The far-fetched idea of California seceding from the nation took a tiny step forward this week. California's secretary of state agreed to allow a group called Yes California to begin collecting signatures for a ballot measure, reports the Los Angeles Times. If 585,407 are collected by July 25—a high hurdle for the relatively small group—a proposal will land on the 2018 ballot to erase lines in the state Constitution outlining California as "an inseparable part of the United States" and the US Constitution as the "supreme law of the land." If passed, it would set up a 2019 vote on whether California should become "a free, sovereign and independent country." Even if that passed, huge hurdles remain. Secession would require a constitutional amendment, with two-thirds support in both the US House and Senate and ratification by at least 38 states.
"It's basically impossible," notes a post at New York. The idea of a "Calexit" has been in the works since 2014, but the Wall Street Journal notes that it got a boost after Donald Trump's election as a mostly jokey way to register opposition. Seems nuts? "I think we'd have the votes today," says a group co-founder, who argues that California gives the federal government more money than it receives and is "culturally" separate from the rest of the country. "America already hates California, and America votes on emotions." Adds a rep for the California National Party, which supports secession in the long-term but not the current effort, "It's certainly as likely as Donald Trump becoming president." (The movement already has a Moscow "embassy".)