Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh told his audience Wednesday he believes the United States is lurching ever closer toward “secession” as many of his fellow conservatives find themselves at growing odds with those on the political left regarding the direction of the country.
Most importantly, his comments follow a divisive presidential election and come as the country tries to grapple with how to properly move forward together and reconcile with each other amidst the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
Experts, it should be noted, are in agreement that, while the U.S. is way more polarized now that it was in the 2000s and 1990s, the country has been becoming more polarized ideologically over the course of at least the past half-century.
“I actually think that we’re trending toward secession,” the decades-long conservative pundit said on “The Rush Limbaugh Show.”
“I see more and more people asking, ‘What in the world do we have in common with the people who live in, say, New York?’” Limbaugh added.
Furthermore, the influential conservative put forward that Americans on the polar-opposite ends of the political spectrum cannot peacefully run the country together.
“There cannot be a peaceful coexistence of two completely different theories of life, theories of government, theories of how we manage our affairs,” he said. “We can’t be in this dire a conflict without something giving somewhere along the way.
“And I know that there’s a sizable and growing sentiment for people who believe that that is where we’re headed, whether we want to or not—whether we want to go there or not,” the 69-year-old host continued. “I myself haven’t made up my mind. I still haven’t given up the idea that we are the majority and that all we have to do is find a way to unite and win.”
Secession, according to legal precedent, is illegal in the United States. The ruling from the 1869 U.S. Supreme Court case Texas v. White is commonly held as establishing that precedent, in which the highest court in the land ruled that the U.S. is “an indestructible union”. Despite this legal hurdle, Limbaugh’s comments aren’t the first time a U.S. political movement has threatened or brought up secession after a presidential election loss.
After then-candidate Donald Trump‘s controversial 2016 win, which saw him win the Electoral College but lose the popular vote, there was a momentary groundswell of support in California for the reliably Democratic state to secede from the rest of the country. That, however, never gained mainstream support from most Californians or public officials.
Going back to President Barack Obama’s first term in office, then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), while never advocating for secession, on a few occasions did infamously bring up the topic and hint that the Lone Star State did it once and could do it again amidst the growing conservative grassroots anger at Obama at the time. Texas secession comes up every once in a while, but no attempt has brought the state remotely close to secession since being readmitted into the Union following the Civil War.
Circling back to 2020, it’s also worth mentioning a startling Hofstra University poll that made headlines in September, which found that 39% of likely voters at the time would support their state requesting to secede from the union if their candidate lost. Looking deeper, the poll found that party affiliation had little influence on that support, with 41% of Democrats and 44% of Republicans supporting it in September.
Back in February, President Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, during his annual State of the Union address to Limbaugh, who had recently announced that he was diagnosed with lung cancer.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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