According to CNN, only .065% of March Madness brackets have remained intact following Princeton’s second surprise upset this past Saturday (go Tigers!!). But those who wisely filled out their Trump indictment brackets may still have cause to celebrate, as Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg appears to be the first prosecutor to advance to the first round of bringing charges against Trump. While this is certainly a victory for the rule of law, there is still a rough road ahead, not just legally, but politically: Last Saturday, Trump issued a call for his supporters to rise up in the event of an indictment, declaring on Truth Social, “THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE AND FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK. PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”
With January 6 still visible in the rearview mirror, we know what kind of “protest” he has in mind. In fact, since January 6, Trump’s supporters have been emboldened to use violence as a legitimate means to prevent our legal system from holding him accountable. In August of last year, following the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago for classified documents, a man armed with an AR-15 tried to breach the FBI building in Cincinnati, and another drove his car into a U.S. Capitol barricade and fired shots into the air. The names and addresses of FBI agents were posted online, as was the address of the judge who authorized the search warrant, all of whom received death threats. Supporters repeatedly called for “civil war” online.
It’s not a threat to take lightly. Do a Google search of “political instability civil war U.S.” and you will find a slew of articles ranging from The National Press Foundation to the University of California’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation looking at historical factors and indices that political scientists use to gauge whether a country is in danger of erupting in a civil war. Some experts say we are headed in that direction. According to a recent study, about 20% of Americans believe that politically-motivated violence is justified, and half expect there to be a civil war in this country. And a 21st century civil war in the U.S. won’t look like the one in the 19th century, which had two clear-cut, organized armies. UC San Diego Professor Barbara Walter describes what a modern-day civil war would look like: