Politics Podcast: How Likely Is Another Civil War?



In the wake of the January 6th attack on the Capitol, academics and journalists have increasingly taken the possibility of future political violence in America seriously. And polls suggest it’s something Americans are worried about. Sixty-two percent of respondents in a recent UMass poll said they are at least somewhat concerned about violence in the 2024 presidential election.

In her new book “How Civil Wars Start And How To Stop Them,” political scientist Barbara F. Walter goes a step further. After spending her career studying civil wars abroad, she writes, “we are now closer to civil war than any of us would like to believe.” It’s a bold suggestion and in this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast we interrogate it. Sure America is polarized, but is it headed towards war?

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The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast is recorded Mondays and Thursdays. Help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a rating and review on iTunes. Have a comment, question or suggestion for “good polling vs. bad polling”? Get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments.


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