Civil war talk is in the air. It is in books. It is in articles. It is on talk shows. Whole cable show series may be dedicated to the prospect of the new American Civil War. In fact, the question seems to have moved from being a debating point to being a fait accompli.
On one hand, such talk is good. After years of writing about America’s third civil war, it is gratifying to see that people in the know now are taking seriously the possibility that the 2024 election could be our last one as a free country with the current 50 states…. our ranking as a free society already has deteriorated significantly among the nations by people who track such things.
On the other hand, it also is quite fearful to realize that the end of days for our country as we now know it may be occur before a student who entered college in the 2021/2022 school year may graduate.
So to put the scare talk aside for a moment, in the real world what actually may happen on January 6, 2025, when Congress meets to certify the election results.
NO GETTYSBURG/WASHINGTON DC SHOWDOWN
The chances of a military showdown comparable to the battle at Gettysburg or any other National Park Service site in the Confederacy are slim. True both sides are more than capable of deploying forces in the tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands at the national capital. Realistically, will that happen?
As we are seeing in the Russian massing of forces to invade the Ukraine, there are logistical challenges to assembling large-scale forces. First, it takes time to do it. Second, it is a highly visible process. Third, someone needs to be in charge of the effort. So while on paper one can envision large-scale forces targeting the Capital, there are numerous problems along the way.
Both sides will be traveling on the same roads.
Both sides will be flying to the same airports.
Both sides will be making reservations at the same hotels and motels.
None of this will be done in secret. There will be news coverage of the prospective participants marching off to battle.
The military is well-aware of the possibility of another January 6 and will be prepared for it.
The commander in-chief will not be welcoming the tourists exercising their second amendment rights to legitimate political discourse at the Capital to kiss and hug cops.
The possible participants know the legal problems currently faced by the participants from the 2021 assault.
Some of the Trump militias may have been weakened by the arrests from the last attack.
In short, the overall odds for a repeat of January 6, 2021, on January 6, 2025, seems low.
Another possibility sometimes talked about is that states that object to the final outcome of the presidential vote will voice that displeasure as South Carolina did in the last Civil War. There has been talk of succession or in the new term, “divorce.”
The state most frequently associated with this path is Texas. The possibility of “Texit” has been around for several years now (The Texas Secession: Legally Dividing America, December 14, 2020). Let’s say, for example, Texas or any other Confederate state or any of the other six states with the illegal Electors decided it did not accept the results of this second stolen election and therefore declared its independence. What would that mean in practice?
No state is pure. Every Confederate state contains Unionists. In the 2024 election, a Confederate state might vote 60% or more against Biden but that is about the limit. When the states seceded in the last Civil War, each state could be reasonable sure that it had the support of the white males who had voted. The electoral demographics are quite different know. Even the white people in the South include descendants of people who fought on the Union side. If a Governor seeks to arbitrarily assert independence or does so through the state legislature, the result would be successions within the state. In other words, a state that secedes will immediately face the reality of internal secession.
My recommendation has been that he Confederate states need to divide into their Union and Confederate components anyway. That still remains the only political solution even though it has zero traction nationally. However, if any state attempts to secede, it would lead to the division of the state into its distinct parts. At that point, the people bellowing for withdrawal will have to eat their words when they see how little of the state would actually join them.
So far, the most practical action Trumpicans can and are taking is following the playbook of seditionist Steve Bannon. His calls for a grassroots effort to control the country already is occurring. He has identified local elections as the point of vulnerability. Few people run for these offices such as school boards and election officials. An organized voting bloc can propel their candidates to victory. Indeed, that is precisely the purpose of the off-election year non-November elections in the first place. Don’t let local elections get caught up in the hullabaloo generated by state and federal elections. Keep them under the radar so the established leaders and their friends can dominate them.
Bannon proposes a tried and true method for winning local elections. Of course, the opposition is quite capable of catching on to what is happening. Still, the national effort to coordinate a local takeover is something only Communists have been accused of in the past. Whether or not it can swing a national election remains to be seen. The more likely result is incessant confrontations at school board meetings.
Bannon’s local strategy mirrors what the Hitman has called for.
If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protests we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt.
One logical outgrowth of the Bannon strategy as reflected in this call for nationwide protest, is that January 6, 2025, will be a day of nationwide protests similar to what happened after the murder of George Floyd. While such demonstrations and counter-demonstrations at the local level will tax and exhaust local law enforcement and National Guard, it seems unlikely that they would cause a reversal in the certification vote in Congress.
COULD NANCY PELOSI BECOME THE FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT?; A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS
That was the title of my blog on April 3, 2020. The question asked in the blog was:
Is it possible that as of January 20, 2021, that the Electoral College will not have elected anyone to the two highest offices in the land?
I did not factor the January 6 certification into my calculations. It was not something I had really given any thought to back then.
The issue raised was suppose there were so many legal challenges that they could not all be resolved in time for the scheduled inauguration (or certification). If there was no duly certified winner, then the incumbent does not get to stay in office until everything is resolved. Even Rudy Giuliani had to step down as mayor after 9/11 because his term was up. So too at the presidential level. On January 20, the term expires and if there is no duly certified President then the Speaker of the House becomes President. Hello, Nancy Pelosi, the first female President.
Of course she would pick Joe Biden to her Vice President. Once confirmed by the Senate, Pelosi would shortly afterwards retire and Joe Biden would become the President.
This rumination presumes Democratic control of the two Houses. It is also quite possible that both Houses will be awash in legal challenges of their own. Next time, an attack on the Presidential vote means an attack on the whole ballot and not just the top one. The legal turmoil would extend not only to the House of Representatives and the Senate but to the state level. Both Governors and state legislature results would be on hold until the validity of vote is certified. Who knows what state governments would even be in place or who would be in Congress as of January 1, 2025? In short, there could be a complete meltdown. I am not saying this will happen. I am saying it is a possibility. The legal civil war could be far more extensive than a physical civil war.
And then there is the 14th Amendment. On February 1, 2022, Bruce Ackerman and Gerard Magliocca published “Biden vs. Trump: The Makings of a Shattering Constitutional Crisis.” They also proposed a sequence of events whereby the (unnamed) Speaker of the House could be President. Specifically, they focused on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment called the Disqualification Clause. It expressly bars any person from holding “any office, civil or military, under the United States” if he “engaged in insurrection” against the Constitution after previously swearing to uphold it “as an officer of the United States.” Could it be applied in 2024?
Right now we are witnessing its application in North Carolina at the Congressional level with Rep. Madison Cawthorn. The authors suggest the same technique could be used in 2024 against the chief insurrectionist. One may add that the more the House Select Committee and the Department of Justice use that term “insurrectionist” the more individual states are likely to do the same to disqualify the Hitman. One possible outcome is that his name will not appear on the ballot in all fifty states.
The article proceeds to describe various scenarios with massive demonstrations if the disqualification is applied. Realistically, there are too many variables to factor to know what will happen. For example, the authors assume that there will be a Congress in place. That well may be true for representatives from unchallenged states and holdovers in the Senate but who knows what will have been resolved by January 1 in the challenged states. The authors propose some remedies in anticipation of this imbroglio just as a bipartisan group is working on revisions to the Electoral College law.
But in all these configurations, one obvious one is being overlooked – suppose Biden legitimately loses the election, what if Trumpicans do not need to rig the election to win? What will Democrats do then? How will you know if the results are legitimate or not? Should Biden vacate the White House then? What will the impact of the House Select Committee and the criminal investigations be? When I first started writing about political action thrillers on January 3, 2020, I had no idea that Hollywood could not match the real world and at this point no one really knows what will happen.