claiming China "'gamed' international trade deals that helped 'Silicon Valley, Wall Street, Hollywood and Washington, D.C.'" He derided Silicon Valley in particular, calling the tech community "lords" and claiming the top-earners in tech "think they get a special deal" where they participate in a "free society" while the rest of the country is left responsible for defending the country's values, according to SFGate.

He related these criticisms to his calls for "economic nationalism," which he claims has nothing to do with "your race, your color, your gender, your religion, your ethnicity, your sexual preference," according to CNN. "It's about one thing -- are you a citizen of the United States of America?," he said.

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California has an enormous population of immigrants, both undocumented and documented, so Bannon's calls for "economic nationalism" would exclude a large portion of California workers. This anti-immigrant rhetoric has cost the California GOP voters in the past; in 1994, California Republicans supported the controversial Proposition 187, which rendered undocumented immigrants ineligible for public benefits, and public support for the party began slipping significantly. Currently, only 29% of registered voters in California are registered Republican.

Hillary Clinton won the state by over four million votes last November. Among the counties that went blue was Orange County, where Anaheim is located. It was the first time the county went Democrat in a presidential election since 1936.

Bannon's prediction of California seceding from the Union is not unheard of. Immediately after the election, the organization Yes California championed the #CalExit movement, calling for California to become its own independent nation. Rumors of the movement's connections to Russia led skeptics to question its supposed progressive origins, but other secession groups have sprung up in its wake. The state also has a long history of trying to split in two or break off from the country entirely, well before President Trump took office.