As if Trump getting this amount of attention is not already bad enough, the newest shenanigans we as a country must come to face with are the possible risk of violence on election day. Violence, I should say, is an understatement. With influential politicians claiming that they will “take up their muskets” if Trump doesn’t get his way, these threats of violence should be heeded seriously, even though it’s hard to take Trump himself seriously.
The reason for all this is that Trump is actually encouraging his voter base to become vigilante policemen at polling stations.
Trump “claims that the stakes are so high, the situation is so extraordinary, that some form of intimidation, presence, provocative behavior is necessary to preserve the republic, preserve civilization,”
Trump cannot even comprehend the world outside of his ethnocentric bubble. Though I must say that’s not even that shocking. What I am most shocked about though is that he is so convinced by his own delusions that the election is rigged that he is making a call to violence. Just how desperate can a man get? Let’s keep in mind a portion of Trump’s supporters are gun-toting racist militias that won’t hesitate to use force if they don’t get their way.
“You have preexisting, organized, armed militias who have said that they might see it as their duty ... to attempt violently to topple the government or kill the president,” Jay Ulfelder, a political scientist who studies democracy and violence, says. “I can’t think of any other case where there’s been something like that, either in a developed democracy or less [developed one].”1
This type of reasoning [or lack thereof] is rooted in paranoia. It’s pointless and anything but progressive to escalate situations that we don’t have control over. As much as we’d like to control the elections one way or another we don’t really have much of a say. Putting guns into the equation jut makes this whole situation incredibly more unstable and unpredictable. Though the right wing militia groups may not be the ones to directly cause violent interactions, they can definitely incite it.
It’s a situation you can easily imagine escalating out of control. A fight breaks out between a Trump supporter and, say, a Black Lives Matter advocate — and one of them is armed. A radical Trump supporter, perhaps a member of a far-right militia or neo-Nazi movement, shows up at a polling station with the intent of using force to stop minorities from “rigging” the vote. It could also go the other way: A Hispanic American or African American tired of being demonized by Trump could see one of his supporters and go looking for a fight.1
His rhetoric and fear mongering politics shamefully illustrate the state of our nation’s right wing. Unfortunately, a lot of Americans, as we have seen are easily convinced by his ignorant tirades on Muslims and immigrants. At its heart, all of this is probably due to White Americans feeling a loss of identity with the America they once knew. They fear change and progression and changing ways of life. I think we should welcome such things instead of being so afraid of the unfamiliar. I don’t really have any idea as to how we can combat Trump’s divisive techniques besides to plug our ears and stop feeding into his rhetoric.