After Donald Trump won the race to the White House, people across California took to social media Tuesday night to call for “Calexit” (or California exit), recalling Brexit, Britain’s push to leave the European Union.
As the topic continues to trend on Twitter, Californians in favor of seceding from the US will gather November 9th on the steps of the capitol in Sacramento.
The group leading the charge, Yes California Independence Campaign, assembled long before Trump’s surprising victory. Its aim is to hold a referendum in 2018 that, if passed, would make California an independent country.
The movement has racked up an impressive backer already. Shervin Pishevar, an early investor in Uber and well-known angel investor, said on Twitter that he would bankroll a campaign to make California its own nation if Trump won.
In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, he confirmed his mission.
“It’s the most patriotic thing I can do,” he told CNBC. “The country is at serious crossroads. … Calling it New California.”
He expressed a desire that California, the sixth-largest economy in the world in terms of GDP, might become a catalyst for a “national dialogue” as the country reaches a “tipping point.”
More Silicon Valley innovators are hopping on the bandwagon. Dave Morin, an investor and founder of the private social networking tool Path, and Marc Hemeon, a former Googler and founder of Design Inc., also showed their support on Twitter, CNN Money reports.
The president of Yes California, Louis Marinelli, is one of the state’s most unorthodox political thinkers. The Buffalo, New York, native and current California resident served as the former interim chairman of the California National Party, whose primary goal is achieving California’s independence from the US. He also taught English in Russia.
In 2015, Marinelli paid $200 each for nine initiatives related to California’s secession to get them on a statewide ballot. He also ran a failed campaign for a seat in the California State Assembly.
“What’s going on in the US politically and culturally is so different from what’s happening here,” Marinelli told The Los Angeles Times in 2015. “I want California to be all it can, and our group feels the political and cultural connection to the US is holding us back from our potential.”
The fringe political movement gathered steam in June, when the UK broke from the EU.
“This is the first Western secessionist movement that worked, and I think that is going to be very profound,” Marinelli told Newsweek shortly after Brexit. “Are you going to say to people in the freest country in the world [you] don’t have the right to self-determination?”