‘Calexit’: California considers secession
Has Presi dent Trump finally pushed Californians over the edge? said Lauren Evans in Jezebel.com. “With a GDP roughly the size of France” and one of the most progressive social agendas in the country, Californians have long contemplated “unshackling” themselves from conservative states in the South and the Great Plains. Last week, the Golden State took a step toward this fantasy by giving the Yes California Independence group permission to collect signatures for a ballot initiative that would allow California to officially secede from the U.S. One-third of Californians already support “Calexit”—and for good reason, says Yes California founder Louis Marinelli. Californians rejected Trump by a 2-to-1 margin, yet must now swallow policies we find abhorrent, including his crackdown on immigration and rollback of climate change regulations. “America is a sinking ship,” says Marinelli, “and the strongest position for California to take is one on its own lifeboat.”
How the worm has turned, said John Fund in NationalReview.com. “Liberals used to hate secession”—but only when red states like Texas wanted to escape President Obama’s liberal overreach. It didn’t take long under Trump’s presidency for the Left to retreat to its own “reac-tionary, defensive crouch.” Calexit might gratify liberals who long for “ideological purity,” said Conor Friedersdorf in the Los Angeles Times, but it would “be a disaster for progressive values.” Without California, “blue America would lose its biggest source of electoral votes,” while California’s profound political and cultural influence on the rest of the U.S. would be severely diminished.
Don’t worry, because Calexit will never happen, said Ed Kilgore in NYMag.com. Even if Californians voted yes, they’d need two-thirds of both houses of Congress and three-fourths of the states to approve of their departure from the union. “The only alternative, unilateral secession, was tried in 1861…and it did not work out well.” Still, maybe conservatives and progressives should go their separate ways, said Will Rahn in CBSNews.com. The gulf between red and blue states keeps widening, and half the country thinks “the other half wants to destroy all that’s best about America, and vice versa.” National elections have become an exercise in trying to control or punish the “enemy”—by forcing gay marriage on red states, or taking Obamacare away from blue states. “Why not just break up?” We should all give that question serious thought.