A fringe political group in California wants to opt out of a Donald Trump presidency by leaving the union.
The Yes California Independence Campaign aims to hold a referendum in 2019 that, if passed, would make California an independent country.
Far-fetched as it may sound, the plan started gathering steam after Tuesday night’s surprising presidential vote. The movement has an impressive backer in Shervin Pishevar, a well-known angel investor who offered to bankroll a campaign to secede.
“As the sixth-largest economy in the world, California is more economically powerful than France and has a population larger than Poland. Point by point, California compares and competes with countries, not just the 49 other states,” Yes California wrote in a statement.
Louis Marinelli, an outspoken political activist and president of Yes California, envisions California as a sovereign entity within the US, much like Scotland in the United Kingdom.
There is no clear path for how California might appeal to the federal government so that it may leave. The US Constitution lays out procedures for how a new state may enter the union, but there are no protocols for a nation to exit.
Marinelli, however, sees a workaround — with a ballot measure passed by California voters.
In 2015, Marinelli paid $200 each to get nine initiatives related to secession on a statewide ballot, according to The Los Angeles Times. None garnered the nearly 400,000 signatures necessary to appear on the ballot. So Marinelli and his followers are forced to start over.
Yes California now aims to gather enough signatures to put an initiative on the ballot in 2018, when Californians will choose their next governor, for a referendum in 2019.