When Donald Trump took office, it was a sad day for most Californians. It’s no secret Trump isn’t popular here.  Hillary Clinton won more than 61 percent of the popular vote in the November election.

Trump’s campaign promises, including banning all Muslim Immigrants, building a wall with Mexico, denying climate change, tax breaks for the 1 percent and corporations, repealing the ACA, forging close ties to Russia and deregulating the banks resonate negatively here.

If Trump’s selections for his cabinet – former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, and Ben Carson as Housing Secretary – are confirmed, Trump will take his policies far to the right.

This may be good news for the California independence movement.

In a few weeks, the State of California will give Yes California the right to begin circulating petitions to qualify a Calexit vote for the 2018 ballot.  Almost 7,000 volunteers will collect signatures for the petition.

California really is different from the rest of the country.  According to most studies and polls, Californians are better educated, wealthier, more liberal, and value health care and education more than the rest of the country.

The divide seems to be growing. For example, if California is excluded, Trump won the popular vote by 1.4 million people.

In the age of Trump and Brexit, anything is possible, including a democratic and legal method for California to become its own nation. Three reasons make this a very good idea:

  • Size. California is the 6th largest economy in the world; we can govern ourselves. With Silicon Valley, Hollywood, the video game industry and aerospace, California is an economic powerhouse possessing a highly skilled, educated workforce.
  • Taxes. California is a Maker state, contributing more to the federal government than we receive. (In contrast, South Carolina takes in more than $7 in federal funds for every $1 they contribute, according to the independent analysis of Wallet Hub.) Our taxes shouldn’t support an agenda and a voting system that doesn’t support our interests while we subsidize other states.
  • Culture: California is more liberal, more educated and wealthier than most every other state. Our views on education, science, immigration, taxation and healthcare are different.

In today’s interconnected world, no one tells the top economies what to do. If the banks are too big to fail, then a top 10 economy is too. No one is going to pull money out of California if it secedes, no one is going to invade, no one is going to stop trading – there is too much money invested here, too many deals already going on. The world will not let the California economy be disrupted.

Separation won’t be easy. Taxes, military bases, establishing an army are just a few of the issues. California has the benefit of the Federal Supreme Court decision of Texas v. White (decided after the Civil War), which said states cannot violently unilaterally secede, but they could secede “through consent of the states.” If the initiative passes, the matter would go to Congress to be approved by each house, then ratified by the states.

And California does have its own army: the California State Military Reserve. It has existed for more than a century, and only reports to the governor.

California is an economic, cultural and powerhouse, and nationhood is the next logical step. Events in Washington, to say nothing of the attitudes in the red states, make the possibility much more likely.


Marcus Ruiz Evans is the leader and board chairman of the Yes California Independence Movement. He wrote this for The Mercury News.