Is Calexit in the works? Silicon Valley investors call for California independence

10 Nov 2016

Republic of California flag. Image: Creative Photo Corner/Shutterstock

Following the shock victory of Donald Trump in the US race for presidency – at least for those of a liberal mindset – a number of Silicon Valley investors are calling on California to secede from the US.

Despite Hillary Clinton having close to double the amount of popular votes than Donald Trump, the typically liberal state of California found out late on Tuesday night that their candidate was not going to win.

But particularly noticeable was the reaction from the smaller enclave of Silicon Valley that drives much of the financial might of the state – and the US – where people were less than enthusiastic (bar vocal Trump supporter Peter Thiel).

Now, according to The Guardian, this anger and shock could potentially become a political movement as some of Silicon Valley’s big investors have called for the state to secede from the US – enacting ‘Calexit’.

Support for such a movement appeared to begin prior to the actual announcement of Trump’s victory, when Uber investor and Hyperloop One founder, Shervin Pishevar, said he would fund a legitimate campaign to secede if Donald Trump won.

While his follow-up tweet, calling on people to retweet a message of support for Calexit, has only received a few hundred so far, Pishevar followed this by saying that more announcements were on the way.

Pishevar is not alone, as he was joined by angel investor and co-founder of Engadget, Jason Calacanis.

Calacanis described the possibility of achieving a Brexit-like victory as a ‘lay-up’, going on to say that California as a state is “increasingly becoming more distinct from America”.

From a political perspective, one group that has actually profited from the election of Trump in California is the Yes California campaign.

Inspired by the independence movement in Cataluña in Spain, Yes California has been advocating Californian independence for years, but is now finding itself inundated with people supporting its cause.

Led by political activist Louise Marinelli, the campaign is trying to organise a 2019 referendum that would allow the state to break away from the union – making it the first to do so since the beginning of the American Civil War.

While still a fringe movement in Silicon Valley and California, many of the tech industry’s biggest figures have remained relatively quiet on the matter.

However, Apple CEO Tim Cook has now released a letter to staff proclaiming that the company is “open to all, and we celebrate the diversity of our team here in the United States and around the world – regardless of what they look like, where they come from, how they worship or who they love.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic