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State of American History, Civics, and Politics

Will California or South Carolina Secede First?

Will Donald Trump succeed where Robert E. Lee failed?

Crunch time is coming. America’s Third Civil War is fast approaching the moment of truth. After weeks, months, and years of writing about it, the battle is now taking shape to determine if America continues to exist as a single country. Lincoln’s adage that a house divided cannot stand is true but not appropriate. We are not “a” house. We were two houses when we constituted ourselves in 1787. We were two houses when we fought the Civil War/War of Northern Aggression. We were two houses when we celebrated the Sesquicentennial of that war. And we obviously are two houses now in the coronavirus pandemic.

OUR BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG

Election Day will be our Gettysburg. The preliminary skirmishes have already started. The rhetoric anticipating the battle is being heard. Our historically ignorant President praised Robert E. Lee to an audience in Minnesota. The title of the local news article covering that story was:

Trump’s praise of Robert E. Lee gets pushback from Minnesotans proud of state’s role at Gettysburg: Minnesota soldiers played a pivotal role at Gettysburg, a major Confederate loss

Standing in the heart of a state that has gloried in its role in helping save the Union at Gettysburg, President Donald Trump extolled at length Friday the battle prowess of a seemingly odd hero — Gen. Robert E. Lee. Some Minnesota veterans and Civil War historians were surprised to hear the commander-in-chief lavish praise on a man who led the Confederacy’s fight against Americans trying to preserve the Union. “Had he won, we would be two countries,” state Sen. Jerry Newton, a veteran who served in the Vietnam War and the Middle East, said Saturday. “That’s just unconscionable for me, for him to make those statements.”

A painting at the Minnesota State Capitol depicting the First Minnesota Volunteer Regiment’s historic firefight on July 2, 1863, in the Battle of Gettysburg.

The Minnesota Republican Party and several GOP legislators and officials didn’t respond Saturday to requests for comment on the president’s remarks.

The very stable genius who speaks about Lincoln to Confederates now speaks of Lee to Unionists. But he is right to sense in his gut that we are at a Gettysburg moment.

WILL DONALD TRUMP SUCCEED WHERE ROBERT E. LEE FAILED?

Gettysburg marked the turning point of the Confederacy’s invasion of the North. Ultimately the United States did not become a legally divided country. The Union prevailed. The current un-Lincoln President favors the Confederacy over the Union. He has been quite open on his admiration for Confederate generals and the Confederate way of life. He practically sighs in disappointment over how close Lee came to triumphing over the Union.

This preference is not actually because he personally knows anything about the Confederacy beyond Gone with the Wind.  What appeals to him is the same thing that appeals to him with QAnon and white Protestant evangelicals: they support him. What else matters?  By contrast, the Union States tended to vote against him. The longtime faux Democrat and Clinton supporter naturally prefers the people who worship him over those who mock and investigate him.

The coronavirus provides the perfect dividing line for America. The talk about how a virus doesn’t know politics is nonsense. As we have seen, the virus has been very targeted in the people it kills. It preys on the weak. It preys on the unhealthy. It preys on people who are vulnerable. The virus imprinted itself in the American culture as a New York disease that primarily effects people Trumpicans don’t care about anyway. Even after seven months, the virus has only minimally effected Trumpicans. The biggest impact has been economic due to the lockdowns. The political impact is to make the dividing line quite clear. Corvid-19 highlights that we really are two countries masquerading as one.

THE ELECTION THAT COULD BREAK AMERICA 

For several weeks if not months, people have been gaming out various “what if” scenarios for the post-election world. By and large, the results have been terrifying. Many existing laws and rules have never been tested. We never have had a President who is a law unto himself with no ethics, no conscience, and no morals. Truly the country will be in uncharted waters after November 3.

The one precedent is the election in 1876. At that time there were rival slates of electors just as there were from Mississippi in the 1960s at Democratic conventions. Just a little over a decade from the end of America’s Second Civil War, the country stood on the brink of beginning another one. In that situation as the clock wound down a deal was struck whereby the South would no longer be occupied territory. Violence was threatened. The newly-freed slaves were collateral damage. It was an ugly moment in American history. Neither of the two candidates then was the incumbent unlike the situation today.

So Tilden got something for stepping down. What does our incumbent want and what would he get if he steps down?

1. He wants to be president for life just like Putin and the leaders from Trumphole countries.

2. As the greatest President in American history, he wants to be President for four-terms (he probably doesn’t know that FDR didn’t actually serve for 16 years but somehow he does know that FDR was elected four times. Maybe his mother told about what life was like under Roosevelt.)

3. He never loses. He didn’t lose the popular vote in 2016, it was rigged and he is not going to lose in 2020 either unless it is rigged.

Is it just coincidence that just as the son is about to be hauled into court that the father reveals that there will be no peaceful transfer because there will be continuity? As the days dwindle to election, he can see the ghost of Christmas future more clearly in the legal problems of his son. He has nothing good to look forward to after leaving the White House so he has nothing to lose by doing everything he can to remain in it.

POSSIBLE SCENARIOS

1. What will California do if Pennsylvania attempts to steal the election? And New York? And so on? Regardless of all the legal shenanigans detailed in Gellman article in The Atlantic, there is the one scenario he only mentioned in passing: the threat of secession. Don’t expect the states to stand by idly if one tries to pull a fast one.

2. Who will Europe support? That’s obvious. Romney already played the Belarus card. The world laughs at America and pities the country because of its simpleminded immature child president. The world favors Make America Adult Again.

3. Who will Russia support? That’s also obvious. We just saw how the pro-Union people of Minnesota reacted when Robert E. Lee was praised in their presence. How will Trumpicans react to the world supporting Biden except for Russia?

4. Who will the American military support? It knows the incumbent is a moron who never stands up to Russia. Only one person can have the nuclear codes. Who will they be given to on January 20?

5. By that point the American people will have whipped into a frenzy. If Biden wins a plurality or majority of the vote, are his supporters going to accept a Biden defeat regardless of the various legal rulings? Will Trumpicans accept the Antichrist as President and life in hell on earth as their future?

Will it be time to recognize that the United States can no longer function as a single country, that we can’t live together?

Perhaps instead of discussing what to do if there are two claimants for the presidency, we should be discussing how each person can be president in separate countries over the people who voted them. Maybe we should be discussing dividing peacefully rather trying to be unified by force? Let’s ask the American people what they think.

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