The American Civil War was precipitated by the withdrawal – known as “secession” – of 11 slave states from the Union. More than 600,000 soldiers died in the war.

So when Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene advocated recently for red and blue states to form separate countries, history’s long and deadly shadow hung over her pronouncement, provoking shocked responses from many.

But Greene isn’t alone in her sentiments, writes scholar Michael J. Lee of the College of Charleston. “Fifty-two percent of Trump voters, Donald Trump himself and prominent Texas Republicans have endorsed various forms of secession in recent years.” And, continues Lee, “roughly 40% of Biden voters have fantasized about a national divorce as well.”

Lee doesn’t see secession as something that might happen in the future. He takes a broader view of secession and sees it happening, in small and large versions, across the nation already.

“Wealthy white communities have separated from more diverse school districts,” he writes. “Eleven states dub themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries,” while “since 2012, 21 states have legalized marijuana, which is federally illegal.” And the rich who pay virtually no taxes? Lee says that’s a form of secession as well.

When it comes to secession, the question isn’t “what if?” writes Lee. It’s “what now?”

Also today:

Naomi Schalit

Democracy Editor

Acts of secession are happening across the U.S. Vector Illustration/Getty Images

Secession is here: States, cities and the wealthy are already withdrawing from America

Michael J. Lee, College of Charleston

Secession talk evokes fears of a second Civil War. But one scholar says secession is already happening in the US under a variety of guises.

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