Editor’s note: This is part one of a three-part series.
If you were an independent territory and you had the opportunity to join the United States, would you? That is the question that Daniel Miller, president of the Texas Nationalist Movement and author of the new book Texit: Why and How Texas Will Leave the Union, wants to ask opponents of secession.
Americans are fed up with the federal government. Whether it is led by the Republicans or the Democrats, the size and scope of the swamp only expands, abandoning the principles established by the Founding Fathers. With monstrous debt, corruption, overreach, foreign interventions, it can be hard for even the staunchest supporters of the government to make the case for staying in the Union.
Across the country, there are movements – some big and some small – to secede from the United States. A small number of activists in the New England region want to be independent, while a huge contingent of California activists upset with President Donald Trump’s victory, want to exit the Union. But there isn’t as big of a push for secession as the Texas National Movement, otherwise known as Texit.
Miller, an advocate for Texas independence, spoke with Liberty Nation to discuss the independence initiative, the establishment’s reaction to secession efforts, if there is still a desire for seceding with Republicans in charge, and a whole lot more.
Liberty Nation: You have been advocating for Texas independence for 20-plus years. What finally compelled you to write this book?Author Daniel Miller
Daniel Miller: Frankly, it needed to be written. I wrote a book previously back in 2011 called Line in the Sand that dealt primarily with the underlying philosophy of Texas nationalism. I don’t say that like it’s a philosophical work, but some of it we refer to a lot of times kind of Ned in the First Reader type material.
One of the biggest issues we had to contend with back in the early days was people understanding that Texas is a nation. When you look at all of these objective criteria, something that scholars and academics have wrestled with and those that are strongly engaged in understand international law, it’s something that is difficult even for them to define but there were some commonalities between them.
Line in the Sand was important for us because when you talk about Texas leaving the Union you have to begin with the acknowledgement that Texas, as [John] Steinbeck said, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word. That had to be covered and that really is kind of the flow where Texas nationalism starts. I like to look at Line in the Sand as a book more about understanding the foundation of Texas nationalism. Texit needed to be written because it’s more of the practical aspects of it. It was important for people to understand that maybe sitting on the sidelines or watching this as a spectator what the motivations are for this for the exploration of Texas leaving the Union and then how it could practically be accomplished.
One reviewer referred to it as a Texit manual. I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s probably a closer approximation than any other description I heard.
LN: In 2012, after the re-election of President Barack Obama, there was a petition signed by tens of thousands of Texans to secede from the Union. In 2016, following the Brexit referendum, there was a petition that was signed by at least 264,000 Texans to leave the United States. You even encouraged Governor Greg Abbott to schedule a statewide referendum for “Texas Independence.” Do you think there is still momentum and a desire to secede with President Donald Trump sitting the White House and the Republicans controlling the House and Senate?
DM: There is definitely sentiment in that direction. Obviously, there were those in the media that pronounced this would be the death of Texit support. One of the things we immediately did we polled out 300,000 of our supporters to see exactly where they would stand on the issue, whether Trump affected their support. What we found out was that a whopping less than 1½ percent indicated they no longer supported independence because of Trump’s election. But what I thought was the most telling statistic in that survey was that we had more than 30% of our support base stronger because of Donald Trump’s election.
I think a lot of that is rooted in the fact that some people out there view this as an extension of the Republican Party. Texit support is a sort of an unspoken plank of the Republican Party platform and that’s why they assume that when there is a Republican is an office and Republicans in Congress that support for this will wane. That’s not what our experience has been and that’s not what it has shown. Obviously here in Texas, which is an overwhelming Republican state, support is going to be higher. There is a rationale that goes behind Texit that matches well with those that consider themselves Republicans. But that belief requires people to ignore the polling that has consistently shown that a majority or over a majority of independent voters support Texas leaving the Union and well over a third of Texas Democrats. That is what I think the lesson should be for folks is that Texit is not a partisan issue. Texit is a trans-partisan issue.
It’s similar to the slurs that were thrown against the UK Independence Party that said UKIP drew primarily from the Conservative Party. Once the Brexit referendum was done, and you can even go back to the previously general election, and what it shows is that support for Brexit overall and UKIP drew across all party lines. [Nigel] Farage’s contention was that UKIP drew evenly from both Labour and the Conservative Party and it’s something that was proven right.
LN: Do you think the state is pleased so far with President Trump’s plans? If so, could it impact the overall secessionist movement if there is a wall built on the Texas-Mexico border.
DM: First and foremost, I think it’s important to understand that when it comes to immigration on the border it’s the top polled concern for Texans for well over a decade. When Texans are polled on this issue about their concerns about policy, immigration at the border polls high. However, one of the things that has been very evident is the reaction of Texans to federal attempts to address both immigration and the border. Those two are not the same issue, even though they’re closely linked.
When you talk about and ask about are Texans happy with Trump’s plans, it’s not like this is the first time the federal government has dumped a plan on us and said, ‘Hey we’re going to address immigration at the border.’ There is no level of significant trust here in Texas that this problem is going to be solved by the federal government. It is really a two-part problem, one feeds the other, and they both have to be addressed. The question for Texans is: will it be addressed in a way that solves our concerns? And does it benefit what our needs and challenges are here in Texas?
Let’s be honest: this idea of a border wall is not new. It’s the first time it’s been called a wall. But let’s go back: it’s the border fence – and the border fence did virtually nothing to address the issue. As long as the federal government continues to provide a magnet through its benefits scheme for those who immigrate illegally, hold out until the electorate gets soft enough to offer amnesty, then it doesn’t matter if it’s a fence, a wall, a moat. It won’t matter. It’s not going to be addressed to the satisfaction of Texans.
In the second part of this series, Daniel talks about the challenges facing the Texit movement, the media’s reaction to the idea of a Texas secession compared to California’s own secession movement, and the risk of an independent Texas government becoming too big.