Why Calexit probably won’t happen

I’m sure readers are aware that there’s a growing groundswell of support in California for that state to leave the Union and declare its independence from the USA.

I just can’t see that happening.  No way, no how.  This is why:

  1. California currently has 55 electoral votes (i.e. in the electoral college).  They’ve gone reliably (very!) for the Democratic Party in every recent election.  If California leaves the union, that’s 55 fewer reliable electoral votes for a Democrat presidential candidate, making it immensely more difficult for that party to ever win the Presidency again.
  2. California has 53 congressional districts.  It currently sends 38 Democratic and 14 Republican representatives to Washington D.C., with one district vacant.  The Democratic Party Congressional delegation, presently with 193 members, would thus lose almost 20% of its current representatives if California were to leave the Union.  Again, that would make it much more difficult for Democrats to ever regain control of Congress.
  3. Not only would Democrats lose the support described above, but it’s almost certain that Republicans would gain support if California left the Union.  There’s already a strong move in the more rural and/or conservative districts to form a new state, Jefferson, in order to escape the stifling voter dominance in the coastal, liberal enclaves.  Most of those districts already elect Republican representatives.  Given the legal precedent of the formation of West Virginia in 1861-2, and current Republican control of Congress, the Senate and the Presidency, it’s very likely that the state of Jefferson would be approved on a federal level, even if the rest of California disapproved.  That would mean additional, very reliable Republican votes in the Electoral College, further disadvantaging the Democratic Party.  It might find itself down 70-75 votes in the College, compared to the most recent election.

Given those electoral realities, I just can’t see the Democratic Party as a whole allowing its members in California (which the party currently controls) to succeed in separating from the USA.  It would cost the party too much.

On the other hand, if Democrats in California insist on pushing for independence, that might precipitate a split in the party, as many of its current leaders (including the Minority Leader in Congress) are from California, and would not want to give up their positions of leadership.  There’d be a free-for-all as Democrats from other states raced to get control of key positions.  It would make great entertainment for non-Democrats, but might rip apart the already stressed and fractured party.



  1. Just a couple of thoughts…
    The State of Jefferson is an old idea, it's been kicking around since before WW2 & (originally) included parts of southern Oregon.

    Succeeding from the union is not a new thought & since 1865 it's been generally recognized that it will not be allowed.
    Since the 1860s, states rights are not what they were.

    If you look at a county map http://metrocosm.com/election-2016-map-3d/ you can see were the democrats are. In Calif Clinton got 4.2m more votes from those blue areas. There is a lot of Calif that is happy where they are.

    And all your reasons… It's not going happen.

  2. I doubt, outside of the large "Blue" cities, there would be much remorse if Kalifornia left the Union.

    They've affected (negatively) our costs for emissions, cars, products, and regulations for many years.

    They've caused no end of trouble for the rural folks in this country.

    They cost more than they earn (not the only state either) but they have done so for in excess of 30 years).

    If they want out, I say, let 'em.

    We will, of course, have to require that they build a wall so in a few years when they become a completely failed state, the inmates can't escape…

  3. With respect, remember that the slave states gave up a massive set of political advantages when they seceded. Not only did they have a big grab of votes in the house and senate (as I keep telling people, look at the Fugitive Slave Act if you want to see how much power the South had in Congress), a lot of the Supreme Court justices (including the chief justice, Taney, who's well known to anyone who researches the 2nd Amendment) and a big chunk of the media of the time. Any fool could have told them they would give all of that deciding power up if they seceded… but they did it anyway.
    Calculating on California seceding based on practical political concerns might not be functional.

  4. California would probably have to renegotiate their access to the Colorado river water. I doubt that Utah, Colorado, Arizona would be that generous to a bunch of foreigners.

    Also California is set to be a net importer of electricity soon. I doubt they will get any special deals on that either.

  5. Know who America's most fascistic leader has been? Abraham Lincoln. He threw political opponents in jail, suspended Habeas Corpus, manipulated to get Utah admitted before it had the 60,000 residents required to win the 1864 election…

    While the Confederate states were foolish. The Southern plantation owning elite had a vested, financial interest in secession. As it was, it took two votes, possibly rigged, to get TN to secede and they've found documents to indicate the GA vote as against as well. In any case, the CSA had to station an occupying force in the Tennessee Valley and North Georgia to prevent secession from the Confederacy back to the Union.

    The secession of the Southern states gave the Republican party leave to enact, without serious opposition, their entire party platform during and after the Civil War.

  6. there's a growing groundswell of support in California for that state to leave the Union

    Not just *in* Cali; lots of us who've had the misfortune to live in a state *near* Cali want them out too. CalExit could be the answer to our prayers, but until that happens, I'll continue praying that San Andres will toss them into the Pacific 🙂

  7. Freddie, the Canadian blog SmallDeadAnimals files California news under "Sweet Saint San Andreas Save Us." 🙂


  8. Let them go. Please let them go. The consequences for everyone but California residents would only be positive.

  9. Speaking as a ridiculously reluctant SoCal resident…
    There is more support for the state being spit up than seccession, at least out in the rural/small town areas.
    That said I had someone tell me that they would support those of us who would want out, or not want to seceed being forced at gunpoint to aquiesce so the supporters definitely are growing…more insistent.

  10. There are some very smart, very rich people behind this. The real question isn't "what's good (or bad) for the Democrat Party?" It's "how does pushing CalExit make the promoters richer and more powerful?"

  11. I would not be surprised to see Mexico absorb CA a few years after they leave the US. Perhaps that is the intended endgame?

  12. Something will eventually have to be done with, or about, California. As "normal;" people migrate to the rest of the U.S.that 38-D / 14-R imbalance will shift more heavily D. Some of that migration will bring "Cali attitudes' as migrants seek to establish the Cali mindset elsewhere; think "viral contamination."

    California, as B, above, mentioned, has had a negative impact on the other 49 states. Our gasoline cans are all crap now thanks to the California Air resources Board mandates that metastisized across the other 49, and that's just the very tip of the proverbial iceberg.

    As far as succession goes, I don't think it's necessary. If, first, we can contain the cancer to California the other 49 will do OK; that will mean increasing the number of "special" legislative mandates only for California with "normal" stuff available in the other 49. Then, when the massive SoCal earthquake occurs, simply don't rebuild there. Spend not a dime replacing whatever is destroyed which will force a large amount of economic activity out of California.

    Let the movie industry have Los Angeles, the weirdos San Francisco, the rich can have the coastal slice with the homeless and the hippies, inland farmers will prosper, assuming they can get water. Reducing Cali's population by 35-50% will be a net gain for the other 49, assuming the 49 are smart enough to manage the invading cancer – think "Grapes of Wrath" in reverse.

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