The U.S. is starting to look more stable
The danger isn't gone, but the odds of a civil war or coup attempt are growing longer.
I started this blog during Trump’s attempt to overturn the result of the 2020 election. So I guess it’s natural that unrest and instability in the U.S. have been one of its major themes so far. My general view is that although underlying popular unrest probably peaked in 2020, we’re still in great danger of instability and conflict at the institutional level — a civil war, a more serious coup attempt, or a prolonged governmental paralysis. In my 4th of July post last year, I warned of the continued risk:
In the last six months, however, a number of events have made me more optimistic about the U.S. political and institutional situation. These are:
The midterm elections and their aftermath
The reform of the Electoral Count Act
General exhaustion with Donald Trump and his movement
I don’t want to cause general complacency; the risk of a civil war or coup is still higher than it ought to be, and it’s better to be vigilant than relaxed. But I think Americans need to realize that our society contains deep forces working towards stability. Unawareness of those stabilizing forces can potentially lead to rash action; if you think our society is spinning apart in a widening gyre, the natural course of action is to prepare for a fight instead of looking for opportunities for detente and institutional rebuilding.
And it’s important to have an accurate assessment of the real risks to American institutions, because the U.S. remains the world’s indispensable nation. With China increasingly aggressive and roiled by internal problems, Europe not yet a cohesive and unified independent actor, and India’s energies absorbed by its own growth and nation-building, global stability depends crucially on U.S. internal stability. So we should all be quietly paying attention to the good news.
A closely divided Congress is exactly what we need
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