According to a report from Newsweek's David Freedman, supporters of Donald Trump are already looking past the 2022 midterms and making rumblings that they will not react peacefully if the former president makes a third bid for the White House and loses again.
In an interview with 73-year-old Vietnam vet Mike Nieznany of Gainesville, Georgia, he called the situation a "ticking time-bomb" and responses to his online comments -- which "received 44,000 views in the first two weeks of November and more than 4 million overall" -- indicated he is not alone with that assessment.
According to Nieznany, like-minded people are arming themselves in anticipation of what could happen in 2024 that could "trigger" far-right fans of the ex-president.
"There are lots of fully armed people wondering what's happening to this country," he said. "Are we going to let Biden keep destroying it? Or do we need to get rid of him? We're only going to take so much before we fight back."
According to the report, the military veteran is "one of many rank-and-file Republicans who own guns and in recent months have talked openly of the need to take down—by force if necessary—a federal government they see as illegitimate, overreaching and corrosive to American freedom."
Freedman wrote that guns rights activists who fear restrictions on their ability to purchase weapons unfettered are finding their interests dovetailing with supporters of Trump and a merger of the two groups could lead to violence -- particularly if the Biden administration pushes through the new gun laws that the majority of Americans support.
"That combustible formula raises the threat of armed, large-scale attacks around the 2024 presidential election—attacks that could make the January 6 insurrection look like a toothless stunt by comparison," Freedman wrote with UCLA law professor Adam Winkler concurring in a statement warning, "The idea that people would take up arms against an American election has gone from completely farfetched to something we have to start planning for and preparing for."
Rhetorically asking whether the American public would accept a contested election in 2024, the journalist suggested, "Such a decision would more likely bring tens of millions of protesters and counter-protesters into the streets, especially around the U.S. Capitol and possibly many state capitols, plunging the country into chaos. Although many Democrats might be inclined to demonstrate, a larger percentage of Republican protesters would almost certainly be carrying guns," adding that the only defense against such an uprising would be the deployment of American military on the streets of the country.
According to Assistant Professor Erica De Bruin of Hamilton College, "I hope it's just too crazy to happen here. But it's now in the realm of the plausible."
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