California County Approves Measure To Explore Secession

Disaffected Americans living in a number of U.S. states have pushed long-shot bids to secede from the nation in recent years, but one successful ballot initiative offered a variation on that trend.

According to reports, residents of San Bernardino County, California, voted to instruct local elected officials to study the possibility of secession and the formation of America’s 51st state. Although the county leans to the left politically, its residents have collectively become less supportive of California’s policies and Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.

San Bernardino is one of California’s most populous counties with roughly 2.2 million residents, and with an area comprising about 20,000 square miles, it would be bigger than nine existing states.

Of course, more than 200 prior secession attempts by California counties have failed in the state’s history, so the likelihood of success, in this case, is incredibly slim. Despite the long odds, a vote in favor of exploring the matter is a clear sign that a significant number of Californians are upset by the state’s current direction.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman placed the initiative on ballots, citing “a lot of frustration overall” among county residents with the way state officials have been allocating tax revenue.

He described a widespread belief that a disproportionately small percentage of public funds have been sent to San Bernardino County. Combined with complaints about COVID-19 restrictions and an exceptionally high inflation rate, Hagman concluded that “it’s been a rough few years” for the county’s residents.

Of course, Democratic officials were quick to dismiss the effort as a cynical political move.

“Putting it on a ballot was a waste of time for the voters,” claimed San Bernardino County Democratic Party Chairwoman Kristin Washington. “The option of actually seceding from the state is not even something that is realistic because of all the steps that actually go into it.”

A countywide push to secede from the state is just one of many signs that reflect the growing disillusionment among California residents. As both the crime rate and cost of living soar in areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco, an accelerating exodus of locals is fueling population booms in more conservative regions of the country.

According to statistics, about 33,000 residents of Los Angeles left the city in the second quarter of 2021 alone. In the same three-month period of this year, that number had grown to almost 41,000.