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'Calexit' Is Dead (for Now)

CalExit Banner at California Statehouse
The California separatist group YesCalifornia is ending its election referendum effort temporarily as its founder has left the country. (Reuters photo)

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the California liberal separatist movement known as "Calexit" is falling apart.

The group's founder, Louis Marinelli, announced Wednesday he is leaving the U.S. and emigrating to his wife's native country, Russia. In so doing, he's now calling himself the "representative of the Republic of California to Russia."

Here's what he had to say:

As I have stated in the past, I do not wish to live under the American flag. I do not wish to live under the American political system or within the American economic system. Regardless, I had long planned to eventually return to occupied California and struggle for her independence from the United States so we could build the kind of country that reflects our progressive values. However, while my frustration, disappointment and disillusionment with the United States remains, these feelings now point me in a different direction. I have found in Russia a new happiness, a life without the albatross of frustration and resentment towards ones' homeland and a future detached from the partisan divisions and animosity that has thus far engulfed my entire adult life.

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Consequently, if the people of Russia would be so kind as to welcome me here on a permanent basis, I intend to make Russia my new home.

Accordingly, as the author and architect of the Calexit ballot initiative petition which is currently circulating in California, it is only proper, given my intention to seek permanent residence in Russia and not return to California in the foreseeable future, to withdraw that petition from circulation, and to allow a new petition, free from ties to me and drafted by others, to be resubmitted at future date of their choosing.

While many have suggested the "Calexit" movement was precipitated by President Donald Trump's election. But, in reality, Marinelli has been pushing the separatist ballot measure for three years. He is not a native Californian, however, which some in the movement say has hampered his efforts.

According to The Times' report, the man who had taken over the effort to get "Calexit" on the 2018 ballot is also asking for it to be stopped. The report states:

Marcus Ruiz Evans, the initiative's official proponent, sent an email Monday to the secretary of state's office asking to cancel his initiative. State election law allows a proposed ballot measure to be recalled for any reason, as long as it happens prior to 131 days before the election. But to do so, Evans must submit a signed letter—which has yet to be received.

The problem "Calexit" faces is with Democrats. Leaders in the party have urged their grassroots members to reject the ballot measure because it isn't a viable option. The state's governor, Jerry Brown—also a Democrat—has sought and received federal assistance four times in just the first few weeks of the Trump administration.

Evans is expected to bring a new measure back up later this spring. Constitutional experts, however, question whether or not secession is allowed, saying the nation's charter only provides a mechanism for states to join, not leave.

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