US secessionists hanker for 'Texit'

  • 25/06/2016
The Texas capitol building (Reuters, file)
The Texas capitol building (Reuters, file)

Emboldened by Brexit, US secessionists in Texas are keen to adopt the campaign tactics used to sway the British vote for leaving the European Union and are demanding "Texit" comes next.

The citizen-driven vote in Britain can be a model for Texas, which was an independent country from 1836 to 1845, and its US$1.6 trillion a year economy would be among the 10 largest in the world, said Daniel Miller, president of the Texas Nationalist Movement.

"The Texas Nationalist Movement is formally calling on the Texas governor to support a similar vote for Texans," the group said on Friday (local time).

The office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott was not immediately available for comment.

The group, which claims about a quarter million supporters, failed earlier this year to place a vote on secession on the November ballot but aims to relaunch its campaign for the next election cycle in 2018, buoyed by the British vote, Miller said.

"Texit is in the air," he said.

Constitutional scholars, however, say a US state cannot break away, but this has not stopped hundreds of secessionist schemes throughout the nation's history.

No state has been formed by seceding from another since 1863, when West Virginia was created during the Civil War.

From Maine to Alaska, the bids to break away by groups often angry at taxation or what they see as an infringement of their liberties have been unsuccessful either due to the nearly impossible legal challenges or lack of support.

A 2014 Reuters/Ipsos poll showed nearly a quarter of Americans are open to their states leaving the union.

In Texas and other states, the Brexit vote came too late for US secessionist to use it as a springboard to launch drives resulting in ballot measures for the November election.

Campaigns have been simmering for years in places like Hawaii and in New Hampshire, where the Free State Project has been looking to have 20,000 people move to the New England state and set up a colony of like-minded people opposed to big government.