America has been blessed with an incredible amount of political stability ever since the Civil War ended in 1865. While there have been political assassinations and briefly lived radical political parties, such as La Raza Unida in Texas, by and large, America has been remarkably stable. However, talk of succession, revolutions, and civil war has come into vogue as the country debates the validity of the 2016 presidential election and the upcoming 2020 elections.
A 2018 Rasmussen poll sampled 1,000 likely U.S. voters and found that a remarkable 31 percent of American voters think that, “it’s likely that the United States will experience a second civil war sometime in the next five years.”
Most recently, “Real Time” host Bill Maher brought up the topic on his show, saying, “Lately we’ve been hearing more and more about a second Civil War, which sounds impossible in this modern affluent country. It is not.” He said that also intends to tone down his anti-Trump language in an effort to help calm things, “We are going to have to learn to live with each other or there will be blood.”
The hyperbolic rhetoric hasn’t just been confined to the left, republicans and conservatives frequently engage in it. Victor Davis Hanson, wrote in a National Review essay, “how, when, and why has the United States now arrived at the brink of a veritable civil war?” Hanson explored that question in depth, determining that there are a variety of factors that have caused the United States to “split apart so rapidly,” including, globalization, technology, bias in the education system, illegal immigration, and finally, the inflammatory presidency of Barack Obama.
Disgraced Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King posted a meme spoofing a conflict between “red” and “blue” states with the caption, “one side has eight trillion bullets, while the other side doesn’t know what bathroom to use,” and posed the question, “who would win?”
While this trend towards apocalyptic language began well before the rise of President Donald Trump, he has frequently used it. Per The Atlantic, at a June rally in Orlando, Trump said “Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice, and rage,” and “They want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it.” He has also said “Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of — he’s my guy” praising Montana Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte for body slamming a reporter.Police in riot gear move into a crowd as demonstrators and supporters rally before the planned appearance by conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California in Berkeley, California, U.S., September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam – RC1F4E479830
This sort of behavior isn’t just confined to the political class in America either, the divide between Republican and Democrat has grown increasingly broad over the years.
The Atlantic, in an article titled “How America Ends,” says Republicans and Democrats are both increasingly willing to “dehumanize” each other, and cites a study done by political scientists at Vanderbilt University that said “Partisans are willing to explicitly state that members of the opposing party are like animals, that they lack essential human traits.” Author Yoni Appelbaum goes on to point out that, “In 1960, less than 5 percent of Democrats and Republicans said they’d be unhappy if their children married someone from the other party; today, 35 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of Democrats would be.”
There is also a movement in Texas and California (both classic examples of states dominated by one political party) to secede from the Union. In Texas, the Texas Nationalist Movement claims 300,000 members, with a stated goal of making Texas an “independent, self-governing nation-state free from the control of the bureaucrats and political class in Washington, D.C.”
California’s succession movement, or, “Calexit,” a self-stated “left” campaign, has also achieved a degree of popularity. In April of 2018, CNBC ran an article that said, “the California Secretary of State’s Office announced that a secession ballot proposal has been cleared to begin gathering needed signatures.” Marcus Ruiz Evans, one of the leaders of the movement, has started that they have roughly 44,000 members, and that their membership has quadrupled since the election of Trump.
The last time America had a civil war, 600,000 people or 3 percent of the population, lost their lives in the ensuing conflict. Those warning of an impending civil war, or any kind of social unrest could easily be wrong, but on the off-chance that their predictions are correct, America could be in for an event that pales in comparison to the original.