The United States may face unprecedented violence in the last two months of 2020.
If President Trump is re-elected, riots on a massive scale may be billed as a protest against his continued leadership. If Biden succeeds, the Left will seek to ensure that their almost complete takeover of the Democrat Party is solidified. Progressives will demand that, as the price for their support, their most radical policies be adopted. If their demand is not met, they will take it to the streets. Joe Schoffstall, writing for the Washington Free Beacon, notes that the leftist group Fight Back Table is planning for a “post-Election Day political apocalypse scenario.”
The Democratic Party leadership’s condoning of the aggressive tactics of Antifa and Black Lives Matter has put it in a position of holding a tiger by the tail. This is particularly prevalent in cities with Progressive mayors. Having failed to forcefully condemn the use of violence as a political tool, and having welcomed hard-core socialists into their ranks, they have encouraged the growth of unlawful tactics and the rise to power of those who use them.
Joe Biden is in a particularly tough spot. While he proclaims that he is not Bernie Sanders, he has largely adopted the policies of Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the same policies that have destroyed nations from Russia to Venezuela. The mobs that have ransacked American cities from Portland to New York are the power behind the hard left.
Biden would have political constraints in moving forcefully against extremist tactics; he would lose a key base of the party’s support. He would certainly lose the support of his own vice-president. Kamala Harris, who is widely considered the most leftist senator in Congress. Harris recently stated, regarding the riots, “Nothing that we have achieved that has been about progress, in particular around civil rights, has come without a fight, and so I always am going to interpret these protests as an essential component of evolution in our country — as an essential component or mark of a real democracy,”
Ideologically, it would also be difficult for Biden to rein in the extremists. The Left has set the stage for violence by opposing all reasonable ballot security measures. It has also, in several states, set up a system of unsecured mail-in ballots that will result in fraudulent votes being cast, which will be successfully challenged in court. Those losses will have the effect of tossing a match into a box of dynamite.
Trump would not face similar roadblocks if re-elected. He has made opposition to the violence a centerpiece of his campaign. The GOP, for the most part, has solidly supported that position. Freed from the constraints of the unfavorable coverage the media would provide for a substantial crackdown in an election year, the President would be able to move forcefully to restore order.
Indeed, the Justice Department already laid the groundwork for a substantive response. In a September 21 memo, Attorney General Will Barr noted:
“When state and local leaders impede their own law enforcement officers and agencies from doing their jobs, it endangers innocent citizens who deserve to be protected, including those who are trying to peacefully assemble and protest. We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance. It is my hope that the cities identified by the Department of Justice today (which included New York City; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington, Washington will reverse course and become serious about performing the basic function of government and start protecting their own citizens.”
Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy & Government.