The California Independence Campaign moved from the fringe of Golden State society to almost the mainstream following President Trump’s electoral triumph in November.
As PJM reported, it was a glorious time. As soon as they learned Donald Trump would be their president, tens of thousands of people began joining the Calexit movement for a ballot initiative to break California away from the United States.
It all came crashing down in April when Louis Marinelli, president of the California Independence Campaign, not only admitted his fondness for Russia, but he also announced he was moving to the former Soviet Union because of his “frustration, disappointment, and disillusionment with the United States.”
“From the beginning, I have pointed out the trouble I bring to the table with my political background and my history in Russia, a country I have grown to love,” Marinelli said.
“I have found in Russia a new happiness, a life without the albatross of frustration and resentment towards one’s homeland, and a future detached from the partisan divisions and animosity that has thus far engulfed my entire adult life,” Marinelli added. “Consequently, if the people of Russia would be so kind as to welcome me here on a permanent basis, I intend to make Russia my new home.”
With that, Marinelli pulled back the ballot proposal he had been pushing since 2014.
However, a month later, the movement was back with new leadership — the California Freedom Coalition — and a new willingness to negotiate with the Trump administration to turn California into a “fully functioning sovereign and autonomous state.”
The coalition filed a proposed constitutional amendment that would remove the word “inseparable” from the California Constitution’s declaration that the state is “an inseparable part of the United States of America.”
However, it should not be assumed the California Freedom Coalition wants total freedom. The proposed amendment holds out the possibility the state could be “sovereign and autonomous” without actually breaking away from the U.S.
Stephen Gonzales, the president of the California Freedom Coalition, told the Sacramento Bee the amendment would also open the door for negotiation. It would give the state’s governor the freedom to do a deal with Washington for the independence of California.
Gonzales said this new proposal would be much more appealing to conservative voters than the first Calexit initiative, which he admitted was “secession or nothing.”
“We have taken a different route, which we think will have far more support across the political spectrum,” Gonzales said.
If a statewide survey of voters conducted by the Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) at UC Berkeley is to be believed, Gonzales just might be on to something.
The survey, which was released in March, shows most Californians were already fed up with the job Donald Trump was doing as president. Most also “believe that the changes in laws and policies that his administration is proposing will negatively affect California overall and in many specific policy areas,” a Berkeley IGS statement read. “The largest proportions of voters feel the state will be negatively affected in areas relating to the rights of minorities, the environment, healthcare, international trade and women’s rights.”