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Inside the Beltway: Mulling a ‘second civil war’

Political discord has become so prevalent that some Americans believe a second civil war could be in the nation’s future. Yes, there are numbers.

“We find that most Americans believe divisions have gotten worse since the start of 2021 and most expect them to grow in the coming years. Two in five Americans believe a civil war is at least somewhat likely in the next decade; Republicans are more likely than Democrats to expect civil war,” wrote Taylor Orth, a senior data journalist with the pollster YouGov, which regularly gauges public opinion on political and cultural matters.

“Two-thirds of Americans (66%) believe that political divisions in this country have gotten worse since the beginning of 2021, compared to only 8% who say the country has grown less divided. Few see things improving in the coming years: 62% expect an increase in political divisions,” Ms. Orth wrote.

“A similar share (63%) to the proportion who say political divisions have worsened (66%) say political violence has increased since the start of 2021. Three in five Americans (60%) anticipate an increase in political violence in the next few years and only 9% expect political violence to decline,” she said.

There has been some rumbling in the press about a “second civil war” off and on throughout former President Donald Trump’s time in office, and to this day. Some examples from the last 48 hours:

“What all this fluff about a new civil war, anyway” asked a New York Times op-ed on Sunday.

“Is the United States headed for civil war?” asked another editorial inquiry in The Washington Post.

“Are we headed for a civil war?” asked syndicated columnist Star Parker.

“For a nation to function, there must be some common denominator of shared values and principles. This common denominator of shared values and principles is dangerously eroding today, and animosities are sharpening and deepening,” Ms. Parker wrote.

“Am I predicting another civil war? God forbid,” she said.

Voters ready and willing

So the midterm elections are now 71 days off, as of Monday. There is a surprising amount of interest among voters this time around. A CBS News poll released Sunday finds that 64% of registered voters agree that the midterms elections “matter as much as a presidential election.”

And most interesting — a quarter of them — 25% on the nose — say the midterm election matters more than a presidential bout. Another 74% say they have been paying “a great deal” or a “fair amount “of attention to the election.

“Would you consider skipping this November’s election — that is, not voting — if none of the parties or candidates really appeals to you during the campaign, or will you pick someone and vote no matter what?” CBS asked the respondents.

Here’s what they said: 80% said they will vote no matter what, and the rest — an even 20% — said they would consider not voting. See more numbers and the poll particulars in the Poll du Jour at column’s end.

In case you wondered

Here’s some handy weather news from the Old Farmer’s Almanac, which has been making such predictions and offering sage advice and amusements for 231 years.

“The Almanac predicts that this winter will split the country in two. Depending on where you live, this will be the best of winters or memorable for all the wrong reasons, One half of the country will deal with bone-chilling cold and loads of snow, while the other half may feel like winter never really arrives,” the almanac advises.

“For farmers, truckers, vacationers, wedding planners, skiers and snow bunnies, economists, and anyone who plans ahead — it’s important to reference extended weather forecasts. We tell readers what they really want to know — will this winter be especially cold or snowy — so that they are prepared for what’s coming,” the venerable publication said.

And certainly that’s not bad advice for politicians either. Find the almanac at — of course —

Debt follies continue

Let’s revisit President Biden’s grandiose promise to cancel student debt just for a moment. In an analysis, Pennsylvania University’s Wharton School recently predicted that “total plan costs could exceed $1 trillion” for the proposal.

The outrage over the idea is still out there.

“President Biden did not cancel student debt. He transferred it on to the backs of millions of hardworking Americans who chose not to go to college for expensive degrees or paid back what they borrowed, the old fashion way. This is just another tax on hard-working Americans who pay their taxes, pay their mortgages or rent, and pay their debts,” writes Saul Anuzis,  former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, and president of the 60 Plus Assoc. a nonpartisan advocacy group.

Who gets hurt?

“Every non-college graduate. Every tradesman. Every blue-collar worker who didn’t go to college. Every college graduate who actually paid off their loans. Every soldier and veteran who is paying off your neighbor’s loan for getting a degree in Gender Studies from some ‘top 10’ university’,” Mr. Anuzis said in an essay shared with Inside the Beltway.

“The only thing we need to cancel is the politics of the progressive left that is shoving our country into a recession with more debt, more deficit spending, more entitlement programs, and more freebies that ain’t free. The Democrat’s mantra is very simple, when you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can usually count on Paul’s support.” Mr. Anuzis declared.

Poll du jour

75% of registered U.S. voters say they “definitely will vote” in the 2022 elections for U.S. Congress in November; 80% of Republicans, 71% of independents and 75% of Democrats agree.

12% of voters overall say they “probably will vote” in the elections; 10% of Republicans, 14% of independents and 13% of Democrats agree.

7% overall “may or may not vote”; 6% of Republicans, 7% of independents and 8% of Democrats agree.

3% overall “probably won’t vote”; 2% of Republicans, 5% of independents and 2% of Democrats agree.

2% overall “definitely won’t vote”; 2% of Republicans, 3% of independents and 1% of Democrats agree.

The CBS News “Battleground Tracker” poll of 2,126 registered U.S. voters conducted Aug. 26-27.

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