“We are, simply, Californians”

Happy California Independence Day, Californians!

And happy (?) election day as well. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably pretty anxious about what’s going to happen next, and wondering what to do.

First, while your vote in California won’t affect who becomes the next U.S. president, it will have a huge impact on California’s future. At least two important ballot measures, Prop 15 (please vote yes!) and Prop 22 (please vote no!) are incredibly close.

So, if you voted by mail, please check that your vote was received. And if you haven’t voted yet (or your mail ballot was rejected), find your polling place and vote in person. (For more information on statewide ballot measures, please take a look at our voter guide.)

Second, there’s a lot we don’t know about how the process the United States uses to choose the next president will shake out. But here is what we do know:

The outcome will have a huge impact on Californians. From wildfires caused by climate change, to the rights and safety of immigrant Californians, to safeguarding our rights and our ability to govern ourselves despite a compromised U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. president has incredible power over Californians’ lives.

Millions will not accept the result. We may know right away who is selected to be the next president, or it may be a long, drawn-out, disputed process. Whatever happens, enough is broken about the American system that millions of people on the losing side will believe the final outcome is illegitimate—and those people may be us!

Californians’ votes will not matter. Thanks to the electoral college, California voters are dead last in terms of how much power our votes have in the presidential race. California voters are individuals with our own minds, but the electoral college treats us as a single, undifferentiated mass—and the way our electoral votes will go is a foregone conclusion.

Californians will always be second-class voters in the United States. It’s not just the electoral college: the U.S. Constitution is transparently rigged in favor of voters in small states, from the U.S. Senate, all the way down to the amendment process itself.

You probably have plenty of your own reasons for supporting California independence. But I would say that this presidential race itself is reason enough for Californians who love democracy to fight for California independence. It’s not the outcome; it’s the process itself.

That the U.S. President can hold such power over Californians, while Californians’ own votes for president count for nothing, is an outrage. In this system, we literally have no recourse but to plead with voters in other states to consider the impact their vote will have on our lives. And they have the gall to call it an election!

That is why, no matter who becomes the next president, the Independent California Institute is ready to lead the way to California independence. 

The tactics we choose will depend on what happens next, but the strategy will be the same: We will advocate for policy changes that move power from Washington to Sacramento. We will ask our own, legitimately elected state and local officials to take steps to protect Californians from the chaos created by the federal system. And we will publish original research to convince our fellow Californians that we are not some lesser, marginal form of Americans, dependent on the federal government.

We are, simply, Californians, and that is greater than anything America has to offer.

C.C. Marin
Executive Director
Independent California Institute