The Texas Nationalist Movement is gathering signatures to place the question of whether the state of Texas should secede from the United States and revert back to an independent country on the Republican primary ballot next March.
And here we go again. The TNM is totally peaceful, but totally wrong on the question of secession. No state — even Texas, which existed as an independent country for several years before joining the union — can secede. The issue has been decided by both law and blood.
But that apparently won’t stop some folks from making fools of themselves.
The Nederland-based Texas independence group is circulating a petition aimed at getting a non-binding vote onto the GOP primary ballot over whether “the state of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation.”
Their goal? 75,000 signatures from registered voters by Dec. 1 — more than the 66,894 the Texas Secretary of State’s office says the group needs to get the language on the ballot.
Even if the Texas Nationalist Movement gets enough signatures, such a vote would be little more than symbolic. Academics agree that Texas cannot secede from the United States, and point to a post-Civil War Supreme Court ruling, Texas v. White, as evidence.
But that hasn’t stopped the Republican Party of Texas from rolling its eyes at the secessionists. Texas GOP communications director Aaron Whitehead said the Republican party certainly doesn’t welcome outside groups trying to doctor the party ballot.
“Historically the executive committee of the Republican Party has chosen what goes on this,” Whitehead said, “and it’s party preference that it stays that way.”
The Texas Nationalist Movement, which hasn’t yet verified how many signatures it has, doesn’t buy the argument that the state can’t secede. Daniel Miller, the group’s president, points to the state Constitution, and in particular, the provision that gives Texans the right to “alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think expedient.”
Miller said the group is going around the state party because past interactions with the GOP weren’t fruitful.
“We have had our hand slapped,” Miller said. “We have been rebuffed, and not just us as an organization, but essentially anyone in any position inside the party that has advocated for this position has been rebuffed.”
Whitehead said there is zero relationship between the GOP and the secessionists, and added that his response to such a ballot proposal would be the same if it were “a resolution giving everybody a unicorn or a resolution for secession.”
If the Texas Nationalist Movement does get the signatures it needs, the Secretary of State’s office says it will be the first time a referendum from a citizen group is put on the Republicans’ statewide primary ballot. Miller acknowledges a majority vote for the referendum wouldn’t be binding, but hopes it would be enough evidence of support to get state leaders to take the issue seriously long-term.
Wikipedia says that the TNM has grown significantly in recent years:
Until about 2009, the group was dismissed by most news organizations in Texas and elsewhere, lumped in with other anti-government and anti-income tax protestors. Since that time, the organization’s membership has significantly increased as it gained visibility from the prominence of the Tea Party movement and after Texas governor Rick Perry’s comments in response to a large crowd chanting “Secede, secede!” Miller reports that membership rose again in 2012, especially a couple of weeks before the November presidential election, increasing 400 percent from then until early 2013, with web traffic up 9000 percent, but did not give specific numbers.
A few years back, a Russian professor predicted the breakup of the United States in 2010. We all laughed and made fun of the crackpot.
How did he see the breakup occurring? The Wall Street Journal article is from 2008:
Mr. Panarin posits, in brief, that mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war next fall and the collapse of the dollar. Around the end of June 2010, or early July, he says, the U.S. will break into six pieces — with Alaska reverting to Russian control.
He based the forecast on classified data supplied to him by FAPSI analysts, he says. He predicts that economic, financial and demographic trends will provoke a political and social crisis in the U.S. When the going gets tough, he says, wealthier states will withhold funds from the federal government and effectively secede from the union. Social unrest up to and including a civil war will follow. The U.S. will then split along ethnic lines, and foreign powers will move in.
California will form the nucleus of what he calls “The Californian Republic,” and will be part of China or under Chinese influence. Texas will be the heart of “The Texas Republic,” a cluster of states that will go to Mexico or fall under Mexican influence. Washington, D.C., and New York will be part of an “Atlantic America” that may join the European Union. Canada will grab a group of Northern states Prof. Panarin calls “The Central North American Republic.” Hawaii, he suggests, will be a protectorate of Japan or China, and Alaska will be subsumed into Russia.
“It would be reasonable for Russia to lay claim to Alaska; it was part of the Russian Empire for a long time.” A framed satellite image of the Bering Strait that separates Alaska from Russia like a thread hangs from his office wall. “It’s not there for no reason,” he says with a sly grin.
Yes, things are bad and getting worse. But bad enough that states will begin seceding and a civil war begins?
It’s still unthinkable for the foreseeable future. But what about 25 years from now? There is a growing chasm between the coastal enclaves on both coasts and what those communities contemptuously refer to as “flyover country.” We no longer share the same values as the power elites in New York and Los Angeles. We view everything through different prisms, different worldviews. They are different culturally, economically, demographically, and the way in which they approach government than the vast middle of America — and those who share the same values.
I still don’t think it likely. These pressures that have threatened to cleave the country have been present since our founding. Somehow, we manage to limp along, together, with a degree of comity. And there’s no reason to think this won’t continue.