A CIVIL WAR WITH NO GUNFIRE

Stephen Marche has just published a book called The Next Civil War: Dispatches from the American Future. He's also published a Guardian opinion piece titled "The Next US Civil War Is Already Here – We Just Refuse to See It." In the piece he makes some good points, particularly about the faith many liberals have that we can avoid the loss of democracy in America just by letting the system do its work. But I disagree with one of Marche's main assertions about American conservatives:
Most of the American right have abandoned faith in government as such. Their politics is, increasingly, the politics of the gun.
Is that what's really happening in America? I don't think so.

Like Marche, I'm disturbed by the coziness of the Republican Party, the police, and right-wing militias. I think we should be very concerned about this alliance.

But that isn't the main way Republicans plan to establish one-party rule in America. They'll continue to do it the way they've been doing it for years: through laws. Look at what they've done with voting and election administration in the states they control. Look at what Republicans in Washington have done to the federal courts, particularly the Supreme Court.

Unlike Donald Trump, most Republicans want their seizure of power to have a patina of legitimacy. So they purge voter rolls and pass voter ID laws and gerrymander electoral maps -- and then hold elections in which they can't lose, and it all looks legitimate. They haven't seized control of the legislatures in Michigan and Pennsylvania and Texas and Wisconsin and North Carolina and Florida through thuggery -- they've done it through legislation and favorable court rulings. They don't reject the use of force to get what they want, but they recognize that they don't really need force.

The notion that we're on the brink of an actual shooting war is a good premise for a book -- and hey, it might be true. But I think it's far more likely that we're on the verge of a bloodless coup, just like the ones that have turned many of our states into illiberal pseudo-democracies.