By Elizabeth Flock
The Texas Nationalist Movement has fought for independence for Texas for a decade. Over the last few months, movement president Daniel Miller says he has seen interest peak like never before—and that it goes beyond the popular petition for Texas secession on the White House’s “We the People” website.
Miller tells Whispers he has watched official paid membership in the group increase by 400 percent in recent months, while he claims web traffic to TexasNationalist.com has gone up 9000 percent. He declines to share specific numbers.
“We’re slammed over here,” he says. “It started mid-summer, we started noticing an uptick [in interest]… And then two weeks before the election, it just started going straight for the sky.”
A number of explanations have popped up to explain the secession craze: it’s a response to the Romney loss, it represents a new phase of the Tea Party, or it’s born out of frustration over the economic recession.
Miller explains it simply as an idea whose time has come. “This political and cultural disconnect between Texas and the federal system has been talked about for generations,” he says. “Now, it has entered into mainstream political discourse.”
Texas famously tried to secede in 1861, an effort frustrated by a proclamation of peace after the end of the Civil War. Since that time, there has been no meaningful attempt at secession. Miller, of course, hopes to change that, with plans to attempt to place a referendum for Texas independence in the state legislature.
“A lot of people in the opposition want to downplay this as extreme and fringe,” says Miller, “But at our meetings in different counties, we’re sometimes drawing more people than the Democratic and Republican parties.”
Whispers isn’t able to independently confirm the meetings attendance numbers, but according to the New York Times, even sales of a “SECEDE” bumper sticker have dramatically increased in Texas in recent weeks. And a Public Policy Polling study out Tuesday found 25 percent of Republicans said they would like their state to secede from the union. Fifty-six percent of Republicans want to remain part of the United States, and 19 percent said they weren’t sure.