Analysis of the House of Representatives and the Electoral College After Calexit


There is a lot of talk within the conservative community about the impact of California secession on the Electoral College. To be honest, I am somewhat reluctant to publish this post because it disproves the conclusion they have come to. Conservatives believe if California secedes, it will guarantee Republican presidents forever. We have crunched the numbers and did some historical analysis of presidential elections, and that just isn’t the case.

California has 55 electoral votes, a sum of its congressional representatives (53) and senators (2). The House of Representatives has 435 members. These members represent 435 congressional districts across the country. Given that each state must have at least one congressional district, the remaining 385 seats are appropriated by the method of equal proportions. Starting with the fifty-first seat, there’s a complicated process for determining how many seats go to each state and you can read about that here.

Lucky for you, we have done the work and produced this graphic to demonstrate where California’s 53 congressional districts will go after Calexit (click to enlarge).

As you can see, two states – Texas and New York – gain the most. Red-state Texas gains four new seats but so does blue-state New York. New York State has been losing congressional seats since the 1950s after it peaked at 45 from 1932-1948. Calexit would return influence in Congress that New York has not enjoyed since 1988. As for Texas: they have been growing in population and congressional districts since forever and Calexit would simply continue that trend.

A few states would gain three new congressional districts as a result of Calexit – Florida, Illinois, and Ohio. A red state, a blue state, and swing state. Like Texas, Florida has been gaining congressional seats since forever and Calexit would continue that already-existing trend. However, Illinois has been losing congressional districts since the end of the second world war. Today Illinois has 18 congressional districts down from its peak of 27 in the 1940s. Calexit would give them three new congressional districts, bringing the state influence in Congress it has not had since the 1970s.

A handful of states after Calexit gain two new congressional districts: Georgia, North Carolina, Missouri, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia. Generally speaking, that’s three red states, three blue states, and a swing state. Many other states gain just one additional congressional district, and 15 states gain none at all. Would any of this have an impact on the national legislative agenda in Congress?

Well, due to the evil political tool of gerrymandering, that’s difficult to say. Texas has 35 congressional districts and Democrats represent 11 of them. It would be an unfair over-justification to assume that all four of their new congressional districts would elect Republicans just because Texas is a red state. Whether red-state Texas gaining four new seats in Washington as a result of Calexit will make Congress more conservative depends on how and where the congressional lines are redrawn to incorporate four new congressional districts in Texas. Indeed, it would be theoretically possible to gerrymander four new democratic-leaning districts there.

However, in the Electoral College it’s not so political and not reliant upon the gerrymandering variable. The redistribution of California’s 53 congressional seats to 35 other states would also mean that those states gain 1, 2, 3, or, in the case of Texas and New York, 4 new votes for president in the Electoral College. We have also put together a graphic depicting the new Electoral College after Calexit (click to enlarge).

So if California wasn’t in the Union, would that have made an impact on previous presidential elections? It would be a very tedious endeavor to go back through all U.S. history and crunch the numbers since the allocation of congressional seats changes every ten years with the Census Report, but we’ve taken a look at the past two presidential elections which have taken place since the most recent Census Report.

Would Donald Trump have been elected in 2016 if California were an independent country then? Yes. Donald Trump wins with or without California in the Union. The difference is the margin of victory. With California, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton 306-232 in the Electoral College. Without California, he simply would have won by a larger margin: 340-198. However, without California in the Union, Donald Trump would have also won the popular vote and that’s optically a good thing for the United States – it’s confusing when the winner of the popular vote loses the election.

We also examined the 2012 reelection of Barack Obama. In that election, Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney 332-206 in the Electoral College. Had California been an independent country or otherwise taken out of the equation in 2012, Barack Obama would still have been reelected, but by a different margin: 309-228. In an election where you need 270 votes to be elected president, having 332 votes or just 309 is an insignificant matter – you still win. And it’s safe to assume that since Barack Obama won by even larger margins in 2008 against john McCain that he still would have been elected president without California in the Union (even though Texas, for example, would have had more votes).

So what’s the bottom line?

California secession does automatically usher in an eternity of Republican control of Congress or the White House. Ultimately, the future direction of the country’s politics will depend more on how the individual states redraw their maps to incorporate the new congressional districts they receive as a result of Calexit. Gerrymandering we must assume will be the deciding factor in how Calexit will impact the balance of power in Washington, D.C.

In the past two presidential elections, the Calexit scenario gave the Republican candidate for president 34 electoral votes in 2016, and 22 in 2012. Before that alarms you, consider this: Barack Obama defeated John McCain by 192 electoral votes in 2008. George W. Bush won in 2004 and 2000 even with California’s electoral votes going to the Democrat. Bill Clinton defeated Bob Dole in 1996 by 220 electoral votes and unseated George H. W. Bush in 1992 by 202 electoral votes. The 1988, 1984, and 1980 elections were landslides for the Republicans and California’s electoral votes went along with virtually every other state to elect Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush in those elections. In 1976, Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford by 57 electoral votes, and Richard Nixon won every state except Massachusetts in 1972.

The point is that the Electoral College results are rarely close – even when the national popular vote is. Take the 1960 presidential election where Kennedy won the popular vote by just 120,000 votes. He defeated Nixon in the Electoral College by 84 votes.  Secondly. there are more landslides (1964, 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, 1988, 2008) in the Electoral College than close calls (2000). In the 2000 election, George W. Bush won by 5 electoral votes and that’s the only time since 1876 that the vote margin in the Electoral College has been less than 20.

When Democrats win the Electoral College, they win by big margins – and when they lose, they lose anyway. California has nothing to do with it.

California Attorney General Clears Calexit Ballot Measure for Circulation


SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA — The campaign advocating California’s secession from the United States has been granted permission by the California Attorney General to begin collecting signatures to qualify the California Self-Determination Referendum Act for the ballot.

“Today, we received clearance from the Attorney General to move forward with the independence referendum, a necessary first step for the State of California to secede from the United States in order to become an independent country,” the campaign announced.

According to existing state law, the organizers responsible for the independence referendum now have six months to collect 366,880 signatures from California voters. Once successful, voters at the next presidential election will decide whether to hold an independence referendum vote in California, also known as “Calexit”, on May 4, 2021.

“We realize it may seem like a long time to wait,” Louis Marinelli, the author of the referendum said. “But we need time to have a serious dialogue with the people of California about why they should support the independence referendum by voting yes. The voters need to make an informed decision when they go to the polls to determine California’s political future.”  

The organizers say the timing of the referendum is strategic. “It is very possible that President Trump will be reelected in 2020. Don’t tell us it won’t happen because frankly people said it wouldn’t happen in 2016,” Marcus Ruiz Evans, a co-sponsor of the referendum said.

“If President Trump is reelected in 2020, Californians will want to secede from the United States just as they wanted to following the 2016 election. This ballot measure we are now circulating will make this vote possible. We are asking the people to hedge their bet in 2020: vote against Donald Trump, but at the same time vote to schedule an independence referendum for six months later on May 4, 2021. You may end up wanting the referendum if he is reelected.”

The organizers have relaunched the effort but the motivations for the independence referendum have only grown since the last one was postponed – until now. Organizers point to “irreconcilable differences” with the American government and the other American states.

On immigration, Californians reject American plans to build a wall along its southern border with Mexico with California Governor Jerry Brown declaring that the state builds bridges, not walls. The governor has also just recently rejected a request from the Trump Administration to deploy the National Guard to help with immigration enforcement at the southern border.

On taxation, Californians object to subsidizing the other American states while California lacks necessary funding for infrastructure, education, healthcare, social services, and housing. For decades, California has been a donor state, paying more in federal taxes than it has typically received in federal funding. This problem was recently exasperated with the tax reforms passed by the American Government and signed into law by President Trump last year, which disproportionately hurt California taxpayers and will leave one million Californians owning $12 billion more in federal taxes next year.

On agriculture, the State of Missouri and ten other states recently penned an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States bemoaning California’s influence on their agricultural and industrial production. In this amicus brief, the eleven states wrote that California is defying federal law and dictating “the manner of agricultural production in every other State,” and that California is “extraterritorially regulating other States’ agricultural and industrial production,” in a plea to the High Court to overturn a California law regarding poultry production standards.

On cannabis, the voters of California recently passed Proposition 64, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in the state. However, cannabis is still listed in the federal Schedule I of controlled substances, making it a federal crime to engage in activities now wholly legal in California. This is particularly problematic for marijuana dispensaries, as most banks refuse to open accounts for cannabis-related business. To make matters worse, the American Government has vowed to crackdown on legal cannabis use in California.

On the Census, the American Government is preparing to conduct an unfair Census in 2020 that will inevitably discourage participation by many Californians. This will not only produce an inaccurate Census Report, but the results may very well cost California billions of dollars in federal funds over the following decade, and even a seat in the House of Representatives.

“California is already underrepresented in Washington,” the campaign said. “The last thing we need is a politically-motivated Census conducted so as to intentionally produce an inaccurately-low population count, which will result in California losing a seat in Congress. This is an intentional effort to reduce Californians’ voice in government in Washington. Issue after issue, from immigration to agriculture, from taxation to banking, and on a host of other issues, it is clear that California and the United States have irreconcilable differences and it is time for a divorce. We shall now begin circulating the petition forms for that divorce.”

Members of the press are invited to a press conference scheduled for Monday, April 23 at 12PM in the Capitol Mall Traffic Circle between 9th and 10th Streets in front of the State Capitol.

Support the Peaceful Occupation of Alcatraz


Yes California supports the peaceful occupation of Alcatraz Island by the Indians of All Tribes as well as the taking back of all federal lands in California. November 20, 2019 marks the Bicentennial Celebration of The Peaceful Occupation of Alcatraz. The Ohlone Tribe has members from around the  San Francisco Bay Area, and is composed of descendants of the Ohlones/Costanoans from the San Jose, Santa Clara, and San Francisco missions. Indian Canyon is the only federally recognized “Indian Country” between Sonoma and Santa Barbara, and has been sacred land and home for Ohlone/Costanoan people for thousands of years.

Learn More and RSVP to participate on Facebook.

Why Did a KQED Reporter Delete His Tweets Linking Calexit Founder Louis Marinelli to the Russian Internet Research Agency?


At 4:01 PM on February 16, days after the the relaunch of the California Self-Determination Referendum ballot measure, KQED Reporter John Sepulvado called Yes California’s Marcus Ruiz Evans on the phone for comment about a story in the works which would have definitively linked Calexit founder Louis Marinelli with the Internet Research Agency through which Russia propped up fake campaigns and deployed Twitter bots in an effort to spell discord and foster disunity prior to and following the 2016 presidential elections.

Specifically, Mr. Sepulvado claimed that during a phone interview back in December, 2016, Louis Marinelli openly admitted to working with the Internet Research Agency in Saint Petersburg, Russia to “coordinate tweets” in an effort to grow awareness for the California Independence Campaign under the Calexit hashtag. Sepulvado requested a comment from the campaign. Evans denied any knowledge, requested specific details about his claim, and gave him Marinelli’s phone number. He was unable to provide any specific details, nor did he ever pick up the phone to seek a comment from Marinelli.

Instead, Supulvado took to Twitter, tweeting his unsubstantiated and unverified claims for the whole world to see. Indeed, it was retweeted 56 times.

You can’t see this tweet anymore – it has been deleted. Why is that? Was it a mistake? Well, when Marinelli challenged the reporter, saying such a statement was “libelous nonsense,” Sepulvado responded: “buddy, it’s right here in my notes.”

So, if “it” (whatever it was) was right there in his notes, he must have had some evidence to back up his claim — considering he took it right to Twitter. Unless, of course, a reporter scribbling down notes while his interviewee talks could have possibly miswritten something? Or perhaps — and sometimes reporters have as legible handwriting as doctors do — he could have misunderstood his own handwriting, looking back upon it fifteen months after the fact?

You can’t see any of Sepulvado’s tweets from this conversation anymore – they’ve all been deleted. Why is that, John? Why is that, KQED? Perhaps an apology is in order? This is not just a matter of a tweet deleted – reporters have a responsibility to present factual and verified information to the public because the public trusts what they read from the media. KQED is a respected news source for this very reason, which makes this an even more unfortunate situation.

Take for instance, the fact that his original tweet to his audience of 8,479 followers was retweeted 56 times. That’s 56 other individuals who read this false claim about Marinelli, believed it, and tweeted it to their followers. This is how lies and misinformation spread around like wildfire — especially amongst an audience just itching to hear definitive proof of Calexit ties to the Russian government. For example, Casey Michel and his ongoing effort to prove Calexit links to Russia that don’t exist.

Would have been the first reported instance. A reporter from Slate recently called Marinelli, following a lead from Sepulvado’s tweet. It was not exactly a friendly interview as the reporter was quite pushy… and it all roots back to Sepulvado’s unsubstantiated, unverified, and now deleted tweets. Shall we take that a silent acknowledgement of a mistake?

California, a target of the antagonistic U.S. Government


Only one year has passed since Donald Trump was sworn into office and yet since then the partisan, sophomoric, and antagonistic government in Washington under his control has targeted California time after time. It is no doubt that this thinned-skinned, infantile president does not feel threatened by California – his path to reelection does not involve winning our 55 electoral votes.

Instead, the president’s personal agenda against California began when our state overwhelmingly voted to elect Hillary Clinton in the past election. Donald Trump won the electoral college and that technicality is all that matters, yet his loss of the popular vote (thanks to California) left him without a moral victory over Clinton, and the ability to gloat from the Oval Office.

Since then he and his Administration have been targeting California.

On January 25, 2017 the president signed an executive order to start construction of a border wall, expand authority to deport undocumented immigrants, and punish “sanctuary cities”, a creation of California culture dating back to the 1970s. Berkeley enacted the first “sanctuary city” policy in the United States back in 1971 to protect servicemen and women opposed to the war in Vietnam, and the City of Los Angeles has had a “sanctuary city” policy specifically regarding immigration status since 1979.

Then on February 6, 2017 the sitting American president in an interview with Bill O’Reilly said on national television that “California is in many ways out of control,” referring to our states’ sanctuary cities. Regardless of one’s position on sanctuary cities, immigration enforcement is a service we pay for with our federal tax dollars, so the federal government has no right to compel us to spend local and state tax dollars and resources on top of that. Yet the president’s executive order from January 25 aimed to do just that, by giving power to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Homeland Security secretary to withhold grant money from places like California that refuse to cooperate.

Later on June 1, 2017 the president announced that the United States would no longer participate in the 2015 Paris Climate Accords, just weeks before the onset of one of the most destructive wildfire seasons in California history. One can’t blame a government for not foreseeing the devastation of wildfires yet to spark, but California has been feeling the effects of climate change for years now. The president said the Climate Accords would put the U.S. economy at a disadvantage but the truth is that California’s economy has grown despite its restrictive environmental regulations. Our per-capita GDP grew by almost double the national average since Sacramento passed cap-and-trade and now California is the most energy-productive economy in the world.

On October 25, 2017 the president withdrew the federal government’s support for California’s major, $16 billion water tunnel project supported by Governor Brown. The project is a state-funded initiative but would require approval from the federal Department of the Interior, as it intersects with existing federal water projects. However, the Trump Administration has “ruled out” moving forward on this project.

On December 12, 2017 the Trump Justice Department penned a letter to the U.S. Census Bureau requesting they add a citizenship question to the upcoming 2020 Census. Politico Reporter David Siders wrote that this was “Trump’s revenge on California,” explaining that the type of question the president wants added to the next Census could affect the population tally and cost California a seat in the House of Representatives (and therefore a vote in the Electoral College), and billions of dollars in federal funding. As if California isn’t underrepresented as it is.

On December 22, 2017 the president signed his signature tax cuts legislation into law. In order to pay for the tax cuts, Congress voted to repeal a number of deductions. One of such deductions was the state and local tax deduction that disproportionately benefited Californians who pay more in state and local taxes than just about anyone else in the country.

And then on January 4, 2018 Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced his intention to start cracking down on legalized marijuana just three days after California’s voter-approved Proposition 64 took full effect on January 1, allowing for the sale and taxation of recreational marijuana statewide.

That same day, the Trump Administration announced plans to open the entire California coast to offshore drilling, which would represent the largest expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling in U.S. history. True, much of the East coast was also opened to the same oil and gas drilling. However, on January 10, 2018 an exception was made to exempt the coasts of Florida from this major oil and gas drilling expansion, and the Administration’s reasoning was because that state “is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver.” The truth is Florida is a Republican state and California, (and Oregon, and Washington) is not.

On January 16, 2018 the Department of Homeland Security threatened to arrest California mayors and other public officials who support the sanctuary city policies the U.S. Government has vowed to crackdown on. Immigration and Customs Enforcement director has been threatening at-large arrests in California as a result of our state’s sanctuary law enacted last year, and has also called for the arrest of California politicians who stand in the way of the federal government’s immigration crackdown, a major one of which is planned for the Bay Area in the next few weeks.

And now on January 22, 2018 the president placed a 30% tariff on imported solar panels. Californians have installed more solar panels than the people of any other state, and California is the home to the greatest number of solar energy jobs in the country. This effectively means Californians are being discouraged from – or being forced to pay a premium in order to – live according to our values in support of a clean planet.

This concludes the first year of Trump’s America versus California. We have at least three more years to go, possibly seven. We couldn’t prevent his election in 2016, we will have the same non-ability to prevent it in 2020. It will depend on the rest of the country, but can we depend on them?

Yes California Calexit Campaign – Movement for the Independence of Baja California Joint Statements of Mutual Support


The Movement for the Independence of Baja California has released the following statement of support for the Yes California Independence Campaign:

The people of Baja Peninsula and California are pursuing Independence through legal and peaceful means. They are both actively working to become sovereign nations for the same reasons. Both the people of Baja and California feel that they are a different culture from the mainland cultures of Mexico and America respectively. Both feel that they are more prosperous than the rest of the nation and have their resources taken and spent on the welfare of the rest of the nation, rather than being spent on their own area. Both feel that that their unique cultures are looked down upon by the national culture. Both would like to be independent so that they can be more connected to other nations and the international world. Because of these many common reasons and goals for becoming a nation, Movimiento Independentista de Baja California and Yes California have agreed to publicly express mutual support for each other’s cause.

The Yes California Independence Campaign has released the following statement of support for the Movement for the Independence of Baja California:

The people of Baja Peninsula and California share a common history that predates California’s status as an American state. We must remember that we are all Californians and it is important for us to stand together as brothers and sisters. The Yes California Independence Campaign and the Movement for the Independence of Baja California represent the voices of the millions of Californians from both sides of the border. While we work to achieve independence from the United States, our brother and sister Californians in Baja similarly work to achieve their independence from Mexico.

Both California and Baja California are culturally distinct from the country to which they currently belong. Both have similar greivences with the country to which they currently belong. Both are exploited, neglected, underrepresented, and/or overtaxed by the country to which they currently belong. In short, there are many commonalities between our two campaigns, our motivitations, and our intended methods for achieving our goals. For these reasons, the Yes California Independence Campaign and the Movement for the Independence of Baja California have agreed to publicly express mutual support for each other’s cause.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas: What do we have in common anymore?


In a rare television interview with Fox News personality Laura Ingraham, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas echoed a cornerstone tenet of the California Calexit Campaign, saying he doesn’t know what we as country have in common anymore.

Laura Ingraham: “Are you surprised that — how things are still so rancorous in the United States today about foundational issues?”

Clarence Thomas: “No, I’m not surprised. I mean, what binds us? What do we all have in common anymore? I think we have to think about that. I think this is — when I was a kid, even as we had laws that held us apart, there were things that we held dear and that we all had in common. And I think we have to — we always talk about E pluribus unum. What’s our unum now? We have the pluribus. What’s the unum?”

Justice Thomas is right. Things have changed in this country and we are no longer united by lofty ideals or principles that supercede the partisan and ideological differences that divide us. Nostalgic attachments to the unity of the United States are just that – nostalgia.

This is one of the reasons the California Calexit Campaign exists – more and more, people in California are realizing that the best people to govern California are Californians – not Texans, Wisconsites, or Georgians, or the people of the other states with whom we share less and less in common every day.

Later in the interview, Justice Thomas reiterated his comments saying, “I don’t know what it is that we have, we can say instinctively, we have as a country in common.”

We paid $103 billion more in federal taxes in 2016 than we received in federal funding


In 2016, Californians paid $422.7 billion in taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. This amount broadly includes individual income taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, business taxes, as well as estate, gift, and excise taxes. This information can be downloaded and reviewed from the IRS Data Book for 2016.

California as usual paid more federal taxes in 2016 than any other state in the Union. It also received more dollars in federal spending than any other state. Both of these points make sense considering California is the most populous state in the Union. Although California ranks first in the sheer amount of federal tax dollars received, on a per capita basis California ranks 36/60 (including U.S. territories) — at $7,373 federal dollars per Californian.

In terms of how much the federal government spent in California in 2016 – a combination of Social Security payments, payments for veterans, farms, sole proprietors, federal contractors, small business loans, insurance, assistance to state and local governments, medicaid, medicare, local school districts, public and private universities, research, student aid, social services, and other types of federal spending representing just 8% of the total — California received $289.4 billion, according to data available at the new beta version of USAspending.gov.

That represents a loss of $133.3 billion dollars. In other words, California paid over $133 billion more to the federal government than it received in 2016. In the interest of fairness, the $289.4 billion in spending in California does not include salaries and benefits of federal employees located in California, nor does it include other costs associated with running the federal government nationwide — a figure that represents 21% of the entire $3.85 trillion federal budget, or approximately $808.5 billion across all fifty states and U.S. territories.

According to Governing Magazine, “the nation’s leading media platform covering politics, policy and management for state and local government leaders,” California had 141,158 federal employees as of December, 2016, excluding postal service workers, and an additional 190,160 active duty and reserve U.S. military personnel. Perhaps the $133.3 billion in taxes California lost last year can be reconciled by accounting for federal salaries? Perhaps if the average federal salary were $402,719 a year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, though, the average federal salary in 2016 was much less — $80,384 a year (navigate to Table 6.6D here if the link doesn’t work)

If we apply the average federal salary to the federal employee population in California of 141,158, that amounts to an additional $11.3 billion in federal spending in California. Meanwhile, according to the Defense Spending by State report by the Office of Economic Adjustment, the total payroll for defense personnel in California was $14.6 billion. You can download their snazzy state-by-state defense spending analysis PDF here. Combined, $11.3 billion for federal civilian workers and $14.6 for defense personnel, we can estimate federal salaries in California to be about $26 billion — let’s just say $30 billion a year.

The bottom line is California paid about $103 billion more in federal taxes than we received in federal funding in 2016 alone, and as a reminder, that federal funding includes Social Security payments, payments for veterans, farmers, sole proprietors, federal contractors, small business loans, insurance, assistance to state and local governments, medicaid, medicare, money for local school districts, funding for public and private universities, research grants, student aid programs like the Pell Grant, social services, and… salaries for federal civilian workers and defense personnel.

What does that mean? It means with all the taxes you currently pay to California and all the taxes you currently pay to the IRS, we would have enough to continue paying for every state government service, agency, job, program, grant, and salary, and start paying for everything the federal government pays for in California, and still have an extra $100 billion, for say, establishing a universal healthcare program, creating a debt-free college program, and building a military — or all three of them because the estimated cost of those three budget items is, ironically, about $100 billion annually.

Hedge Your Bet: Qs and As about the new Calexit independence ballot measure


This winter the California Calexit Campaign under Yes California is submitting a new, updated version of our independence referendum ballot measure to give you the chance to vote for or against the independence of California from the United States. It is a short, simple, and to the point. We had earlier talked about a larger, more comprehensive hard-hitting ballot measure, however, after polling the Calexit community, we decided to remove controversial aspects of the measure in the spirit of building the biggest tent possible. Now our ballot measure is a California version of Catalonia’s Self-Determination Law that established and governed their recent independence referendum held on October 1.

WHY WAIT UNTIL WINTER TO FILE?

We are waiting until late-January or early-February to file our ballot measure because there is currently another initiative on a similar theme circulating petitions for signatures and we don’t want to intrude on their efforts to collect signatures for their ballot measure. There is also another independence-related ballot measure which is set to start collecting signatures soon. By filing this winter, we will avoid creating confusion among the public, or stepping on any other pro-independence groups’ toes.

WHEN WILL THE INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM BE HELD?

Since we are waiting until winter to file our new ballot measure, we unfortunately will not have enough time to collect the signatures we need to qualify it in time for the 2018 ballot. That means the earliest our initiative can be put on the ballot is November 2020. If the voters approve our ballot measure on Election Day 2020, an independence referendum will take place in California six months later on May 4, 2021.

WHY WON’T WE HAVE TIME TO QUALIFY FOR 2018?

In order for the State of California to have enough time to count and verify petition signatures, the Secretary of State says April 24, 2018 is the last day to file petitions. Theoretically it would be possible to submit our initiative in January and start collecting signatures in March, but that would leave us just weeks to collect the signatures we need to qualify instead of the six months permitted by law.

HOW MANY SIGNATURES DO WE NEED TO QUALIFY?

Here’s some good news. In the past we had a ballot initiative that amended the state constitution and therefore required 585,407 valid signatures to qualify. The autonomy initiative which is currently circulating requires that many signatures because it includes a constitutional amendment. However, our new initiative does not amend the state constitution and therefore only requires 365,880 signatures.

WHAT DOES THE INITIATIVE ACTUALLY DO, IF IT DOESN’T AMEND THE CONSTITUTION?

It simply requires the California Secretary of State to conduct a statewide vote on May 4, 2021 asking voters if they want California to become an independent country in the form of a republic. The results of the vote are binding insofar as the Legislature is required to take action to implement the results if there are more affirmative votes than negative ones.

WHY SHOULD SOMEBODY VOTE FOR THIS IN 2020?

The best reasons are because you love California and want her to excel and be all that she can be; because you know California is more than just a state and can do more good in the world as a country; and because you support the right to self-determination and self-government. But we also understand that California’s electoral votes have not changed the outcome of an election since 1876, so our votes don’t matter. We voted against Trump and we got stuck with Trump. This campaign believes Californians deserve to always have a president we voted for, never one we just got stuck with. So, what we are telling people who are unsure or noncommittal about Calexit is this: hedge your bets: vote against Donald Trump for President in 2020, but down ballot vote for our initiative, too. That way, whether he is reelected or not, we will have already proactively voted to schedule an independence referendum. Then you’ll have six months to decide how to vote in the referendum — but at least you’ll get to vote in one!

WHAT IF [INSERT POPULAR PROGRESSIVE CANDIDATE HERE] WINS THE NEXT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION?

Well, if your support for Calexit ends with the election of a particular candidate to the presidency, then you can vote no in the independence referendum on May 4, 2021. But let’s work to qualify and pass the initiative so the independence referendum at least gets scheduled. After all, what happens if Donald Trump is reelected? Can you imagine what he’ll do in his second term? You have nothing to lose by voting for our ballot initiative in 2020.

I WANT TO HELP, WHERE CAN I SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER?

Great! We’re organizing volunteers to get ready for our signature collection campaign. You can sign up here.

I WANT TO CONTRIBUTE, WHERE CAN I MAKE A DONATION?

Thank you so much for your generosity. If you would like to make a financial contribution, you can donate here.

Yes California: The Russia/Calexit issue is dead, it’s over


FRESNO, CALIFORNIA – Marcus Ruiz Evans, the President of the Yes California Independence Campaign, released a statement this morning regarding the pending return of the organization’s co-founder, Louis Marinelli. Marinelli has been living in Russia for the past year but recently decided to return to California. Marinelli relocated to Russia in September last year because, as he recently explained in a personal letter to the Calexit community, he and his wife decided to try a trial separation after years of immigration struggles with the federal government damaged their relationship. “Instead of throwing in the towel,” Marinelli wrote, “we decided to try a trial separation. Now, I realize a lot of people don’t like where I have been living — but living in Russia makes me a fan of Vladimir Putin just as much as living in the United States makes you a fan of Donald Trump — it doesn’t.”

However, due to the impact Russia is believed to have played in the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, Marinelli’s choice in residence there, where he took on a job teaching English, caused a rift between various organizations working to achieve California’s independence from the United States, a rift both Evans and Marinelli regret and are committed to reconciling upon Marinelli’s return from Russia this winter. “Marcus and I are both committed to mediating the conflicts that exist between the independence groups out there, to building a bigger tent, building a consensus, and working cooperatively to put an independence referendum on the ballot as soon as possible,” Marinelli said, adding that it was important for the Calexit movement to have speak with a united voice when possible, while allowing each of the various groups to maintain their unique identities and independence from one another.

Prior to the announcement, Yes California conducted some internal polling of its members in order to get a sense of how the Calexit community is reacting to Marinelli’s decision to return to California. “We realize — Louis and I realize — whether justified or not, that he is a fairly controversial figure,” Evans said. “That’s why we wanted to get a sense of what our supporters thought about the idea of him returning to California — before any final decisions were made. And Louis was insistent upon that, too. If the Calexit community didn’t support his return, he was prepared to accept that. As it turns out, the opposite is true: thousands of Calexit supporters have weighed in on the matter and 63% say they want Louis to return to California and launch a new independence referendum. Louis says its a mandate, and he may be right.”

The results of the internal poll seem to jive with another poll the organization recently conducted on Twitter, which asked Calexit followers whether or not they believed Russia was actively supporting the Calexit movement. More than two-thirds (67%) of the respondents said they didn’t believe the propaganda about that, while another 12% said they believed the stories they had heard, but that it didn’t matter to them. Only 22% said they believed the stories and were turned off by them. “What this means — as far as Yes California is concerned — is that the Russia issue is over, it’s dead,” Evans said, explaining that most people he talks to now just simply do not believe or do not care about rumors of Russian connections, and that they are more interested in where they can sign a petition to put Calexit on the ballot. “That’s what people want to know more than anything else.”

The organization also pointed to a recent column written by Marinelli in The Union of Grass Valley, which was shared extensively on the campaign’s social media platform. “Nobody had a problem with [Louis’ public involvement],” Evans said. “Nor did anyone have a problem with an article the campaign posted from Russian state media RT reporting on Governor Jerry Brown’s own recent trip to Russia where he spoke of opportunities for cooperation between Russia and California. “People were more upset that we called [Governor Brown] ‘President Brown’ than the fact that we posted an article from RT that had to do with cooperation between Russia and California. Louis had been talking about that for months and now he’s feeling a bit vindicated that the Governor is saying the same thing,” Evans joked.

Meanwhile, Marinelli responded to vocal critics on social media who have been critical of his decision to return to California. “Almost three-quarters of Calexit opponents who took part in our internal survey say I should stay in Russia. They don’t want me to come back. In other words, my vocal critics on social media share the same opinion as those who would prefer California to remain a state, so it makes you wonder whose side they’re really on,” Marinelli said, explaining that many people are more interested in fueling past personal grudges than anything else. “Social media is not and never has been an accurate reflection of reality, and they represent a minority opinion within the Calexit community.”

Nevertheless, Yes California plans on submitting its new independence referendum after the circulation deadline has passed for the autonomy initiative currently being circulated. The initiative calls for a vote six months after the 2020 election, on May 4, 2021. “Our initiative will be a way for Californians to hedge their bet,” Marinelli explained. “Our votes don’t count in California – we all know that. We as a state collectively voted against Trump in 2016 and what happened? We got stuck with Trump. I sure bet a lot of Californians wish we had an independence vote coming up right about now. Unfortunately, we don’t. Our initiative will offer Californians that insurance policy the next time around. We’re telling people this: In 2020, vote against Trump. That goes without saying. But down ballot, vote for our initiative to schedule an independence vote — you’re going to want one if Trump gets reelected. Can you imagine what he’ll do in a second term when he won’t need to worry about getting reelected? What we’re seeing right now is Trump-light.” Marinelli said.