There's a meme that's been going around since Donald Trump's election that says, "Wow, I haven't seen Democrats this upset since we freed their slaves!" At the risk of being melodramatic, I'd like to make the case that this is eerily perceptive.
I've written in the past that the Civil War was really about an entitlement mentality towards slavery. The South wasn't interested in abusing Africans for the sake of abusing them. It was about economics and preserving a lucrative economic system based on the slavery entitlement. The South did not want to lose its entitlement, and the Republicans, embodied by the newly elected Abraham Lincoln, were a direct and imminent threat.
Explaining secession in 1860 in terms of entitlement helps explain what is happening today with the Democrats and Donald Trump.
Democrats have gotten used to a number of entitlements, and by entitlements, I'm referring to any benefit that becomes so entrenched it is taken for granted. Here's a partial list:
- Unfettered access to borrowing and printing dollars for redistributive entitlements
- Either complete control, or at least filibuster control, of the federal government
- Bureaucratic control of the federal government
- Union control of the federal government
- Unanimous union support
- Unanimous support of the poor
- Unanimous support of minorities
- Unanimous support of immigrants
- Control of immigration policy
- Citizenship not required for voting
- Control, or at least nominal control, of the Supreme Court
- So-called "sanctuary" policies which allow Democrat cities to subvert federal law
- Support of the vast majority in media, academia, and entertainment.
Donald Trump is a threat to each of these Democrat entitlements. His unconventional, brash, improvisational, and ultimately successful ascension to the Presidency has gotten their attention. So they are reacting.
The Democrat response has been variously called a temper tantrum, a melt-down, a fit, a resistance, a civil disobedience movement, a protest, etc. But what it really is, is secession.
Unlike the South, which was a geographically distinct entity, the Democrats are spread throughout the country. This is not a physical secession like the one in 1860, but more of a philosophical one.
Democrats have seceded from the Constitution of the United States.
Of course they would disagree and say they are actually defending the Constitution. That's exactly what the South said in 1860.
Here are some of the things prominent Democrats have done since Donald Trump's election, which mirror 1860 - '61:
- Civil disobedience and protests immediately after the election
- Claims of an illegitimate election
- Boycotts of the inauguration
- Civil disobedience and protests immediately after the inauguration
- Calls for removal, impeachment, and even violence
- Sabotaging the formation of a new government
- States and cities threatening to secede
- States and cities threatening to ignore federal law
- Violence against supporters
So, what's the next step? Are we headed for Fort Sumter?
Today, Democrats seceded from the entire process of advice and consent in the Senate committees, something never done on this scale in the U.S. before.
Interestingly, the battle of Fort Sumter happened about six weeks after Abraham Lincoln was sworn-in on March 4th, 1861. We are still less than two weeks into Donald Trump's presidency.