Immediately following the referendum held in the United Kingdom, deciding its position in the EU, social media was resonating with similar secessionist enthusiasm from across the Atlantic. The Texas secede movement, with proponents like President of the Texas Nationalist Movement Danieal Miller took advantage of the post EU referendum hype, by popularizing the ‘Texit’ hashtag.
While the sentiment may be similar in some sense, the scenarios may have some stark distinctions. As the Texas Tribune suggests:
It is also important to note that the European Union is a loose association of compound states with pre-existing protocols for a nation to exit. In contrast, the U.S. Constitution contains procedures for admitting new states into the nation, but none for a state to leave
In making sense of the situation, let us first analyze what the claims are.
To Leave, Or Not to Leave
The main sentiment promoted by the secessionist campaign is the issue of cultural integrity, and historic claim to independence. The essence of their argument is that they have a unique cultural identity, characterized by their own values which need to be upheld, independent of interference from national legislature.
In the words of Daniel Miller during an interview with the Guardian:
We come from a heritage of people that carved an empire out of a wilderness. The fact of the matter is that Texas has always been rough. When people first moved to Texas and settled here, you were independent or you died
They also seem to tacitly support the notion that the ‘central bureaucracy’ of the United States is ineffective in the equitable use of tax dollars, and that ceding to such a bureaucracy is against their best interests – both politically and economically. However, certain undeniable pragmatic complications exist with the entire idea of seceding. Legality is one of them, and is covered in a section below. The other facts include Texas’ dependence on Federal support for a vast spectrum of public goods and services. These range from; healthcare, to education to federal courthouses, prisons and national parks.
Additionally, secession would also place the burden of national security and defense on the shoulders of the newly formed nation, without access to the resources of the Union. A 2009 poll held by the media company Rasmussen Reports, showed that less than 20% of Texans themselves were open to the idea of seceding. While there is room for speculation about how this may have changed over the years, and if at all it would have, it becomes quite unnecessary given the legal impediment to actual secession, as discussed below.
In addition to the recent sensationalism riding the wave of publicity in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, the Texit movement has had quite a few prominent moments in its history. In 2012, a petition for secession was brought to the White House, signed by 125,000 individuals. The petition met with the expected negative response, citing the absence of legal grounds for breaking away from the Union.
The fundamental impediment to secession is the US constitutional principle of the Perpetual Union, which disallows states to overthrow the US constitution or withdraw from the Union.
Simply put, the answer is no. Historical and legal precedents make it clear that Texas could not pull off a Texit — at least not legally.
It then goes on to clarify:
Many historians believe that when the Confederacy surrendered at Appomattox in 1865, the idea of secession was also defeated, according to McDaniel. The Union’s victory set a precedent that states could not legally secede.