Civil War grew out of similar dysfunction in Washington
I recently reread Bruce Catton's three-volume Centennial History of the Civil War. His chronicle of the period is still one of the best histories of that war.
The story sounds all-too-familiar these days. In 1860, there was a conservative political party (Democrat) that was split by wealthy extremists who favored small government and state's rights — until the source of their wealth (slaves) walked away from them. Then they demanded the federal government override state laws and restore their property. This faction resisted the possibility of change, bolted its party, nominated its own candidate for president and refused to accept the result of the national election. The remainder of that party nominated a candidate who was willing to compromise, which earned him hatred from extremists in his own party.
There was a liberal party (Republican) that nominated a compromise presidential candidate named Abraham Lincoln, who prevailed in the presidential election. There was miscalculation on all sides about the willingness and ability of the various factions to preserve or destroy the country.
The story is pertinent because there are local politicians who recently tried "nullify" prospective federal law. That was precisely what South Carolina set out to do first in 1832, when President Andrew Jackson squashed the notion, and again in 1860 when that state initiated the Civil War by seceding.
Michael W. O'Dea