Although this cold civil war has been a long time coming, it has only recently come to a head in our national political arguments. That is why many of us on the “Right” considered the outcome of the last election so very important. We were more than willing to make the prudential choice to vote for a national political novice, Donald Trump, along with his common-sense patriotism and lack of deference to the bureaucratic status quo, over the avatar of living constitutionalism and unlimited government, Hillary Clinton.
On the “Left,” Hillary’s inevitable victory over Trump was expected to usher in the consolidation of the social progress the Obama administration started and the electoral dominance supposedly mandated by America’s changing demographics. If history is progressive, a candidate like Trump is not supposed to win—at least not in 2016. This rude awakening is what accounts for much of the existential tone amongst the Resistance.
The central clash in our cold civil war and its resolution, however, are much bigger than the 2016 election or any individual president or candidate. This is a battle for the American mind and soul, and it is being waged in our schools, on our screens, in our books, and online. Any lasting resolution will come only with a political realignment in which the winning coalition dominates national politics for a generation or more. This is not hyperbole or histrionics. American political history is full of such realignments.