People who study the origins of civil wars see 'indicators' the US is on the brink of conflict, Yale historian says

The idea of another civil war in the near future seems far-fetched to many Americans, but people who study such conflicts might disagree.

In an interview with Insider, an expert on the rise of authoritarianism discussed the future of American democracy and said he fears the US might not survive if Donald Trump runs again.

Insider asked how he felt about people mentioning the Civil War when discussing the current state of affairs.

"For the people who study the origins of civil wars, not just in the US, but as a class of events, America doesn't look good right now," he said.

He pointed to the actions of Kyle Rittenhouse, the teen who killed two people at a racial justice protest in Wisconsin in 2020, as an example of the high degree of polarization, beliefs in alternative realities, and celebration of violence. Rittenhouse said he acted in self-defense.

"Social scientists who work on this topic neutrally see indicators in the United States which suggest that we are on the verge of some kind of conflict."

It is possible that the US could install a president who loses the election by a clear margin. A candidate that loses the popular vote and the electoral college could become president.

"A few states just have to not vote in the electoral college, the House of Representatives then votes according to state delegations, the Supreme Court then blesses the whole configuration, and then all of a sudden you have an installed president of the United States," he said.

It's possible that the US ends up with a civil war. The dissolution of the US is more likely in that scenario, according to Snyder.

It's a kind of conflict that ends with governors looking for a safe haven. It's a kind of conflict that ends with Americans moving from one part of the country to another to be with people they feel safer with.

The kind of conflict that ends with some kind of basic political reconstruction is where the US doesn't have to exist.

Insider has a full interview with Snyder.