Is America on the Verge of Another Civil War?

The 20 Million Die-Hard Trump Supporters Who Could Start a Second Civil War

J.C. Peters
9 min readSep 22, 2020


Yard sign that says “Bye Don 2020.”
Photo by mana5280 on Unsplash

War is the continuation of politics by other means, Carl von Clausewitz said. The same holds true for civil war.

A recent Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service poll found that voters believe the US is almost three-quarters of the way to the “edge of civil war.” More than a third of US voters even think it is likely the United States will experience civil war sometime in the next five years.

Now, I never thought I’d seriously entertain the question I’m about to ask, but given that we are fast approaching what both the left and right have dubbed “the most important election in US history,” the outcome of which will likely not be accepted by the losing part of the country:

How likely is it that the United States will plunge into civil war in the next five months?

Of course, revolution—of which civil war is essentially a by-product—is a measure of last resort, the collective act of a group of people so desperate for change they are willing to do whatever it takes to bring it about. There are very few revolutions and civil wars in prosperous nations with thriving democracies.

But is the United States still a prosperous nation?

For some it undoubtedly is. But since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, millions of jobs have disappeared (and might not come back for the foreseeable future). Millions of people have become dependent on government support, many for the first time in their lives. And more than 200,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus so far.

Desperation may not have hit Great Depression levels yet, but with scientists estimating most people won’t get a coronavirus vaccine until well into next year and fresh stimulus talks likely bogged down until after the elections, for many people it will get worse before it gets better.

In fact, for a growing number Americans of every race, creed, and color the future looks increasingly bleak no matter when they get a vaccine or the economy takes off again, because their piece of the pie is getting smaller and smaller. The top 1% now owns about as much



J.C. Peters

Author of History That Changed the World (Odyssea Publishing, 2017). Published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, on CNBC, The Hill, Quartz, and other media.