Courtesy of Fox News, there is an alternative Calexit movement emerging – an exit of rural California from urban California.
There is another secession movement in California, and elsewhere in America, that is getting genuine attention from political pundits. While it may be unlikely to succeed, the idea of intra-state secession—a section of a state splitting off to form its own state—has been growing in popularity. And there’s even a Constitutional procedure for doing it.
In recent decades, the political differences between rural areas and metropolitan areas seem to have become more severe. This has caused political splits in certain states, where, often, those rural areas, with lower populations, feel stifled by their city brethren.
This is why there’s a movement in New York for upstate to split from downstate. As Republican state senator Joseph Robach puts it, “We’re completely overwhelmed…by the policies of New York City.” In 2009 and 2011 he introduced bills to hold a referendum on secession. And in 2015 there was a rally in favor of carving out a new state, supported by more than a dozen groups frustrated by the policies of Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo.
I’m working hard to refrain from making political predictions moving forward, so I want to heavily pad this observation as something strictly within the hypothetical possibility.
We could possibly see intra-state secession movements like California and New York reach a fever pitch once Texas and swing states turn blue due to demographic changes. The electoral college still determines the presidential winner, and so if red parts of a blue state can break up, it means their votes still count, while the impact of a large state turning blue has been diluted.
This won’t happen as long as many Americans still believe the system as is can be fixed, reformed, or co-opted. Only when they accept that there can be no coexistence in the same political jurisdiction will they act desperately, without permission or explanation.
There is a constitutional procedure, but it’s highly unlikely to occur that way, for obvious reasons. Blue states have no desire to see their red regions leave, no matter how much they tell you about how they hate them. They may not like them, but they need them under their political control.
If these movements succeed, it will be due to outright or de facto secession in which the people in those counties or communities ignore the laws coming out of their state capitols and instead adhere to their own institutions and self-created governments.
Out of all the scenarios out there, this may be one of the most practical, the most effective, and frankly the most peaceful way of addressing the situation we have on our hands. Decentralization can diffuse tensions, reduce anxieties, and perhaps bring back a “live and let live” mindset that’s not possible when people 3,000 miles away have power over your local school’s bathroom.
Even if these movements do not ultimately happen, the perception that people will resort to them if feel compelled to may deter lawmakers and others from pushing divisive and hateful policies in order to avoid that kind of crisis.