2012: Following one of the most divisive elections in American history, with primary fights on both sides of the political spectrum, Barack Obama achieves a narrow victory for a second term.
2013: With Democratic control of the Senate and a Republican controlled house impeding any meaningful legislation, many state and local governments begin passing ever more radical laws of their own, with Republican governors passing more xenophobic versions of DOMA and the zombie Arizona immigration law, along with anti-union bills across the country, Democratic governors begin to support far more liberal pieces of legislation, such as the West Coast's legalization of recreational marijuana and Marriage Equality acts that give LBGT couples the exact same rights as straight couples. These bills result in a mass migration of people who leave their states seeking, "better lives," in those passing laws they agree with more.
2014: The US Economy continues to grow slowly, however with food prices growing ever skyward and many companies forgoing hiring new employees for modernization, the middle class continues to suffer. Rioting occurs in a number of major cities, and protesters in DC become more and more violent as popular political figures on both sides begin to spew more violent rhetoric.
On March 4th of the same year the Militia groups in Kentucky and Ohio fire on each other during routine training exorcises. The shootout quickly escalates into what comes to be known as the battle of the Ohio Valley. Fueled by the media, many other local militias begin to engage in the fight, with some in states as far away as Wisconsin engaging each other. During a meeting with house and senate leaders, it is leaked that the President is considering sending in the US Army to remedy the crisis, as it is reported that some members of the national guard have joined the militias. During the next day of talks, a bomb in what was believed to be a briefcase of one of the House Members, explodes, killing most of the Democratic and Republican leadership, along with the President and most of the military leadership. To this day it is unknown who placed the bomb that killed the nation's leaders, though what remains certain is the fact that this moment was what sent the nation careening into civil war.
2016: Two years into the fighting and with no official unifying leadership on either side, the Second American Civil war rages on, with both sides divided into "warlords". Presently the two most powerful leaders of either side are Jacob Alder in the South-West, who's monomaniacal nature and cult of personality has brought traditionally red counties under his dominion; and Haley Barbour in Dixie, who has formed one of the few functioning governments capable of administering a large territory. The goal of these warlords has been clear from the beginning, establish enough credibility to gain the support of the US Navy, the majority of which remains neutral in the conflict, for fear of siding with an illegitimate leader.
Presently Alder seems set to gain that legitimacy, having deployed one of his, "minions," Aaron Falkner to the Pacifica region, in the hopes of pacifying the Reds west of the Rockies and gaining the support of semi neutral California, for one final push to take Utah, the bloodiest and most radicalized group in Red America. This goal may be complicated, as there are rumors that Falkner is seeking to usurp Alder as the pre-eminent power on the West Coast.