In 24 days, Americans will decide who will be the president of the most powerful country in the world in the next four years.
However, the central issue this time is not whether on 3 November the incumbent, President Donald Trump, or his rival and former Vice-President, Joe Biden, will win. No, the central issue is whether the victory of either candidate will push the deeply divided country into a civil war.
The rejection of science
The United States has been a divided society from its very inception – conflicts have arisen between the ‘patriots’ (outlaws from the Crown) and ‘loyalists’ (those who fought for the British Crown); the North and the South; the slave owners and the abolitionists; the Republicans and the Democrats; the conservatives and the liberals, etc. However, in the past two decades, these divisions have become deeper and wider. Ideologies have taken over almost every aspect of life, so not only does a portion of the conservatives dispute the fight against racism and discrimination, but also rejects medical science (they are against vaccination), and even the most fundamental scientific postulates (they believe the Earth is flat and that there is no climate change); at the same time, a portion of the liberals are becoming more aggressive in their attempts to change the conservatives’ views.
Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 presidential election has resulted in the regrouping of the U.S. racists and conservatives, who were afraid of the first African American taking the helm of the U.S. Many extremists, armed to the teeth more often than not, have started to set up militias such as The Oath Keepers or The Three Percenters, meet in secret, and rattle their weapons, claiming that they want to protect America. The unexpected triumph of Donald Trump in 2016 encouraged them, so they have gone out into the streets, organizing patrols and issuing threats. This has become more evident since the mass protests against racism started as a result of the brutal murder of George Floyd in May.
Delighted by Trump’s claims such as that he would ‘make America great again’ (as if the United States had at any point lost territories or power), or that illegal immigrants from Mexico are rapists and murderers, or that he would stop the influx of Muslims to the U.S., members of all these right-wing militias have come out from the underground and started to get ready for a showdown in the event of Trump’s defeat, i.e. the alleged election theft.
A cause for concern
The sharp divisions have resulted in 61 percent of Americans believing the country is on the verge of a new civil war, the survey by Engagious, the SLRG, and ROKK Solutions, published yesterday, has revealed. As many as 40 percent strongly believe that there will be a war, while 21 percent think that a bloody conflict in the U.S: is likely.
‘This is the single most frightening poll result that I’ve ever been associated with. The tensions are bubbling below the surface or just above for some time, and the divisions are being ruptured further by the coronavirus pandemic. So, what’s the consequence of that? How bad does this get? I have never seen anything like it. I studied history, and I’m trying to imagine how 50 years from now someone would explain what’s happening. It just seems like the country’s lost its mind,’ Rich Thau, President of Engagious, said in a statement.
‘This latest finding, while not anticipated, is yet another example of an extremely bifurcated population. Throughout the past seven months, our research has seen strong fragmentation in the public’s level of concerns ranging from public health to the economy to issues of social and political unrest,’ said Jon Last, President of the SLRG.
Alex Theodoridis, an associate professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, studies social divisions.
‘A close, contested election in our hyper-polarized political climate could very well produce isolated incidents of partisan violence. My research, and work by others, shows that most partisans are willing to metaphorically dehumanize those from the other party and that this dehumanization predicts greater tolerance for partisan violence,’ he said for U.S.A Today.
The Second Attempt
Pelosi: Removing Trump ahead of the vote
Ever since Trump’s election victory, the Democrats have been aggressively advocating his removal from office, claiming that it was not the support of the people that brought him to the White House, but the behind- the-scenes manoeuvring of Vladimir Putin. They initiated the impeachment process once in the past, but it failed as they do not have a majority in the Senate.
However, the leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, put forward a plan for removing Trump from office less than a month before the election. Her main argument is – is the president fit for office as he takes his coronavirus medication.
’The President is, shall we say, in an altered state right now .. there are those who say when you are on steroids or if you have COVID-19 or both, that there may be some impairment of judgment,‘ she said for Bloomberg TV.
TOP 5 The Most Dangerous Militias in the U.S. OATH KEEPERS A far-right paramilitary organization Founded in: 2009 Leader: Stewart Rhodes Motto: "Not on our watch!" Membership: 35,000 - They claim their mission is to ‘defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic’. NOT FUCKING AROUND COALITION (NFAC) An African-American nationalist paramilitary group Founded in: 2017 Leader: John Jay Fitzgerald Johnson Motto: “Brotherhood first.” Membership: 1,500 - They claim they fight for the liberation of African Americans and want a U.S. state for them. THREE PERCENTERS (3%ERS) A paramilitary organization advocating resistance to the sweeping powers of the federal government Founded in: 2008 Leader: Michael Brian Vanderboegh Motto: “Push back against tyranny.” Membership: More than 1,000 - They are active in Canada as well, where they are considered as the most dangerous extremist group. REDNECK REVOLT A paramilitary organization of working-class people and leftists. Founded in: 2009 Leader: No leader Motto: “Time to fight.” Membership: More than 1,000 - They oppose capitalism, racism, fascism, inequality, and the rich. CONSTITUTIONAL SHERIFFS (CSPOA) A paramilitary organization of local police officials Founded in: 1980s Leader: Richard Mack Motto: “Uphold – Defend – Protect – Serve” Membership: 400 - They believe that sheriffs are the highest governmental authority in the U.S., and that neither Washington nor state authorities are to be blindly obeyed.
Kurir.rs, Andrija Ivanović/ Photo: Profimedia