September 16th, 2018
Secession movements in California are nothing new. There have been some 220 different schemes to divvy up the state, 27 of which either made it to the state legislature floor, or were put up for referendum. Most of latest ones would have the effect of taking a big blue state and making one or two blue states, and three or four red states.
There have been at least four different secession movements since 1975, the most recent of which is the resurrected Calexit movement, run by a shady character named Louis Marinelli.
It’s a mistake to assume that everyone who wants to break the state up or secede from the Union is seeking partisan advantage, or working for a foreign power. One of the most famous secession movements of the 20th century, for the State of Jefferson, was sparked by a desire for decent highways through the region and a widespread perception that Sacramento had reneged on promises to provide such. Some secession schemes were idealistic in nature: Ecotopia and Cascadia were proposed with an eye to creating an environmental paradise. Most of these movements sought to improve things, one way or another. Even the ones that sought to gain were self-serving, rather than villainous.
Just this year a scheme to split California into three (Cal3, backed by venture capitalist Tim Draper), creating two red states and one blue died when the State Supreme Court ruled that the proposition constituted a “major revision” to the state constitution. Such changes can be placed in front of voters only by the state Legislature or a constitutional convention. The Court concluded, “because significant questions have been raised regarding the proposition’s validity, and because we conclude that the potential harm in permitting the measure to remain on the ballot outweighs the potential harm in delaying the proposition to a future election.” That would suggest that unless future initiatives specified that the existing state constitution be grandfathered into the mini-me states, such initiatives would be considered invalid.
Mind you, it was unlikely that two thirds of the state voters would turn the state water supply over to the thinly populated northern California, where the rain and snow like to congregate.
Which brings us to the Calexit movement. A year ago, it was moribund. The leader of the movement, the aforementioned Louis Marinelli, had suddenly fled the country, writing a manifesto that said, among other things, “I have found in Russia a new happiness, a life without the albatross of frustration and resentment towards ones’ homeland, and a future detached from the partisan divisions and animosity that has thus far engulfed my entire adult life. Consequently, if the people of Russia would be so kind as to welcome me here on a permanent basis, I intend to make Russia my new home.”
OK, good riddance. Turned out that unbeknownst to most voters and even most of his supporters, he had moved to Yekaterinburg the previous September, and was surreptitiously running Calexit from there.
He set up a bullshit embassy in Moscow, supposedly representing the “Republic of California.” Putin, of course, isn’t daft enough to grant recognition to this endeavor, but in a land where he viciously suppresses demonstrations he finds embarrassing, Putin seems oddly tolerant of Marinelli.
Russia did once have a colony in California from 1821 to 1841, what is now Fort Ross. (The “Ross” was for “Russia”). Nearby Sebastopol was not part of the Russian Empire, but got its name from the winners in a bar fight in a mysterious and largely unknown process. Northern California has the best history…
I had heard that Calexit was still a Thing, even without the Tsar of Yekateringburg, and assumed it basically gave the Teabagger crowd something to play with to distract them while the GOP imploded. While a lot of liberal and progressive Californian also fantasize about escaping from Trumpistan, they give Calexit a wide berth, knowing that it’s where venture capitalists, sagebush rebellion zanies, religious whacks and baby authoritarians go to die.
The Santa Barbara News Press is one of three papers that endorsed Trump in 2016 (and has its own remarkable story of takeover by a self-absorbed plutocrat) and so it’s not unusual to find Op-Eds saying that Lincoln was widely condemned during his presidency, just like Trump, so therefore Trump is just like Lincoln, or (today) that Trump must be honest because he refused to accept the presidential salary.
Even so, yesterday’s headline was a bit startling: “Secessionists hope ‘hatred’ of Golden State will aid cause.” The article, from Foxnews’ website, elaborates that the Calexit people want ‘deep hatred’ from at least twenty-five state legislatures, Not just hatred; deep hatred. I guess that means the sort of hatred people have for pink Capri pants, or Justin Beiber, or Barney the Dinosaur. Rip-your-teeth-out-and-throw-them-at-it type hatred.
The rationale is that if twenty five state leges vote to ask California to leave, that they will have the constitutionally required consent, and Calexit will tell the California voters that they now have legal permission from the country to leave.
It’s utter nonsense, of course. But Marinelli clearly hopes that the resounding rejection would make California all butt-hurt and they would leave in a huff, taking 12% of America’s economy and 15% of their tax base with them. The new Republic of California anthem could be, “Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll go eat worms.” It would be only fitting.
“Disentanglement” could cost California a cool trillion, and the rest of the country even more, and both would take massive hits in wealth and power.
Happy birthday, Vladimir. Stand by to pick up the pieces.
Maybe Louis Marinelli would be president-for-life. “Medals for Everyone!”
It’s not going anywhere. Yes, Trump is widely hated in California, but it’s a lot easier and far more productive to get Trump out of office than it is to break up the United States.
In the meantime, reflect on this: Calexit and Marinelli want to stoke hatred to their ends. That rarely involves benign intent, and the Russian influence is, as they say, clear and present.
To the Trumperdoos who hate California and want us gone: There is no such thing as a “California.” Never was. It’s just something ginned up by Hollywood and the Fake Liberal Media.
Just ask your President. Nothing here except illegal voters. Who you want to vote for Calexit.
Or something like that.