In recent weeks, international media sources have been heavily covering the gradual destruction of the highest dam in the United States at Lake Oroville, some 150 miles from San Francisco. As the breach in the dam is getting bigger by the day, local authorities decided to evacuate nearby towns for the first time in nearly 50 years since the construction of the dam. In an official letter to the US President the Governor of California explained the abnormal situation by stating that last year alone California suffered over a dozen major natural disasters, including fires and hurricanes.
In addition to this disaster, which is making local residents increasingly frustrated on its own, Californian cities and towns have seen the never ending string of massive rallies of protest, as local authorities are preparing a whole package of laws that are aimed at preventing Donald Trump from fulfilling his campaign promises. In fact, California is heading the ongoing struggle of the blue Democratic states against the 45th President of the United States, as protesters in California are only getting even more aggravated by Trump’s migration policy and the fight against natural disasters.
California is vigorously fighting for the preservation of social benefits for those most vulnerable layers of society, since a third of all recipients of those social benefits in the US are residing in this state. It’s been noted over and over again that taxes have been off limits in California.
At the same time we must not forget that back in 2016 the state of California became the sixth economy in the world by overtaking such countries as France.
The interests of large corporations and poor illegal migrants are intertwined in this state, which can be demonstrated by the activities of a well-known company Herbalife, which employees over 550 thousand Hispanic immigrants, which amounts up to 60-80% of its staff. It’s curious that 99.5% of Herbalife’s distributors getting less than the minimum wage, with 88% not getting paid at all. Meanwhile, the company received billions of dollars in revenues (with the record of 4 billion in net revenue back in 2012). The Obama administration was making attempts to undermine the foundation of company’s business, since it operates as a financial pyramid. However, he failed to achieve his goal due to the “protection” provided to Herbalife by the representatives of big business and politicians of the Democratic Party, in particular, the former mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa.
As a result, California has accumulated a massive social layer of lumpenproletariats – the uneducated and unskilled illegal immigrants that are gradually displacing local middle class residents, while Trump is rooting for government’s protection of the latter.
The US economy has always been depended on migrants, with up to 27% of the total number of illegal immigrants, which amounts to three million people, residing in California. Therefore, countering Trump’s attempts to fight illegal migration is a sort of a business necessity for local employers. For many industries, like those in construction, services, and farming legal migrants are way less attractive than illegal ones, since it’s more profitable to hire a person without documents that is willing to earn minimum wage without emjoying any security.
In assessing the chances that the State of California has in its confrontation with Trump, one shouldn’t forget about the massive support that those calling for the secession of California from the United State have in this state. The movement has been widely referred to as Calexit, and those behind it hope that they are going to be able to hold a referendum on this matter. According to the co-founders of the separatist movement, it defends the interests of Californian taxpayers, who handing over more money to the Federal Treasury than the latter allocates in return on the needs of the state.. The official website of the YesCalifornia, states:
The U.S. Government spends more on its military than the next several countries combined. Not only is California forced to subsidize this massive military budget with our taxes, but Californians are sent off to fight in wars that often do more to perpetuate terrorism than to abate it. The only reason terrorists might want to attack us is because we are part of the United States and are guilty by association. Not being a part of that country will make California a less likely target of retaliation by its enemies.
California’s electoral votes haven’t affected a presidential election since 1876. On top of that, presidential election results are often known before our votes are even counted. So, why should we keep subjecting ourselves to presidents we play no role in electing, to 382 representatives and 98 senators we can’t vote for, and all the government officials and federal judges appointed by those very same people we don’t elect.
Although the chances of YesCalifornia movements looks slim, however against the background of Brexit and Trump’s presidential victory, experts must be particularly careful in assessing the role that Calexit may play in the US history. In the similar manner, the confrontation between Donald Trump and the state of California can also go both ways.
Grete Mautner is an indepenent researcher and journalist from Germany, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”