Though Calexit is rife with controversy and differing motivations, detractors of the movement won’t have to worry. It would be a miracle for Calexit to even come close to happening.
“Calexit”, a name created by social media to describe the movement to have California to secede from the United States, has been gaining incredible momentum after Trump’s election. Currently, one out of every three Californians have expressed support for the secession of California from the union. The movement was started by Marcus Ruiz Evans who, surprisingly, is a registered Republican despite the movement having strong liberal support. He started the movement two years ago, but had little support until shortly after Trump won the presidential election. Evans hopes to put a measure on the 2018 ballot to start the long and almost impossible process to try and make California secede from the rest of the states.
Evans claims that since the Constitution, per the Tenth Amendment, gives any power that is not reserved for the Federal government to the states, and thus, states have the power to secede from the U.S. However, this theory is flawed, since the Supreme Court has already addressed whether or not states can unilaterally secede from the Union in the 1869 Texas v. White case. They concluded that no state can legally leave the U.S. by themselves (and in fact, that the states that seceded in the Civil War never truly left the U.S.). There doesn’t seem to be much hope for this decision to be overturned either, considering that Columbia University Law School professor Gillian Metzger, when talking about the right of a state to withdraw from the Union said, “I don’t see existing constitutional support for that.” The plan for California’s independence doesn’t seem to address these issues.
In order for the dream of California to become a reality, the Calexit movement first needs to get enough signatures to be on the the 2018 ballot. The 2018 ballot measure is meant to make an amendment to the California constitution to allow California to leave the Union, and then in 2019, there will be an electorate referendum about the matter of independence. If both of those manage to pass, then California would still only be able to go free legally if there was an amendment to the United States Constitution. The only other alternative to that is California fighting its way out, and we’ve seen how that goes.
In addition, despite the support that the movement has gained in the aftermath of Trump’s presidential win, there are many reasons that many liberals wouldn’t want (and some conservatives would want) California to leave the Union. California provides the U.S. with the majority of democratic support, and without it, the U.S. could swing unrelentlessly red. California is also a huge monetary powerhouse for the U.S.- the state of California has economic power that would place the state in the top ten richest countries in the world if it was independent. Without California, the U.S. would lose significant economic power- giving more reasoning behind why the U.S. would be so against losing California and why the Cal- Exit movement will most likely only ever be a twinkle in a West Coast liberal’s eyes.
By Julia Poetzinger