One year after the Election, California should not secede from the United States

Aaron Raubvogel, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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After Donald Trump was elected president just over one year ago, many Californians felt as if their beliefs had been left behind. Massive protests occurred in the days following the election all over the country, but the protests in California tackled a slightly different topic: secession.

This is understandable: Trump was not the candidate who reflected most of our values and, among other factors, people disagree with many of his policies. Only 31.5 percent of Californians actually voted for Trump. Supporters of secession argue that California could support itself with its large, diverse economy and population.

“[People] were bringing up arguments like that California will be fine because they have the sixth largest economy in the world and that the U.S. would be crippled without California,” Woodside government teacher Jesse Manzo asserts.

However, this does not mean California should leave the country. Several factors, including the secessionist movement’s ties to Russia and the legality of secession in the federal government point to why California should not secede.

The movement, officially called Yes California, has several ties to Russia. The leader of the group, Louis Marinelli, currently lives in Russia with his wife, who is a citizen of Russia. Marinelli is a US citizen and lived in San Diego until he emigrated to Russia. He also studied at St. Petersburg State University, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s alma mater.

In an interview with The California Report, Marinelli stated that he would like to establish a California Embassy in Moscow.

This is just despicable and must not ever happen. California is a state, not a country, and creating an embassy in a foreign country simply does not make any sense. Not only that, it is unconstitutional under Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution. It would be like New York having diplomatic relations with France or Germany. Adding to the Russian collusion, Yes California was almost exclusively funded by the Russian Communist Party and government until after the election.

Marinelli also mentions that he hopes to put a referendum for secession on the 2019 ballot.

Even if an independence referendum is added to the state ballot, there is no legal pathway for California to leave the United States. California would have to pass a constitutional amendment, which requires the support of 37 other states.

Even with a legal means for the state to secede, it in no way should lead to California leaving the US. The state needs to stand by the United States democracy through thick and thin, even if the election did not go our way.  

California is one of the most progressive states in the nation and we can be a guiding light for the rest of the United States, even when President Trump does not agree with most of our values. Our two senators and 53 representatives in the capital can do more to generate real change and social progress than secession ever could.

“This led to a civil war and, as a history teacher, you realize that this isn’t how things are done,” Manzo comments. “I believe that, even though California is one of the more powerful states in the Union,… just because California didn’t get what they want, why should [they] use that to [their] advantage?”

The very issue of secession divided our country 150 years ago during the Civil War. Just because most Californians voted against the current president does not mean that California should secede from the US. Our great nation has survived worse, and one unfavorable election should not lead to the ultimatum of secession.

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