The “CalExit” leftists who want California to secede from the Union now that President-elect Donald J. Trump is preparing to take office have a tough history to face: no effort to divide California, or to secede from the United States, has ever succeeded.
As John Myers notes in the Los Angeles Times: “Since 1849, more than 200 efforts have imagined a political do-over to the idea of California as a single, sprawling American state. Every attempt has failed.”
The closest anyone has come would appear to be the effort to create the State of Jefferson, which is still ongoing in parts of Northern California. The initial push came in the early 1940s, but was cut short by the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which united the state and the nation. More recently, several northern counties have seen efforts by residents to revive the Jefferson idea as a response to a Democrat-dominated state government that seems completely out of touch with the needs of the inland and rural parts of the Golden State.
However, there have also been spectacular failures, such as the “Six Californias” movement of 2015, which failed to qualify for the 2016 ballot and faced fierce opposition from state leaders (because they feared, among other reasons, it would help Republicans in the presidential election).
Jeff Horseman of the Riverside County-based Press-Enterprise rounds up a few of the other recent flops:
In 2009, then-GOP Assemblyman Bill Maze proposed the state of Coastal California consisting of 13 counties, including Los Angeles and San Francisco. Maze argued that coastal liberals politically drowned out California’s more conservative regions.
The desire to create a conservative haven led then-Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone in 2011 to propose the state of South California. Thirteen counties, including Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino, would have been part of this 51st state.
Thus #CalExit has a steep hill to climb, and may survive more as a kind of protest movement — from abroad — than an actual political program.
Segregation, rather than secession, seems to be the preferred model of California Democrats, who are following in George Wallace’s footsteps by vowing not to enforce federal law or recognize federal authority in areas such as immigration.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.