The #calexit hashtag started as a joke; back when people thought that Trump’s presidential bid was just a joke. But in the days since the election it’s use on the internet has skyrocketed.
There are two very important things to remember about California in regards to this possibility:
California is a Referendum State
The first is that in California you can call a vote via petition for anything you like as long as you get 50k signatures. These are sometimes called “ballot initiatives” and they happen completely outside the normal Republican process. This is why things like Marijuana (which just passed) were able to happen there and in other states with Referendum options in their state constitutions.
California is MASSIVE
If California were to secede today it would it would instantly become the sixth largest economy on the planet. While it makes up less than 5% (state average is 2%) of America in terms of land it is responsible for 13% of the GDP. It is also much more populus than the average state. In fact, if California were to secede it would It is larger by population than France and would take 14.8 percent of the American population with it. That’s roughly 1 in 7 Americans.
If this were to happen – and all that means is getting enough signatures – it would set a dangerous precedent. For comparison the Civil War was fought exactly because 18% of free Americans planned on leaving the Union (1 in 6 Americans).
Perhaps to keep everyone from making rash decisions the new “Vote Yes California” page says that the vote is scheduled for Spring of 2019. That might sound like a long time but as far as ballot initiatives go that’s about normal. However, that timeline also puts it right before the 2020 election. Meaning that if the people of California decide to leave, not just based on hysteria, but based on Donald Trump’s entire first term – then he will have to beg the American people to vote for him again amid the fall out and economic devastation of secession.
Featured Image via Spencer Platt/Getty