A push for California - the world’s fifth largest economy with a population of nearly 40 million - to secede from the US is gathering pace.
Marcus Ruiz Evans is head of Yes California, the largest of several groups agitating for California to secede from the United States - or 'Calexit'.
He tells Saturday Morning's Kim Hill that Californians just aren’t the same as other Americans.
“Californians are aware they just don’t think like Americans. You know, the average American is not sure if climate change is real, questions if immigration is a good idea, wants to have massive amounts of guns and hates any regulations against them and is generally distrustful of government.
“The average Californian believes in a government that regulates things, believes in climate change, doesn’t want war, doesn’t want everybody to have guns - and when you look at the Vietnam war Californians were against it, most Americans were for it.”
This is a pattern he says that can be seen throughout Californian history.
“Look at Donald Trump. They’re trying to act like a minority of Americans elected him - maybe that’s true, but if you don’t include California in the popular vote Donald Trump won the popular vote in America. If you pull out Californians, the majority of Americans said ‘this is our guy’ and yet in California he’s more hated than anyplace in America.”
California's wealth means it could be a heavy hitter internationally, he says.
“California is the fifth-largest economy, it could be in the G8, the G20 - it could be as powerful as China or India right now.”
He says despite half of Californians being open minded to the idea of secession, the Californian media is “biased”.
“We have been tarred and feathered they will not bring up certain statistics like Texas vs White, like 47.5 of Californians were open to this and they’ll continue to infer [sic] we’re all Russian robots or we’re sponsored by George Soros or it’s a secret Republican plot by Trump,” Evans says.
Texas vs White, Evans says, is the only Supreme Court case in US history that addressed secession.
“It says you can secede through consent of the states, meaning permission by Congress. That legal decision didn’t happen till 1871 after the Civil War.”
Evans and his colleagues have been touring other states to try to gain traction for the idea. He says it’s popular seemingly because Californians are so unpopular.
“There were 100 red-state conservatives cheering when I said [at a recent conference] you need to back California and help us get kicked out union because it will allow federalism to exist for you.
"I told them 'I’m Mexican and a liberal and from California' but I still needed their support.
“Red state America hates California … they’re already talking about kicking us out. There was a legislator in Utah and one in Arizona who already joked about kicking California out because they hate us - we only need 25 states and I think we have about 40 right now.”
As to Californians themselves, they’re split between wanting to save the union and going it alone. He says going it alone is the sensible choice.
“America’s not going to be saved, it was already going down when Obama was around. Wages in America have not gone up since the late 1970s, allies are pulling away from America, China is making more money than America and then you elect Donald Trump on top of it?
“Look at the decline of the American empire. There were articles about it in 2014 when Obama was around, Trump’s just put the nail in the coffin.”