As the U.S. presidential election draws near, many have expressed concern that a similar scenario may unfold here. Some envision President Donald Trump’s supporters using misinformation to mobilize vigilante militias to clash with leftist protesters. Others envision that groups on the left will refuse to accept the results and mobilize, leading to violence and deaths across the country.
Is post-election violence impossible in 2020 America? No.
However, data suggests it is likely.
Ninety-five percent of the 12,607 political demonstrations in the U.S. between May 24 and Sept. 19, 2020, were peaceful. There were 351 other kinds of incidents, including imposing curfews and perpetrating physical attacks. Twenty-nine of these acts were violence committed against civilians, where 12 people were killed, nine of them by the police. In addition five drive-by shootings, three police officers were killed by the extremist group the Boogaloo Boys
Due to Security Specialists not being able to perfectly predict political violence they depend on solely studies from the past.
With a extremely unpredictable incumbent against a backdrop of unique social and economic conditions; making precise predictions about possible post-election disorder is impossible. As much as scholars and others may try.
Some concern is valid, it is important to remember that there is a big difference between using a call to arms to mobilize your voters and instill fear in the other party’s supporters, and staging a post-election insurrection, which could subject its initiators to charges of agitation, if not high treason.
Ultimately, the three factors here suggest that fears of widespread violence by vigilantes and activists during and after Election Day should not be treated as fears, but as a probable outcome.
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