From a writing POV, I love Huey almost as much as I love Reed. Huey as the tragic villain brought down by his own ego, to Reed's tragic hero brought down by his impatience and surfeit of compassion. They both genuinely want to fix the country, but Huey's selfish arrogance makes him an authoritarian thug who breaks America enough for MacArthur to justify his coup, and Reed's desperation makes him impetuous and willing to break democratic norms that alienate moderates and even part of his own party, breaking America enough for MacArthur to justify his coup.True, Neo-Confederate definitely wasn't the right word looking back, there's even an event on how Huey stops supporters from carrying the confederate flag IIRC. Should have said something more general like Dixiecrat. I feel like comparing Long to someone like Putin is unfair though- Long is actually making real and massive improvements to Louisiana and America should he win, as opposed to most post-Soviet strongmen who just create an oligarchy and let the country rot.
Olson being a different kind of tragic hero--a guy who was literally minutes from saving America, only to be foiled by the cowardice of his own subordinates.
Honestly, I love the 2ACW arc. All the leaders in the leadup work so damn well in showing how despite their genuine desire to fix things (except MacArthur) they contribute unintentionally to the fall of their nation.
The aftermath also is pretty damn good. The multiple paths for the major successor states are great, I love how each one has something unique to it (AUS's power struggle, CSA's new constitutional convention, USA junta's creeping stratocracy, PSA's fully-functional multiparty democracy).