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Trump's Presidential Victory Prompts Spike for #Calexit Movement in California

  • Catherine Maddux

Protesters gather on the campus of the University of Connecticut to show their opposition to the election of Republican Donald Trump as president on Nov. 9, 2016 in Storrs, Conn.

Protesters gather on the campus of the University of Connecticut to show their opposition to the election of Republican Donald Trump as president on Nov. 9, 2016 in Storrs, Conn.

As this week's unexpected and stunning electoral victory of business mogul and now President-elect Donald Trump sunk in, some Americans dismayed by the results organized street protests, and college students walked off university campuses.

And, not surprisingly, online activists took to the most visible of all social media platforms, Twitter.

#Calexit, a Twitter feed devoted to Californians who want to secede from the United States, sprung up and quickly gained traction in the digital world.

​According to the founder of YesCalifornia.org, Louis Marinelli, the reality of Trump in the White House has resulted in an explosion of support for his group.

So is California really going to exit the United States? YesCalifornia.org indicates Californians will get a chance to vote on a measure (not unlike Britain's Brexit vote, which saw U.K. voters choosing to exit the European Union).

A closer inspection of the website wording reveals that a 2019 vote on succession is not a sure thing:

“In the Spring of 2019, Californians will go to the polls in a historic vote to decide by referendum if California should exit the Union, a #Calexit vote.

You will have this historic opportunity because the Yes California Independence Campaign will qualify a citizen’s initiative for the 2018 ballot that if passed would call for a special election for Californians to vote for or against the independence of California from the United States."

Why are these Californians pushing for such a drastic step?

"After the failure of immigration reform in 2014 that would have given undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, it was obvious the federal government was broken," Marinelli said.

"It was the straw that broke the camel's back."

Marinelli's website has published a list of nine reasons to secede, driven by the following guiding principle:

"It is about California taking its place in the world, standing as an equal among nations. We believe in two fundamental truths: (1) California exerts a positive influence on the rest of the world, and (2) California could do more good as an independent country than it is able to do as just a U.S. state. In 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the international community with their “Brexit” vote. Our “Calexit” referendum is about California joining the international community."

It notes that California is the sixth largest economy in the world. Organizers say their state has more economic might that France, with a population that exceeds Poland.

Another important factor: Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took California decisively, winning 61.5 percent of the vote and all 55 electoral college votes.

And now Y​esCalifornia.org has some competition.

Shervin Pishevar of Hyperloop One speaks during 2016 TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, Sept. 14, 2016.

Shervin Pishevar of Hyperloop One speaks during 2016 TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, Sept. 14, 2016.

Just two days after the election, NewAmerica.com was formed by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar, founder of Hyperloop One and managing director of Sherpa Capital, his seed fund that has invested in hugely popular companies such Uber and Airbnb.

​From a legal standpoint, the movement to exit the United States will be an uphill battle. The U.S. Constitution does not directly address state succession.

But the Supreme Court set a precedent in a 1869 case, Texas vs. White, in which the justices ruled that no U.S. state can unilaterally secede without the consent of the remaining states.

Marinelli remains undaunted.

"The U.S. Constitution cedes a lot of power to the states, you know, the 10th Amendment argument," he said. "And the U.S. Congress has ratified the United Nations charter, which guarantees the right to self determination.

"I think we'll be OK."

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