The Trump administration may end in a second Civil War, posits Salon writer Robert Reich, if it ends before 2024 via impeachment or via losing the 2020 election. The former Labor Secretary during the Clinton administration concedes that Civil War II is unlikely, but not outside the realm of possibility.
Trump’s Unabashed Polarization Of Americans
There can’t be a war without at least two sides fighting each other over whatever the issue: politics, religion, territory, access to resources. And Trump is doing his dead-level best, says Reich, to divide Americans into two opposing camps – those who support him and those who oppose him. And he’s made it clear, via his words and actions, that he is only the president for those who support him.
“Nor has he shown any interest in unifying the nation, or speaking to the nation as a whole. Instead, he periodically throws red meat to his overwhelmingly white, rural, and older base.”
Trump’s Ignorance And Avoidance Of The Constitution
Trump “couldn’t care less” about the Constitution, says Reich. As evidence, he points to Trump’s admiration of foreign dictators, such as the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte. As CNN reported in November 2017, Trump apparently shares the belief that the media are “spies.”
Similarly, though the Constitution limits the president to two terms in office, Trump has suggested that might not be for him. When Chinese president Xi Xinping became “president for life,” Trump liked the idea.
“I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll give that a shot some day.”
— The Hill (@thehill) June 8, 2018
The “Deep State” Connection
A “deep state,” for those not familiar, is a term – first suggested by novelist John le Carré in 2013 – that describes a government within a government that actually controls things. Trump has suggested that such a thing not only exists but has planted spies in his campaign in order to undermine him.
All of this – the polarizing of Americans, the avoidance of the Constitution, the attempts to sow distrust in the system through suggesting a secret government conspiracy – could theoretically set the stage for a second Civil War.
So how would it erupt? Reich suggests one of two possibilities. First is Trump’s impeachment and subsequent removal from office: Reich posits that, in that situation, right-wing news hosts such as Sean Hannity will call on Trump supporters to take up arms and that Trump would command the military to act on behalf of the “patriots.”
A second possibility is that Trump loses the 2020 election, but alleges voter fraud aided by illegal immigrants. Demonstrations and riots would erupt, and Trump would command the military to violently put them down.
For now, says Reich, the possibility is far-fetched. But not far-fetched enough for his liking.