Following the January 6 attack on the Capitol, academics and journalists have increasingly taken seriously the possibility of future political violence in America. And polls suggest Americans are concerned. In a recent UMass poll, 62 percent of respondents said they were at least somewhat concerned about the violence in the 2024 presidential election.
In her new book “How Civil Wars Start And How To Stop Them”, political scientist Barbara F. Walter goes one step further. After spending her career studying civil wars overseas, she writes, “We’re closer to civil war now than any of us would like to believe.” It’s a bold suggestion, and on this episode of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast we interview it . Sure, America is polarized, but is it headed for war?
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