The Left Embraces Secession With CalExit
One of the potential silver linings from the surprising victory for Donald Trump is the hope that a Republican White House will resurrect the left’s distrust of the Federal government. During the Obama administration, progressive activists have been noticeably less vocal on issues such as war, executive overreach, and civil liberty violations than they were when George W. Bush was in office. Encouragingly, we are already seeing signs of this with the idea of California secession buzzing on social media as demonstrators marched in Sacramento yesterday in support of the idea.
The group leading the charge, Yes California Independence Campaign, assembled long before Trump's surprising victory. Its aim is to put a referendum on the 2019 ballot that, if passed, would make California an independent country.
CalExit has even managed to find financial support from some in Silicon Valley:
The movement has racked up some impressive backers already. Shervin Pishevar, an early investor in Uber and well-known angel investor, claimed on Twitter that he would bankroll a campaign to make California its own nation if Trump won.
In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, he confirmed his mission.
"It's the most patriotic thing I can do," he told CNBC. "The country is at serious crossroads. ... Calling it New California."
He expressed a desire that California, the sixth largest economy in the world, in terms of GDP, might become a catalyst for a "national dialogue" as the country reaches a "tipping point."
While this blossoming interest in California secession is likely more a short-term partisan reaction to the election results than a reflection of a true growing movement — any campaign aimed toward political decentralization should be celebrated. Secession has long been portrayed exclusively as a reactionary, fringe right-wing solution, and too-often absurdly linked with racism. Secession should be seen as non-ideological, and perceived as a practical solution for an increasingly diverse society.
In fact, as Jeff Deist noted last year during a Mises Circle event dedicated to the subject, secession would make it easier for the progressive left to achieve the sort of society they desire:
Now one might think progressives would champion the Tenth Amendment and states’ rights, because it would liberate them from the Neanderthal right wingers who stand in the way of their progressive utopia. Imagine California or Massachusetts having every progressive policy firmly in place, without any preemptive federal legislation or federal courts to get in their way, and without having to share federal tax revenues with the hated red states.
Imagine an experiment where residents of the San Francisco bay area were free to live under a political and social regime of their liking, while residents of Salt Lake City were free to do the same.
Surely both communities would be much happier with this commonsense arrangement than the current one, whereby both have to defer to Washington!
Considering the fundamental economic fallacies he spent most of his campaign advocating, it's unlikely the Trump administration will end up advocating for the sort of policies America actually needs to become great again. But if the election of President Trump leads to more and more people questioning the value of democratic consensus, and causes more Americans to reassess the incredible powers that have been granted to the presidency, libertarians may be able to find a silver lining to this cycles election results.