What would California be like as an independent nation?

calexitCalifornia breaking off into the ocean as a result of the “Big One” is science fiction fantasy to Hollywood, credible urban legend to citizens of Los Angeles and San Francisco and, perhaps, the secret hope of many Americans residing on the other side of the Sierras. However, backers of a just filed initiative, “Calexit: The California Independence Plebiscite of 2019,” want a different sort of California breakaway. They envision the state as a “free, sovereign and independent country.” Although the effort began several years ago, secessionists have been bolstered by those suffering Trump Derangement Syndrome – a condition where “alt-left” adherents lose their minds over the thought of a Trump presidency.

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A spokesman for the movement cites California’s different culture, different set of priorities and different plans for the future as a justification for breaking away from the rest of the country.

While efforts to establish California as a separate country may be a farfetched idea – the issue of state secession was settled in the small town of Appomattox, Virginia when General Lee surrendered to General Grant, 1865 – it is an interesting mental exercise. What would California be like as an independent nation? Who would govern and what would be the impact on taxpayers? And if California could establish independence, would the break-up end there? Drive anywhere in the Sierra foothills or north of Sacramento and “State of Jefferson” signs are ubiquitous.

If California were an independent country, the precedent would be set for further fracturing, with other regions, where dissatisfaction with the established order is intense, seeking to break away.

Today, California’s political direction is dictated by the upper income elites living in coastal enclaves and Hollywood. Here, the Starbucks generation is consumed with issues like climate change and bathroom access and they are not shy about telling others how to live. This explains why Sacramento seems to be constantly making war on those not part of the coastal, protected class. But travel just 25 miles from the coast and you’ll find a different world. Here, people are concerned about finding a job or keeping the job they have.

After speaking to a group of politically active Californians a few years ago, pollster Scott Rasmussen responded to a question about the size of government saying, the average person does not walk down the street thinking about limited government, they are thinking about how they are going to support their families.

Outside of Malibu, Santa Barbara and the Bay Area, most people are still searching for the answer to the question of how to feed, shelter and clothe their families. If given the option of breaking away from the Prius driving, chardonnay sipping, kale chip nibbling elite, they would likely vote yes.

California will not become an independent nation, but the divide between the coastal and inland areas is real and we are about to experience another clash of these cultures played out on the Sacramento stage.

A special session on transportation, called by Gov. Brown last year, has just concluded without lawmakers imposing new taxes. But when the new Legislature convenes, one with even more pro-tax members elected in November, the top priority will be a significant increase in the gas tax and other auto-related charges. Once again, inland residents who need their cars for work will find themselves pitted against the “Let them drive Teslas” coastal elite.

If the price of fuel heads even higher than it is now, we are bound to see a multitude of working class Californians filling their tanks one last time as they leave the state for a foreign land called America.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.

This piece was originally published by HJTA.org


  1. Quote: “the issue of state secession was settled in the small town of Appomattox, Virginia when General Lee surrendered to General Grant, 1865”
    — While not necessarily being an advocate for Calexit, are legal questions ever properly settled by a military victory? Might makes right?

  2. Also, there is no constitutional prohibition against secession. Prior to the ratification of our Constitution, the united states was governed by it’s predecessor, the “Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union Between the United States”. robinsonlibrary.com/political/unitedstates/history/confederation.htm — When our current constitution was drafted, the framers removed any reference to a perpetual union. Presumably this was not by accident.

  3. Sorry, but you didn’t answer or really address “What would California be like as an independent nation?”
    I’ve thought about it, and come to the conclusion that it would be a horrendous financial disaster. While the state claims that it sends more to the Federal government than it gets back, I don’t think these fools have really considered this issue. Take one aspect of health insurance: Medicare with very few exceptions doesn’t pay for healthcare outside of the US. There are approximately 4.5 million Medicare beneficiaries in California. Would the new country of California replace Medicare for these individuals? If not, many would be forced to leave to continue receiving their benefits. There are another 9 plus million on Medicaid (Medical in California) in California. The Federal government pays nearly 75% of the cost. Can the country of California afford to continue to cover these people without Federal money? California has about 33% of all welfare recipients in the US and about 25% of all illegal aliens in the US. Federal money pays for a significant slice of welfare benefits that would stop. These are just a small portion of the financial issues that the new Country of California would be facing.
    Next you have to look at the Federal employees in California, military, DHS, TSA, air traffic controllers. Does the new Country of California add them to their already bloated public employment rolls or do most leave the state to keep their Federal job and benefits?

    I could go on, but I think my point is made. It would be a horrendous financial disaster for those remaining in the new Country of California.

    • Tremors: Your comments are spot on. What is California going to do as the 7th largest economy? Will it have to raise its own Navy? How about it’s own nuclear arsenal? Or will it have to pay the US for the privilege of being defended. You’re right, we could go on all day.

  4. And what Tremors didn’t mention was the $1.5 trillion$ deficit Kalifornia has run up. (Jerry the Stupid still thinks we have a surplus.) What would be better than a new country would be to split the State in half leaving the Coast to themselves.The debt could be split up on an income basis. The higher your income the more of the deficit you own. Works for me!

  5. Also, how large is the Federal footprint in California? I am talking about the percentage of the State that is in Federal Land Registers, National Parks, and the like, and their employees? The Elites have long used the Federal Lands Statutes to “Protect ” large swaths of public lands from their owners. Will the State have to purchase that land back from the Feds? How about the Ports of Los Angeles, Oakland, Long Beach, and San Diego? What percentage of those ports have Federal imprints? How about the Federal Military bases, air bases, and ports? Do we pull out and leave the defense of California to California? Have a hard time seeing Barbara Streisand with an AK47 or AR 15. How about the FAA, TSA etc, that regulate the State’s airports? Who pays for that? How about the building and repair of Federal Hwys.? Court Buildings and offices? Do we let California take care of their own border issues? Do we set up a fence between California and the rest of the Western States?, Obviously they have no intention of turning anyone away. Will California need an Embassy? Diplomats? That is all on top of the Medicare/Medicaid issues mentioned before. I see about a hundred years of Court cases…Of course, as a Sovereign nation, California can issue their own currency, and “Buy” their way out of any mess that create, that is if any one will accept a bill with Jerry Brown’s face on it…

    • “…Do we set up a fence between California and the rest of the Western States?…”

      Darn tootin’! With actual enforcement.

  6. Robin Paul Nelson says

    I am curious as to how these genius’s think California will survive with no water source from the Colorado river when the tap is shut off.

  7. California would simply turn into Argentina. A Socialist enclave !

  8. It makes more sense to split the State into three parts: Jefferson, West and East California.

    East California should include OC, SD, Kern, The central Valley, Riverside, etc.

    West California can sink into the Mariannas Trench for I care. No one in my street cares for those maniacs.

    Not all of us Coastal Residents want a totalitarian fascist regime controlling us. We like Chardonnays, yes, but we are also fond of our freedom, low taxes and cars.

  9. Dr Richard Muccillo says

    IT will be destroyed –last time I say this–get rid of bald head and never put someone like him in power again and get rid of the corruptness in the legislature–or people will leave and those who remain will suffer under tyranny!

  10. Come on the State of Jefferson!!!!

    • Having been a resident of what is now, at best, is called Kommieforniastan, I can just imagine how long before the fools that are pushing this nonsense scream UNCLE!! With our power coming from natural gas, cut off, power from the North West, cut off, power from Arizona, cut off, or they jack up the price, we’ll be a ghetto …. ok we already are.. in no time. Water will be cut off or severely over priced. Seeing as the leftists don’t like black rifles, they’re going to be hard pressed to fend off the invasion from Iran. I’m fairly certain that we that don’t wet our pants at the sight of a firearm will just say Screw-it and head east, or to the State of Jefferson, which if they could prove how the heck they’d survive the first 20 years I’d move to it in a heart beat.

  11. Let them and their precious illegals with them. Make them build a wall and charge them for the water they need from the Colorado River In the US!

  12. Free-America beckons!

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