A petition for Texas secession has qualified to receive a White House response.
As of Tuesday evening, the petition -- which asks for the peaceful withdrawal of the state of Texas from the union -- had racked up more than 81,000 signatures. (Only 25,000 are needed to elicit an official response from the Obama administration.)
According to Politico, the leader of the Texas secession movement said the president's reelection last week was a “catalyzing moment for his organization’s efforts to quit the United States."
“I am completely aware that Election Day was a catalyzing moment, but I do not believe that the underpinnings of this are solely about Barack Obama,” Daniel Miller, president of the Texas Nationalist Movement told the political news website. “This cake has been baking for a long time -- it’s the Obama administration that put the candles on the cake and lit it for us.”
The Texas petition reads:
Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect it's (sic) citizens' standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.
The support for the petition has surged in the last couple of days despite Texas Gov. Rick Perry's calls to support the union.
On Monday, The Huffington Post reported that the governor's press secretary, Catherine Frazier, said that Perry "believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it." Frazier added, however, that the governor "also shares the frustrations many Americans have with our federal government."
The Lone Star State is not exactly alone in its sentiments.
As an earlier Huffington Post report notes, residents in more than 40 states have filed secession petitions to the Obama administration's "We the People" program, which is featured on the White House website, in the last few days.
Though none has come even close to Texas' number, many petitions -- including those of Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Tennessee -- have attracted more than 20,000 supporters. Louisiana's petition has garnered more than 30,000 signatures.
“As the economy worsened, people began to ask, ‘What if? Why do we need the middle man? Do we believe that we should have more layers of government than we absolutely need? Could Texas govern itself?’ I think really that self-determination is kind of the underpinning to all of this -- the ability to provide Texas solutions to Texas problems,” Miller told Politico of the state's aspirations for independence.
Miller has not been the only vocal and visible proponent of a Texas secession. Last week, Peter Morrison, a Texas GOP official, called for an "amicable divorce" from the United States.
"Why should Vermont and Texas live under the same government?" Morrison, a treasurer of the Hardin County Republican Party, wrote in a post-election edition of his Tea Party newsletter. "Let each go her own way."
Morrison went on to express exasperation at the "maggots" who backed Obama, specifically accusing non-white voters of voting for the president on an "ethnic basis."
Despite the loud calls for Texas independence, however, the Daily Caller notes that not all Texans are too keen to secede from the U.S.
On Monday, “Caleb M” from Austin, Texas, launched a "We the People" petition of his own, asking the Obama administration to peacefully grant the city of Austin permission to "withdraw from the state of Texas" and to remain part of the United States.
The petition has about 1,400 signatures so far.
As Robert Wilonsky at The Dallas Morning News noted on Monday, however, it seems that no matter how much support Texas' secession petition gets, the state's bid for independence is likely not on the cards.
Should states be allowed to secede from the union? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
Left-leaning Arizonans attempted to get a measure on the ballot in 2011 that would create a new bastion for liberals in the state. Though ultimately unsuccessful, the measure would have given voters a choice to decide whether to chip off Pima County from the rest of Arizona, creating another state: Baja Arizona. It's an idea that's long been discussed, but The Tucson Sentinel reports that the most recent action was spurred by a desire for greater control over local issues and discontent with proceedings at the Phoenix statehouse. "Every bill we've heard about here is either anti-abortion laws or anti-Mexican laws. These are not laws that are geared toward solving the real problems that we have," David Euchner, treasurer of Start Our State, the group behind the secession push, told the Arizona Daily Star.
Republican Maine State Rep. Henry Joy brought forth legislation in 2010 to divide northern and southern Maine into two autonomous states. According to Joy, the move was necessary because of a proposal that would have turned millions of acres of northern woodland into a nature preserve, leading to the forced relocation of residents in the area. While that measure never passed, Joy was apparently not keen on the prospect of being removed from his home turf. Joy's bill, which eventually failed, would have allowed the northern portion of the state to retain the name Maine, while the southern section would have been ordained Northern Massachusetts. Joy proposed similar legislation in 2005, which also failed.
Democratic Utah State Rep. Neal Hendrickson submitted legislation in 2008 for the creation of a new state within Utah. Hendrickson contended that "citizens in the more populated areas of northern Utah have many interests that stand in stark contrast to the interests of southern rural areas of the state, which feel they do not have the influence on state policymaking that citizens along the Wasatch Front enjoy." His bill, which he said would "provide the citizens of what is presently southern Utah increased access to their state government," didn't pass.
When Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed onto a non-binding resolution claiming constitutional overreach of the federal government in 2009, some may have thought it was simply a symbolic display meant to show solidarity with a right-wing base disgruntled after the passage of President Barack Obama's stimulus package. A day later, however, Perry took his rhetoric to another level, implying that Texas might secede if "Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people," by strapping his state with unsustainable taxation, spending and debt.
Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), a Republican primary candidate for governor, piggy-backed off Texas Gov. Rick Perry's secession comments last year, telling Hotline on Call in a discussion about federal mandates in the health care law that states such as Tennessee might be "forced to consider separation from this government" depending on the outcome of the elections. Wamp eventually lost the gubernatorial primary to Knoxville mayor and eventual winner Bill Haslam.
In 1998, Republican Maryland State Sen. Richard Colburn filed a bill that would have paved the way for the Eastern Shore of his state, as well as parts of Delaware and Virginia, to branch off into a separate entity called Delmarva. Upset with regulations being forged in Annapolis and passed down to the Eastern Shore, Colburn encouraged Maryland's coastal residents to work toward a referendum that could get the measure on the ballot. It never passed muster.
Lawmakers across New York have long floated secession as a potential way to rectify what they see as imbalances in the burdens of taxes and other economic factors. From local proposals to split New York City off into its own state, to pushes to turn upstate New York or Long Island into their own sovereign entities, all efforts at secession have failed.
The tiny Rhode Island enclave of Block Island made a stir in the 1980s when its residents pursued secession after being invaded by a population of moped-riding mainlanders. The state senate and supreme court initially refused to allow the island's governing body to regulate the offending mopeds, which resulted in a successful vote to declare independence from the rest of Rhode Island. Massachusetts and Connecticut reportedly reached out during the process in the interest of annexing the island. Weeks later, the Rhode Island legislature approved a bill giving Block Island regulatory control over mopeds on the island, which sufficiently appeased residents.
Republican West Virginia Delegate Larry Kump floated a proposal earlier this year to let a number of his state's panhandle counties secede and rejoin Virginia. Citing economic concerns, Kump said his longshot legislation was an attempt to alleviate pressure brought on by the state's struggling manufacturing sector. It failed to gain support both among West Virginians and state legislators.