Any attempt to indict either Hillary R. Clinton or President Donald J. Trump on criminal charges might trigger a 21st Century Civil War.
The similarities between the era right before the outbreak of the 19th Century Civil War and the present day political climate in America are too significant to ignore. Some of the same trends that were apparent back in 1861 can be detected in today’s politics.
Some of the disturbing similarities between 1861 America and 2018 America include:
• The belief that Donald J. Trump is an illegitimate or illegal president. One of the ostensible causes of the Civil War in 1861 was the belief by Southerners that Abraham Lincoln was not a legal or legitimate president. As the theory goes, Confederates broke away from the Union because they did not recognize Lincoln’s presidency. Maybe not the real issue, but certainly one that is drug out for public consumption.
• Around 57% of Americans between 18 and 30 branded Trump’s presidency as illegitimate in a March 2017 GoFoward poll conducted by the University of Chicago and the Associated Press.
• Percentages were higher among some groups. 74% of African Americans under 30, and 71% of Hispanics under 30 called Trump “illegitimate.”
• Increasing political violence. During the 1850s, Americans increasingly turned to violence to settle political disputes. It started with mob violence; such as the burning of newspaper offices and lynching of blacks in the North, escalated to guerrilla warfare in Bleeding Kansas, and culminated with John Brown’s assault on a federal arsenal in an attempt to start a race war in 1859. (Brown was funded by wealthy Unitarians.)
• Since President Trump’s election, there have been several incidents of disturbing political violence. The most frightening outrages; include the burning of a limousine by a mob at President Trump’s inauguration, the attempted murder of several Republican members of Congress by a leftwing gunman, and the violence at a Neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
• Increasing demonization of the other side. During the Civil War, Confederates portrayed President Lincoln as a tyrant and Union troops as invading barbarians. Union propagandists branded the Confederates as traitors and slavers.
• Commentaries branding President Trump as a fascist and comparing him to historical tyrants such as the Roman Emperor Commodus are often appearing in supposedly mainstream news outlets. Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright even wrote a book in which she called Trump a fascist.
• Commentaries and websites about “Crooked Hillary” are just as common. Cambridge Analytica; a British company that worked on the 2016 Trump campaign, even bragged about “weaponizing” the phrase “Crooked Hillary.”