President Donald Trump's political position is more precarious than ever. But if he loses re-election, that could only be the beginning.
On Wednesday, The Independent reported that experts on unrest and political extremism are worried that a certain contingent of Trump supporters would be unpredictable and dangerous in the event former Vice President Joe Biden wins the election — and would not accept the legitimacy of the result.
"Brian Klaas, a University College London professor of global politics who studied political violence in non-western nations as part of his doctoral fieldwork, told me he 'would be surprised if there is not at least some sporadic low-level violence around the election' in the event of a Trump loss, as a result of his frequent promotion of conspiracy theories and explicit arguments against Biden’s legitimacy as a candidate," reported Andrew Feinberg.
“In modern American history, there has never been a major mainstream political figure who has argued that his opponents are not legitimate,” said Klaas. “People who have really worked themselves up in this vortex of disinformation … may take Trump's tweets literally and say: ‘OK, they're my enemies, they're committing treason, they're part of the Deep State, and it’s time to be a patriot and stand up against them.’ That would be very, very dangerous.” The “high concentration of weapons among Donald Trump’s supporters,” would only increase the risk, he warned.
Former GOP Rep. Joe Walsh, a critic of Trump from the right, agreed, saying, "They will engage in violence, they will engage in trying to stop the machinery of government from even working." And former Republican strategist Jonathan Lockwood, who witnessed the violent standoff of GOP lawmakers in Oregon last year, said, "I think you could see takeovers of every [state] capitol, since the president seems to enjoy watching that from DC, and the country can descend into a chaos that we've never seen. People are gravely underestimating how pervasive these conspiracies and the de-legitimizing of Democrats governing truly are."
Compounding the problem, wrote Feinberg, is that Trump and his surrogates are directly encouraging this way of thinking.
At his speech at Mount Rushmore, Trump said that the fight against “the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters, and people who, in many instances, have absolutely no clue what they are doing” is akin to the Greatest Generation's fight against the Nazis in World War II. Meanwhile, Feinberg noted, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), an ally of Trump, "posited that losses by Trump and other Republicans in November could leave the federal government looking like governments in New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Atlanta, and Los Angeles (all of which have majority-minority populations and prominent non-white leaders)."
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