Civil War in America?

Former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova says “we are in a civil war” in the U.S. Nicolle Wallace, a former GOP operative who now works for MSNBC, agrees.

DiGenova sometimes overstates his case and Wallace is a hack. We are not in an actual civil war.

However, I’ve heard people say we in a “cold civil war.” I’m not sure what the criteria are for such a war. But a large portion of the political class is in self-described resistance mode against the president of the United States, and I assume that a large portion of it will respond in kind if a leftist is elected president in 2020.

Couple this with the rising temp of political hostility, and it’s plausible to suggest that we are in, or on the verge of, a cold civil war.

At PJMedia, Richard Fernandez uses a different term — hybrid civil war. “Hybrid war” describes the action Russia is waging against Ukraine (and some say, with considerable exaggeration, against the U.S.). Its a blend of propaganda, subversion, and small-scale military action by a mixture of proxies and agents.

Given the absence of the military element in the U.S., I prefer the term “cold civil war” as a description of what we may be in. However, the label doesn’t matter much. The phenomenon is either upon us or close enough to warrant serious discussion. A cold war can turn into a shooting war in the blink of an eye.

Are we making too much, though, of the rhetoric of pundits and fringe politicians? Are enough Americans sufficiently angry to provide the foot soldiers for a civil war?

In a sense, this question misses the lesson of history. Civil wars have started and been waged from the top down, so to speak. They do not require a revolt of the masses.

In modern, democratic America, that scenario seems implausible. Our institutions, flawed as they are, provide outlets that should be able to keep any “civil war” cold rather than hot. The center should hold well enough for that purpose.

But if the left persists in demonizing White Americans while telling non-Whites that White America hates and oppresses them, a critical mass of foot soldiers for a civil war might materialize.

I’ll conclude with a word about the 2020 election. Leftists express concern that if Trump loses, he will refuse to cede control of the White House. Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, expressed that fear during his congressional testimony last week.

In 2016, Trump said he might refuse to accept the outcome of the election if he lost. In the end, it was Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party that refused to accept the outcome.

Democrats didn’t attempt physically to block Trump from assuming the presidency. Instead, they denied the legitimacy of his victory and began working behind the scenes to bring about his removal before he was inaugurated.

There’s a good chance that Trump, if he loses next year, will deny the legitimacy of his opponent’s victory and, like Obama and his “deep state” allies, try to subvert his predecessor. But expressions of fear that Trump will refuse to vacate the White House and call in troops to back him strike me as either paranoid or a tactic in, shall we say, a cold civil war.

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