The secession movement in California offers a unique opportunity to make Americans’ lives better.
It’s a tradition for election winners, certainly in America and other developed countries, to conclude their campaigns by pleading for unity. Donald Trump just did that, and probably even people who hate him think such a plea for unity was the wise thing to do.
Perhaps it is, in political terms, and in the short run. But in the USA of 2016 a politician pleading for national unity is at best deluded, at worst dishonest. The country is now divided politically into two large camps–one dominated by rural, inland whites, the other by urban, coastal minorities and elites. The policy preferences of these camps are basically opposed.
For the sake of maximizing self-determination, social harmony, and “national happiness,” these two camps should separate into two sovereign nations—roughly according to the red/blue states on the recent electoral map.
Had Clinton won, the push for separation would have come from red states—such as Texas, which has an active secession movement. Instead, Trump won, so the blue states are starting to think this way. A group in California has formed to promote a “Calexit” referendum for 2019. They have starry-eyed visions of a multiculturalist paradise. “California is the most diverse state in the United States and that is something we are proud of,” their website proclaims.
I am guessing that the Trump Administration will ignore the Calexit movement or—to the extent it gains popularity— try to quash it, perhaps with court rulings or with Lincolnesque appeals to national unity.
That would be a gigantic political—and moral—mistake. Calexit offers a unique opportunity for the left and right in America to come together and agree amicably on something, and in so doing further the important cause of cultural liberty. Set California free, by all means! Let the tribes of the left live and rule (and tax themselves) as they like! Encourage other deep-blue states (or their deep-blue counties and municipalities–see map below) to follow California’s lead—and let them all confederate if they want, or even join Canada. Make it clear too that the remaining “red-state nation” will be constitutionally conservative and effectively a homeland and haven for those who want a more traditional American way of life.
Note that a right-wing administration’s opposition to the left’s secession movement would invite the same response by the left—on the “sauce for the goose” principle—when the pendulum swings back and the left takes over the federal government again, and the right wants to secede. Such a stalemate could lead to civil war.