California Dreaming

California Dreaming

By Rose Eveleth

California has one of the largest economies in the world. So what would happen if it broke away from the United States? Could California ever go independent? And if it did, what would that look like?


 This is a future that’s been on my list for a while, but since the election here in the United States it’s taken a bit of a different tone. California voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, 66 percent of the state cast their votes for her. And as most of you probably know, she did not win. And this is one of the big talking points of many California secessionists. The presidential election is almost alway totally decided before California’s polls even close. So why should California continue to be ruled by a government that it basically doesn’t elect? And, they argue, that doesn’t really have their best interests at heart.


 To help figure out what this future might be like, I talked to:


 Peter Laufer, a journalist and the author of a book called The Elusive State of Jefferson.

 Jon Christensen, a professor at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and the Department of History at UCLA. He’s also the editor of a quarterly magazine about California called Boom.

 Jay Rooney, the press secretary for the California National Party.

 Richard Monette, a professor of law at the University of Wisconsin and the director of the Great Lakes Indian Law Center.


 If you want to learn more about the various California independence movements, here are some links.


 The California National Party

 Yes, California Independence Campaign

 Secession, the American Civil War

 Calexit? Brexit Buoys California Independence Movement

 Active separatists movements in North America

 Republic of Lakotah

 One in four Americans want their state to secede from the U.S., but why?

 Americans for Independence, in America


 Flash Forward is produced by me, Rose Eveleth. The intro music is by Asura and the outtro music is by Hussalonia. Special thanks this week to Sameer Ajmani, Jade Davis, Brent Rose, Jim Basili, Caroline Sinders and Scott Musgrove. The episode art is by Matt Lubchansky. 


 If you want to suggest a future we should take on, send us a note on Twitter, Facebook or by email at We love hearing your ideas! And if you think you’ve spotted one of the little references I’ve hidden in the episode, email us there too. If you’re right, I’ll send you something cool. 


 And if you want to support the show, there are a few ways you can do that too! We have a Patreon page, where you can donate to the show. But if that’s not in the cards for you, you can head to iTunes and leave us a nice review or just tell your friends about us. Those things really do help.

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