The California secession movement, always viewed as one of the weirder pet projects among the eccentricities of the West Coast, seems to have come to a temporary end, as one of the major campaigns in the movement has decided to call it quits. Louis Marinelli, president of the Yes California Independence Campaign, told his supporters that he has begun seeking permanent residence in Russia because of his “frustration, disappointment and disillusionment with the United States.” Concurrent with this statement was the withdrawal of the campaign’s ballot measure proposed to the state for the purposes of a secession referendum. Critics of Yes California say that this move was long due, as Marinelli lived in Siberia for several years, is married to a Russian citizen, and allegedly accepted large financial contributions from Russian sources, which is a touchy topic in today’s U.S.-Russia climate.
That being said, it doesn’t seem that the dream has completely died out. The vice president of Yes California, Marcus Ruiz Evans, said that he was joining the grassroots group California Freedom Coalition, which has grown rapidly in the past year. The coalition is looking for enough support to present its own ballot measure, this time without the albatross of alleged Russian ties.
California is the United States’ most populous state, and on its own would become the world’s sixth-largest economy, so it was always considered folly that the federal government would allow California to leave the Union. The U.S. Congress and 38 other states would need to pass an amendment to the Constitution that would allow California to secede. However, many Californians agree with the “Cal-Exit” basic arguments that California’s massive support of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, measures to legalize recreational marijuana and reduction of crime penalties are a stark contrast from the majority of the country that the state forms a part of.