Extremist expert predicts political violence during the 2022 midterm elections
Members of the Proud Boys march in Manhattan against vaccine mandates in New York City (AFP)

Andy Campbell, a senior editor at The Huffington Post who is the author of the book We Are Proud Boys: How a Right-Wing Street Gang Ushered in a New Era of American Extremism has said that The Proud Boys and other far-right vigilante groups will likely commit violence during the next two upcoming elections.

In a recent interview, Campell noted the Proud Boys were founded by right-wing commentator Gavin McInnes to fight in ways that other straight-laced Republicans wouldn't.

Campbell also noted former President Donald Trump's ominous command for the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by" during his final September 2020 debate against now-President Joe Biden.

Several Proud Boys members are currently on trial for sedition for their involvement in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

"I think we might learn some bombshells about their connection to Trump’s inner circle," Campbell said. "And the fact that several top-level Proud Boys have already agreed to testify against their own means we may learn a lot."

Trump also recently said that the nation would face “problems ... the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen” if he is indicted for taking classified documents after leaving office. His comment was widely seen as a call for his followers to commit violence if he's ever criminally charged.

"I think Trump knows that everybody is going to react violently to this," Campbell said. "The pipeline between the rhetoric and the violence in the street is so short now. How many hours was it between the time he was complaining about the FBI going through Mar-a-Lago and somebody showing up with a gun to an FBI field office? He knows he has people waiting to mobilize."

Campbell added, "There will absolutely be Proud Boys violence in 2024 and I think in the 2022 election, too," noting that Arizona Republicans have called for vigilante justice around ballot boxes.

"I think they are absolutely going to show up in force for Trump’s election regardless of what happens. I think we have to realize that the violence has trickled out to everyday Americans. It’s not just extremist groups anymore. Trump pointing to the back and calling the press the enemy, Trump glorifying Jan. 6 rioters,… that has come full circle."

He concluded, "I think the spirit of January 6 is still here. All of the groups involved are still here, and everyday Americans have joined them... It’s going to be scary."