#Calexit’s 15 minutes of fame is up

April 26, 2017

1599389_630x354Secession … it’s something that angry sections of U.S. electorates often threaten to do when they’re unhappy with elections.

Since the Civil War, it’s not a threat that’s been followed through with. Unless you count the Conch Republic and most historians seriously don’t.

Over the last decade, there’s been rumblings of it in Texas over the Obama victories in 2008 and 2012, with a faction of the Texas Republican Party trying to force the convention to vote on the issue last year. Of course, that attempt failed, usually because secessionists tend to overestimate the actual popularity of their movement, scratching their heads when it’s consistently shown that the majority of people in their own state do not agree with them.

Like Texas, California has had its own secession elements over the years. With the results of the 2016 election, those secession elements, known better through their hashtag #Calexit, got their 15 seconds of fame.

Of course, they didn’t even get as far as the Texas secessionists. Most of the supporters were far-left radicals, the sort you’d see in the infamous Black-Bloc groups, who didn’t do much aside from burn the U.S. flag and talk about some sort of anti-capitalist Utopia. Unlike the Texas secessionists, who tried to work through the Republican Party, the Calexit supporters seemed more interested in attacking the party who people would most likely identify them with — the Democrats.

In many cases, the far left that made up the core of the Calexit “movement” considered Democrats part of the problem. Which is odd, considering their movement was a reaction to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s electoral loss to Republican Donald Trump.

Guess that goes to show you how reactionary movements are co-opted by, well, reactionaries. Or in this case opportunists.

The leader of the #Calexit movement was a man named Louis Marinelli who led a group called Yes California, which took its name from another (unsuccessful) secession movement, Yes Scotland.

Yes California promoted a proposed initiative to be placed on the 2018 California state ballot, which, if it had passed, would have required an independence vote to be held in March 2019 on the question of California’s independence. The vote would have been determined by a simple majority without taking into account the political geography of the state nor its smaller components of county and local governments.

Not too long after that, it was revealed that Marinelli had ties to Russia, which had been giving Yes California plenty of airtime on its international network, Russia Today. Not only did he have ties, but actually lived there, running the whole thing there and even opening an “embassy” in Moscow.

This is not too different from #Calexit’s cousin #Texit, which saw supporters turning up at Kremlin-funded events in Moscow.

Can you say “fifth column,” boys and girls?

But back to Calexit.

A person would have to be really separated from reality to think something like this would work. Sure, 61.6 percent of Californians voted for Clinton and only 32.8 percent voted for Trump … but remember those percentages are of a state of 39 million-plus. Were they just expecting to kick out 3.9 million Trump voters?

la-oe-friedersdorf-calexit-unprogressive-20170129Also, geographically speaking, Trump won 25 of California’s 58 counties … almost half the state’s area — area that is the source of a great deal of the state’s agriculture, energy production, fresh water and timber. Did the Calexit people expect these counties to go with them, even if they won on a referendum? What would they do if they refused to join in a “Free” California? Invade?

For Texas, the numbers look even worse for secession, based on the presidential election. In Texas, 52.2 percent voted for Trump in the 2016 election, 43.2 voted for Clinton, with those results being even closer than the 2012 election of Obama (41.38 percent) vs. Romney (57.17 percent). Even when Obama was president, the numbers showed Texas secession to be very, very unlikely.

So yeah, Calexit was pretty stupid. There is still a group called the California Freedom Coalition attempting to get a referendum. But it looks like they won’t go anywhere. They probably won’t even get a 15 minutes of fame.

Hopefully it’s dead now, with news that its leader has decided to seek permanent residency in Russia, where he was running the whole show from anyway.

Originally printed in the Batesville Daily Guard

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