More Americans Think a Civil War is Near Certain as Congress Probes Jan.6 Insurrection

Even as a US House Select Committee is investigating the Capitol riot that followed President Donald Trump's 2020 election loss, a new survey has revealed that more than 50 percent of the Americans think the country might see a civil war in the next five years.

The study by researchers at the University of California said more than 25 percent of the respondents believed that violence is at least sometimes justified to stop an election from being stolen.

US constitution
US constitution American Constitution Society

American Way of Life Disappearing

Some 15 percent of those surveyed said they agree strongly with using violence to save the American way of life, which is 'disappearing'.

More than 40 percent of the 8,620 adults surveyed across the country said that having a 'strong leader' for the country is more important than having a democracy.

Among those who believed a civil war was possible, 14 percent said they 'strongly' or 'very strongly' agree that a civil war was coming soon.

US Hill Protest
Hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol Hill after coordinating on social media platforms Wikimedia Commons

90% Say US Should Stay a Democracy

Significantly, more than 10 percent of those surveyed said violence is justified if that's the only way to reinstall former President Trump into office.

Some 20 percent of the respondents said they believed that violence would be justified to protect democracy if elected leaders will not do it.

"The motivating premises for this survey were that current conditions in the US create both perceived threats and actual threats to its future as a free and democratic society ... The findings bear out both premises," the researchers wrote. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of California-Davis Violence Prevention Research Program and the California Violence Research Center.

Interestingly, 90 percent said it is very important for the United States to remain a democracy.
And, two-thirds said there is a serious threat to democracy in the country.

States of the USA
States of the USA Wikimedia Commons

So it's obvious that those who foresee a civil war -- that's about half the population -- are not aiming to replace democracy with anything else. It's not democracy that's exactly under threat, at least as far as perceptions go. Even those who are utterly disappointed with the present-day system want to have democracy intact, but they are clearly disappointed with the outcome of the democratic processes as they stand now.

US constitution
President Joe Biden walks with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III upon arrival at the Pentagon, with Vice President Kamala Harris and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, Washington, D.C. Wikimedia Commons

That exactly is the most worrying element. The US polity is almost evenly split into two vastly divergent camps, and there is no chance that their paths will unite in a syncretic manner ever in the future.

2020 Election and Point of No Return

The 2020 election results were all the proof one ever wanted to conclude that the collapse of the current US system had reached 'terminal velocity'. The 2020 election split America in the middle, and the post-election healing the Democrats pledged has not happened at all. The stakes remain elevated and half of Americans feel disenfranchised. If the Republicans return to the White House in the next election, the other half will certainly feel deprived of power despite casting their voters.

"The U.S. is at risk of a downfall over the coming decade ... There are early warning signals and the different contributors to collapse are rising," University of Cambridge researcher Luke Kemp wrote a few years ago.

The present-day US meets all the criteria in this calculus -- unwieldy complexity, great social and economic inequality, highly-strung body politic and an exponential rise in the cost of defending itself. A rupture and fall from the height the country has scaled will have terminal velocity.