by Shelt Garner
I write a lot about the prospect of a Second American Civil War, and yet, as of right now it’s very much a fantasiam. The idea of a Second American Civil War is evoked more from a general unease about the state of the United States than any real sense that it might actually happen anytime soon.
The issue for me is the conditions are there for a civil war. The positions of the two sides have grown more extreme and absolute. There’s an alarming level of dehumanization that’s taken place in our political discourse. And it definitely seems as though the Right has embraced the glorification of political violence in a rather astonishing fashion.
I would suggest that that while we’re probably drifting in some vague manner towards something that might be described as a “civil war” it’s not going to just magically happen. For an actual “civil war” to happen as the modern American would understand it, you would need a political framework, a government and a military force. If you don’t have any of these elements, then you just have a bunch of frustrated MAGA motherfuckers who, for some reason, think wearing a mask is tyranny.
Even then, if we manage to make it to the 2024-2025 timeframe, there’s a good chance that American liberal democracy won’t go out with a bang, but with a whimper — we’ll just take it for granted that for a Democrat to become president, they also have to control Congress so the Electoral vote is certified. But because of gerrymandering and voter suppression that never happens again.
MAGA controls the United States for generations and we slowly grow poorer and more autocratic to the point that we’re indistinguishable from Russia.
And, yet, there’s a greater-than-zero-sum-chance that something unexpected happens between now and then that sparks an actual, honest-to-God civil war in the United States. It could be anything from the unexpected death of a major political figure to, say, the Cyber Ninjas recount in Arizona “proving” that Trump “won.”
The reason why the latter might cause us to buckle is it would give a fig leaf to elements of the Republican Party who are looking for an excuse, any excuse to take the next logical step when it comes to their refusal to accept a Biden win — nullification.
And given how impractical it would be to nullify a presidential administration, it’s a brief jaunt to seceding from the Union altogether. But there is a lot I can’t figure out or game out. Even if Trump ran around saying he was “really” president because of the sham Cyber Ninjas recount, there’s a good chance that outside of the far right echo chamber that it will be a lulz.
But maybe not. It could be that Trump will get some traction among MAGA legislatures and all hell will break loose. I honestly, at his point, don’t know which scenario to expect to happen.