by Shelt Garner
The thing about the United States in 2021 is there are no easy answers. The Right has reached the point in its glorification of political violence that, yes, we are, in fact closer to a civil war in 2021.
It’s just not very likely that there will be a Second American Civil War this year. A second civil war is much more likely to be part of a spectrum of choices that America faces in the 2024-2025 timeframe. On one end of the spectrum will be MAGA Republican autocratic rule for generations to come and on the other end will be a violent, tragic second civil war.
The reason I fear this is likely is the titanic, existential forces at work within American politics are such that we just aren’t going to make it through another presidential cycle. By 2024, MAGA Republicans will have soaked in their hate so long that they simply will not accept any result that doesn’t involve them being on top.
And once they’re on top, they’re probably going to purge the “fake news,” weaponize the ICE infrastructure and consolidate power in various ways to the extent that there will be no difference between the United States and the autocratic managed democracy of modern Russia. MAGA Republicans already have a huge fucking boner for Putin because they believe the autocratic state he runs in some sort of magical dream that if they can replicate it will allow them to establish a white Christian ethno state where scary brown people know their place and women are nothing more than birthing chambers.
As such, in 2024, Americans will face an existential, stark choice — civil war or autocracy. And if we do have a civil war, it’s going to be hell on earth. Something so tragic and horrifying that in the end both sides will regret it ever happened. I say this because history indicates that wars — civil and otherwise — unleash long-bent up forces that lead to unexpected radicalization on both sides of a conflict.
So, it’s easy to imagine that at some point in any second American Civil War both sides will grow desperate enough to begin using WMD on each other. That, in turn, will cause both sides to grow far more radical. It’s easy to imagine, at least in the South, some sort of race war happening as white MAGA Southerners begin to exterminate black and brown people as some sort of Good Old Boy Final Solution. That, in turn will lead African Americans to fight back en masse, which would be something of a race war.
I still struggle to understand why anyone would want a civil war to begin with — especially MAGA. To get everything they want, all they have to do is be patient. Their efforts at voter suppression combined with demographic trends in the Senate make their dreams of a white Christian ethno state well within reach within a few years.
But, just like the Slave power of yore, it’s possible that MAGA is going to freak out and start a civil war out of sheer frustration and paranoia. That’s when, yet again, the American political psyche will be torn open and we will spend a few years killing each other for political reasons to determine what it means to be American.