Civil war? Top CBS News reporter fears America is close
Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C.. - Samuel Corum/Getty Images North America/TNS

CBS chief White House correspondent Major Garrett fears America is close to civil war.

Garrett, who also served as senior White House correspondent for Fox News, teams up with elections expert David Becker, The Daily Beast reports, to pen a new book based on the GOP's election lies, the plot to steal the 2020 election, and the insurrection.

“This is not something I’ve seen in the history of this country, except for before the Civil War,” Bob Harvie, the chair of the Bucks County, Pennsylvania Board of Elections, says in Garrett's and Becker's new book. “And it does scare me. I’m really worried we’re approaching a precipice that’s going to be impossible to come back from.”

The book "opens with alternate Januarys in both 2023 and 2017, offering ideas of what the U.S. could or could have looked like had either Democrats employed the same tactics Republicans had after Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 or if Texas chooses to effectively secede if House Democrats waver on seating its delegation in the 2022 midterms," The Daily Beast notes. "The portrayals are dramatic, if a tad alarmist, answers to the question: What could serve as the genesis of a modern-day civil war?"

“We wanted to show people that what we're talking about is just incremental steps from where we already are,” Garrett said. “I don’t think anyone reading that first chapter can honestly say, ‘Oh, that could never happen.’ They have to say, ‘Holy crap, we’re 85 percent there.’”

The book is The Big Truth: Upholding Democracy in the Age of “The Big Lie.

Garrett and Becker are not the only ones warning of civil war.

An opinion piece over the weekend at The Hill asks, "Can Civil War happen again?" It discusses what its authors say are four stages that led to the American civil war. They call the current situation "unquestionably alarming."

"The potential for large-scale violence exists today as it did in 1861. Americans possess nearly 400 million firearms, concentrated in the South, Midwest and West. A large fraction of Trump voters agree that 'true patriots may have to resort to violence to save the USA.' Nearly 100 anti-establishment militias have been identified, the most virulent of which, Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, are standing by for a fight."

The piece's authors, Hans Binnendijk of the Atlantic Council and David C. Gompert, who is on the faculty of the U.S. Naval Academy, say, "Republican leaders must squarely condemn all threats of political violence and distance themselves from colleagues who encourage or condone it — even at the cost of votes and elections."

While they note that "2022 is not 1861, when half the nation chose to leave, and the other half resisted with force," they say if there is violence the rift in America will still not be fixed.

"Stage three and violence may need only a triggering event, akin to the 1860 election of Lincoln that precipitated secession," they warned. "Perhaps, as Sen Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) warns, widespread rioting would follow an indictment of Trump. Or claims of another stolen election, in 2024 or even 2022, could ignite hostilities, possibly involving coordinated militia attacks on government property and personnel, or on minorities. While these would surely be put down, a forceful reaction by police, National Guard or, in the extreme, federal troops would scar the nation and leave it no less divided."