By Brian KLose
In the wake of the recent general election, California is making headlines with serious talks of secession. The historically blue state, with the largest population and number of electoral votes (55), did little to impact Hillary Clinton’s presidential run, and is now considering leaving the Union all together. This move could have drastic consequences impacting both U.S. and international affairs. While supporters of the move, nicknamed “Calexit,” believe it would bring more prosperity and unity to the state, a California secession would only further divide an already divided country.
The calls for secession are mainly headed by the policital action committee, Yes California Independence. Yes California believes California’s statehood is a detriment to the state’s accomplishments, economy, and culture. As stated on the committee’s 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.”
Yes California’s timeline hopes to earn enough petition signatures to propose an initiative on the 2018 California state ballot. If passed, the initiative would then turn into a referendum determining California’s independence, requiring a new amendment to the U.S. Constiitution that would allow the state’s secession.
Yes California states that its most prominent concerns deal with the poor quality of the state’s public schools, its place in the country’s political landscape, and its abundance of natural resources.
These concerns are all valid, but Yes California offers little in terms of solutions other than not being dependent on the U.S. federal government. In fact, much of the group’s reasoning rides on the back of Trump-hating sentiments. President Donald Trump’s election breathed life into the movement mostly becasue of people’s knee-jerk negative reactions to the results, and a California secession, one of the most progressive states in the country, could become a sanctuary for those in total opposition to the new administration.
The idea of a Californian safe haven is enticing, but only for those who can afford living there. An average California home cost over $400,000, over two-and-a-half times more than the national average, according to the California Legilature’s Analyst’s Office. This expensive endevor complicates the opportunity for an average American to relocate to California. Immigrating to a new Californian country would only further complicate a move, leaving out those who had the justification to leave.
A California secession would set the precedent for other states to leave the union, completely reshaping countless American institutions and allowing for a possible Republican takeover. Since California has the most electoral votes of any state, losing the typically-democratic state would deal a serious blow to those hoping for a one-term Trump presidency. The loss of the nation’s largest democratic populations undermines the idea of political choice.
Yes California and its supporters are right to cherish the state’s progressive values. Secession from the Union would also mean seceeding those values from America. The country would be losing one of its most diverse and inclusive states, and California would no longer be a model for these values in American society.
The idea of a state secession in a time of great division brings to mind dire historical ramifications. A call for secession does little to benefit the country it leaves, and for a country at risk of devolving into embracing more traditional, oppressive values, the need for California’s optimism and progressivism keeps the hopes of maintaining America’s diversity and inclusion alive.