Secession doesn’t cause civil war, attacking a military base does

Here at the Yes California Calexit Campaign, we often hear people rhetorically ask us if we remember the Civil War. Others insist the issue of secession was decided by that war 150 years ago. While the North indeed won the war and the Union was preserved, it is wrong to tie a state’s unilateral secession to the outbreak of civil war in the 1860s and by extension it is also wrong to assume that upcoming California’s unilateral declaration of independence would cause another American Civil War.

The American Civil War started on April 12, 1861 when Confederate military forces attacked Americans at Fort Sumter. That is when the fighting began. It did not begin on December 20, 1860 when South Carolina passed its ordinance of secession and declared the union between it and the other states dissolved. The fighting did not begin four days later on December 24, 1860 when South Carolina issued a proclamation entitled the “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union.” In fact, four days after that, President James Buchanan met with delegates from South Carolina at the White House.

Nor did fighting ensue in the month of January, 1861 when Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama seceded from the Union January 9, 10, and 11, respectively. By the second week of 1861, four states had declared their unilateral secession from the Union, and yet there was no Civil War. Throughout the month of January, politicians in Washington tried to sooth things over but, as you could expect, only made things worse. Meanwhile, Georgia and Louisiana unilaterally seceded on January 19, and 26, respectively, and Texas followed suit on February 1 that year.

A conference was called and it convened in Washington on February 4, 1861 at the Willard Hotel. Representatives of 21 of the nation’s 33 states at the time attended to negotiate. California did not participate in the conference, and it ultimately failed to produce any results. More than two months later, and 114 days after the first state declared its independence, Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter, and the Civil War began.

California’s independence referendum, which we plan to hold on November 3, 2020, and the subsequent declaration of independence, will not cause a civil war, just as it didn’t in 1860 when South Carolina proclaimed its union with the other states dissolved. What will happen, if history is to repeat itself, is a delegation of Californians may be welcomed to the White House to discuss the issue, the politicians in Congress will likely discuss and debate the issue, and perhaps another conference will be convened to open negotiations between California and the United States. What will not happen is California won’t attack Camp Pendleton, or some other American military institution, sparking another Civil War.

Statement on Catalonia

In response to recent events by the Spanish Government to interfere with the upcoming independence referendum scheduled in Catalonia for October 1, 2017, the California Calexit Campaign released the following statement:

“Spain as a member of the United Nations and signatory to the United Nations Charter must respect the right of all peoples to self-determination, including the people of Catalonia who have lived under its rule since 1714. The people of Catalonia have every right to determine their political future through the democratic process. The California Calexit Campaign urges the Spanish Government to immediately withdraw armed police forces interfering with the democratic process in Catalonia, and allow a fair and honest referendum to proceed as scheduled. We further urge the Spanish Government to relinquish control of websites related to the planned referendum which have recently been seized under a judicial warrant and are now under Spanish administration. The right of people to free and unfettered information is a critical component of fair, honest, and democratic voting process that must be respected.”

“In California, we are watching Catalonia with great anticipation and deriving from them great inspiration as we, too, aspire to one day hold a fair and honest independence referendum to determine the political future of California. We hope that the October 1 referendum in Catalonia proceeds as planned, and is conducted freely, fairly, and in accordance with internationally-accepted democratic norms, and that the results of the referendum be accepted by the Spanish Government, the European Union, and the greater international community.”

Respect our veterans by respecting what they fought for

Last week, Gary Smith, a resident of northern California, expressed his opinion that Calexit is disrespectful to veterans in a recent submission to his local newspaper.

In his submission, he wrote that the Yes California movement is an insult to: “…all veterans who defend America, especially our California Veterans. Our veterans fought for our rights, one of those rights is to speak out. But some speech and ideas cross the line of common decency and should be kept to yourself.” Mr. Smith also said that those who support California independence should “renounce their citizenship and move to another country.”

Our response:

Dear Mr. Smith, The United States of America exists today as a product of secession. About forty percent of the American colonists supported independence from the British Empire and they ultimately decided what country the other sixty percent of the colonists would live in. Today about a third of Californians support independence from the American Empire and that support is growing as the fiscal, political, and cultural situation in the United States deteriorates. History repeats itself.

Declaring independence is about American as it gets. It was the first act of the United States of America as a nation, and supporting the right to self-determination has been a cornerstone of American foreign policy for over a century, since the time of Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points. Over the course of this time, our servicemen and women have fought and died for the freedom of other people in other nations, since our freedom here at home has never been under any direct threat. No foreign power has ever deprived American citizens of their liberties, let alone occupy any of our cities.

In fact, the only country that has ever deprived us of our liberties has been the United States. This is especially true today with the PATRIOT Act, the growth of the police state, and the destruction of federalism in favor of a strong, centralized national government in Washington, D.C. – something our first veterans fought to replace with decentralized power. If we truly want to respect our veterans, we should respect what they fought for. The first veterans fought a war for independence and self-government. Let California have independence and self-government. Later veterans fought in World War I to make the world “safe for democracy”. If California holds and fair and honest referendum on independence, let democracy prevail. In World War II our veterans fought against the spread of fascism, yet fascism has now taken root in America. Let’s allow Californians to reject fascism.

And after the Korean War, one could argue that our veterans haven’t really fought in any legitimate wars. That’s no fault of their own, but it does speak a lot about the country we live in today. It is not the same Union founded by Washington, Jefferson, and Adams. It is not the same Union preserved by the Civil War. It is not the same Union that helped save the world from Nazi domination. No, that Union is long gone and it is time for us to formalize that reality by political divorce, or independence.

On a final point, Mr. Smith, many colonists loyal to the British Crown fled north to Canada after American independence. For those Californians who remain loyal to the United States, if history is to repeat itself as it so often does, it seems it you will be the ones relocating.

Calexit Campaign Endorses Proposal Calling for Article V Constitutional Convention

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – The Yes California Calexit Campaign announced its support for a recently-submitted ballot measure that, if passed by the voters in 2018, would add California to the growing list of states looking to amend the U.S. Constitution through a convention of states.

The proposal, submitted last week by a new pro-independence group led by Clare Hedin, contains language the California delegates to an Article V constitutional convention would work to achieve. While the organization said it does not take a position on each and every item in the proposal, it decided to endorse the measure for three reasons.

“The proposal’s text has two important sections that are relevant to the Calexit campaign,” the organization’s president, Marcus Ruiz Evans said. “We think it would be great if the U.S. Constitution were amended so that state taxes were superior to federal taxes. It’s an interesting idea that we at Calexit certainly couldn’t oppose. Secondly, and most importantly, the proposal contains language supporting a constitutional amendment to make a clear path for state secession.”

However, a separate statement from the Yes California Calexit Board of Directors reiterated that the Calexit Campaign has already taken the position that state secession is already constitutional and that there are various paths a state may take in order to peacefully legally secede from the Union even without such an amendment.

“This proposal supports a constitutional amendment to spell out in clear and concise terms exactly how a state would secede from the Union. That is not to say that a state could not secede without such an amendment but we recognize that today there is a debate on the constitutionality of secession, that there are various interpretations of the Supreme Court’s 1869 ruling on this matter, and that there is a kind of national amnesia about the Tenth Amendment which today empowers states with the right of secession. So, it won’t hurt to end the ambiguity and get this process spelled out.”

Additionally, the campaign polled its followers over the weekend and a whopping 77% of respondents voted in favor of California joining a constitutional convention to pursue a secession amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “It seems to be a popular idea among those who are following this movement,” Evans said.

Although the measure has been endorsed as is, the organization said it intends to collaborate with the initiative’s sponsors over the coming weeks to offer practical suggestions to reduce the number of signatures required to qualify the measure for the ballot.

Three Californias? No, one California for all Californians

FRESNO, CALIFORNIA – The Yes California Independence Campaign responded to Silicon Valley executive Timothy Draper’s newly-filed ballot initiative that would split California into three states this morning, pointing to the proposal as a real example of divide and conquer. “And our opponents say Calexit is a divide and conquer campaign? Well, you can’t get much closer to divide and conquer than Mr. Draper’s new plan to take California and divide her into three,” the organization’s president Marcus Ruiz Evans said.

“Dividing the state into three doesn’t just break the state up,” Evans continued. “It would add two new states to the United States, both of which would send mostly Republicans to Washington to represent them in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Let’s not forget: Mr. Draper first planned to break California up into six in order to give his home of Silicon Valley its own state and ignore the five others, even leaving one of them without any state universities based on how he drew the lines. The first plan was very poorly thought out and, judging by the text of the initiative Mr. Draper just submitted, this new plan doesn’t seem to be very well thought out, either. How do you expect to be taken seriously when your ballot initiative to divide California into three new states forgets to list Tulare County in any of them, but lists Imperial County twice? Just goes to show that again Mr. Draper doesn’t care about California.”

The organization intends to inform its growing base of supporters of Mr. Draper’s plans and provide an extensive list of reasons to reject it. “We believe in one California for all Californians. In fact, one of our first campaigns as an organization back in 2014 was to oppose Six Californias. We were the only organization actively working in opposition to it and we’re glad it failed to qualify. There are Calexit supporters in every county of California and we’re going to be actively opposing this initiative, so that California may stay together as one people and one nation,” Evans said.

California doesn’t need a constitutional amendment to secede

One major reason – perhaps it would be better categorized as a rumor – that some are reluctant to get behind the campaign for California independence is because they believe the path to achieving this goal is so narrow that other options ought to be explored. The idea that California requires a constitutional amendment to exit the Union is one of such rumors.

The only legal opinion we have on the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of secession dates to the 1869 ruling in Texas v. White. In that ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that a state may only secede with the “consent of the states” – their words, not ours – or by “revolution”. The Supreme Court did not say a “constitutional amendment”, which would require a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress and the approval of three-fourths of the states’ legislatures. A high bar indeed.

So, what could “consent of the states” possibly mean?

  • SENATE CONFIRMATION: With the adoption of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, senators started being elected by direct popular vote of the people of the states. However, in 1869 when the Supreme Court wrote that a state may secede with the “consent of the states,” senators were still being chosen by state legislatures. Perhaps a state may exit the Union with the consent of the Senate just like the Senate holds another unique power related to granting consent: presidents may make appointments only with the “advice and consent” of the Senate.
  • ACT OF CONGRESS: In 1850, the House of Representatives and Senate voted to adopt Senate Bill 169, “a bill for the admission of the State of California into the Union.” This bill passed in the Senate on August 13, 1850 by a vote of 34 Ayes, 18 Nays, and 8 abstentions, and in the House of Representatives on September 7, 1850 by a vote of 150 Ayes, 56 Nays, and 21 abstentions. Thus, California was admitted into the Union with the consent of the states by an Act of Congress by a simple majority vote and so the question is: what if Congress repealed Senate Bill 169? Such repeal would only require a simple majority vote in both houses of Congress.
  • STATE LEGISLATURES: Perhaps the most direct and literal interpretation of “consent of the states” would take the question out of the hands of the federal government and place it entirely in the hands of the states. There being fifty states in the Union, California would require twenty-five state legislatures to adopt a resolution granting California consent to leave. Certainly, the adoption of such a proclamation by twenty-five state legislatures – California being the twenty-sixth – would constitute “the consent of (the majority of) the states”.

What does consent of the states mean? Nobody knows because this question hasn’t been officially answered. But we can say for sure that “consent of the states” does not mean “constitutional amendment” and therefore California – or any state for that matter – would not require the approval of two-thirds of both houses of Congress and of 36 state legislatures to exit the Union.

We could obtain the “consent of the states” by Senate confirmation (majority vote), by an Act of Congress to repeal Senate Bill 169 (majority vote), or by the adoption of a proclamation granting consent to California to exit the Union by a majority of the state legislatures. Granted, these are still high bars to pass but they are all much more feasible than a constitutional amendment, and as far as option three goes, considering the number of conservative states in America’s heartland and the south, this may not be as difficult to achieve as it seems.

Yes California releases new version of Calexit e-book: Download Now!

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, July 31, 2017– The Yes California Independence Campaign released a newly updated version of its must-read e-book which answers the most important and frequently-asked questions about the campaign for independence. The Calexit Blue Book 2.0 is now available for download and is expected to be available by request in print form from the campaign in the near future. Version 2 of the Calexit Blue Book coincides with the relaunch of Yes California earlier this month under its new president, Marcus Ruiz Evans, who said the book is also being translated into Spanish.

Among other questions covered, the Calexit Blue Book 2.0 answers whether or not independence will affect your U.S. citizenship (it won’t), how California as a country can defend itself without the mighty U.S. military, how independence will affect medicare, medicaid, and social security entitlements, as well as federal financial aid, federal highway funds, and international travel to and from California. “The Calexit Blue Book 2.0 doesn’t cover every question we’ve ever been asked but it covers the most frequently-asked questions, it covers the most important questions people need to know the answers to before they decide one way or the other about independence. No, not every question is answered in this book, but it is constantly being edited and new questions and content will be added to it as this campaign moves forward. We encourage the public to submit their questions and challenge us to come up with the respectable and honest answers they deserve,” a statement signed by the Yes California Board of Directors read.

The group hopes that among other things, the new e-book will serve as an important resource for Californians to refer to for answers about the Calexit campaign. “We receive so many messages via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and by phone. When we originally decided to put this publication together, it was with those messages in mind that we took action. We’ve got over 44 thousand supporters on Facebook – about the same size as the California Democratic Party – and to be honest we just don’t have the time or resources to individually answer each person’s questions. We hope the Calexit Blue Book 2.0 will be an important resource for all out there who are intrigued by the notion of an independent California,” the organization’s president said.

The Calexit Blue Book 2.0 is available for download below.

Download Label
July 31, 2017 - 9:49 am
3.16 MB
v.1.7 (stable)

Their Calexit petition form does not meet legal standards – here’s a new one

UPDATE: July 30, 5:20 PM: The California Freedom Coalition has contacted the campaign. They have rejected our help and demanded that we prevent you from downloading the petition form we created that meets legal standards. So a week into the signature collection process, you’ll still be unable to download a valid petition form anywhere. 

As you may have heard, a group has filed an initiative that they believe will put California on the path to independence from the United States. The Yes California Independence Campaign has withheld its endorsement of this initiative because it takes the question of independence out of the hands of the voters of California and puts it into the hands of the Donald Trump administration. We outright reject this strategy in favor of an independence referendum.

That being said, we believe if other groups out there want to float independence-related ballot measures and collect signatures for them, then it would be best if the petitions they circulate are at least formatted according to the rules outlined in state law, especially if they want to attach the #Calexit brand to it. Therefore, we are strongly advising all petition circulators to circulate this downloadable petition form, as the petition form offered from the initiative sponsors’ website that is currently being circulated will be rejected by the state before the signatures are even counted.

There are at least two flaws in the formatting of the petition. First, font size. California Elections Code 9008 and 9012 set out petition form font size regulations.

California Elections Code 9008


First, we draw attention to the font size problem. Elections Code 9008 requires that the circulating title and summary be printed in 12-point or larger roman boldface type. The sponsors have done this on the first page of the petition but page two the font size is 7.02 point.

This font size should be 12-point font.

Second, we draw attention to California Elections Code 9008, section (a). The initiative sponsors’ petition has three pages but page three does not contain the Attorney General’s unique identifier nor the circulating title and summary. Perhaps this problem can be fixed by printing page two and three on one sheet of paper, front and back, but the sponsors are not instructing people to do so.

Third, we draw attention to Elections Code 9012, which not only reiterates the fact that each section shall contain the circulating title and summary but that the full text of the initiative be printed in type not smaller than 8-point font.

California Elections Code 9012

Again, the initiative sponsors used a 7.02-point font size – apparently and understandably to condense the text of the relatively lengthy initiative in order to limit the amount of printing. This makes sense for environmental and economic reasons but the petition forms with 7.02-point font do not meet state regulations for petition forms and will be rejected. Indeed, a 7.02-point font is difficult to read and the state has an interest in ensuring that voters can read petitions before they sign them.

This font size should be no smaller than 8.

Again, we are not the authors of this initiative and we don’t endorse it so therefore we haven’t gone through this petition with a fine comb. These are some glaring issues that render the petition form legally unacceptable. There may be other flaws in the petition formatting. Therefore, for the sake of our supporters across California who do want to sign this petition and have their signature count, Yes California has taken it upon ourselves to reformat this petition form. You can download this form here and we welcome and urge the petition sponsors to adopt this new petition form in place of the current one.

Does California ever affect the results of the presidential election in the Electoral College?

Skeptics of the Calexit Campaign fear that if California were to exit the Union, we would essentially be guaranteeing that a Democrat would never win the White House again. They believe this because California has the most number of votes in the Electoral College (55). Therefore, on the surface it seems California has a strong impact on who becomes the President of the United States and thus removing California from the Electoral College would drastically change the political dynamics of presidential politics.

First, there is a critical background point which should be obvious but is often overlooked. The number of California’s Electoral College votes has changed every ten years with the Census due to our changing population. Our state currently has 55 votes in the Electoral College but that hasn’t always been the case.

The question is: if California never had any votes in the Electoral College since 1852 (the first presidential election in which we participated as a state), nor had its current 55 Electoral College votes, would we be abandoning the rest of the country to permanent Republican control of the presidency? The short answer is no.

Since California became a state in 1850, we have participated in presidential elections 41 times. If we were to erase California’s Electoral College votes from history, the United States would have had a different president only once. In 1876, Democrat Samuel Tilden lost to Republican Rutherford B. Hayes 185-184 in the Electoral College. In that election, California cast its six Electoral College votes for the Republican, helping him win the presidency.

That election was one of the most disputed presidential elections in American history. Before 20 disputed electoral votes from three states were eventually awarded to Hayes, he trailed Tilden 165-184 in the Electoral College. Without California’s electoral votes that year, Tilden would have been elected the 19th President of the United States. Ironically, Tilden won the popular vote that year but lost the election in the Electoral College thanks, in part, to California’s six electoral votes.

And that’s it. There has only been one instance in history where California has impacted the result of the Electoral College and in that case California helped a Republican win. Let’s examine the historical record. Of the 40 remaining presidential elections in which California has participated, there are two scenarios.

The first scenario is as follows: California cast its Electoral College votes for the losing candidate. In other words, without California’s Electoral College votes, the losing candidate would have simply lost by a greater margin. This happened in 1880, 1884, 1912, 1960, 1976, 2000, 2004, and 2016.

The second scenario is as follows: California cast its Electoral College votes for the winning candidate. In every election where California’s electoral votes were cast for the winning candidate, that candidate won by a margin larger than the number of California’s electoral votes. In other words, without California’s Electoral College votes, the winning candidate would have simply won by a smaller margin.

Here’s a case in point: In 2012, Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney 332-206 in the Electoral College. The margin in that election was +126 for Obama. California had 55 electoral votes which were cast for Obama. Without those votes, Obama still would have won but only by a margin of 71 electoral votes.

In 2008, Barack Obama defeated John McCain 365-173 in the Electoral College. The margin in that election was +192 for Obama. California had 55 electoral votes which were cast for Obama. Without those votes, Obama still would have won but only by a margin of 137 electoral votes.

And the presidential elections of 1852-1872, 1888-1908, 1916-1956, 1964-1972, and 1980-1996 all follow this same pattern.

Just think: with California in the Union as it currently is, and its 55 electoral votes, Donald Trump is President of the United States today and the Republicans have controlled the White House for 20 years since 1980… and the Democrats for 12.

So, what does that tell you about our impact?

Click to enlarge.

Does California affect the balance of power in the House of Representatives?

Skeptics of the Calexit Campaign fear that if California were to exit the Union, we would be condemning the rest of the country to permanent Republican control. They believe this because California with its 53 members of Congress has the largest delegation of all the states. Therefore, on the surface it seems California carries major influence in the balance of power in Washington and thus removing California from that equation would drastically change the political dynamics of Congress.

However, that is not the case.

First, let’s point out what should be obvious but is often overlooked. California is a blue state – no doubt about it. But of California’s 53 members of the House of Representatives, only 39 of them are Democrats. Therefore, the impact we have on ensuring a Democratic majority in Congress is limited because our state will inevitably send at least some Republicans to Congress.

There is a second point which should be obvious but is also overlooked. The number of California’s representatives to Congress changes every ten years with the Census. Our state currently has 53 representatives but that hasn’t always been the case and therefore we should remember that California hasn’t always had the largest congressional delegation. In fact, California has only had the largest congressional delegation since the 19th reapportionment in 1970.

The question is: if California no longer sent 53 (for now) representatives to Congress, most of them Democrats but some of them inevitably Republicans, would we be abandoning the rest of the country to permanent Republican majorities in Congress? The short answer is no.

Since California became a state in 1850, we have participated in congressional elections have sent a growing number of congressmen and women to represent our growing population a total of 84 times. If we were to erase California from history and thus remove its elected members from the House of Representatives, there would be only two times in history where the balance of power would have shifted from one party to another.

First, in 1930. That year, the Republicans held onto a slim majority in the House of Representatives, 218-216 over the Democrats. Ironically, removing California’s delegation to Congress that year would have given a 215-208 majority to the Democrats. Another overlooked point: California’s congressional delegation to Washington hasn’t always been majority Democrat.

The second (and last) time California’s congressional delegation impacted the balance of power in the House of Representatives was in 1952. That year, the Republicans held onto a 221-213 majority over the Democrats. Removing California from the equation would have given the Democrats a 203-201 majority over the Republicans.

And that’s it. There have only been two occurrences in history where California has impacted the balance of power in the House of Representatives: 1930 and 1952. Both times California’s delegation helped establish a Republican majority whereas without California the Democratic Party would have had the majority.

There was a close call in the 1916 elections, where the Republicans came out on top 216-214 over the Democrats. Without California, the Republican majority would have shrunk to 211-210.

We also played no role one way or the other in the Republican Revolution under Newt Gingrich in 1994, when California sent an equal number of Democrats and Republicans to the House of Representatives, meaning the Republicans still would have won back control of Congress after forty years if California was not a part of the Union.

The idea is simple: the balance of power in the House of Representatives is rarely within the margin of the number of representatives California has in Congress. This means that our ability as a state to impact the balance of power is weak.

In 1850 when California became a state, the difference between the majority Democratic Party and the minority Whig Party was 44 seats. California had two at-large representatives: George W. Wright, an independent who was elected as a Democrat after California was officially a state, and Edward Gilbert, another Democrat.

In 1950 when California was commemorating its 100th anniversary of statehood, the Democrats enjoyed a healthy 235-199 majority over the Republicans. That majority would have been 225-186 without California’s delegation. The point is clear: California’s exit from the Union won’t affect the balance of power much or bring about permanent Republican control in Congress.

Just think: with California in the Union as it currently is, and its 53 members of Congress, the Republicans control the House of Representatives today and have controlled that chamber for 19 of the past 23 years.

So, what does that tell you about our impact?

Click to enlarge.