Finally. Finally. Finally. After years of talk about the civil war in the United States, it has now officially arrived. The events about to unfold in the trials of Trump and the 2024 election will determine what kind of America will exist when we celebrate the 250th birthday of the country on July 4, 2026.
Right now there is no way to know which side will prevail in the war. The details of what it means to “win” in this remain also will be a point of contention. Given how often pundits use the term “unprecedented” for the actions of or related to Donald Trump, one may reasonably anticipate the same term will apply to the outcome of the war. But make no mistake about it, we are engaged in a conflict to determine if the United States can long endure of if we have reached our expiration date.
WHERE’S THE MILITARY?
Where is the military in this war? When I first started writing about political action thrillers on January 3, 2021, I had the military in mind. Generally, such thrillers involved the military in some way. Coups or attempted coups automatically bring to mind the military. Think of the current events in Niger or Sudan as examples.
The attempted coup here did consider bringing in the military. One way was the long-known proposal to seize the voting machines in areas (meaning Democratic cities in battleground ground states). That initiative never went anywhere in practice. But the very fact that it could be reasonably considered by the Commander in Chief demonstrates how seriously this unconstitutional action was taken.
The second way is more recently exposed. This would be the application of the Insurrection Act whereby the President of the United States would be authorized to deploy military forces against Americans, specifically Americans who would rioted against the seizure of power by the Loser Incumbent. Again it never happened. And again, people very very close to the Commander in Chief were casually recommending it as a course of action to be taken.
One notices that both recommendations were coming from civilians. Contrary to the traditional political action thriller, the real military was nowhere to be seen in such deliberations. The loyalty of the military was to the Constitution and not to a coup plotter. Presumably the same would be true in 2024 should a similar circumstance would arise which is unlikely given the current President.
WHERE’S THE WAR ROOM?
One of the fixtures of the attempted insurrection was the infamous war room. How many times have you seen the clip of Bannon admonishing us to strap in because the next day is going to be like nothing anyone expected. We need to keep in mind that the original plan was for the President of the United States to crash the Capitol meeting with his possibly armed followers. It was only because the Secret Service declined to draw him there that the intrusion did not occur. Remember the President grabbing the steering wheel and agent in the attempt to make this drive.
The war room planning for this event included among others Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Mark Meadows by phone, and possibly some Congressmen. So far, no of them appear to have been included in the indictment.
My recommendation, which counts for nothing has been that the indictments be divided into parts:
Interference with the state legislators
The fake electors
The indictment so far covers the first two but not the third. We know that the unnamed co-defendants will be indicted at some future date. It is still possible that the sedition indictment is an ace up the sleeve waiting for the dust to settle on the existing indictments before being revealed.
THE LAWYER COUP
The attempted coup was perpetuated by lawyers of all people. It was not to occur due to tanks rolling the streets but to supposedly legal actions through the courts and legislatures. At this point we know that all the legal machinations failed. Instead the lawyers who participated in such court proceedings look like legal fools.
Some lawyers decided to take it to next level. In these instances they sought to influence the legislatures in battleground states with direct appearances that crossed the line on what is legal. They sought to weaponize the Department of Justice in clearly illegal ways to intimidate the battleground state legislatures to do what needed to be done to reverse the vote in their states. These efforts failed and these people are now co-defendants. That means they will be charged in the future once the main case against the Boss is underway.
The lawyer coup as opposed to a military coup does show it a strange way that we are a nation of law. Think back to the Brooks Brother brigade in the 2000 presidential election. Now we have lawyers who are the prime actors in the coup whereas once upon a time priests may have been the ones involved in the battle for power at the capitol.
The presence of lawyers at the center of the attempted coup (plus one political consultant) attests the place of lawyers in American culture. Think of the Devil and Daniel Webster where an individual is more than a match against Satan versus the more traditional match between priest and Satan in the The Exorcist. Clarence Darrow in history and fiction in Inherit the Wind looms large in American culture as does Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mocking Bird. Of course these are all lawyers for the defense like Perry Mason and Ben Matlock, not lawyers who sought to perpetrate a crime. Even the Dream Team lawyers who helped O.J. get away with murder did not actually participate in the murder itself.
In this case the lawyers were the prime movers in the assault on America. They had to be restrained by Team Normal in some very contentious meetings. Still the presence of these lawyers at the pinnacle of extra-judicial power telling the moron child what he wanted to hear shows how perilously close we came to there being a successful coup.
When the indictments were first announced, I saw and heard Chris Hayes, MSNBC, passionately speak out on behalf of Lincoln. He recited parts of the Gettysburg Address, one of the most sacred texts in American history. He reminded us today that Lincoln knew of the fragility of the American experiment, of how the current generation in his time was being tested to determine if it could long endure just as we are now being tested. In so doing, Hayes raised the stakes (or rather recognized that they had been raised) to the level of an existential threat to the continued existence of the United States.
While Hayes was right in what he said, what he omitted also is important. Hayes was acting if all Americans recognized and accepted the validity of the message Lincoln delivered at Gettysburg. Even in his own time, Lincoln did not represent the views of all Americans. Even in his own time, Lincoln did not represent the view of all northerners. To this very day Lincoln is not a hero in the Confederacy. The Lincoln Memorial is a union memorial where Union people hold great events. Mount Rushmore Lincoln is in the north, Stonewall Jackson is in the Confederacy.
What Hayes omitted was something else Lincoln said about a house divided not being able to stand. We are that house divided. True the multiple trials may cumulatively undermine the passion to put one’s life on the line for Trump, but it does not change the fact that we are a divided country.
WHO LOST GEORGIA?
All the fuss over the votes the Loser implored the Georgia state officials to find obscures the truth of the voting in the state. Republican candidates did win sufficient votes in the down-ballot elections. What happen was over 30,000 people voted for Republican candidates except for the one at the top. These people may be prepared to do the same again in 2024 provided the down-ballot candidates are not also stolen election denying MAGAs. The same polls that show the size of the MAGA base in the Republican Party also show the number of Never Trumpers and pursuables in the Party.
Here are some questions to ask Republicans who are open to moving on.
If Trump is such a fighter, how come he never takes the stand to defend himself?
If the Department of Justice has been weaponized, how come all the people testifying against him are Republicans?
Who would testify on his behalf? Jim Jordan? Scott Perry? Roger Stone? Steve Bannon?
If the civil war is to end peacefully in 2024, it is essential that these Republicans make their voice heard. Back in 1861, people had plenty of time to prepare for what they would if Lincoln became president. Similarly, in 2025, the same would be true if Biden won again.
When the Confederate states seceded upon Lincoln’s inauguration, not every adult in the state had the right to vote. Any state, even Alabama, which rejects a Biden victory if he should win, will discovered a strong Union minority that does accept the result and wants to remain part of the United States. All the bluster “not my President” and secede may come to naught not simply because of the number of Democrats who do not want to secede, but because of the Republicans in the Confederacy for whom secession is a line too far to cross.