Half of Americans expect to see a second American Civil War within a few years, and nearly a fifth say they may one day engage in a political showdown themselves, according to an alarming new study about the country’s growing divisions.
Researchers from the University of California, Davis, found disturbing levels of “alienation,” “distrust” and a growing propensity to use violence in their recently conducted survey of 8,620 adults across the country.
More than two-thirds of respondents said they saw a “serious threat to our democracy” and 50.1 percent agreed that “a civil war will break out in the US in the next few years.”
More than 40 percent said having a “strong leader” is more important than democracy and that “native whites are being replaced by immigrants” — a racist belief known as the “great replacement theory.”
Researchers also discovered a growing tendency to settle political disputes with violence.
Nearly a fifth of respondents said they were likely to be “armed with a gun” at a political flashpoint in the next few years, while 4 percent said they were likely to “shoot someone with a gun.”
Garen Wintemute, a university public health expert who warns about rising gun ownership and led the investigation, said his findings were “pretty grim” and “exceeded our worst expectations.”
Two men argue next to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ mural in front of New York’s Trump Tower last July. Researchers say Americans are increasingly seeing violence as a response to political differences
Still, there was “ground for hope,” as most respondents “rejected political violence altogether,” Wintemute added.
The study was a wake-up call for people to “recognize the threat” and respond, he added.
The 42-page document described an “ongoing alienation from and mistrust of American democratic society and its institutions.”
Significant minorities of the population support violence, including deadly violence, to achieve political goals.
It comes in the wake of mass shootings, including the May murder of 10 black people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, allegedly by a white gunman who wrote a screed endorsing the “great replacement theory.”
Other key moments in America’s violent culture wars include the January 6 Capitol riot, Kyle Rittenhouse shooting two people during an August 2020 anti-racism protest in Wisconsin, and the frequent clashes between police and Black Lives Matter activists.
A similar survey by Tulchin Research and the Southern Poverty Law Center last month found that 44 percent of Americans said the US was heading for another civil war.
A YouGov poll last week pointed to growing calls for a split of the US
A third of former President Donald Trump’s fans who live in Republican states said they would be “better off” if their state split and became an independent country. Another 29 percent of Trump fans said such a secession would make them “worse off.”
More than 600,000 soldiers lost their lives during the American Civil War of 1861-1865, as Southern states fought to break from the union and preserve their slave-driven plantation economies.
Armed homeowners Mark and Patricia McCloskey made famous for their home in June 2020 confronting anti-racism protesters in St. Louis — a notable example of America’s increasingly fierce politics
Protesters protest police killings of unarmed black men outside the police department in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, in April 2021 — one of a series of anti-racism demonstrations in a polarized country
Payton Gendron is accused of killing 10 people and injuring another three in a shooting at a Buffalo supermarket in May. He reportedly wrote a racist caption about white people being ‘replaced’