A Velvet Divorce

I am a Californian.

For fifty years, starting with Edmund Brown Sr, I have supported Democratic candidates in state and national races. This election, however, with the victory of the most odious man to ever emerge on the American political scene, has been a game changer from me. I changed my California voter registration to California National Party.

Supporting California Independence is a long shot, and one I don’t believe will happen anytime soon (unless Trump really runs the American Republic into a ditch in his first term). However, California has shown itself to be a true progressive firewall, with its 62% vote for Clinton, its two-thirds Democratic Party super majority in the State Assembly and Senate, its fiery Governor Jerry Brown, and big-city mayors ready to defend undocumented or legal immigrants from deportation. I am supporting the campaign for independence because I think it will strengthen this statewide anti-Trump front.

A party touting independence doesn’t have to win full independence. It can achieve autonomy, control over resources and revenues, and political evolution — the Scots and Catalans have shown that. It can be another magnet for political action and attract the alienated who have lost faith in the national Democratic leadership.

The CNP is tiny right now, but it will grow. The party needs 50,000 voters to register to get legal status in the state, and all it means for me is that I can’t vote in Democratic primaries, which are now uncontested and meaningless anyway.

I believe Americans—and, more specifically, Californians—deserve more choices. The CNP can be an ally to the progressive Democratic and Green Party forces in California, and by standing up for regional interests, it can carve out a new political space and identity.

A new country? Not in my lifetime perhaps. But I first discussed this idea with other activists in the Sierra Club’s political action committees over 35 years ago, and now that it is happening, I’m in. I’m sure I’ll cast my vote for Democrats in the future when necessary. But for now, I am enjoying this velvet divorce.

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