Friday, August 28, 2020

Will Private Militia Members Provide "Security" at Urban Polling Places?

Imagine showing up at your polling place on November 3rd to vote and having to walk by several men wearing army fatigues and armed with semi-automatic rifles, to cast a ballot.  How many people, feeling intimidated, would turn away and not vote?  Quite a few, no doubt.

More and more we are seeing "citizen militia" types show up to "police" demonstrations against racial injustice.  After two nights of protests, that often devolved into rioting, following the shooting of Jacob

New Virginia Militia (Facebook photo)

Blake in the back by a Kenosha Police Department, a Facebook invite went out asking that militia members go to the Wisconsin city to protect it from the "evil thugs." Over 1,000 people responded that they would go to Kenosha.  Another 4,000 expressed interest in going.  One of those who did go was 17-year0old Kyle Rittenhouse, who arrived wearing fatigues and sporting a semi-automatic weapon. Rittenhouse proceeded to shoot three people, killing two of them.  Now on social media and among certain conservative media outlets, Rittenhouse is being hailed as a hero.

Back to voting.  President Donald Trump has already talked about sending armed law enforcement officials at the polls for "security," i.e. intimidation.  At the time, he seemed to be oblivious that he has no control over county sheriff departments and that the federal law enforcement officials he does have control over, have no authority to enter polling places which, by law, are run by state and local governments.  It seems the federal nature of of American government, a concept we conservatives used to support pre-Trump, keeps getting in the way of the President's most dictatorial impulses.

So Trump sending law enforcement officials to the polls fell flat.  But what if leading up to the election it announced that private militia groups plan to have their members, armed with guns, provide security at certain urban polling places, ostensibly to prevent rioting?  They don't even have to enter the polling place, just stand outside of wearing fatigues, visibly displaying arms.  

I know the idea of armed militia types appearing outside urban areas to intimidate from voting is a far-fetched idea...except that is exactly what they planned to do in 2016.  Politico reported in early November of that year, just before the election:

Neo-Nazi leader Andrew Anglin plans to muster thousands of poll watchers across all 50 states. His partners at the alt-right website “the Right Stuff” are touting plans to set up hidden cameras at polling places in Philadelphia and hand out liquor and marijuana in the city’s “ghetto” on Election Day to induce residents to stay home. The National Socialist Movement, various factions of the Ku Klux Klan and the white nationalist American Freedom Party all are deploying members to watch polls, either “informally” or, they say, through the Trump campaign.

The Oath Keepers, a group of former law enforcement and military members that often shows up in public heavily armed, is advising members to go undercover and conduct “intelligence-gathering” at polling places, and Donald Trump ally Roger Stone is organizing his own exit polling, aiming to monitor thousands of precincts across the country.

Energized by Trump’s candidacy and alarmed by his warnings of a “rigged election,” white nationalist, alt-right and militia movement groups are planning to come out in full force on Tuesday, creating the potential for conflict at the close of an already turbulent campaign season.

“The possibility of violence on or around Election Day is very real,” said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center. “Donald Trump has been telling his supporters for weeks and weeks and weeks now that they are about to have the election stolen from them by evil forces on behalf of the elite.

...

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Again, that was 2016.  If President Trump were asked about such a plan for 2020, would Trump condemn it?  Not a chance.  He may even endorse it.  Nonetheless, unless Trump openly condemns it, the idea armed private militia types at the certain key urban polling places could easily become a reality.  Expect confrontation and violence on Election Day.

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OOP's short takes:

  • Let me get this straight regarding the Trump "law and order" campaign.  It is based on the notion that 1) acts of violence and crime in the nation's cities are rising; and 2) the President of the United States has the ability to control crime in the nation's cities; 3) If elected president, Democrat Joe Biden wouldn't use his position to stop crime in the cities.  See the flaw in that argument?  According to the theory, Donald Trump is the one responsible for the increased crime rate.  It happened under his watch.
  • The RNC convention made one thing perfectly clear: Trump and his minions do not care one whit about violating the Hatch Act.  On a related note, I am not sure I've seen a more disgusting sight than looking at our White House, "the People's House," lit up at night with two Trump/Pence signs in front of the majestic building.  How horribly tacky and improper. 
  • Jacob Blake, shot in his back seven times is in the hospital unable to move, fighting for his life.  Yet he is shackled to his hospital bed?   Are you freaking kidding me?  What the hell is wrong with the Kenosha Police Department?

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