Most experts predict scattered violence around the U.S. on Election Day, reports USA Today. Some conservative news outlets and GOP leaders, including President Donald Trump, have cited looting and destruction to argue that more federal law enforcement is needed to guard against violence, aiming their message at suburban women. On the other side, there’s fear that right-wing anti-government extremists responding to the largest civil rights movement in 50 years have aligned themselves with Trump. After years of growing hate crimes and violence, experts said there is a concern that armed right-wing terrorists might take to the streets if there are delays in election results or an unfavorable outcome, such as Democrat Joe Biden winning the White House.
“Everyone I know is concerned both about voter intimidation at the polls and potential violence as we get results from the election, and sort of what that might look like, not just around the election, but between the election and the inauguration,” says Prof. Carolyn Gallaher of, American University’s School of International Service in Washington, D.C., an expert on extremist violence. While the U.S. has a long history of violent protests, widespread predictions of election-related violence are unprecedented. “The violence will occur either way,” says Gallaher. “If Biden wins, it will be an excuse to try to delegitimize the results and to go after perceived enemies on the left … if Trump wins, this will be a signal to these far-right groups that have supported him, extremist groups like the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, other groups like this, that they will see this is like open season to go after people that have been opponents of Trump.” This summer, Amnesty International documented 200 violent conflicts between protest groups amid 12,000 protests nationally.