A survey published in September by the University of Virginia Center for Politics, for example, found that 41 percent of Biden voters and 52 percent of Trump voters at least “somewhat agree” that “the situation in America” makes them favor blue or red states “seceding from the union to form their own separate country.”
Texas has such an active — if still marginal — secession movement that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) breezily engaged a question about it at a recent conservative event at Texas A&M University, saying that he was “not there yet” but that if Democrats “fundamentally destroy the country,” then, “I think we take NASA, take the military, take the oil.”
Secession as an actual political program “is being normalized in an unwinding and degrading country,” Richard Kreitner told Antonia Hitchens for her recent Atlantic article about the secessionist movement in Oregon that proposes to make a large rural swath of the state part of Idaho. Kreitner, whose book about secession, “Break It Up,” was published last year, said the Oregon proposal should be taken as “a peace proposal, or a way to avoid war.”
It’s not hard to see why the idea is gaining traction. Talk of secession is still mostly just talk, but wouldn’t it be a civilized way to deal with the deep divisions in the country? Wouldn’t it beat, say, the civil war that a restive segment of the population hungers for? “When do we get to use the guns?” a young man asked Charlie Kirk at Kirk’s far-right Turning Point USA rally in Boise, Idaho, in October. “I mean, literally, where’s the line? How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?” Secession, surely, is preferable to that alternative.
But in ways secession-curious Americans may not appreciate, it’s also almost impossible.