by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Liberals used to hate secession, the notion that states could leave the Union as they did before the Civil War because they didn’t agree with the policies of the federal government. But with Donald Trump’s election, many California liberals suddenly have warm words for a budding ballot initiative that has just begun collecting signatures in order to place secession, or “Calexit,” on the ballot. …
… On policy after policy, from dramatically higher minimum wages to the nation’s most steeply progressive income tax, California’s leaders are pursuing a 180-degree departure from the priorities of Team Trump. They say this is the perfect time for a breakup, and they cite a new Reuters-Ipsos poll showing that 32 percent of Californians (mostly Democrats) back the idea.
As a Californian, I view the “Calexit” movement with amusement, since there is zero chance that Congress would ever provide enough votes to allow California to leave peacefully, and the alternative exit ramp would involve a modern-day civil war.
During my recent trips back to California, I have often debated with liberals over the idea. I point out that before they sign up for secession, there is a more serious, more tolerant way of giving Californians more choices: Let the sprawling, diverse state divide up into two or more states to ease tensions between farmers and coastal types, defuse the war of ideology between Left and Right, and allow more policy experimentation.