The debate over California’s possible independence from the United States hit the headlines after Donald Trump won a landslide victory in the country’s presidential election on Tuesday.
Almost 61 percent of voters from California cast their ballots in favour of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, making it the bluest state on the November 8 electoral map.
After Trump was announced as the winner, people took to social media calling on Californians to support the state's secession from the US.
If Donald Trump can be president, then #Calexit is definitely possible.
— Searit Huluf (@sorrysearit) 9 November 2016
I no longer will refer to myself as an American, I am a Californian. #calexit
— alexis (@herbivorre) 9 November 2016
The political group behind the #Calexit campaign aims to hold a referendum in 2018. Yes California, launched its first rally in Sacramento on Tuesday.
The state of California is the sixth largest economy in the world ahead of France and India. With a gross domestic product of 2.5 trillion dollars a year, the state would be self sufficient.
— Yes California (@YesCalifornia) 9 November 2016
The Yes Campaign takes advantage of the fact that the US constitution is not specific on who holds the power of secession. The tenth amendment does not expressly give this power to the federal government, neither does it prohibit the state from exercising it.
The group says Californians’ right to self determination is guaranteed by the United Nations Charter, which was ratified by the US in 1945.
Silicon Valley elite signal support for Calexit
Several business owners from Silicon Valley, California’s powerhouse, announced that they would support the campaign.
Silicon Valley is home to many of the world’s most prosperous high-tech companies such as Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. It accounts for one-third of all of the venture capital investment in the US.
During the Obama administration, the Silicon Valley saw itself as a hub for digital innovation. Hillary Clinton policies also promised to revitalise the economy through technology which favoured high-tech companies.
However, Trump didn’t offer a specific policy on tech issues. Rather, he promised to tighten limits on immigration and trade. This alarmed Silicon Valley because it gets most of its revenue from overseas and employs highly-skilled immigrants.
Shervin Pishevar, an early investor in Uber and co-founder of Hyperloop One, said that he would bankroll the Calexit to make California its own nation.
@shervin I was literally just going to tweet this. I'm in and will partner with you on it.
— DAVE MORIN (@davemorin) 9 November 2016
Constitutional scholars, say a US state cannot break away. However, this has not stopped hundreds of secessionist schemes throughout the nation's history. No state has been formed by seceding from another since 1863, when West Virginia was created during the Civil War.
From Maine to Alaska, the bids to break away by groups often angry at taxation or what they see as an infringement of their liberties have been unsuccessful either due to the nearly impossible legal challenges or lack of support.