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Jeruba's avatar

How seriously are you taking the increasingly urgent warnings about post-election violence in the U.S.?

Asked by Jeruba (51917points) September 6th, 2020

These are not shrill or hysterical ravings on social media but solemn, measured rhetoric in reputable news outlets. Conservative columnist David Brooks, for instance, in the New York Times.

The more such articles I read, the more likely it seems that we must anticipate and brace ourselves for an election aftermath such as we have never seen before, up to and including real mayhem and violence in the streets.

Most scenarios project an undecided result on November 3rd. The effects on a volatile public of both delay and vacillating results—declaring and then reversing an outcome—could be disastrous. And we know that our leader will encourage extreme reactions rather than trying to calm and reassure people.

How worried about this are you, and how, if at all, do you intend to prepare for it?

You wouldn’t . . . you wouldn’t participate, would you?

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25 Answers

hmmmmmm's avatar

I’m not entirely sure about the “worry” part of the question. If the election happens and is a complete mess, of course there could be action in the streets. My only hope is that there is direct action. It’s not as though we have a party or leaders that will demand any true accountability. It’s up to us.

Anyway, the election already happened months ago. Whatever the results of the election in November, I’d be terrified if the streets are not filled with people. The best case scenario is that Biden wins and people take to the streets immediately to demand that Biden and the Dem party change. I don’t actually see any of that happening, however.

Also, Brooks’ solemn, measured bs is the kind of nonsense that helped massage public opinion on the Iraq war. His nonsense is as valuable as social media cranks.

Jeruba's avatar

> to demand that Biden and the Dem party change

Change how?

hmmmmmm's avatar

^ Too large a topic that we’ve bounced around here a bunch. Basically, whatever objections people have to Trump – they have to have them for the party that gave us Trump. They have to have them for the party that robbed the middle class and threw working class people away in hopes to target educated professionals. It’s beyond satire that Biden and Harris are on the ticket of the so-called opposition party. I can’t go into all the details here. But your “how” question does have me very nervous. If Biden wins and there is a celebration, we’re f*cked.

Jeruba's avatar

I’m sorry, I really don’t know how to interpret your one-liner. It’s too elliptical for me. Do you mean change themselves, change the Democratic party, change whatever is going to happen in Washington during the dangerous 2+ months until January 20th, change things, change what? Are you saying they should immediately stop being whatever they were elected to be and do? I’m not making sense of your remark.

Yellowdog's avatar

We are already clearly in the state of a violent revolution, I realize a lot of people are in denial and say it’s peaceful, as people lose their lives and cities bun. But yes, it will get very violent after the November election, and many of us will stop simply taking it. Fortunately, the insurrection act will probably save us.

si3tech's avatar

IMHO the violence we are experiencing now will continue “regardless” of who wins. So, the media threatens violence if Trump wins. Er, uh, what have we now?

hmmmmmm's avatar

Sorry, @Jeruba – I’d delete my comments if I could. Not sure why I jumped in here. I try to resist such things. This is a huge topic that involves the definition of violence, acceptance or rejection of violence as a means for affecting change, the concept surrounding the election and what the election is all about, etc. I am not going to predict what is going to happen, other than the chance for change occurring via electoral means died around super Tuesday. The corporate parties are engaged in theater, and will win no matter what. It’s what we do that matters. What I worry about is silence.

si3tech's avatar

How seriously? As serious as a heart attack.

Blackberry's avatar

I expect anything, which is why I go to work and go home.
I think it’s definitely true the elite succeeded in getting the poor to fight each other.

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

Jeruba's avatar

^^ I remember that quote, but I had to look it up to see who said it. It was LBJ, as quoted in this 1988 article by Bill Moyers.

JLeslie's avatar

Well, Two or three weeks ago I said to my husband we can’t even leave the country for the election, because Americans can’t go anywhere because of our covid numbers. I was talking about leaving America for the possible unrest that might happen here.

My city is relatively safe, but you never know. My sister is in NYC and my parents the suburbs of DC, probably both more risky. My sister told me in early March she wasn’t going outside partly because of infection risk, but also she assumed there would be civil unrest. Now, add the election, even more stress on the situation.

My husband is from Mexico and he says so much of what is happening is third world and I associate rioting in the streets when the presidency changes hands a very third world thing. Rioting and violence very well might happen. I do think the right will be reluctant to set fires if that means anything. There is a lot of social media messaging right now saying BLM should repair their own cities don’t ask for federal money or even local tax money from Republicans. Unless, they can try to blame it on BLM.

The alt-right is being encouraged to “rise up” and they have guns. There are a lot of people out of work, many of whom feel they have nothing to lose, and that is a recipe for reckless behavior.

I HOPE media outlets convey that not being able to declare a winner on election night is not a tragedy. Start conveying it now. I think the electors vote December 15th? Educate and prepare the public. I have been posting things on Facebook about this myself. Apolitical, just dates and facts. Hoping it keeps people calm, but we are up against Trump and others fueling fear, distrust, and I’ll say it again, fear.

I’m worried about it. Especially since we have already proven there are bad actors taking advantage of protests. I think there will definitely be protests.

I will not be out protesting no matter what the result. We don’t need protests to know how the “other” side feels. We already know we are split in the country and each side is terrified.

I don’t think Trump will refuse to leave if he loses. It seems to me he is already setting things up so he remains the leader for the Trumpers even if he loses. He will still have influence.

gondwanalon's avatar

If Biden/Harris win in November then the violence will suddenly stop. The world will once again be spinning in greased grooves.

raum's avatar

Anticipating turmoil regardless of outcome.

Not worried, so much as bracing. Though bracing may just be the default state for 2020.

JLeslie's avatar

@gondwanalon Because Democrats are purposely destroying things while Trump is in office? Because Trump is the anti-Christ causing the world to spin off it’s axis? Because Republicans, Trumpers, White Nationalists, Q’s, and Libertarians would never be violent if the Democrat wins? Why do you think the violence suddenly stops?

stanleybmanly's avatar

I don’t anticipate open revolution hinging on the results of the upcoming election.

gondwanalon's avatar

@JLeslie Because….”Liberalism is a mental disorder.” -Michael Savage

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@gondwanalon Quoting a “Fright Winger” radio host doesn’t make it it true!

hmmmmmm's avatar

@gondwanalon – How old are you?

Smashley's avatar

I just can’t imagine that violence on any large scale would take place either way. If/when the election is contested, we have a legal process, precedents, and ultimately, a Supreme Court to determine the winner in the end. That said, there will undoubtedly be incidents of terrorism and political violence, as well as property destruction, no matter who ultimately wins. These acts will be discussed ad nauseam, and will, in some ways, influence the process of contesting the election.

On a larger scale, I think if Biden wins, things will calm and most of the right wing wackos will retreat for a while and lick their political wounds and start crying about this grievance or that. Of course there will be violent acts at some point, but we tend to believe these are the acts of individuals, and they don’t tend to motivate large numbers of people into action.

If Trump wins, I really don’t know how bad it will get, considering he would undoubtedly still lose the popular vote by a larger margin than last time. He will be seen as illegitimate the world over, and he will be absolutely emboldened to crush dissent, and crush it he will. I believe that the majority of protests will stop under such hard pressure, but the political action will go elsewhere. I just don’t see violence on a large scale. We are too comfortable, or too busy, to rally in large amounts in violence. I also predict that if the Democrats lose, there will really be no choice but for them to go full Nixon on Trump. Previous investigations have been completely botched because of political miscalculations, but make no mistake that the President is, absolutely, a criminal. There are still legal levers to pull, especially in a go for broke political environment, and this process will go a long way to quell violence. There is no blueprint for revolution, and I just can’t see selling anyone on such a fantasy.

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LogicHead's avatar

Does anybody notice that the whole Beto Biden gun thing has made gun ownership EXPLODE.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@LogicHead Did NRA send you a postcard about the “explosion” and other misinformation ??

Here’s what really is happening, O’Rourke Endorsement Triggers False Posts on Biden’s Gun Policy Endorsement Triggers False Posts on Biden’s Gun Policy.

Biden’s proposed gun policy doesn’t include a mandatory buyback program !

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