After President Obama was elected for a second-term, it took less than two weeks for petitions from all 50 states to hit the White House website calling for the secession of their state from the Union. The petition for Texas secession surpassed the requisite 25,000 signature benchmark required for a response from the White House by some 100,000 signatures. Sadly for them, the request was denied, but at least they can have their fiction.
What’s more common, however, are secession plans for states to break off on their own. The last state to break away from another was West Virginia 150 years ago as of June. Yet, it hasn’t been for lack of trying. In the past month alone there have been secession attempts in Maryland, California, and Colorado.
In Maryland, the most recent of the three, the impetus is the political imbalance in the state. The five western counties are just 11 percent of the population of the mostly Democratic state. These counties—which vote overwhelmingly Republican—feel as if their representatives have been marginalized to the point of ineffectiveness in the House of Delegates and the Maryland Senate. In California and Colorado the areas seeking secession are similarly rural and also feel marginalized by the balance of political power in their states.
Secession is tricky to accomplish politically, because it requires the approval of both the state legislatures and Congress. Still the threat of secession has been likened to a troubled marriage – the threat of leaving often leads the other side to consider counseling. In this analogy, counseling would be a renewed interest in compromising on hot-button political issues.
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While these secession movements are unlikely to succeed, the voters hope that the ensuing ruckus brings attention to the issues where these citizens feel underrepresented by the current government.