Secession is here: States, cities and the wealthy are already withdrawing from America

Secession is here: States, cities and the wealthy are already withdrawing from America

Published: March 20, 2023 8.42am EDT

Michael J. Lee

(Michael J. Lee – The Conversation) Professor of Communication, College of Charleston

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, wants a “national divorce.” In her view, another Civil War is inevitable unless red and blue states form separate countries.

She has plenty of company on the right, where a host of others – 52% of Trump voters, Donald Trump himself and prominent Texas Republicans – have endorsed various forms of secession in recent years. Roughly 40% of Biden voters have fantasized about a national divorce as well. Some on the left urge a domestic breakup so that a new egalitarian nation might be, as Lincoln said at Gettysburg, “brought forth on this continent.”

The American Civil War was a national trauma precipitated by the secession of 11 Southern states over slavery. It is, therefore, understandable that many pundits and commentators would weigh in about the legality, feasibility and wisdom of secession when others clamor for divorce.

But all this secession talk misses a key point that every troubled couple knows. Just as there are ways to withdraw from a marriage before any formal divorce, there are also ways to exit a nation before officially seceding.

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I have studied secession for 20 years, and I think that it is not just a “what if?” scenario anymore. In “We Are Not One People: Secession and Separatism in American Politics Since 1776,” my co-author and I go beyond narrow discussions of secession and the Civil War to frame secession as an extreme end point on a scale that includes various acts of exit that have already taken place across the U.S.

GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene wants red and blue states to separate. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Scaled secession

This scale begins with smaller, targeted exits, like a person getting out of jury duty, and progresses to include the larger ways that communities refuse to comply with state and federal authorities.

Such refusals could involve legal maneuvers like interposition, in which a community delays or constrains the enforcement of a law it opposes, or nullification, in which a community explicitly declares a law to be null and void within its borders. At the end of the scale, there’s secession.

From this wider perspective, it is clear that many acts of departure – call them secession lite, de facto secession or soft separatism – are occurring right now. Americans have responded to increasing polarization by exploring the gradations between soft separatism and hard secession.

These escalating exits make sense in a polarized nation whose citizens are sorting themselves into like-minded neighbhorhoods. When compromise is elusive and coexistence is unpleasant, citizens have three options to get their way: Defeat the other side, eliminate the other side or get away from the other side.

Imagine a national law; it could be a mandate that citizens brush their teeth twice a day or a statute criminalizing texting while driving. Then imagine that a special group of people did not have to obey that law.

This quasi-secession can be achieved in several ways. Maybe this special group moves “off the grid” into the boondocks where they could text and drive without fear of oversight. Maybe this special group wields political power and can buy, bribe or lawyer their way out of any legal jam. Maybe this special group has persuaded a powerful authority, say Congress or the Supreme Court, to grant them unique legal exemptions.

These are hypothetical scenarios, but not imaginary ones. When groups exit public life and its civic duties and burdens, when they live under their own sets of rules, when they do not have to live with fellow citizens they have not chosen or listen to authorities they do not like, they have already seceded.

Schools to taxes

Present-day America offers numerous hard examples of soft separatism.

Over the past two decades, scores of wealthy white communities have separated from more diverse school districts. Advocates cite local control to justify these acts of school secession. But the result is the creation of parallel school districts, both relatively homogeneous but vastly different in racial makeup and economic background.

Several prominent district exits have occurred in the South – places like St. George, Louisiana – but instances from northern Maine to Southern California show that school splintering is happening nationwide.

As one reporter wrote, “If you didn’t want to attend school with certain people in your district, you just needed to find a way to put a district line between you and them.”

Many other examples of legalized separatism revolve around taxes. Disney World, for example, was classified as a “special tax district” in Florida in 1967. These special districts are functionally separate local governments and can provide public services and build and maintain their own infrastructure.

The company has saved millions by avoiding typical zoning, permitting and inspection processes for decades, although Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has recently challenged Disney’s special designation. Disney was only one of 1,800 special tax districts in Florida; there are over 35,000 in the nation.

Jeff Bezos paid no federal income taxes in 2011. Elon Musk paid almost none in 2018. Tales of wealthy individuals avoiding taxes are as common as stories of rich Americans buying their way out of jail. “Wealthier Americans,” Robert Reich lamented as far back as the early 1990s, “have been withdrawing into their own neighborhoods and clubs for generations.” Reich worried that a “new secession” allowed the rich to “inhabit a different economy from other Americans.”

Some of the nation’s wealthiest citizens pay an effective tax rate close to zero. As one investigative reporter put it, the ultrawealthy “sidestep the system in an entirely legal way.”

Spectators applaud after the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors unanimously votes to pass a Second Amendment sanctuary resolution at a meeting in Buckingham, Va., Dec. 9, 2019. AP Photo/Steve Helber

One nation, divisible

Schools and taxes are just a start.

Eleven states dub themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries” and refuse to enforce federal gun restrictions. Movements aiming to carve off rural, more politically conservative portions of blue states are growing; 11 counties in Eastern Oregon support seceding and reclassifying themselves as “Greater Idaho,” a move that Idaho’s state government supports.

Hoping to become a separate state independent of Chicago’s political influence, over two dozen rural Illinois counties have passed pro-secession referendums. Some Texas Republicans back “Texit,” where the state becomes an independent nation.

Separatist ideas come from the Left, too.

Cal-exit,” a plan for California to leave the union after 2016, was the most acute recent attempt at secession.

And separatist acts have reshaped life and law in many states. Since 2012, 21 states have legalized marijuana, which is federally illegal. Sanctuary cities and states have emerged since 2016 to combat aggressive federal immigration laws and policies. Some prosecutors and judges refuse to prosecute women and medical providers for newly illegal abortions in some states.

Estimates vary, but some Americans are increasingly opting out of hypermodern, hyperpolarized life entirely. “Intentional communities,” rural, sustainable, cooperative communes like East Wind in the Ozarks, are, as The New York Times reported in 2020, proliferating “across the country.”

In many ways, America is already broken apart. When secession is portrayed in its strictest sense, as a group of people declaring independence and taking a portion of a nation as they depart, the discussion is myopic, and current acts of exit hide in plain sight. When it comes to secession, the question is not just “What if?” but “What now?”


Secession is like electric cars: poorly thought out, and devoid of rational thought and ideas of how it plays out, after the fact.

Flooding America with illegals is a take over , screw secession

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Voters have thrown their hands up to this woke America , the rich will always be on top as long as we have lobbyist and greedy politicians . Tax the super rich at 60 % and zero tax for those making less than $150,000 .

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Problem we face today is the extremism of the left and right. Throw in the differences between the population centers/cities and the rest of the country and you have the makings of a seriously divided country.


It’s what we have that today where 10% of he taxpayers pay 70% of Federal Income Tax. Screw the successful until they chose to do nothing.

You live in Wyoming, what if I changed the demographics of your neighborhood overnight, no one speaks English, they stay up playing loud music, smoke weed all day, they took your job because they will work a lower wage, your daughter is getting harassed at the store by foreigners.

Who do you want on your side trump or Ron?

Because this is my neighborhood. And I want a fighter

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This trend is not exactly new if we count “White flight” That being said communities tend to gravitate to having shared commonalities, cultural backgrounds and interests. Take Home schooling a recent trend that has seen an increase in some states where parents are fed up with the public school system teaching woke ideologies among other things. Parents can’t wait for the system to change through the discourse of politics as their children are being left behind in most instances.

Crime is another issue, where policies in certain places don’t serve the interests of most people, but the ones who decide to move or relocate tend to go to a place where they will feel safe, have the benefits of community etc. This trend tends to be common as well.

The country as a whole will probably not survive its union and most likely will splinter off among states along economic lines nullifying the Federal Government and sending liberals to their own utopias and Conservatives to live their way. Anybody who thinks America’s best days are ahead, well, good luck with that.

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I watched that exact thing happen to my home in Colorado. Once a reasonable community turned hard left into a shithole city and state. No Bubba, you cannot change it nor can any president.

We don’t need another extremist in the WH.

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Well said. Neither extremist group is wiling to compromise.


Of course you can. Build a strong American culture with smart immigration , feed American men woman to breed. Dominate.

Jit the Zit in disguise.


Okay… how? America already had a strong culture. The Left destroyed it. Now what? Re populating blighted areas isn’t going to happen… unles you get rid of the blight (drug dealers, gangs, etc…) good luck. You need to get rid of every current politician that is on the take (ALL of them). Good luck. You need to instill old fasioned (true) American values in the youth (education system). Good luck.

Tell me in your infinite wisdom how to build back what was once there to begin with.

You yell and stamp your feet every day on here… but, that’s all you do. I’m guilty of the same thing, but I’m old/er now. I admitedly don’t have the desire to get out there and invoke change. You can… but you don’t. Ypou just cry on an internet forum and call everyone that doesn’t bow at the alter of Trump names.

Look in the mirror. The finger you see pointing is pointing right at you.

First off I don’t post on here every day. I’m a newbie

2nd. It’s easy to restore our culture with a naked first and second amendment… EVERYONE that’s anti American will flee. That includes hatians, Latinos, Marxist, Irish commie immigrants.

3rd. You flood the gates with woman, (European) some Latin. You feed your men woman and lots of them.

  1. Incentivize nuclear family.

  2. Private schools everywhere no more government controlled schools.

That’s how you get this country back.

I’d honestly bring back slavery. Sick of this pretending that it doesn’t exist. Dinesh Desousa has a video saying we still have slavery urban slave plantations.

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You are farther off the deep end than I thought… newbie. :rofl:


Are you saying non Americans won’t flee if we have a naked second amendment?

I’m saying you are off the deep end.


You are after all talking to his alter ego. (Sybil! Lol!) Some won’t get that reference.



Don’t get me wrong, I would like to see a happy America again, but as long as the deep state controls things and there is no accountability for our political leaders who regularly violate rights and breaks the laws, we will not survive as a nation. If history teaches us anything, in Rome, the very same thing happened and as a result it too fell.


What’s deep? Lets hear it?