Amid all the post-election drama, #Calexit is a movement gaining steady recognition. The name comes from Brexit, which is United Kingdom’s secession from the European Union. Put simply, a lot of anti-Donald Trump supporters in California are proposing the formation of a republic that is completely separate from the United States. This idea is not surprising, considering over 61 percent of Californian voters voted for Hillary Clinton. With the help of social media, this movement has been spreading profusely and, if you haven’t already, you will probably start seeing #Calexit and #Caleavefornia surfacing on the internet. Is this a fad or will actual action be taken to make this happen?
The main force behind #Calexit is a group named “Yes California,” run by Louis Marinelli. This group is pushing for a 2019 referendum to separate California from the United States, if passed. In spring of that year, Californians will have the opportunity to go to the polls and decide if California should exit the union. Surprisingly, this movement was created months before in 2015 and Trump’s win is only promoting their cause.
Another key individual is Shervin Pishevar, who is a venture capitalist from Silicon Valley. Pishevar is a co-founder of Hyperloop and has invested in Uber and other big startup companies. He publicly claimed, via
social media, that he would help finance a #Calexit campaign if Trump won the presidential election. He recently founded a similar group named “New California Republic” that is pushing for the same issue. Silicon Valley is going crazy as innovators are choosing whether to help support the separation of California and get involved.
As someone from Silicon Valley, I am on the fence about this movement. While America is regarded as a powerhouse in the United States, American culture and patriotism is constantly embraced and celebrated. Creating a separate California republic may be more trouble than it’s worth and cause an even greater divide in a world that needs more peace and unification. Because California is such a big and heavily populated state, its secession would completely change American culture. It’s the birthplace of many significant historical events such as the Gold Rush and the creation of Hollywood, the filmmaking capital of the world.
However, if you consider how strong California is and how a majority of the population did not support Trump, the prospect should not be surprising. California is the sixth largest economy in the world and definitely has the potential to stand on its own. Oregon appears to be following in the same direction. After Trump’s win, Portland residents Jennifer Rollins and Christian Trejbal, filed the Oregon Secession Act. For any state, seceding is highly unlikely. What’s surprising is how much financial support these movements receive and the massive following they garner on social media. The “Yes California” website lets users donate anywhere between $10 to $2,000, and California itself is already one of the least federally dependent states in the country. While it’s extremely likely that California will remain as part of America, the amount of buzz over a potential secession causes even more concern over this already stressful election cycle.