Civil War

The U.S. is leaning dangerously close to civil war. Donald Trump and his followers insisting that he won the 2020 election—in the face of overwhelming evidence that he lost it by a more than comfortable margin—led to a violent attack on the Capitol on January 6 of this year in which at least four and maybe as many as ten eventually died. The purpose of the assault was to prevent the Congress from validating the election of Joe Biden as president. There is genuine danger that if Trump runs again in 2024 and is defeated, his supporters could launch military attacks to secure his rule.

According to the Guardian, the U.S. is “closer to civil war than any of us would like to believe.” That is the conclusion of a book by Barbara F. Walter to be published next year. And three retired generals wrote in the Washington Post that they were “increasingly concerned about the aftermath of the 2024 presidential election and the potential for lethal chaos inside our military.”

I don’t in the least doubt that Donald Trump would use military force to seize power. It appears that the democratic forces opposing him would be hesitant to go to war to prevent his victory. But in the long term, that might be the only means available for preventing a Trump coup d’etat.

Let us all work together to see to it that we never face that prospect. That means, first and foremost, assuring that all have the freedom to vote. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, as of October 4, 2021, more than 425 bills that would restrict voting access had been introduced in 49 states—with 33 of these bills enacted across 19 states.  And Republicans in at least eight states have introduced legislation that would allow the legislators to overturn unwelcome election results. Since Trump and his supporters know they would lose a fair election, they are doing all they can to impede voting.

In the end, it is up to us American citizens. We can work to prevent military actions by those losing elections, and we can assure free and fair voting. But if we don’t move quickly and decisively, civil war is a real possibility.

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