Voters in California’s largest county, San Bernardino, have voted to approve a ballot measure to study secession.
The Chairman of the Board of Supervisors who placed the proposal on the ballot said there is “a lot of frustration overall” with state government and how state officials spend money, according to the Associated Press (AP).
One issue county officials will research is if billions of dollars in state and federal funding was fairly shared with local governments within California.
The effort is the latest in a growing trend of secession movements gaining ground as Americans grow more frustrated with government and explore options for some sort of national divorce.
Polling data from last summer show that 66 percent of Republicans in 13 southern states favored seceding from the Union, while 47 percent of Democrats in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii, favored secession.
Not all San Bernardino residents were supportive of the measure, with some dismissing it as political theater.
“Putting it on a ballot was a waste of time for the voters,” Kristin Washington, chair of the San Bernardino County Democratic Party, told the AP. “The option of actually seceding from the state is not even something that is realistic because of all the steps that actually go into it.”
Since its founding in 1850, there have been more than 220 attempts to break up California, the first coming just nine years after statehood.
“A lot of Californians are unhappy in many ways,” Claremont McKenna College political scientist Jack Pitney told the AP, adding that record high gas prices, increased cost of living, and real estate prices are driving the anger felt by the state’s residents. “The vote on secession was like smashing the china. It’s a way of getting attention but in the end it doesn’t accomplish much.”
Following the 2022 midterm elections, there is still talk of a national divorce, with Mark Meckler citing in an op-ed a “great decoupling” taking place, where red states are becoming redder, while blue states become bluer.
Even so, Ontario, California mayor Paul Leon says, “Everybody outside this county thinks we are the wild, wild West.”