American Civil War II is Unlikely but Not Impossible

A repeat of 1860 can't happen. But something even worse could.

The essayist Sarah Vowell takes to the editorial pages of the NYT to ask “What’s With All the Fluff About a New Civil War, Anyway?” Despite the weirdness of the headline, which I presume she didn’t write, she makes a point well worth re-emphasizing, albeit buried in some lame jokes.

Recent polling on the growing support for secession echoes that 1850s-style tripartite political divide. Last year the University of Virginia Center for Politics issued an unnerving report in which 41 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans “somewhat agree” that red and blue states should secede from the Union and form separate countries. Eighteen percent of Democrats and 25 percent of Republican respondents “strongly agree.” Thus secession is one of those subjects where each party’s extremists are de facto allies, like forsaking the First Amendment or provoking every educator and librarian in America to resign.

My nephew used to play a video game in which he gave digital haircuts to bears. That is less absurd than founding two new separate “blue” and “red” countries. The party leanings of states can be fluid. Colorado, for instance — it’s almost as if a secret cabal of tech millionaires shoveled a mountain of cash into turning a Republican state into a Democratic one. The federal government owns almost 50 percent of the land out West, so how to divvy it up without antagonizing thrifty New Englanders? What would happen to swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania? Do they form a third Republic of Wishy-Washy?

Somewhere around 40 percent of us do not live in the state where we were born. The ability to move from one state to another is not only an essential freedom that Liz Cheney should definitely look into, it is also an economic imperative. How much of Florida’s economy is New Yorkers and Midwesterners waiting around to die?

The jejune humor obscures a crucial point: the states are simply not what they were in 1860. While there were certainly Union loyalists living in Confederate states, with West Virginia actually breaking away to stay in the Union and East Tennessee not quite managing to do the same, states were much more homogeneous entities in those times.

Full-blown wars tend to get bogged down in geography pretty quickly. The arc of George Washington’s command of the Continental Army can be told largely from the banks of rivers. A topographic map of Afghanistan now looks like a prophecy.

Yes, the 2020 Electoral College map gives the impression that there are still dependable, contiguous regions of this continent with natural or psychological boundaries akin to the Mason-Dixon Line of yore. But the county election results maps tell a messier story of who we are and where we live. More Californians than Texans voted for Donald Trump. And even Richmond isn’t Richmond anymore — now that the city removed all the Confederate monuments from Monument Avenue, it’s just a bunch of Joe Biden voters driving past a statue of the tennis star Arthur Ashe.

Here in Montana, a state as deep red as a Flathead cherry, I’m a Democrat living in a blue county bigger than Delaware.

Indeed, with rare exceptions, even in the reddest states, the cities are blue and the suburbs purple. And, of course, even in cities and counties that are reliably Democratic or Republican, there are plenty of folks who vote the other way.

The Texas Republican Party, ever aspirational, put secession from the United States into its most recent platform. And yet secession is technically illegal — thanks to Texans. In 1869, in Texas v. White, the Supreme Court ruled secession unconstitutional and declared the Union “perpetual.”

Hence the intoxicating appeal of these continuing fantasies of partition and civil war: We are stuck with each other. We are stuck. With each other. Perpetually.

Indeed, the Second Continental Congress preceded the Supreme Court by nearly a hundred years. Our first constitution, approved by that body on November 15, 1777, was titled “The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union.” It should be noted that this did not prevent the secession in 1860 of thirteen states and a civil war.

Regardless, rhetoric aside, a repeat is simply not going to happen. There is no relatively neat line of demarcation between “Red America” and “Blue America” that would allow the formation of two contiguous countries and two armies.

That doesn’t, however, mean that there’s no danger of violence if our war of words continues to escalate. Americans have lost faith in our institutions. Democrats, for good reason, don’t see the Electoral College as legitimate, having seen their candidate defeated twice in the span of 16 years despite garnering more votes. They also don’t see the Supreme Court as legitimate, largely because its majority is a direct result of minority rule (but, frankly, also because they simply dislike recent rulings). Republicans, meanwhile, seem not to see the votes of those who aren’t Republican as legitimate and therefore any means of suppressing or discounting them is justified.

If violence breaks out, though, it’ll be more like mass rioting than contending armies. And there will be no General Lee able to surrender.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Tony W says:

    Nearly all of our current woes can be remedied by reducing the power of the Senate. It is the least democratic institution in our nation, and the most powerful – giving a rural minority the ability to pass laws (or fail to do so), and to confirm appointees from lower-level military and civilian leaders up to members of the SCOTUS.

    Of course, a constitutional amendment doing this would never pass, because it would have to get through the Senate itself, and there is no way that the rural states would allow their relative power to be reduced.

    In the end, the constitution itself is the biggest barrier to remedying the problems that the constitution has left us with.

    10
  2. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Probably ought to update this post with Lindsey Graham…as establishment Republican as it gets… calling for violence if Trump isn’t held above the law.

    https://twitter.com/Acyn/status/1564029020995469312

    10
  3. Scott F. says:

    Americans have lost faith in our institutions. Democrats, for good reason, don’t see the Electoral College as legitimate, having seen their candidate defeated twice in the span of 16 years despite garnering more votes. They also don’t see the Supreme Court as legitimate, largely because its majority is a direct result of minority rule (but, frankly, also because they simply dislike recent rulings). Republicans, meanwhile, seem not to see the votes of those who aren’t Republican as legitimate and therefore any means of suppressing or discounting them is justified.

    I’d just note there is no “for good reason” clause in the sentence regarding the Republican stance that non-Republican votes (actually non-Republican and non-RINO) are illegitimate. The threat seen from the right is invented from whole cloth. So, this American hasn’t lost faith in our institutions. I’m standing up for our institutions in the face of attacks on those institutions stemming from the bewildering support for a corrupt would-be king and a rising appetite for authoritarianism in the minority party.

    I’d also say, there should be a “for good reason” clause in the sentence about Democrats “simply disliking” recent SCOTUS rulings. Can’t I reasonably dislike a ruling because it shatters 50 years of precedent to remove a right to bodily autonomy for half the population? I don’t hate Dobbs because “my team” lost.

    22
  4. Joe says:

    Perhaps as a corollary to this, I find it interesting that no matter how red a state like Texas or Florida skews in, for instance, its anti-abortion laws, there is never an actual measurable tick up in affected people or employers leaving the state. I hear it talked about a lot, but so far as I am aware Texas is stilling netting large companies that could plan to move anywhere.

    One might think that partitioning the states into Redistan and Bluezonia would cause mass migrations of those misplaced – like the partition of Pakistan and India – but I suspect it would result in a yawn from those citizens.

  5. Modulo Myself says:

    Support for Biden’s student debt relief for people under 30 is at 75%. For 31-44 it’s at 64%. Straight up you can’t find a civil war with those numbers. It’s not just not happening. You need young people without cholesterol problems to organize and fight, and the Democrats are overwhelmingly the party of young people. This will trickle down to any type of effective violence.

    8
  6. Modulo Myself says:

    @Joe:

    The GOP skews so old that the majority of people who could move for jobs are most likely surrounded by people like them. We’re talking about college-educated people, by and large, who work with other college-educated people. They went to the college in the 90s or oughts and were exposed to all of this diversity stuff then and are not freaking out like the aging boomers are. What makes you move isn’t state policy but the kind of people you are around and what they do, and if you are college educated and under, say, 50, nothing that Republicans freak out about is all that remarkable. I do think Dobbs may have been the GOP crossing the Rubicon. It’s hard to know how bad the blowback is going to be against these people.

    6
  7. CSK says:

    The point about changing demographics is a good one. I’ve often asked: “If there’s a civil war, who are you going to shoot? Your neighbor?”

    2
  8. Stormy Dragon says:

    If there is a second civil war, it will be more like Afghanistan. An armed insurgency based in rural areas attacking infrastructure and civilians in more urban areas (which we’re already seeing the beginnings of).

    10
  9. Modulo Myself says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Except Afghanistan was a country devastated by a decade-long war financed and fought by much-more powerful outside forces. America is not. A few breakaway special ops guys training overweight cop dumbasses to attack a hard target in DC is just a joke. The state still functions in this country, and it is paid for and does what it is supposed to do regarding being able to take out people like that.

    3
  10. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    I’m thinking things more like Uvalde, but like imagine if stuff like that was happening every day? It would wearing on everyone’s psyches after a while and also stress the ability of our social institutions to function.

    4
  11. Kathy says:

    The US civil war in the 1860s was very much unlike 99% of all civil wars in recorded history.

    Most civil wars involve two or more parties vying for control of a nation or state. Not for a contiguous chunk of territory to break away from the rest. There have been other wars like that, but they are far less common.

    We could see a repeat if some states decide to secede, but I don’t think anyone would take such things seriously these days.

    I’d look for bands of crazed white supremacists to stage terrorist acts, like McVeigh did, against the federal government in order to incite civil war. Likely the result will be something else, but the damage and loss of life will be very real.

    9
  12. Sleeping Dog says:

    There has been a string of politically focused, armed attacks over the last 10 years and none of them have in continued violence. A lone wolf, stages an attack that is successful or not, publishes some crazed manifesto calling for the like minded to join the fight and none do.

    There will likely be more random attacks and perhaps a McVey-like bombing, but there will be no sustained operation by small groups. If one were to pop up, the perps would be swatted within hours.

    1
  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    I suspect the ‘civil war’ would end up being something on the order of Ruby Ridge. Cos-playing yahoos in compounds being crushed by the marshals and the FBI.

    Don’t forget that the motivation behind the actual Civil War was financial. Slaves were capital and the southern slave-driving aristocracy was terrified of being reduced to the level of poverty they imposed on the poor dumb bastards they sent off to die for them. A new civil war would not be profitable for anyone, no matter how you cut it it’d mean less profit for a number of huge companies. No profit = no war.

    Then there’s the point made by @Modulo Myself:. How you gonna fight a war war with the Fox News demographic of people who confuse their political rage with their rage at not being able to get a hard-on? In 1860 the median age was 19. Today it’s 38, literally twice as old. People in their late 30’s don’t start wars, they have children to pick up from school.

    We’ll get some domestic terrorism. The FBI will shut it down. The MAGAs will get what they really want and expect: an opportunity to wallow in lost cause self-pity. It’s the secret to understanding those people: they feed on rage but yearn for the comfort that comes with the inevitable descent into helplessness and mawkish self-pity. They know they’ll lose.

    11
  14. Not the IT Dept. says:

    I tell you one thing: it’s going to be hell to work behind the counter in a fast food or convenience store as we lead up to it. Mouthing off to minimum wage workers is just about the most dangerous thing these jerks can think of.

    The biggest threat is the Trump strategy of putting people in place to overturn election results this fall and in 2024. Not sexy enough to lead the news but more dangerous for all that.

    I think there will be considerable pressure put on police as they’re forced to investigate more idiotic but criminal if it works tactics like planning to kidnap politicians or their family members. The social media will be thrumming with this kind of nonsense that just might be real and has to be checked. And the end results is that even if only 1% of it goes anywhere, it will create an impression on the public that things are really falling apart.

    5
  15. Mister Bluster says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:..Probably ought to update this post with Lindsey Graham…as establishment Republican as it gets… calling for violence if Trump isn’t held above the law.

    Graham is just channeling the sentiments of the ghost of Republican Icon Ronald Reagan.

    (in 1970 then California Governor) Reagan responded to questions about campus protest movements saying, “If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with. No more appeasement.”
    Source

    4
  16. More Californians than Texans voted for Donald Trump.

    This fact so thoroughly underscores the absurdity of so many of our systems (especially the EC) as well as the conceptual limitations of Red States and Blue States.

    9
  17. And if there is ever anything approaching a new civil war in the US it will be guerrilla/militia/terrorist activity, not secession and armies on the battlefield.

    14
  18. @Joe:

    there is never an actual measurable tick up in affected people or employers leaving the state

    Because it is far easier said than done.

    7
  19. Modulo Myself says:

    The biggest threat is the Trump strategy of putting people in place to overturn election results this fall and in 2024. Not sexy enough to lead the news but more dangerous for all that.

    Absolutely. The worse thing that can happen in this country isn’t a civil war. It’s turning GOP/Maga/Trump/whatever into the War on Drugs. Christians and Republicans gaming the government to get money and some sort of legal immunity to create special agencies to promote their idiot values while the Supreme Court gives the a-okay. The War on Drugs is such a hypocritical lie and waste of resources and yet after ten or twenty years it was part of how America has always been, like it or not. You just get around it the best you can, if you have the privilege. Likewise, Republicans ‘winning’ in 2024 will bring in the full authorization crazy. It will be a hate crime not to listen respectfully to a Christian tell you about how groomers are grooming trans people or something.

    8
  20. Andy says:

    If we do have a civil war, it will be more along the lines of the Spanish Civil War rather than the “War Between the States.”

    But that still looks very remote to me. The current level of political violence we have is historically low. Also, the heated rhetoric online is performative because it isn’t backed up by action. It’s easy to whine and make grandiose statements about “nazis” or whatever on the internet, it’s much harder to actually do anything else like organize politically, much less engage in political violence.

    The real danger in such dumb rhetoric is that it will motivate the stupid into action, but it will also have long-term effects if people actually start believing their own BS.

    2
  21. Blue Galangal says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Exactly. Those willing to take up arms are in such an echo chamber (vide the guy who just got shot down the road from me for trying to kill FBI agents in Cincinnati) that they think that shooting up an FBI field office with a nail gun will somehow be Concord and Lexington. Yet the collective reaction even within their echo chamber is pretty much, “Yawn.”

    1
  22. Andy says:

    @Joe:

    Perhaps as a corollary to this, I find it interesting that no matter how red a state like Texas or Florida skews in, for instance, its anti-abortion laws, there is never an actual measurable tick up in affected people or employers leaving the state. I hear it talked about a lot, but so far as I am aware Texas is stilling netting large companies that could plan to move anywhere.

    It’s because the fundamentals of business matter much more than other factors. You don’t see, for example, businesses pulling out of China because they are an authoritarian state currently conducting a program of cultural, religious, and ethnic genocide.

    2
  23. Chris says:

    Today’s problems are not like others we’ve faced. Instead, it’s like the run up to the Civil War mixed with yellow journalism on steroids, all the while vast amounts of our people are ingesting different kinds of mind altering substances. In these times, a zombie apocalypse might seem preferable.

    4
  24. James Joyner says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Even moreso because Texas is the 2nd most populous state in the union. California has roughly 10 million more residents than Texas, which has roughly 8 million more than Florida, which comes in 3rd. There are only 12 states that have even 8 million residents total—meaning that 38 of them have fewer residents than the delta between Texas and Florida.

    5
  25. gVOR08 says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    (in 1970 then California Governor) Reagan responded to questions about campus protest movements saying, “If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with. No more appeasement.”

    That’s pretty much how I feel. Let’s not be afraid of Proud Boy’s under the bed. If the cammo boys insist on a fight, let’s do it now and get it over with.

    I’m frequently reminded of an Oliphant cartoon from post McVeigh when the Michigan Militia et al were a big thing. It was captioned something like “Militia Training”. It showed a field of trees and showing from behind each a butt and a gut. His little character in the corner was saying, “Sylphlike they was.” There are some young, trained, nasty individuals, and there may be some very bad lone wolf or small cell attacks, but a post-modern civi war will be mostly performative.

    2
  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: When you said a couple of post upstream

    An armed insurgency based in rural areas attacking infrastructure and civilians in more urban areas (which we’re already seeing the beginnings of).

    Uvalde didn’t jump to mind. Citing Uvalde–basically a farm center town of ~15,000–didn’t reveal what you’re thinking off either. But I think I kind of get what you’re thinking about even though I can’t think of any examples, either. And I don’t think the model works well, but I could be wrong. I find it hard to fathom “an armed insurgency based in rural areas”–a model that kind of works for places like Afghanistan–working in a nation where ATF, not even the army, per se, burned out the Branch Davidians in Waco fairly easily.

  27. Scott F. says:

    @Andy:

    It’s easy to whine and make grandiose statements about “nazis” or whatever on the internet, it’s much harder to actually do anything else like organize politically, much less engage in political violence.

    As the recent Patriot Front arrests in Idaho show, it especially hard to organize political violence of any scale without being noticed.

    1
  28. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Joe:

    “…there is never an actual measurable tick up in affected people or employers leaving the state.”

    I lived in FL during the 80’s and early 90’s. Didn’t like it much at the time, and even then it was far different than today. I won’t even go there to visit family, now.
    Texas – I lived there for about a year and a half – didn’t even think about staying when an opportunity arose. Don’t really miss it.
    For most people it’s not easy to just pick-up and go.

    1
  29. Michael Reynolds says:

    We won’t see significant numbers of people moving from state to state. What we will see is a slow motion brain drain from Gilead. If you’re a newly-minted OB GYN and you have any kind of choice in the matter you’re not setting up in Texas or Florida. If you’re a tech company you’re going to encounter stiff resistance from prospective employees. New teachers will avoid Florida and Texas. And you’ll see cities like Austin, but also Houston, Miami, Orlando, etc.. resisting enforcement.

    It was one thing when Texas meant Austin to people job-hunting, but now Texas means Lubbock. The only part of Texas Californians et al ever wanted to move to was the part that’s most like California.

    10
  30. Joe says:

    @Andy and Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    I get why everyone doesn’t pick up and move the day after the legislation is passed, but I wonder about a corporation like ADM that recently announced it is moving its headquarters to Texas. There seems to be no concern about whether they can attract talent to live there over the next decade.

  31. CSK says:

    Today Trump demanded that the 2020 election be overturned.

    Sounds like a call for insurrection to me.

    5
  32. Kathy says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:

    The biggest threat is the Trump strategy of putting people in place to overturn election results this fall and in 2024. Not sexy enough to lead the news but more dangerous for all that.

    This is how a civil war could start. A blatantly stolen election would lead to riots, especially if it’s Benito who “wins” the state in question. More so if it happens in several states.

    A lot depends on how things develop. I’m hopeful the courts would be involved first. And more would depend on what the military does.

    2
  33. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Joe:

    Look to see what moves. When Wells Fargo was taken over by Norwest Bank, they kept the WF name and the executive suite, that is, headquarters moved to SF, while the majority of bank operations stayed in Mpls while the redundant similar WF operations were shut down.

    In the last few years, several TX based companies have opened auxiliary headquarters in places like Boston, New York and the DC area, so that prospective HQ employees don’t have to move to TX. ADM is likely leaving a very large staff in Chicago(?).

    1
  34. Michael Cain says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    An armed insurgency based in rural areas attacking infrastructure and civilians in more urban areas (which we’re already seeing the beginnings of).

    What I imagine when someone is trying to whip up their neighbors for this is along the lines of
    Ted: Bob, you coming? We’re going to attack the hospital in Big City!
    Bob: The one I take my son Timmy to for treatment?
    Ted: That’s the one.
    Bob: I’ll get back to you. I’ve got make a couple phone calls.
    (Bob calls the local FBI office.)

    4
  35. MarkedMan says:

    @Andy:

    You don’t see, for example, businesses pulling out of China because they are an authoritarian state currently conducting a program of cultural, religious, and ethnic genocide.

    @Michael Reynolds:

    If you’re a tech company you’re going to encounter stiff resistance from prospective employees.

    Both of these things can be true. Companies open up factories in the South because of low-to-no taxes, state subsidies, lax enforcement or non-existence of pollution laws, and above all, low wages and a state government willing to do just about anything to keep those wages low. Given that, they don’t really give a crap whether their third shift worker can get an abortion or not.

    On the other hand, when those workers are harder to come by we do see that companies are willing to move to attract them. The Northeastern cities have seen an increasing number of offices relocated into city centers from the suburbs, because they are finding it harder and harder to lure educated workers with options into once highly desirable office parks.

    2
  36. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “The only part of Texas Californians et al ever wanted to move to was the part that’s most like California.”

    And now it’s even more like California — they can’t afford a house there, either.

    7
  37. Chip Daniels says:

    I think a more real possibility is something like the Troubles in Northern Ireland, where there weren’t clean geographical breaks and armies, but stochastic violence, with each side having both an armed militia and political wing.
    And like in NI, the federal government may be the ostensible neutral peacekeeper, but defacto partisan.

    4
  38. Gustopher says:

    And now we have people showing up with guns to protect a drag event in Texas.

    https://twitter.com/davenewworld_2/status/1564064921654001665

    Once the right wing “normalized” showing up to protest with guns, this was inevitable. As is the day someone starts something and both sides start shooting.

    The history books will have a brief chapter on the Second Civil War entitled “Well, what did these idiots think would happen?”

    4
  39. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: That. Moving is expensive and a huge pain in the ass. People aren’t going to search for jobs, buy a new house, pack up, and move out of Texas just because of abortion or guns. But people who are moving anyway are going to take laws and culture into account. Retirees will probably still move to TX and FL. Not many of us are directly affected by abortion.

  40. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:
    Back in the day – which for my purposes is 1979 – I rented a studio apartment a five minute walk from The Drag. IIRC it was less than $200 a month and came with all the free cockroaches anyone could wish for. Fortunately my next door neighbor was the woman currently supporting me with her multiple bestsellers as I fuck around the edges of Hollywood.

    2
  41. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: Anecdotal evidence on various dubious websites (Twitter, Reddit’s recruiter subreddits) suggests recruiters are having a hard time encouraging people to move to Texas and Florida for jobs.

    Meanwhile, people are still flooding into Seattle.

    If true, and not just a few memorable anecdotes, this will add up over time. Especially since so few people in tech is in the state they were born in.

    (As a Seattlite, I think we need a new tech hub, as people like me have fucked up the housing situation pretty badly. Something in Michigan, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania would be nice, as those states are always on the razors edge electorally and could use an infusion of blue. Or Georgia.)

    2
  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    didn’t even think about staying when an opportunity arose. Don’t really miss it.

    And thus the idea that people may not simply be able to move out of a dysfunctional state (or personal environment for that matter). It takes an opportunity, probably coupled with the ability to act on it, to leave what you have regardless of it’s condition.

    And spare me the “opportunities are all around” sermon. That sermon is outside my experience, and I expect that there are fewer people for whom opportunities are all around than people for whom there are not.

    1
  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Joe: I think it’s because employers in most fields realize that most of their potential employees will not be able to choose where they work, leaving the employer free to choose where to go based on convenience for the C-sector, tax breaks, grift, etc.

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @wr: “And now it’s even more like California — they can’t afford a house there, either.”

    Perfect! Keeps out the riffraff and the crackers. The sadder part is it isn’t just Cali and Tejas anymore, it’s most urban areas. This will eventually create a problem in that eventually there’ll be no one to mow your lawn.

  45. dazedandconfused says:

    One of the best indicators for civil strife is the number of unemployed young men. That demographic must feel stressed, as old people (the vast majority of FOXies) can’t summon the energy.

    My anecdotal situation is about 80% of the people around me pay somewhere between little and no attention to the political punditry. They talk about other things.

    1
  46. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Gustopher:

    Something in Michigan, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania would be nice,

    I hear there’s a big chunk of tech-friendly land near Kenosha that’s not being used. 😀

    3
  47. Ha Nguyen says:

    I absolutely believe there’s a new civil war coming, but not over politics. It’ll be over water. The South(west) will rise again to demand water from the North(west).

    Did anyone read that article where Oregon refused to turn off the water to the farmers in the region when the Feds told them to, because the water level was too low?

    I believe the problem is only going to get worse. I just read that Arizona and Texas – one of the hottest regions in the US – had an increase in population over the last year, even as their water was running low.

    4
  48. Liberal Capitalist says:

    We are not going to fight a civil war based on keeping the orange one out of prison.

    As news continues to trickle out, and then the trial, all this will fade away. Not enough of the body politic will want to lay claim to the ever-falling trump supporter numbers.

    But yes, in the mean-time there will be rending of garments and great gnashing of teeth… because media.

    OTOH… I have no doubt that trump flags will continue to sell for the net 20 years, as a replacement for the stars and bars. it’ becomes the racist equivalent of “let’s go brandon”… they can fly it without having to overtly say that they are small-minded racists easily swayed by populist/fascist sentiment.

    1
  49. Michael Cain says:

    @Gustopher:

    Meanwhile, people are still flooding into Seattle.

    Front Range Colorado also. When we moved into this townhouse, we were on one of the edges of town. (Due to peculiar history of which way the city grew, we’re still only a 25-minute bicycle ride from the historical downtown and campus.) So much construction going on. In ten years, we’ll be a mile or more in from the edge of town. And it’s still not enough to keep up with the people moving here. Oh, and we’re the slow-growing end of the Front Range.

  50. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Earlier this month when we went out to Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park, my wife was ready to move to Ft Collins. Lovely part of the country.

  51. OzarkHillbilly says:

    My old man was antifa. So was my Uncle Walt. And my Uncle Gus. And my Aunt Bernie. And my Uncle Alex. And my Uncle Tony and Aunt Betty. Aunt Dorothy too. Uncle Frank, and Uncle Joe who never came back…

    Call it a family f’n tradition.

    3
  52. Michael Cain says:

    @Ha Nguyen:

    Close. Think in terms of, roughly, the US Western Interconnect as the foundation. Fire, water, rapidly shedding all thermal power generation, how to manage public lands and the resources associated with them… all of those states are similar. Portland and the Willamette Valley versus Oregon east of the Cascades has more in common with Maricopa County versus the rest of Arizona than either of those has with any place east of the Great Plains. And in keeping with much of the theme in the thread, Maricopa County is going to take water from the desert cotton growers long before it demands water from the Columbia River. The question is when does being a Westerner become more important than being an American?

    Ten years ago when I first came to believe it was going to happen, I said 25-50 years. So now, 15 for it to become a matter for serious discussion, 40 to happen. Part of it is current American self-perceptions declining. Say, the US decides to not be the “free world’s” arsenal. I believe that by the end of November, a number of NATO members will say no more, we have drawn down the munitions stocks to keep Ukraine equipped as far as we will go. Taiwan is making noises that can only be interpreted as asking where is all the gear we ordered? If the administration has not increased weapons systems and munitions production to meet Ukraine’s consumption, start replenishing those NATO members, and give Taiwan firm delivery dates, it’s over. No one’s going to trust us on that front any more. That’s a tens of billions of dollars per year commitment. And if we’re not the arsenal, that reduces our “American” identity.

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  53. grumpy realist says:

    @Joe: between the increased number of people now working from home and the low tax rates in the southern states, I’m not surprised by this. My own gov’t agency is “slimming down” its population at headquarters since we’re mainly now scattered all around the US. So a handful of executives “move” to Texas with the headquarters and everyone else stays where they already are.

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