“Calexit” is swiftly taking over social media.
After Donald Trump won the race to the White House, people across California took to social media Tuesday night to call for “Calexit,” recalling Brexit in its push to leave the union.
As the topic continues to trend on Twitter, Californians in favour of seceeding from the US will gather today on the steps of the capitol in Sacramento.
The group leading the charge, Yes California Independence Campaign, assembled long before Trump’s surprising victory. Its aim is to put a referendum on the 2019 ballot that, if passed, would make California an independent country.
The movement has racked up some impressive backers already. Shervin Pishevar, an early investor in Uber and well-known angel investor, claimed on Twitter that he would bankroll a campaign to make California its own nation if Trump won.
In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, he confirmed his mission.
“It’s the most patriotic thing I can do,” he told CNBC. “The country is at serious crossroads. … Calling it New California.”
He expressed a desire that California, the sixth largest economy in the world, in terms of GDP, might become a catalyst for a “national dialogue” as the country reaches a “tipping point.”
The president of Yes California, Louis Marinelli, is one of the state’s most unorthodox political thinkers. The Buffalo, New York, native and current California resident served as the former interim chairman of the California National Party, whose primary goal is achieving California’s independence from the US, and worked as an English as a second language teacher in Russia.
In 2015, Marinelli paid $200 each to get nine initiatives related to California’s secession on a statewide ballot. He also ran a failed campaign for a seat in the California State Assembly.
“What’s going on in the US politically and culturally is so different from what’s happening here,” Marinelli told The LA Times in 2015. “I want California to be all it can, and our group feels the political and cultural connection to the US is holding us back from our potential.”
The fringe political movement gathered steam in June, when the United Kingdom broke from the European Union.
“This is the first Western secessionist movement that worked, and I think that is going to be very profound,” Marinelli told Newsweek shortly after Brexit. “Are you going to say to people in the freest country in the world [you] don’t have the right to self-determination?”
Twitter had this to say:
Others expressed greater uncertainty about the idea of Calexit.