Love it or hate it, identity politics is playing a greater role in what motivates voters. Thanks to increased access to information in our modern times, like-minded individuals can easily communicate and come together to work towards mutual goals. To prioritize these newly defined goals, people should reconsider, reorient and refocus their long-standing affiliations. Given this shift toward embracing ideologies that better represent the personal goals and convictions of the individual, it is not surprising that many Americans are breaking free of the traditional two-party mold they have long been relegated to.

While the Republican Party splinters into conservative, “alt right,” and libertarian factions, the Democrats continue to divide themselves between “blue dog” moderates and progressives, voters with common sense are realizing that the bottom has dropped out of the middle, and are perplexed about which direction to go. Many are seeking a new home where decades of misguided choices, shady backdoor deals, and shameful legacies haven’t yet muddled the waters of policy.

In California, a state that many Republicans view as a lost cause and that the Democrats feel they have safely in the bag, a great number of its populace are wondering where that leaves the average Californian in terms of adequate representation on the national level.

To provide a way forward for the Golden State in these trying times, a home grown phenomenon has taken root in the form of a new political entity which identifies itself as “pragmatic progressive” and takes a regional approach to politics, the California National Party (CNP).

The party was born in 2014, and while left-of-center, the movement has attracted adherents from all political leanings—from Democratic Socialists to ardent Libertarians—to become the fastest growing party seeking qualification in California.

Amongst the key planks of the party’s platform are hot button items such as universal healthcare, immigration reform, and environmental protection. The party promotes emerging industries such as marijuana, tech, and renewable energy as pathways to achieving economic sustainability. It also seeks to improve the state’s aging infrastructure and overburdened education system while defending liberty, equality, and civil rights. And this is just the beginning; the party’s official platform covers these aims and others in much greater detail than one article could allow.

While the party embraces the controversial notion of Californian independence, this is one area where pragmatism overrules progressivism.

According to both domestic and international law, the people of California have the legal right to political self-determination, should they choose to exercise it. Party leadership, however, views the question of independence as one that only the vote of a majority of Californians (2/3 or greater) can answer. The party sees the right to greater autonomy, self-determination, and possible sovereignty as a necessity to ensure the continued growth and progress of a state whose population is greater than the bottom 31 U.S. states and territories combined.

This concern is legitimate. California currently contributes upwards of 22 cents of every tax dollar raised here to the national treasury while other states receive as much as $2 dollars of federal funds for every dollar they contribute. Meanwhile, California is under-represented in Congress and in the Electoral College. It doesn’t take a PhD in political science to see that what is occurring is a clear cut case of taxation without representation—and it doesn’t take a history major to know what happens next. This is to say nothing of the obvious ideological differences between California and most of the United States. Nor does it speak to the fact that the current president continues to bite the hand that feeds the nation in both a literal and economic sense.

But more immediately, the party seeks to attract voters around more pressing issues which California can act on, such as emissions reductions and our own solution to the national healthcare debacle.

The CNP intends to run candidates who will advance the party’s platform in state and local offices throughout California beginning in 2018. To qualify as a recognized party (which allow potential candidates to state their party affiliation as California National Party on the ballot), 0.33% of registered California voters (64,128 people as of February 10, 2017) must list the CNP as their party preference on their voter registration forms. Party leaders feel confident that their party line is strong enough and that their efforts have the momentum to reach this goal quickly.

The party will hold its upcoming convention on Sunday Aug. 13th, 2017 in San Francisco at the Betty Ong Rec Center in Chinatown. During the conference, party members will elect new leadership, as well as revise and ratify the party’s platform, so it becomes a living document which speaks to the needs and desires of California’s citizens. This convention promises to be the party’s largest gathering yet. All are welcome to attend and hear the day’s discourse, including a keynote speech by author and activist Cindy Sheehan.

To learn more about the party and its aims, and for convention info, you can check out its website:

The CNP is also active on social media channels including Facebook (@VoteCNP), Twitter (@Vote_CNP), and Instagram (@Vote_CNP). For the latest and greatest on regional politics and the conversation on independence, please like and follow!