Interest In Secession Movements Grows On Facebook

Secession movements on the West Coast are capitalizing on Trump's election victory

People hold signs during a march and rally against Trump in L.A. — REUTERS
Nov 13, 2016 at 11:38 AM ET

As calls for secession among anti-Trump activists capture national attention, secession movements that existed before the results of the presidential election were clear are gaining new online followers by the day.

Several Facebook pages dedicated to a California secession are particularly seeing growing interest. Groups including the Yes California Independence Campaign, the California National Party, and Californians For Independence have experienced striking growth since the results of the presidential election were announced on November 9.

The largest campaign, Yes California, nearly doubled its number of Facebook followers over the course of several days. On November 8, the page had 11,437 likes from American users; By November 11, the page had 21,048 likes from users in the United States, Vocativ discovered. The other pages dedicated to California similarly saw dramatic spikes in new followers.

More Sharp Rise In Calls For Secession As Trump Claims Victory

Interest in independence is also surfacing in other states. Some residents of the Pacific Northwest are demanding independence. Cascadia, a “bio-region” composed of Oregon, Washington, and parts of British Columbia, saw a spike in new followers on Facebook since Election Day. The region’s largest movement in terms of Facebook followers, CascadiaNow, added thousands of new likes since November 8, a Vocativ analysis showed. An effort and website called Yes Cascadia was also established, seemingly as a political offshoot of CascadiaNow.

Outside the West Coast, the Second Vermont Republic and the Foundation for New Hampshire Independence also saw boosts in Facebook likes since Tuesday, although online support for those groups is minimal.

Despite any increased interest, however, an actual act of secession seems impossible. In 1861, when Texans wanted to secede from the United States, the Supreme Court decided states can’t do so unilaterally. “The legality of seceding is problematic,” Eric McDaniel, an associate professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin, told The Texas Tribune earlier this year after Britain decided to leave the E.U. “The Civil War played a very big role in establishing the power of the federal government and cementing that the federal government has the final say in these issues.”

A constitutional law professor at the University of Pennsylvania also told the San Francisco Chronicle that a California secession is “not realistic.” An amendment to the Constitution would be needed to establish legal framework for a state to secede, Kermit Roosevelt said.