A little history lesson if you will. The first civil war in this country did not start in 1861 with the firing on Fort Sumter. It started with the Constitutional Convention in 1791 when, to reach a compromise, the non-slave states agreed to count each non-citizen as two-thirds of the white citizen. It was distasteful and was constantly abhorred by the non-slave states. This led to several compromise bills in Congress that exacerbated the tensions in the country.

The direct confrontations of John Brown’s Raid and the "Bloody Kansas" were the straws that led to the inability to reach further compromises. The advent of the Republican Party in 1854, based as it was on anti-slavery, reinforced the tensions and divisions in the country. The Civil War itself came down to two fundamental issues: slavery and states’ rights. The South was strongly in favor of continuing slavery as encapsulated in the state being able to run its in-state commerce as it saw fit.

The North believed that slavery was repugnant, and that repugnancy overrode any issue of what the state could or could not do.

There were people on both sides of the ‘aisle’ that tried to find a reasonable compromise, but the divisions were beyond repair. The result of the civil war for the north was approximately 650,000 dead and probably triple that number maimed. The south most likely suffered similar casualties.

Now we can talk about what I believe are salient facts that we are facing in the country and what we may have missed over the past few years.

The first crack in the façade was the elections in 2000 where Mr. Bush defeated Mr. Gore by the slimmest of margins. This was repeated in 2004 when Mr. Bush defeated Mr. Kerry, but with a little wider margin. This was the first election that showed the hardening of the opinions and feeling of the electorate.

The elections of 2008 and 2012 between Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney respectfully did not amplify this division, but it did not do anything to heal the differing opinions on both sides. The true sign of the unhappiness was the election of 2010 where the House and the Senate flipped. The House did so by a large number and the Senate proportionately the same number. The advent of the right leaning Tea Party started to show the unhappiness that was percolating with the unsatisfactory behavior of government on both sides of the aisle.

The election of 2016 between Mr. Trump and Ms. Clinton was one probably the first direct campaign at the national level between the two different approaches to government where the antagonists were blunt on their support of government (Ms. Clinton) or their opposition to the government (Mr. Trump).

The divisions that were becoming apparent during the Presidency of Mr. Obama became more outward in the attitudes and the media after Mr. Trump’s election. This was further brought to the forefront by actions and verbiage by members of Congress, such as Maxine Waters and the continuous lies by members such as Adam Schiff. Adding fuel to the fire were the four freshmen members of Congress known as the Squad.

But it has been the actions over the past 18 months that have brought me to the conclusion that the second civil war has already begun. Like the pre-war period of the 1850’s we are seeing an escalation of the divide between not just both parties, but between neighbors and even family. There seems to be no room for compromise as the division hardens.

The disruption of civility has started to manifest itself in violent behavior that is being called ‘peaceful’ by the biased media. This violence has taken cities into the depths of destruction. Cities such as Portland and Seattle are still fighting and the leadership in those cities have barely lifted a finger to detain and prosecute the perpetrators of the burning, looting and destruction that have been visited on those cities.

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis was an example of the respective officials of that city waiting until the core of the city was demolished and reliance on the Federal Government was requested. Added to Minneapolis were cities like Denver, New York, Salt Lake City and other substantial metropolitan areas. Kenosha became another city that was late to the game and the destruction to it were was rather significant.

But the destruction of civil order was compounded by the killing of people. Not just by the police which were the instigation of the unrest, but crime by civilians against other civilians. In New York City children as young as one were killed by other civilians. Compounding the issue is the belief by some civic leaders that reducing the presence and funding for law enforcement will allow the cities to heal and create a more ‘peaceful’ environment.

Are these actions the comparison to ‘Bloody Kansas’ of the 1850s? Are these events a precursor to an open civil war?

Note that the leaders of BLM and Antifa have stated that they are Marxists and their purpose is the overthrow of the United States. The keystone to the founding of the Republican Party was the abolishment of slavery. They also stated that the Union be preserved by any means. That philosophy was the largest impediment to the South staying in the Union. The election of the Republican Abraham Lincoln was the impetus for the dissolution of the Union. Are we at the point that the cause of Union may not be in immediate jeopardy, rather the distrust of the government and its leaders may lead to the dissolution of government?

Also, the three Western Governors (Brown of Oregon, Inslee of Washington, and Newsom of California) have set up committees to determine if the wrong candidate wins in 2020 to consider the secession from the United States. Again, a parallel to the United States of the 1850s.

I believe that we are looking at the United States repeating the 1850s and the only resolution besides the dissolution of the Union may be an armed conflict.

2020 Election Scenario

One of the more common scenarios being spoken about is that Mr. Trump will win the Electoral College on November third, but two or three weeks later after November 3rd, the ‘absentee’ ballots will show Mr. Biden as the victor.

Let’s look at the consequences of this scenario. On November 3rd Mr. Trump is declared that victor. Likely we will see extensive civil unrest, particularly in large cities where Mr. Trump had performed poorly. Mr. Biden follows Ms. Clinton’s advice and does not concede.

Three weeks later Mr. Biden is declared due to millions of absentee ballots being cast for him. Now those on the right will partake in civil unrest equal to or greater to that of what Mr. Biden’s supporters did after November 3rd.

Neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Bien will concede, and the election will fall to the House of Representatives to vote for the new President. In that setting each State has one vote and the candidate with the simple majority will be declared the winner.

Either way the civil disruptions will continue and the Government of the United States will be at best minimally capable of functioning in the international arena and domestically there would be severe consequences of legitimacy of any laws passed and signed (by the President).

Unless either Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden wins an outright winning vote on November 3rd, we are looking at a division in the country which I believe will be equal to or greater than that which we had in 1860. I believe that the very real possibility of the Country splitting apart will be realized.

2 Comments

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  • James Gilliam  
    Amen!
  • Vincent  
    It is November 19 2021 and I just read this post. And, it holds water I think. Claremont McKenna scholar Charles Kesler in his book Crisis of the Two Constitutions does say we are now in a period of "regime politics" as opposed to "normative politics" and that we are now in a period of "Cold Civil War." So...it seems to me Mr. Bartel's analysis of Sept 2020 is still good.

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