If Democratic nominee Joe Biden loses in the fall, there will be a surge of violence across the United States, according to a growing number of commentators and political activists.
Lots of it.
This sounds plausible. This also sounds an awful lot like extortion.
Vote President Trump out of office — or else.
“If Biden loses, mass unrest is more unlikely — because the left will have more difficulty accepting the results,” said Atlantic contributor Shadi Hamid.
He added elsewhere in an opinion article, “A loss by Joe Biden under these circumstances is the worst case not because Trump will destroy America (he can’t), but because it is the outcome most likely to undermine faith in democracy, resulting in more of the social unrest and street battles that cities including Portland, Oregon, and Seattle have seen in recent months.”
“For this reason,” Hamid writes, “strictly law-and-order Republicans who have responded in dismay to scenes of rioting and looting have an interest in Biden winning — even if they could never bring themselves to vote for him.”
The threat of violence is not a reason to support a candidate. His positions and policies are. To support a candidate because his team seems more likely to resort to violence if it doesn’t get what it wants is to live a life of submission. Using threats of violence is how third-world strongmen win elections, and Hamid is clearly making this pitch for Biden. Indeed, his entire op-ed can be boiled down to this: We should let Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, win the 2020 election because their supporters will set major U.S. cities ablaze if we don’t.
Distressingly enough, Hamid is not the only one making this pitch.
On Sept. 3, the Washington Post published an opinion article by Transition Integrity Project co-founder Rosa Brooks, who warns that there will be mass violence unless Biden wins in a landslide. Her op-ed is based on the “findings” of a completely bonkers Transition Integrity Project white paper outlining unlikely Election Day scenarios, including one where Trump invokes the Insurrection Act to maintain an illegitimate claim to the White House. The group’s membership, by the way, includes John Podesta, Jennifer Granholm, Donna Brazile, Bill Kristol, Max Boot, and David Frum. Make of that what you will.
The 22-page document’s conclusion is the same as Hamid’s: Let Biden win or else.
Vox, naturally, promoted the white paper’s scaremongering, claiming the insane 2020 election scenarios are not so “far-fetched” because the Transition Integrity Project is supposedly bipartisan. The Atlantic similarly amplified the group’s doomsday scenarios.
There is more.
“Unless the election is an absolute blowout on the level of 1984 or 1964, there will be a period when the result is still in doubt, as unprecedented numbers of mail ballots (which take longer to process) are counted,” argues Washington Post columnist Paul Waldman. “During that period, the president, his White House and his campaign will mount a furious media effort to convince people that the process is run through with cheating and corruption.”
Left-wing operatives, for their part, are planning for the scenario where they do not get what they want on Election Day, including various ways to “occupy shit, hold space, and shut things down, not just on Election Day but for weeks,” one activist told the Daily Beast.
Meanwhile, the Democratic nominee himself scoffs at the Trump campaign’s assertion that a Biden presidency would validate and encourage more violence.
“He may believe mouthing the words law and order makes him strong, but his failure to call on his own supporters to stop acting as an armed militia in this country shows you how weak he is,” the Democratic presidential nominee said in late August.
Biden added, “Does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump is reelected?”