Conservatives have voted more than 375,000 times since Election Day to pick up their marbles and go home. That’s how many virtual signatures appeared Monday night, as clocks in Washington, D.C. chimed midnight, on petitions asking President Barack Obama’s administration to allow 47 of the 50 U.S. states to secede from the country.
A petition from an Arlington, Texas man, launched Nov. 9 via the Obama White House website’s “We the People” tool, had more than 58,000 signatures. That’s more than twice the 25,000 it had Monday morning, a number required to trigger an automatic White House review, according to the administration’s own published rules. (RELATED: Texas petition reaches 25,000 signatures, triggering White House review)
A similar petition from a Louisiana native crossed the 25,000 threshold as Monday drew to a close on the East Coast.
Launched Nov. 7, the day after Obama won re-election, the Pelican State’s spark set off an Internet-driven cascade of disaffected tea partiers and other conservatives looking — as one petition organizer told The Daily Caller via a “direct message” on Twitter — “just to do something, anything, to show we’re not going away quietly.”
It’s not clear whether, or to what extent, individuals are signing more than one petition. The White House’s online rules do not prohibit Americans from signing a petition that would not affect states where they live.
The complete list of states with open petitions includes Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Nine states’ “We the People” entries include multiple competing petitions, The Daily Caller determined. California, Georgia, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wisconsin are each represented by at least two petitions. TheDC was able to locate three for Pennsylvania.
The only three states that lack secession petitions are Maine, Vermont and Washington. (RELATED: White House website deluged with secession petitions)
According to the White House, petitions have 30 days to gather 25,000 signatures before the administration will automatically review them. One at least one occasion, however, President Obama responded to a petition that collected only 12,240 signatures: a request for the White House’s beer recipe.
All for show?
White House website petitions are largely a symbolic measure. Serious observers don’t expect the federal government to allow any state to withdraw from the U.S. on the basis of electronic “yes” votes from — in Louisiana’s case — less than one-half of one percent of residents.
Any realistic effort to turn 50 states into 49 would have to originate from a state’s government — not from the White House or its website. And the U.S. Constitution is silent on the legality of any state declaring itself independent.
The Civil War, of course, saw several such efforts, the last one by North Carolina in 1861.
But Middlebury College in Vermont — ironically one of the few states not involved in the current website politicking — held nationwide secessionist meetings in 2006 and 2007, drawing delegations from at least ten states. One Vermont group, the “Second Vermont Republic,” says its goal is “to extricate Vermont peacefully from the United States as soon as possible.”
In a 2006 case, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that it’s illegal for the state to secede from the U.S., blocking a ballot initiative’s organizers from putting their measure to a vote in that year’s elections.
Texans, however, raise more threats of secession than Americans anywhere else, because an urban myth holds that the Republic of Texas retained the option of withdrawing from the U.S. when it joined the Union in 1845.
While Texas has no special power to leave the United States, it may have an option no other state can boast: In the resolution that Texas passed authorizing the U.S. to annex its territory, it specifically spelled out how Texas could be divided into as many as five separate territories. Each one, the agreement read, would be “entitled to admission” as a new U.S. state.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office did not immediately respond to an inquiry asking what would happen if Texas, subdivided into five states, were suddenly entitled to 10 U.S. Senators instead of two.