Calexit secession movement folds
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In light of Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 elections and inspired by the recent Brexit vote, which separated the U.K. from the E.U., California has attempted to start its own Calexit movement and secede from the United States to become its own independent country. The official campaign goes by the name “Yes California,” and it has recently been working to collect enough voter signatures to put a measure on the 2019 state ballot. Business insider reports that this is an attempt to open up the route towards legal secession.
But the movement has recently suffered a setback that seems to have put it down permanently. Back in December it was discovered that even though the campaign is based in San Diego, its leader, Louis Martinelli, has relocated to Russia and ended all involvement with the campaign that he helped start.
He specifically stated that, “… as the author and architect of the Calexit ballot initiative petition which is currently circulating in California, it is only proper, given my intention to seek permanent residence in Russia and not return to California in the foreseeable future, to withdraw that petition from circulation, and to allow a new petition, free from ties to me and drafted by others, to be resubmitted at future date of their choosing.” Shortly afterward, the campaign’s vice-president Marcus Ruiz Evans announced that he will also be leaving the Calexit movement according to The San Diego Tribune.
According to a statement issued by Evans, the organization had failed to collect the required number of petition signatures needed by July 25 in order to put an initiative on the November 2018 ballot, with only 97,500 out of the 585,000 needed. He also announced that in leaving the Yes California movement, he will be joining the California Freedom Coalition instead. It is essentially a grassroots version of the Yes California campaign, The New York Magazine notes.
Despite the seemingly concerted effort, it would actually be very difficult for California to exit the Union, as there are not legal guidelines for secession laid out in the Constitution. According to University of Virginia Associate Professor of Law Cynthia Nicoletti, the only two possible ways for California to obtain independence are either by a constitutional amendment or a revolution, as reported by Business Insider.
Essentially, in order to secede by legal means, a state needs approval from the rest of the country. Furthermore, it can pass a constitutional amendment legalizing secession only with a vote from three-fourths of the other 49 states.
The Yes California movement has gone under, and other groups seem to be facing insurmountable obstacles in a state where 61.5 percent voted for Hillary Clinton. However, The San Diego Tribune claims that, as long as Donald Trump remains in office, there will always be the option of secession.