California Secession, is it possible?- Online Exclusive
You may have heard of “Calexit” in the news recently. This is the proposal for California to secede from the United States and become it’s own independent nation. This is not the first time the issue of California state secession has come up. In fact, there have been more than 200 proposals for secession within California’s 167 years as a member of the United States.
The proposal recently gained widespread awareness after the controversial election of Donald Trump to the presidency. The current movement was founded by Louis J. Marinelli, who currently lives in Russia and is not even a California native. He believes that California has too much power to sway political elections, as the state went overwhelmingly in favor of Hillary Clinton. Surprisingly, those on the left also support Calexit, as they believe that this will allow California to more fervently follow it’s progressive politics without a Republican congress or presidency stopping it.
The movement has until July 25, 2017 to gather at least 585,407 signatures to appear on the 2018 ballot. If it appears on the ballot and passes in Nov. 2018, then Article III, Section 1 of the California Constitution, which states California is an “inseparable part” of the United States, will be removed, allowing for the secession of California.
Or will it? Despite a popular movement in California and the insistence of many Texans that states can secede, the Supreme Court decided in Texas V. White, after the Civil War, that states do not have any unilateral rights to secede under the current constitution. This would mean that unless 38 states and a 2/3rds majority of both houses pass a constitutional amendment allowing for state secession, California cannot secede without intervention from the United States, possibly military intervention.
But for the sake of argument, let’s assume California does secede peacefully, what happens then? Currently, California is one of the largest economies in the world. In fact, California is the 6th largest economy in the world, surpassing France. This is due to the wealth of natural resources found in California and a booming technology sector, not to mention tourism and agriculture.
While the government may not admit it, California does more for the federal government than vice versa. California sends more tax dollars to the fed than California receives in federal aid money. This money gained from California goes on to support poorer states that bleed money, often in the South.
But that does not mean California would survive on it’s own. The strength of California’s economy comes from companies based here being able to trade easily with other countries due to America’s favorable trade policies. These trade policies would need to be redone from scratch in a secession scenario. The economy would also grind to a halt as a new government would be created and the issue of how California should be split.
On the whole, this measure is likely not to pass, and is likely not to result in any possible secession.