Major Cities Spend Weekend Prepping for Possible Election Night Riots
With questions lingering over whether President Donald Trump will declare victory before all ballots are counted, an already tense election could be taking an especially dark turn. Whether justified or not, fears of official shenanigans and election night rioting have prompted people and businesses in big cities across the country to start freaking out, boarding up, and preparing for possible riots.
On the one hand, all the boarded-up businesses and at-the-ready riot cops seem a bit overwrought. Americans have disagreed passionately about candidates and even presidential election results before without taking to the streets and burning shit down.
But Trump and Republicans have spent the past several months telling their supporters that voter fraud would be widespread this year, and in the past week they’ve only kicked up attempts to delegitimize election results should Democrats prove victorious. If victory is called for Joe Biden, there could be a lot of folks genuinely convinced that the results are a sham—and ready to do something about it.
Meanwhile, Biden supporters (or those who at least consider him the lesser of two evils) have seen weeks of polls and pundits telling them their guy will almost definitely win, while watching the GOP try hard to cast any scenario where Trump doesn’t win as suspect. And, according to Axios, Trump told those close to him that he will declare victory if he happens to have a lead as election night closes—all those yet-to-be-counted ballots be damned—though he has also publicly denied this.
Should anything like that happen, a lot of Americans will be justifiably irate and ready to do something about it. But with anger over Trump as intense as it is, even a seemingly legitimate victory would be likely to produce suspicion and some protests.
The White House on lockdown: A federal law enforcement source tells NBC that beginning tomorrow, crews will build a “non-scalable” fence to secure the WH complex, Ellipse and Lafayette Square.
250 National Guardsmen have been put on standby, reporting to Metro Police officials.
— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) November 2, 2020
If history is any indication, whichever group might take to the streets on Tuesday night will be filled largely with law-abiding Americans who merely want to make their voices heard. But a minority who want to use more than just their voices can still be a seriously destructive force.
Businesses near city centers and protest hot spots aren’t crazy to take precautionary measures. What’s worrisome is the extra law enforcement cities are allegedly enlisting. If there’s one thing that can turn a boisterous-but-peaceful protest violent very quickly, it’s overzealous cops amped up on premonitions of chaos and fate-of-democracy-in-our-hands fantasies.
Faced with excessive action by authorities, even otherwise peaceful people may feel like
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