Texas' petition to secede from the union received enough signatures to garner comment from the President. White House

As the Texas secession movement heats up in the wake of President Barack Obama’s re-election, one group, the Texas Nationalist Movement, is moving to become an official political action committee.

In a press release, Texas Nationalist Movement President Daniel Miller said the PAC was formed "for the purpose of supporting and endorsing candidates at all levels that are in line with the mission, vision and values of the Texas Nationalist Movement."

According to the press release, “The TNM's stated goals are to secure and protect the political, economic and cultural independence of Texas; restore and protect a constitutional Texas; defend the inherent and inalienable rights of the people of Texas; and promote the values of Texas nationalism.”

The Texas Nationalist Movement claims more than 250,000 members on its website, though it admits that not all are dues-paying. If the paperwork is accepted, the TNM PAC could raise funds to air ads in support of Texas secession and pro-secession candidates across the state.

Whom might the Texas Nationalist Movement PAC support as a political candidate? Although Gov. Rick Perry has flirted with the movement at times, there is another choice. For years, Larry Kilgore has run for office on the secession platform, receiving more than 250,000 votes in the Republican Senate primary in 2008. Kilgore, who legally changed his name to “SECEDE” (yes, the all-caps are his preferred spelling), also plans to run for governor in 2014.

Kilgore’s underdeveloped website states that “all other issues [besides secession] can be dealt with later,” and during his 2006 run for governor, his platform called for the death penalty as punishment for adultery and public flogging for offenses such as swearing in public and transvestism, as decreed in the Old Testament, according to Chron. So, probably not the strongest candidate overall.

But Kilgore's promise to run for governor and the formation of the TNM political action committee come at a high point for the Texas secession movement. Last month, a petition asking for Texas to secede gained more than 118,000 signatures on the White House's website. So clearly there's a large contingent of Texas that would like to be free from the United States government.

Nevertheless, their point is totally moot. As C.G.P. Grey points out in this excellent video (see below), Texas can’t legally secede under either the Unites States Constitution or the Texas Constitution. Grey notes that Texas would indeed have the economic ability to survive as an independent nation — Texas would become the world's 13th largest economy if it successfully seceded — there’s just no legal way for that to happen short of a Supreme Court ruling, which seems unlikely.

But what Texas does have the legal ability to do, under the terms by which the independent Republic of Texas joined the Union in 1845, is to split itself into up to five new states, a possibility that election guru Nate Silver explored on his FiveThirtyEight blog a few years back.

While that possibility might not satisfy the Texas Nationalist Movement, it could be a viable solution if the residents of liberal Austin or heavily Latino San Antonio or El Paso wish to secede from Texas.

In the case of El Paso, reported the petition reads, in part: ”El Paso is tired of being a second-class city within Texas. El Paso has little in common with the rest of Texas. Its demographics are more similar to New Mexico. El Paso is also proud to be part of the United States and wants no part of a state whom publicly contemplates secession from our great nation.”

Watch Grey’s video below for a quick recap of the legalities surrounding Texas secession.