Is America Close To Civil War?

The 2016 Presidential election campaign trail has been typically described as ‘vulgar’, ‘divisive’ and ‘populist’ Donald Trump has insulted potential nominees on both sides and Bernie Sanders’s core supporters are so far left, that some refuse to back the Democratic candidate now he’s out of the running

The strengthening of partisan politics has led to rallies that have descended into violent clashes Other divisions have led to violence on the streets Do these divisions run deep enough that we could see a new American Civil War? Of course, America has seen civil war before By the 1850s, the wealthy slave owners of the South had managed to consolidate control of the Democratic Party and were *the* establishment figures However, in order to keep power and prevent the majority of poorer white Southerners realising that they were getting swindled out of prosperity, the Democrats began to tell a story

In the struggle for control of the constitution of new Western states, the Democrats promoted the idea that the abolitionist Republicans were the enemy of the state Should the Republicans win, the Democrats argued, they would disrespect and humiliate white Southerners The only way to ‘take back America’ was to vote Democrat… and this worked well until 1860 By this point, the inflammatory political rhetoric had taken on a life of its own The people carried the more extreme John C

Breckinridge to the nomination This choice split the Democrats’ vote – the establishment wanted Stephen A Douglas And so Abraham Lincoln was able to sweep to victory for the Republicans A result that, because of the vicious partisan sentiment drummed up over the 10 years, the Southerners felt that they were literally under attack

They took up arms and the Civil War broke out Does this sound familiar? Just as rich plantation owners controlled both the wealth and the establishment of the South, so today does modern USA society see a huge disparity in wealth Bernie Sanders said the problem was the establishment, big business and banks Donald Trump says the problem is the establishment, Mexicans, Muslims and too high taxes The establishment figure of Hillary Clinton won the Democrat nomination

Trump has called to ‘lock her up’ and says the system is rigged against him No matter who you support, you can see that this is not constructive political discourse It is sensationalist, unsupported name-calling that distracts from actual policies So how is the public allowing them to get away with it? Part of the problem is the effect of the echo chamber that is social media You only hear the views of your friends, news sources and commentary that you agree with

As a result, erratic demonisation of the opposing camp almost always goes unchallenged online This allows an us-versus-them mindset to arise, which stops us from understanding and engaging with the ‘other’ side We are basically led to think the ‘other’ side must simply be insane for possessing their particular political opinion In the 1850s it was just the Democratic establishment driving in the wedge, now it is accelerated by curating algorithms And so it starts to seem like losing the Presidential race no longer means democracy has triumphed, it means a mistake has been made

It becomes an unspeakable horror: common decency has failed and America is being attacked That’s how the South felt upon Lincoln’s election And that is how Trump supporters will feel if Clinton wins, and how liberals will feel if Trump wins After all, according to polls, these are the two most strongly disliked Presidential candidates in history It’s a lose-lose situation either way for the country

But enough of motivations, what about the actuality of civil war? 36% of households owning a firearm and there are an astonishing 112 guns per 100 people, this actually makes a civil war among ordinary citizens possible – a practical impossibility in other modern states The US military has been preparing for mass civil unrest in recent years The Pentagon’s $75 million dollar Minerva Initiative, has been researching such scenarios since 2008 In spite of all of this, a civil war still seems like a stretch In 2014 the Pew Research Center found gun ownership is most common to those in rural communities, who are conservative or support the Republican party

Liberals make up 23% of firearm owners and therefore seem unlikely to launch a united, paramilitary front Furthermore, the state of the military is very different today than it was in 1861 The fact that the military has been planning for such an eventuality and the sheer scale of force at their disposal means whichever side wins the Presidential race, would also be able to win any full-scale Civil War quite easily Another interesting point is that the dividing lines are no longer purely regional, but often generational Young people tend to be on the liberal side of the gulf

The Washington Post reported that even young conservatives are unlikely to back Trump It would be hard to believe that one generation would take up arms against another Brothers fighting brothers is one thing – but parents fighting their children is quite another However, it can’t all blow over Just because there is unlikely to be another civil war, does not mean there are no consequences in the current, toxic political climate

As we’ve seen in recent months, mass shootings targeting police are just one further escalation in an already strained and tense situation We can only wait to see what happens next

1 Comment

  1. I would not be surprised if this already divided nation will enter or wage a ‘civil’ war. Since the left-right psyop has a powerful grip on the American psyche, s**t will hit the fan anytime soon. Prepare.

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