The best articles and podcasts of the last three years analyzing our current political circumstances and what they mean for the future.
Angelo M. Codevilla, Claremont Review of Books - Spring, 2017
As the Ancients remind us, the statesman’s primary concern must be the good of his own nation. In revolutionary times especially, thoughts, words, and deeds about international affairs must be subordinated to internal needs. That is the primary meaning of “America First.” But because “America First” has an equally compelling meaning internationally, it also implies taking seriously what the United States might do for itself vis-à-vis foreign nations—beyond simply using them as weapons in domestic battles, as so many politicians and commentators do today in what passes for discussion of Russia policy.
. . .
Robert Evans, It Could Happen Here - March 28, 2018
Are you worried about the possibility of The Second American Civil War? In Episode 1 of, 'It Could Happen Here,' Robert explains why 2016 was the first time he started to seriously worry about it.
. . .
Victor Davis Hanson, National Review - July, 2018
How, when, and why has the United States now arrived at the brink of a veritable civil war?
Almost every cultural and social institution — universities, the public schools, the NFL, the Oscars, the Tonys, the Grammys, late-night television, public restaurants, coffee shops, movies, TV, stand-up comedy — has been not just politicized but also weaponized.
Donald Trump’s election was not so much a catalyst for the divide as a manifestation and amplification of the existing schism.
We are now nearing a point comparable to 1860, and perhaps past 1968. Left–Right factionalism is increasingly fueled by geography — always history’s force multiplier of civil strife. Red and blue states ensure that locale magnifies differences that were mostly manageable during the administrations of Ford, Carter, Reagan, the Bushes, and Clinton.
What has caused the United States to split apart so rapidly?
. . .
William S. Smith, The American Conservative - September 11, 2018
An uneasiness has overtaken the body politic. There is a sense that a terrible clash is about to occur. The establishment’s contempt for Donald Trump, and their machinations to remove him, are validated by the president’s intemperate counterattacks and the glee that his supporters take in his barbs. These two groups do not simply disagree; they consider each other to be illegitimate and unconstitutional outlaws.
It is true that Trump’s behavior is not befitting his office and that a certain decorum and dignity in the White House is not only desirable but essential. Democracy is no different from any other form of government in that the political order is shaped by the character and example of its leaders.
. . .
Charles Kessler, Imprimis - October, 2018
Six years ago I wrote a book about Barack Obama in which I predicted that modern American liberalism, under pressures both fiscal and philosophical, would either go out of business or be forced to radicalize. If it chose the latter, I predicted, it could radicalize along two lines: towards socialism or towards an increasingly post-modern form of leadership. Today it is doing both. As we saw in Bernie Sanders’ campaign, the youngest generation of liberals is embracing socialism openly—something that would have been unheard of during the Cold War. At the same time, identity politics is on the ascendant, with its quasi-Nietzschean faith in race, sex, and power as the keys to being and meaning. In the #MeToo movement, for example—as we saw recently in Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation battle—the credo is, “Believe the woman.” In other words, truth will emerge not from an adversarial process weighing evidence and testimony before the bar of reason, but from yielding to the will of the more politically correct. “Her truth” is stronger than any objective or disinterested truth.
. . .
Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times - October 2, 2018
I began my journalism career covering a civil war in Lebanon. I never thought I’d end my career covering a civil war in America.
We may not be there yet, but if we don’t turn around now, we will surely get where we’re going — which was best described by Senator Jeff Flake on Monday: “Tribalism is ruining us. It is tearing our country apart. It is no way for sane adults to act.”
. . .
Ryan Williams, American Greatness - October 6, 2018
As even NeverTrump Republicans are coming around—grudgingly, and with caveats, of course—to recognizing the stakes in our ongoing domestic political fights, it is perhaps impolite to note: Some of us drew these conclusions quite a long time ago.
The last two weeks of psychodrama in the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation fight should count as strong—if not ironclad—evidence of the soundness of my colleague Michael Anton’s prediction in September 2016 about the trajectory and style of Democratic Party rule in the coming years.
. . .
Tim Mak, National Public Radio - October 31, 2018
The deadly synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, the killing of two African-Americans in Kentucky and the wave of improvised explosive devices aimed at critics of President Trump all happened just within the past week.
And they all coincide with deep national pessimism about the outlook for peaceful politics in the United States.
Last year, after a shooter opened fire on Republican lawmakers at a baseball practice outside Washington, D.C., a CBS News poll found that 73 percent of Americans felt the tone of the political debate encourages violence.
. . .
Zack Beauchamp, Vox - November 7, 2018
The 2018 midterm elections were a significant victory for the Democratic Party. Retaking the House blocks the Republicans from passing new laws and gives Democrats the ability to conduct real investigations into President Donald Trump’s multifarious scandals.
But while the immediate post-election battle may be in the House of Representatives, the midterms also revealed that the war for the soul of America is only just getting started.
. . .
Michael Knowles, Michael Knowles Show - November 13, 2019
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of “Make America Great Again.” It was the age of “America was never really great.” It was the election season of hope. It was the election season of despair. The Atlantic Monthly, and many others, thinks America is headed for a civil war, and it dedicates its entire December issue to how it might be avoided. We will examine our biggest divide. Then, a Canadian broadcaster loses his job for calling on his countrymen to honor their veterans. Honoring veterans is now apparently racist. Democratic senator Mazie Hirono admits that global warming is a religion, and Americans warm up to the idea of men beating women—at sports.
. . .
Andrew Miller, The Trumpet - January, 2020
rominent observers are discussing the possibility of civil war in America. In November, the Democratic Party began an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. At least 228 Democrats in the House of Representatives support this inquiry, and it only takes 218 to impeach the president. Some polls, if they can be trusted, indicate popular support for impeachment (though others do not); one betting website puts the odds of the president being impeached at 78 percent.
. . .
Christopher Caldwell, Imprimis - February, 2020
American society today is divided by party and by ideology in a way it has perhaps not been since the Civil War. I have just published a book that, among other things, suggests why this is. It is called The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties. It runs from the assassination of John F. Kennedy to the election of Donald J. Trump. You can get a good idea of the drift of the narrative from its chapter titles: 1963, Race, Sex, War, Debt, Diversity, Winners, and Losers.
I can end part of the suspense right now—Democrats are the winners. Their party won the 1960s—they gained money, power, and prestige. The GOP is the party of the people who lost those things.
. . .
Corey Wolf, The American Sun - March 25, 2020
The year was 1900. A group of about 50 young African-American students are assembled outside the Whittier Primary School in Hampton, Virginia. One student stands in front of the group, at the military position of attention. Between his hands is a flag standard, three times his height, bearing the colors of the United States of America. The group of students each have their right hand raised in a flag salute. Why did these grandchildren of slaves pledge an act of allegiance to the American flag? And what could make the descendants of these children protest the same flag during the national anthem today? The answer has to do with stories.
. . .
Clifford Humphrey, Law & Liberty - October 29, 2020
The rise of this religious dichotomy explains why it seems as if the only explanation for holding an opposing opinion is a deplorable–or we might say an impious–character. This phenomenon suggests we are approaching the time at which we will no longer be willing or able to talk with one another to political effect. When persuasion through conversation ends, coercion through force begins.
If our ability to talk to one another finally fails, we will be left either with the prospect of separating by breaking up the union or appealing to heaven in what would certainly be a most horrible war over dominion for our common space. I do not see any other options. Choosing between these two would be dreadful.
. . .