Why California Can’t Secede


If you truly believe that the key to California’s success is to secede from the Union, then I question your understanding of anything regarding government. In fact, if you’re one of these people who supports the #Calexit movement, you should probably have your voting privileges revoked all together.

According to—the group heading up the Calexit movement—“It is about California taking its place in the world, standing as an equal among nations. We believe in two fundamental truths: “(1) California exerts a positive influence on the rest of the world, and (2) California could do more good as an independent country that it is able to do as just a U.S. state.”

Apparently this organization has no idea how government works, where California gets it’s money, how much federal assistance the state relies on and just what it means to “seceded from the Union.”  It’s analogous to getting into an argument with you parents, moving out of their basement and into your own place, then demanding they still pay for everything. Though, for many on the Left, I’m sure they still sponge off the proverbial parental teat long after moving out–so perhaps this anecdote is lost on them.

What I’m not going to cover in this article is the constitutionality of such a feat. The Constitution doesn’t spell out any procedure for succession and we have to go back to the late 1800’s to even get a court ruling that scrapes the surface. Rather, I’ll simply be concentrating on the logistics, because I believe the logistics are reason enough why secession is a ridiculous proposal.

Natural Disasters

Whether tectonic plates are shifting or homes are burning, California plays host to a multitude of natural disasters on a regular basis. According to the Southern California Earthquake Center at the University of California, the Northridge Earthquake in 1994 resulted in $20-billion in damages and another $49 billion in economic loss.

Just last year, California was able to take credit for the costliest wildfire in United States history. The Soberanes Fire was the result of an illegal campfire in Garrapata State Park and cost about $236 million to suppress. The fire burned 132,127 acres along the Big Sur coast in the Los Padres National Forest and adjacent private and public land in Monterey County. Where do people think this $236 million came from?

California’s interconnected water system serves over 30 million people and irrigates over 5,800,000 acres of farmland. It’s the world’s largest and most productive water system. California’s limited water supply comes from two main sources: surface water and groundwater. A large portion of the water California receives comes from the Colorado River and originates more than 1,000 miles from the state. The Colorado is a critical source of irrigation and urban water for Southern California, providing between 55-65% of the total supply.

California is heavily dependent on federal and intrastate aid when it comes to natural disasters–including drought. Do people believe that the Country of California will be privy to the same benefits it receives now?


The California National Guard is a federally funded California military force, part of the National Guard of the United States. One California leaves the United States, it leaves the National Guard behind. Without a national defense, California becomes an easy target.

Student Financial Aid

If California were to seceded, then all of its students would no longer qualify for student financial aid. California is already one of the costliest places to go to school and without federal funding, higher education would be nearly impossible to obtain. In February 2014, The Sacramento Bee reported on the spike in California students seeking federal financial aid for college. The article stated that “[o]ver the last six school years, the number of California residents filing the federal financial aid application jumped nearly 74 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Some local colleges saw even higher increases, such as an 81 percent rise among California State University, Sacramento, applicants.”

In the Country of California, Financial Aid disappears. In fact, going to school in the United States then becomes “studying abroad.”


Finally, proponents of succession love to claim that California has the sixth largest economy in the world. However, they fail to acknowledge that the likelihood of this continuing after succession is slim to none. In fact, what’s to stop the United States from imposing tariffs on California? Why would businesses choose to stay in the Country of California when the majority of their products will be going back to the United States? Governor Jerry Brown has already driven successful companies out of California at record numbers. Would President Jerry Brown suddenly create an environment that’s hospitable to business? Doubt it.

There’s a host of other reasons why secession is a horrible idea but lets just get started with the few “tiny” issues discussed above. Without a greater Union, California would be sunk. After the first year of natural disasters, we’d be bankrupt. Students wouldn’t be able to get government backed student loans for college. Oh ya, and there wouldn’t even be a military to defend the wasteland we would have created. Does this sound like a place you’d like to live?

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