Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton recently backed a proposal that would give Native Hawaiians the right to limited self-rule, similar to Native American tribes. Some radical activists hope to go even further, and are calling for the state to secede entirely from the U.S. and establish sovereignty.
How would Hawaii fare as an independent nation? Laura Ling has the details, straight outta Honolulu, in today's Seeker Report.
Hawaii's extremely useful location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean makes it a critical strategic asset for the U.S. That's the principle reason why chances for Hawaiian independence are, in terms of realpolitik, less than zero.
Officially, about 1.4 million people live in Hawaii, but the actual population at any given time is much larger. Hawaii is home to about 50,000 U.S. troops and more than 8 million tourists cycle through each year. Double Secret Bonus Trivia: Hawaii is the only state in the union that has never had a white majority population.
Geographically, Hawaii is an archipelago made up of eight main islands and more than 100 smaller islands, with total real estate just a little smaller than the state of New Jersey.
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Economically, Hawaii's extreme isolation is a problem. With the nearest landmass 2,000 miles away, shipping costs are ridiculous, which impacts both imports and exports. Hawaii does send out a good amount of coffee, papaya and macademia nuts each year, but the economy is heavily dependent on tourism.
Hawaii is also, by far, the most expensive state in the entire union. Residents pay more taxes per person than anywhere in the U.S. Utilities, housing, food and imported goods are significantly pricier. On the other hand, there is this.
Unless something really radical happens, full independence for Hawaii is extremely unlikely. But that hasn't stopped activists from drawing up a national constitution. You know, just in case.
-- Glenn McDonald
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Washington Post: Hawaii's $14 Billion Tourism Industry Back to Pre-Recession Levels
Fusion: Why some Native Hawaiians Want to Declare Independence from the U.S.
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