Election leads to whispers of Calexit

Photo Courtesy: Josh Adamson
Photo Courtesy: Josh Adamson

Chronicle Photo | Josh Adamson

By Josh Adamson |Staff Writer|

The topic of state secession is newly relevant in the wake of Donald Trump’s electoral victory.

Dubbed Calexit, these recent developments represent the latest iteration of secessionist movements that periodically arise after presidential elections.

“These movements pop up from time to time,” stated Political Science Professor Scot Zentner. “The most well known in the last 20 years were some Texans demanding that their state leave the Union.”

Zentner added that Calexit is partially motivated by California’s Democratic majority and sociodemographic makeup, which includes large numbers of Latin American and Asian immigrants.

“People of all political stripes react to setbacks such as the Democrats have experienced in recent elections,” stated Zentner. “The specific ethnic dimension in California perhaps makes such reaction more volatile.”

An independent California would be able to exert more control over its immigration, healthcare, and trade policies, according to YesCalifornia.org.

Some residents of California may not believe that their views are reflected by the election results, according to Assistant Professor of Political ScienceMeredith Conroy.

Such state-level dissatisfaction facilitated the 2012 Texas movement and the ongoing Calexit developments.

“In this manner, the motivation for modern day threats of state secession seems to be issues of representation at the executive level, and the feeling that members in these states are not represented by the President,” stated Conroy.

The closeness of the election returns may prevent the movement from appealing to I.E residents.

Hillary Clinton won Riverside County 49 percent to Trump’s 46.4 percent, according to information from the California Secretary of State.  Clinton won San Bernardino County with nearly 52 percent of the vote.

Not all of Clinton’s I.E. supporters would support California’s secession.

There are no precedents of a state successfully seceding from the U.S., and no formal procedures exist that would facilitate secession.

The creation of such procedures would require a constitutional amendment.

But amending the Constitution is difficult, which is why there have only been 17 Amendments since the Constitution was signed, excluding the original 10 Amendments in the Bill of Rights,” stated Conroy.

Zentner added that there are other potential ways for California to secede as well.

“Given the Civil War and received wisdom reflected in cases such as Texas v. White (1869), it is likely that the only ways for a state to leave the Union would be by revolution or by mutually agreed upon separation,” stated Zentner.

Present circumstances would prevent the possibility of either from taking place.

”There is no reasonable ground for revolution at present that I can discern, [that is], no clear violation of natural rights or positive law that the people of California would or could assert,” added Professor Zentner.  “In any case, it is inconceivable that California would attempt to go to war with the United States, to say nothing of its nearly complete inability to do so.”

Although he noted that Californians could approve a referendum that asks to leave the U.S., Congress would be highly unlikely to allow the separation to happen.

“I see no scenario now or in the near future in which the rest of the country would allow [that] or in which even a majority of Californians would actually want to do so,” added Zentner.

California voters would have to signal their support for any potential referendum.

More than 385 thousand signatures are required to place a statute on the ballot. Around 585 thousand signatures are required for a constitutional amendment, according to the California Secretary of State.

Students described their disagreements with Calexit.

“California should not secede because of an election,” stated student Abraham Garcia. “This happens every presidential election cycle.”

People’s local congressmen are more representative of them than the president, added Garcia.

Calexit will continue to be widely discussed in the years to come.

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