American secessionists: is the secession of California from the US possible?

An opinion of the Russian Californian about the protests, secessionism and sentiments of ordinary Americans after the election of Trump

American secessionists: is the secession of California from the US possible? Photo: pressian.com

Realnoe Vremya has recently published an interview with Louis Marinelli, the chief fighter for the independence of California. A columnist of our newspaper, a Tatar Alexander Galkin, working in Silicon Valley, responded on the material. In his newspaper column, written specially for our online newspaper, the Russian Californian told whether it is true that the separatist sentiments are strong in the United States, and Donald Trump is connected with these processes.

The election in the United States has been one of the biggest surprises of the year. Few believed in the victory of Donald Trump. According to the polls, Hillary was always leading. According to the results of queries to search engines and analysing activity in network media (primarily Facebook and Twitter) the likelihood of her winning was estimated at more than 90%. Therefore, the election of Republican candidate Donald Trump has become a surprise not only for the world but for America itself: at least for a number of states.

Who has won and why

The situation with the election in the USA repeated the referendum in the UK for leaving the EU, called Brexit. In both cases, the expectations were completely opposite, and the result was a shock not only outside but also inside the country.

In the case of the US, the situation with the election reflects a roughly equal division of the population by political views. If the electoral system accounted every vote for a candidate (the so-called People's Choice), Hillary Clinton would win. However, the current system with the electoral college, once again levelled this choice and led to the victory of Donald Trump. This has already happened in the US, the last time in the presidential elections in 2000, when a similar same way (due to the indirect system of elections) George W. Bush beat Al Gore.

The fact that the predictions of choices made on the basis of the Internet turned out to be incorrect, despite the high probability, clearly shows how the two groups of voters differ from one another: most of the supporters of Trump are conservative and do not use the Internet to discuss their political preferences, in contrast to the supporters of Clinton, who, on the contrary, actively used social media and online media. The result was like in a joke, when 'the survey conducted by the Internet website anekdot.ru showed that 100% of respondents use the Internet'.

Secessionism in California

Many news outlets in the United States and Russia published the information that the CA considers the possibility and even almost going to vote for secession from the US.

This news is associated primarily with the activity of the public movement of Yes California, which held a small (eight people!) rally near the Capitol of the government of California in the state capital Sacramento.

Yes California held a small (eight people!) rally near the Capitol of the government of California in the state capital Sacramento. Photo: facebook.com/YesCalifornia

Secessionism and its history

The idea of the secession of individual states from the United States is not new. In the US this kind of idea is called the secessionism, and, accordingly, the act of leaving of the individual states — the secession. The most famous case of secession happened in 1860 when eleven southern states seceded from the Union, which preceded the war between the North and South. The term 'separatism' in the Russian language is almost never applied to the exit of individual states from the United States in the USA.

Why California?

California is a unique state in many ways, claiming for secession:

  • California is a 'borderline' state as it is located along the west coast and has a border with Mexico.
  • This is the state with the highest percentage of Hispanic population and ancestry.
  • California has a very high percentage of immigrants: in Silicon Valley the number of immigrants exceeds the number of the native Americans.
  • California has a significant economic potential: there are the headquarters of most of the IT companies (Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Ebay) and many other companies of the science-intensive industries. This allows California to collect annually about 370 billion dollars in taxes.
  • California was an independent state in the 19th century.
  • California is the most 'democratic' state, here Hillary Clinton has got the maximum percentage in the election.

Thus, California is one of few states where secessionism can really take place. The activity of the party Yes California is connected with it immediately after the election of Trump due to the discontent with the election results.

In California, Hillary Clinton has got the maximum percentage in the election. Photo: bbc.com

The Yes California party, or Who is Marcus Ruiz Evans?

The activities of the party Yes California is associated primarily with the activity of its founder and president Lous J. Marinelli and Vice-President, Marcus Ruiz Evans. They are both rather controversial figures among the political elite in California.

Louis, in particular, is remembered by his campaign against the gay marriage (support of such marriages and LGBT community in general in California is one of the key policy), which, according to him, he then repented.

Besides, Luis is not a natural-born Californian: he was born and raised in New York and moved to California after returning from his long trip to Russia. He has lived in Russia for about five years, teaching English in schools of Samara and Kazan. According to the California press, during this time he gained respect for Russia, and even considered the option to remain in Russia permanently, to renounce his US citizenship and take Russian citizenship. But then he suddenly changed plans, and in 2011 returned to the United States.

Real situation

Despite the claims of Ruiz and Marinelli, in fact, they have almost no supporters. Even in the famous protests in Sacramento after the election, about which many newspapers wrote, judging by the photos, no more than 10 people (!) participated.

Besides, in order the issue of secession of California from the US just got in the list of issues, for which the Californians vote, Louis and his supporters need to collect about 500 thousand signatures in support — space figures! And although he expressed the readiness of about 13 thousand volunteers to start to collect signatures, many doubt the success of this event.

In order the issue of secession of California from the US just got in the list of questions, for which the Californians vote, Louis and his supporters need to collect about 500 thousand signatures in support. Photo: facebook.com/YesCalifornia

This party, but with the old name Sovereign California, was already engaged in active propaganda of California cessation (however, without leaving the US, in order of devolution) in various network and local media but without big success. Thus, this time the many believe that despite the ambitious statements of the party that the majority supports leaving the US, the party will fail to collect necessary number of votes. In parallel with this party with such ideas (on the division of California into six parts) had a venture capitalist and billionaire Tim Draper, but was not able to collect the required number of signatures.

Further development

At this stage of the party, Yes California needs to collect the required number of signatures. Then the question about the possible withdrawal will be added to the ballots in the next nationwide expression of will, which will be held at the end of 2016. Only after positive results on this issue, it will be considered in the Congress and possibly they take a decision. Until then, California will remain a unique state in the USA.

By Alexander Galkin