2018 is going to be a big election year for California.

Not only do we get to pick a new governor, but we may get a chance to vote to secede from the United States of America as well. #CalExit, a #Brexit inspired movement in which California would secede from the union, has cleared an important hurdle and a secession measure would be on our 2018 ballot.

I have previously reported that leader of Yes California (the organized, supposedly San Diego-based effort for this movement) is an American who lives in Russia and runs the independence campaign from there. Louis Marinelli has now gotten approval from California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to begin collecting signatures begin gathering signatures to place secession on the California ballot.

The Yes California Independence Campaign has been around for at least two years, but the election of President Trump only saw increased momentum for the so-called Calexit cause. Trump lost California by more than 4 million votes, fueling interest in a Calexit — a play on the United Kingdom’s “Brexit” campaign that saw that country’s voters decide to leave the European Union.

The California secretary of state’s office announced that the group could begin collecting signatures on Thursday.

The group needs 585,407 signatures from registered voters over the next 180 days to qualify for the ballot.

If Marinelli’s team can get the required signatures, then the measure would be on the 2019 ballot. If at least 50% of the state’s registered voters participate and 55% of those voting actually say “Yes”, the results would be California’s declaration of independence.

As a Californian who wants to remain in the union, I am grateful that only my state’s citizens get to vote. Based on the social media commentary, I suspect that it were left to citizens in the remainder of the country, the Golden State would be given the boot.

https://twitter.com/RebeccaOakley16/status/825099002551033856

How likely is it that there will be enough signatures from Californians? I actually began my citizen activism gathering signatures for Governor Gray Davis’ recall, so I anticipate it may be difficult to hit the nearly 600,000 mark unless there are many boots-on-the-ground.

A campaign committee, Yes California Independence Committee, has raised no funds so far, according to records from the secretary of state. But Evans says that his group has more than 7,000 volunteers (significantly down from a 13,000 estimate in December) ready to gather signatures and that voters can expect to see signature gatherers on the streets in the next couple of days.

However, it aslo appears that secession may be gaining approval as the American media gins up angst about President Trump.

Recent polls show support for California nationhood falls well short of a majority, but that the idea is catching on with voters.

A Reuters/IPSOS poll released Tuesday found 32 percent of California residents surveyed support seceding from the union as the state’s staunchly liberal voters recoil from the Republican president.

So, while the task is daunting, a #CalExit vote is not impossible. Stranger things have happened in this state.

In a fascinating development, some California’s liberal pundits are now working to undermine the secession movement. Los Angeles Times contributor Conor Friedersdorf explains that ‘Calexit’ would be a disaster for progressive values:

For decades California has exerted more influence on American politics and culture than vice versa. Secession would not improve our values. But it would practically ensure that the rest of the U.S. would drift farther away from our laid-back tolerance and easygoing diversity. And they’d still be our neighbors, geographic reality unchanged by political independence.

And these people wonder why we get smacked in social media by non-Californians!

To be fair, Friedersdorf also mentions business ties, banking networks, and the water supply as real, non-ideological concerns that make it sensible to stay American.

So, it may be in 2018 that Tea Party activists join hands with our state’s progressives to ensure California remains part of this great country.

Again, stranger things have happened.