MAGAt Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson Credit: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

What if the South had won the Civil War? It’s the subject of many a historical parlor game, and almost got the HBO treatment in a series, eventually canceled, called “Confederate.” But it’s never discussed as anything that should have happened. Even neo-Confederates can’t bring themselves to say slavery needed to be preserved, preferring to argue that it would have died a natural death. But once slavery was vanquished by war, it was over. 

The secession of the Southern states that happened on its behalf was not something anyone dared propose to do again. Of course, there was institutionalized racism and Jim Crow that picked up in the South where slavery left off, but the union that hundreds of thousands had fought over and died for held. After 1865, the idea of America tolerating a breakaway nation defined by an anti-democratic way of life became untenable, and impossible. 

Or so we thought. When election denier Mike Johnson of Louisiana became speaker of […]

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