What would it mean for there to be another civil war in the United States? Under what conditions could it happen? These are the questions we’re asking this week’s guest, political commentator, author, and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang. Yang’s recent book, The Last Election, captures a nation beset by systemic corruption, on the brink of collapse. Yang himself has been thinking about how intense political polarization — an increasingly hostile struggle between right and left — may lead to intense political violence, and his fictional work taps into what he imagines could become reality.
In our conversation, he nods to the role of mainstream news and social media in sharpening divides between Republicans and Democrats, creating the conditions, as he sees it, for more widespread political violence that meets the criteria for civil war. Our conversation with Yang becomes an opportunity to hash out what is most contributing to this conflict, whether The Last Election could play out in our own political reality, and what we can do about it.