The US at the brink of chaos

Azza Radwan Sedky
Monday 2 Nov 2020

No matter who wins the US presidential election, be it the incumbent, President Trump, or the Democratic Party nominee, Vice President Joe Biden, unrest will be imminent in the US, so how far will that unrest go?

Since George Floyd’s death at the hands, or knee for that matter, of a US law enforcement officer, all 50 US states saw sweeping demonstrations at one point or another. Since then, unrest that often turned to riots prevailed on US streets and in cities, and with every law enforcement aggression, tension ignited further putting the spotlight on law enforcement’s every move and setting the stage for more violence. Many Black Lives Matter protests boiled over into looting and destructive violence. That is at one level.

At another, systemic racism and acts of violence from far right groups escalated as white supremacists backlashed with a vengeance. Under the assumption that they have the right to protect their land from those who want to dismantle the American dream, they were responsible for much of the violence that followed.

The presidential election will solidify that frame of mind and will be yet another window for more of the same, ushering a daunting degree of rebellion. After November 3rd, whichever way the election goes, one group or the other will protest, discrediting the results of the elections and manifesting outrage in upheavals of immense magnitude.

Besides, it is very dangerous when ethnicity divides the playing field. Demographics play a crucial role in US voter inclinations, and many White voters will vote Trump while many Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians will vote Biden dividing the country further, one race against the other.

Let’s consider the various scenarios that may take place on November 3rd. First scenario: President Trump wins the election. That scenario will be followed by scenes similar to those that transpired after Trump’s winning the election in 2016. After all, those who disliked Donald Trump in 2016, dislike him with a vengeance in 2020. Hence, the protests will take a more jarring turn.

In 2016, anti-Trump rallies in dozens of American cities ensued; thousands took to

the streets protesting Trump’s victory, chanting, “Not my president,” or “New York hates Trump”; others carried smearing signs such as “Dump Trump” and "Donald Trump is a racist" right in front of the White House.

The protests turned violent as protestors threw rocks and bottles at police officers and vandalized police cars; hundreds were arrested. Marches continued for several days in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Denver, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Dallas, Oakland, and many other US cities.

This is how Joe Biden’s followers will react in 2020. Simultaneously, Trump enthusiasts will celebrate with a despotic sense of pride, emboldened into more irrational actions. Unfortunately, the two groups will ultimately clash. How far these clashes will be remains to be seen.

The second scenario has Joe Biden winning, which is an even worse scenario as far as the consequences on the streets go. To lose President Trump’s leadership will entail a loss to White supremacists and militia groups like no other. Enraged at the results, they will take up arms; clashes are imminent in this scenario, too.

Furthermore, since Trump was elected president in 2016, the number of killings by white supremacists and far-right extremists in the United States has increased. Bear in mind that white supremacists promote the Second Amendment (the right of the people to keep and bear Arms), hail radical anarchists’ visions, and parade weapons they are willing to use.

And President Trump is not making it any better. In several incidents President Trump declined to condemn the lawbreakers. Rather than scorn vigilante Kyle Rittenhouse’s action when he shot three protestors, killing two and injuring the third, Trump said that Rittenhouse “was trying to get away from them, and he fell, and then, they violently attacked him. I guess he was in very big trouble. He probably would have been killed. It’s under investigation.”

And, in the presidential debate, the commentator asked President Trump if he was willing to condemn the white supremacist militia groups. Trump responded, “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” which was by no means a condemnation but rather an invitation to militia groups to “stand by” for later intervention.

Trump also threatened not to concede if he loses, “We will wait and see what happens.” In one of Trump’s recent rallies, he, jokingly, said, that if Biden wins, “Maybe I’ll have to leave the country.” It was a joke after all, but how will his followers perceive such an ominous remark?

Many publications have confirmed a surge in gun sales, especially to first-time buyers, amid fears of violence, so Michael Caputo, Trump’s health appointee, did not beat about the bush when he called it for what it is. “When Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin. If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get,” he said.

The third scenario is where Biden wins by a narrow margin or where the results are close enough to be contested. Then President Trump may act upon his promise and refuse to concede. All hell will break loose then, too.

Fourth scenario is if Biden wins big, and in that case, President Trump will have to concede. If the results are accepted, some if not all of the confrontations may be evaded, though nothing is guaranteed.

The world always looked upon the US as the melting pot where races blend and live harmoniously. It is where millions immigrate to achieve the unachievable elsewhere to realize the American ideals of democracy, equality, and human rights. This portrait is quickly eroding.

Today the world watches in anticipation and uneasiness.

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