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Fifty years is far to long a time frame for me to be able to rationally even play at guessing what could happen.  But over the next twenty years the only way I could see a break up is a combination of a complete lockout of the Republican party from national power and a dominant, more left wing Democratic party.  If 14 years from now the Repubs have just lost their fifth presidential election in a row, we have full single payer health care, numerous measures to sharply decrease inequality, a strong secular ethos, and a Dem party base that remains built on non-Christian whites and minorities, then I just could see it. And I'm certain there would be plenty of talk about it. Otherwise, no way. Mass civil unrest sucks for the economic elites in the short run, and by sucks I mean large scale total bankruptcies and individual members getting killed.  Personal self interest isn't everything, which is why it is possible, and the right wing of the elites has a more deeply felt ideological cast than the centrist part. It would also be the kind of situation where substantial parts of the military would be unwilling to move against separatists, and small numbers would be actively willing to join them.  I'm also pretty sure that Texas would not be part of the Red States of America - if non whites are politically split, the scenario doesn't exist, if they aren't, a two thirds non-white state isn't joining them.
by MarekNYC on Sun Nov 21st, 2010 at 09:22:12 PM EST
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... but if in the next twenty years, this old Republic is not placed back on a viable path, and especially if over the next twenty years the vested beneficiaries of the obsolete order succeed in frustrating efforts to place this old Republic on a viable path, holding things together with the forms of the old order but without the resources to make things work does not work indefinitely.

Prediction fifty years ahead based on the sequence of events is impossible. But the contingent prediction, if the US insists on attempting the impossible, then it will fail, that seems possible to me.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Nov 21st, 2010 at 10:46:13 PM EST
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