11.03.2020 0

Brace for Impact

By Catherine Mortensen

In my newsfeed this morning I read that George Washington University in D.C. is urging students to prepare for election as they would for a hurricane or blizzard. Students are advised to stock up on at least a one-week supply of food and refill any prescriptions that may run out in the next two weeks.

A few minutes later, I got a call from my 22-year-old daughter at Utah State University north of Salt Lake City. She is scared about election night violence and riots. “People here are hoarding toilet paper again,” she said. “I’ve seen four posts on my newsfeed today warning me to “be prepared for a civil war.”

At lunch, a friend who has family in rural Idaho told me the town is forming a militia. “I heard in one meeting they were teaching the group how to slip a person’s throat,” she said. To which I responded, “Well, that escalated quickly!”

In all seriousness, Americans everywhere are on edge. And in some cases, they have good reason to be. In D.C., a group called #ShutDownDC is organizing protesters to target Republican officials and government buildings during a series of planned election-week demonstrations.The demonstrations will culminate Friday, when—based on the election results—protesters will attempt to blockade bridges, major highways, intersections, and government office buildings.

In the days leading up to the election, business owners in downtown D.C. have already begun boarding up windows to protect their stores from rioters and looters. Anti-police protesters vandalized and looted dozens of businesses this summer following George Floyd’s death.

A JL Partners-Independent poll found that 72% of voters say they’re concerned about post-election violence. A YouGov survey says 56% of voters expect such unrest after Nov. 3. And a group of scholars who wrote an op-ed for Politico earlier this month said their research shows that about one in three Americans who identify as Democrat or Republican believe violence could be justified to advance their party’s political goals – a substantial increase over the last three years.

“We are increasingly anxious that this country is headed toward the worst post-election crisis in a century and a half,” they wrote.

In anticipation of election day, elected officials in cities around the country are preemptively proposing similar measures like restoring curfews and working to close off streets, while police departments across the country are advising businesses to secure their properties.

The boarding-up of businesses has become a regular occurrence in D.C., with many businesses and federal offices in the District now going behind plywood for the third time this year. The police department is preparing by purchasing $130,000 of tear gas. President Trump has moved his Election Day celebration from his hotel to the White House where he will be protected by concentric rings of security barriers. This week crews put in an additional barrier, a “non-scalable fence. ”

I went to D.C. to check it out for myself. I parked 3 blocks west of the White House and as I walked toward it, I passed building after building boarded up. It was nearly impossible to see the White House through all the fences and barricades now surrounding it. Four secret service officers on bicycles passed me as I watched crews prepare the grounds outside the White House for the National Christmas Tree. The city around the White House was eerily quiet. The calm before the storm, perhaps.

It’s not right that businesses in our nation’s capital should be boarded up or that college students should be stocking up on food and medicines.  BLM and Antifa thugs are holding our cities hostage, threatening violence if the election doesn’t go their way.  This is outrageous and unacceptable.

If we are to remain a free people, we must take back our cities by restoring law and order. Only one candidate has promised to do that, Donald Trump.  We need him to win, and to win decisively.

Catherine Mortensen is Vice President of Communications at Americans for Limited Government.

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