Though candidate Joe Biden is projected to have secured the title of becoming the 46th president of the United States, the 2020 election appears to be far from over in terms of public unrest.
Major cities around the U.S. began to prepare for the worst ahead of Election Day, as storefronts began emptying their inventory and nailing windows shut with plywood in preparation for the possibility of protests and rioting. In the nation’s capital, some new boards met alongside old ones on storefronts that have remained boarded up for months now, many due to the civil unrest following various Black Lives Matter protests.
George Washington University even urged students to be “prepared for possible election-related disruptions” near their campus in Washington, telling students to stockpile a week’s worth supply of food and medication in the case of post-election fallout. GW’s campus rests only four blocks from the White House.
The email was sent to students after DC government officials advised they were preparing for a “very active election season.” The city’s police chief, Peter Newsham, made a statement that “it is widely believed that there will be civil unrest after the November election regardless of who wins.”
As Joe Biden secured the title of president-elect this past Saturday, many Trump supports flocked to their state capitols as encouraged by a campaign entitled “Stop the Seal” in an effort to delegitimize the vote count. In Lansing, Michigan hundreds gathered in defiance of the election results, waving signs saying “it’s not over” and chanting “we won!”
Though losing to his opponent in both electoral vote and popular vote, Donald Trump appears to be rejecting the news of Biden’s win. In a statement after the race was called he claimed that “we all know why Joe Biden is rushing to falsely pose as the winner, and why his media allies are trying so hard to help him: they don’t want the truth to be exposed. The simple fact is this election is far from over.”
The president is attempting to push the blame on supposed “election fraud” after the push for absentee and mail-in voting due to COVID-19 safety concerns.
Trump has been pursuing a yearlong crusade against mail-in voting, as his supporters were reluctant to vote that way, while Biden supporters embraced it as a reaction to the ongoing pandemic. Biden supporters dominated mail voting by a two-to-one margin nationally, explaining why Trump appeared to be ahead in several battleground states on election night and the shift in the race towards Biden as main-in ballots were counted in due time.
The thought is an eerie sight in a country built upon the idea of a peaceful transition of power, and sadly this appears to reflect the times. It’s hard to tell where the country will be in a week’s time in regard to post-election fallout; will we see peace, or will we see protest?