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Armed members of the far-right Proud Boys groups stand guard during a memorial for Patriot Prayer member Aaron Jay Danielson on September 5, 2020 in Vancouver, Washington. © Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images

The new American Civil War

Two tribes, Trump and the State of an imperilled Union

By Sam Tanenhaus   November 2020

With the arrival of autumn (or fall, as we say), much of the western United States was engulfed in flames. Two dozen wildfires, covering more than three million acres in California, had been raging for two weeks and had swept up the coast to Oregon (with possible help from arsonists) and Washington: entire towns ablaze with flames fed by dry forest timber and parched fields, tens of thousands of people fleeing their destroyed homes under apocalyptic orange skies, smoke and ash billowing east across the continent.

All the while that other great hovering orange nimbus, President Donald J Trump, kept his distance from California,…

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