How would Trump’s hardcore supporters react to the removal of their president for a high crime or misdemeanor that fell somewhat short of a triple ax murder? Not with equanimity, you can be assured. Does that matter? Maybe not. But the “civil war” cited in the New Yorker article was not of armies marching across fields, but of civil unrest — a lot of angry people causing a lot of mayhem.
The precedent may not be America from 1861 to 1865, but pre-war Europe. The recent skirmishes here between ultra-nationalists on the far right and the so-called antifa on the far left are reminiscent of the brawls between fascists and communists that weakened German democracy in the 1920s and 1930s. The extremes sucked the air out of the center. In Yeats’s enduring words, things fell apart. The center could not hold.