American secessionists dream of declaring independence

The chaos of the current presidential election has also given would-be secessionists hope. It looks all-but-certain that Americans will have to chose between two extremely unpopular candidates—Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton—in November. Dissatisfaction with a political system swamped by money and the influence of special-interests has translated into votes for Trump and Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders. At least some secessionists feel confident that American voters will want alternatives to the candidates on offer as well as the existing political order.

“Trump has certainly been good for business, and Brexit has been as well. There’s been a lot of interest since the vote took place,” said Rob Williams, publisher of The Vermont Independent, a news website that he describes as “devoted to exploring Vermont Independence, broadly defined.” The 2nd Vermont Republic secession movement took off after George W. Bush won the White House, Williams explains, though he concedes that President Obama’s election “sucked the oxygen out of the room for a bit.” He hopes the prospect of a Trump presidency will convince people to give the idea a second look. “Rational people are scared of Trump and what he represents,” Williams said. “His racism, his intolerance, his lack of vision, his wall building.”

That doesn’t mean secession will actually happen in the U.S.