Is Russia behind Calexit

CalExit withdraws secession initiative

The leader of the movement that wanted California to split off from the United States is now applying for Russian citizenship

The CalExit movement had set itself the goal of separating California from the USA via a referendum. After Donald Trump won the presidential election in November, the previously largely neglected group received a lot of media attention (see Calexit?). Now their leader, Louis J. Marinelli, announced that he still believed in California's independence, but had called off the referendum proposal.

According to a former colleague of Martinelli's, potential donors dropped out after it became known that the Italian-American worked as an English teacher in Russia from 2007 to 2011, where he is now planning to settle permanently and accept Russian citizenship. US media had therefore speculated on whether CalExit could be a Moscow-controlled Astroturf movement, which went well with the popular narrative that the Russians had hacked and leaked emails from the Democratic Party in order to intervene in the American presidential election campaign (which has not yet been proven but is being investigated further).

68 percent against spin-off

In polls, the initiative was far from a majority for its proposal: In a survey carried out by the University of California at Berkeley and published on March 28, 68 percent of the Californians surveyed said they would vote against independence for their state. In order to lead California to independence, the CalExit activists not only had to convince a large part of the electorate otherwise, but also had to ensure that two-thirds majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate in Washington each vote for a corresponding amendment to the US Constitution - and that 38 of the 50 states will subsequently ratify the amendment.

An alternative to this would have been a convention of the federal states, which would also have required a two-thirds majority of the delegates and the approval of 38 of the 50 states. According to its own statements, CalExit did not dare to attempt a split against the will of the federal government, which in the 1860s led to a civil war with more than half a million dead.

Smaller units have a minor "information problem"

The CalExit activists had justified their project with "cultural differences" between Californians and other Americans, but neglected the fact that there are also remarkably large cultural differences within California: not just between the third who prefer to speak Spanish and the rest of them Population (see "Make America Mexico Again"), but also between regions and milieus:

Members of the media industry in the greater Los Angeles area have different values ​​and customs than those in the more libertarian Silicon Valley, which in turn differs greatly from the agricultural Kern County with the country music center Bakersfield. That is why there are also efforts to split the giant federal state into several small states (see investor wants to make Silicon Valley a US state).

Sixth largest economy in the world

According to the economist Philipp Bagus, such smaller units work potentially better than large ones because the state planners there are less distant from the citizens and therefore have a smaller "information problem", which in his opinion countries like Liechtenstein, Monaco, Singapore or Switzerland also show in practice (see small states are successful).

At this year's Ludwig von Mises Conference in Munich, this approach will be discussed with the Swiss legal scholar David Dürr, for whom "even the supposedly small Switzerland is still too big a state". An independent California with just under 40 million inhabitants would be five times the size of the population and the sixth largest economy in the world.

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