Trump's Election Inspires #Calexit Movement
With Donald Trump's election (still a baffling phrase to type), some Californians are espousing the sentiment that it's time to leave the union. Most of the electoral college went red while California went overwhelmingly in favor of Hillary Clinton— she got 61% of the vote—leaving some in the Golden State feel increasingly detached from our fellow Americans.
#Calexit was a popular statement on Left Coast Twitter on Tuesday night, as the results began pouring in and became more dire with each passing minute. As the most populous state in the nation, one of the largest economies in the world and, now, a home to legalized marijuana, it was apparently time for California to split off and become its own country:
Recreational marijuana, it's worth pointing out, is now legal up and down the West Coast of the Lower 48. Maybe we can get pretty chill with Oregon and Washington too:
The ascension of Trump (ugh) was not the genesis of the movement to either secede from the union or at least break up the state politically. In fact, proposals to partition the state date as far back as the first decade of statehood, and movements like The State of Jefferson date to as far back as 1941. In 1965, tensions over water rights led the state senate to actually approve a bill to split the California into two—it died in committee in the state assembly. More recently, a similar movement called Six Californias got some attention, but failed to gain the signatures required to appear on the ballot.
A full-on secession movement has yet to fully coalesce, though it gained steam in 2016 with the U.K.'s "Brexit" vote in June. While a Trump presidency might be the coup de grâce for liberal California, the leader of the most prominent secessionist movement said that, whatever last night's result, the time had come. "[B]oth [Trump and Clinton] represent the oligarchy," Louis Marinellil, president of Yes California, told Newsweek earlier this year. "Our group recognize both candidates have reason to cause California to leave." On the gloomy day after last night's election results, the movement is currently holding a rally on the steps of the state capitol in Sacramento.
Yes California aims to put an independence referendum on the 2019 ballot, allowing Californians self-determination. They write on their website:
In our view, the United States of America represents so many things that conflict with Californian values, and our continued statehood means California will continue subsidizing the other states to our own detriment, and to the detriment of our children. Although charity is part of our culture, when you consider that California's infrastructure is falling apart, our public schools are ranked among the worst in the entire country, we have the highest number of homeless persons living without shelter and other basic necessities, poverty rates remain high, income inequality continues to expand, and we must often borrow money from the future to provide services for today, now is not the time for charity.
Last night's election was disheartening for the Left Coast (and elsewhere). But now is not the time for California to say goodbye to the Union. It's time for California to step up. As the most populous state and one of the most progressive and diverse, it's time for California to lead the way against Donald Trump and his disastrous agenda.
California provides undocumented immigrants "unprecedented" rights, has the strictest gun laws in America, was the second state to have marriage equality, and has led the way in environmental protection. And while the electoral college left us with a fascist orange monster as the leader of the free world last night, California passed a fairly progressive slate last night through the statewide ballot propositions (minus not abolishing the death penalty). Let's set an example for the next four years.