Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, left, Indiana Gov.-elect Mike Pence, center, and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, who is chairman of the Republican Governors Association, participated in a panel discussion in Las Vegas Thursday at the association’s annual meeting. Top Republicans meeting for the first time since Election Day said the party failed to unseat President Obama because nominee Mitt Romney did not respond to criticism strongly enough or outline a specific agenda with a broad appeal.
Americans disappointed that President Obama won re-election are letting off steam by demanding that their states secede.
The movement is strongest in that reddest of states -- Texas -- and in other states that voted overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney.
As of Thursday, more than 107,000 Texans had joined the Texas petition at We the People, the federal government website where anyone can start a petition.
While 40 states have petitions for secession, most have gotten just a few hundred or thousand signers. But both Tennessee and Alabama had more than 28,000 backers.
In addition, there's a petition in support of deporting anyone who signs a petition to secede from the union. And someone, perhaps from one of Texas' more liberal cities, has posted a petition seeking signatures for Austin to withdraw from the Lone Star State but remain part of the United States.
The petition drive is just a way for angry voters to let off steam after a highly emotional and divisive campaign, said John Scheb, head of the political science department at the University of Tennessee.
Not only is secession unlikely, it's not even legally possible, Scheb said.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1869 that states cannot unilaterally secede from the union. "The position the court took was once in [the union], always in," Scheb said.
Don Frazier, a history professor at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas, said, "A lot of people have a misconception that Texas reserved the right to leave the union ... That option is not in that constitution, it's not in our Constitution or any other constitution."
To Frazier, one shouldn't take the petition seriously. He noted that it's a lot easier to sign a petition online than "do the hard ground-game work that needs to be done if the GOP is going to be a viable national party in the future."
Brandon Puttbrese, spokesman for the Tennessee Democratic Party, called the secession petition "radical nonsense" that is "a direct result of the Tea Party extremism and intolerance we have seen from elected Republicans in Tennessee."
But Chris Devaney, chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, noted that nearly 50 percent of Americans voted against Obama. In Tennessee, Obama lost to Republican Mitt Romney by 20 percentage points.