Post-Election Violence?

-

I am returning to DC today from New Haven, Connecticut — where I talked to a number of folks who have never before voted in an election and who planned now to vote for Barack Obama. Expectations are high in this race on both sides of the equation — but I think a bit higher among those African-Americans and others who have felt sidelined in the American political scene.
The Washington Post today considers the consequences of “loss” for one of the two sides of the ticket and those who supported the loser.
But I have to say that I think given current expectation levels if Obama does not win on Tuesday, there will be a lot of violence that erupts. That is no reason for people to support Obama — and frankly, I think that violence in elections is a sign of immaturity. But it doesn’t change the fact that many who have not traditionally participated in American elections are going to do so — and right now, they expect a payoff for that participation — and most polls show Obama sliding to victory Tuesday.
The Post piece doesn’t mention the word “violence,” but it’s hard for me not to think about that as a possible outcome if Obama loses.
And even if McCain loses, which I think he will at this point, we could see violence in some parts of the country.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

59 comments on “Post-Election Violence?

  1. MB says:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081116/ap_on_re_us/obama_racial_6
    The violence now, post election, is coming from those who have always been violent. The history of race riots in the US are a small handful of EXCEPTIONS to the rule: centuries of murder, oppression, humiliation and terror have been directed at the African American, and are seen in many places as “normal”. Most people who are posting here seem to think those days are behind us… surprise!
    The preparation for the election, with deployment of US troops within the country to control “civil unrest” reminds me of what happened (or more accurately, what DIDN’T happen in New Orleans) when Katrina hit. The scary, scary black population was contained, first in a stadium and then in the flooded city, and aid was withheld because of fears of rioting and anarchy. They went so far as to invent it, when it didn’t happen, as a justification for this paranoia. This was never admitted to anywhere that I know of, and remains my own crackpot theory, but it sure rings true to me.
    What the scary black people were actually doing, of course, was helping each other and trying to survive. Sadly, many didn’t.
    Oh, I know there were exceptions, but do you really think it would have been less so in a population of different racial makeup?dcys3k

    Reply

  2. Joe From Wisconsin says:

    To Rebecca, … I read your blog and am very sorry
    for your incident. Things like this shouldn’t be
    happening in America. Yes, … law enforcement
    should be informed for the reason of maintaining a
    paper trail, just incase something happens in the
    future.
    The people in that pick-up truck apparently didn’t
    have the ability to look at the big picture. The
    position of the United States President is a
    combination of two positions. A politician, and a
    military position holding the title of Commander
    and Chief, … which is in charge of all military
    services.
    Our military services have always had soldiers of
    all ethnic backgrounds, and our politicians also
    come from many backgrounds. These have never been
    problems before. Now that a President is present
    that we’ve never had before, some narrow minded
    people simply can’t accept it.
    It’s a sorry shame that people like this can’t see
    the President Elect for the help he wants to bring
    America, and understand that the president elect
    has never done anything to any of us in the form
    of harm.
    The fact is that this is America, the land of the
    free. In the future, elections over the next fifty
    years could include other ethnic backgrounds such
    as American Indians, Spanish people, male or
    female or who knows who else. The narrow minded
    will need to wake up and accept unity as a part of
    life. It’s a shame some people only see colors
    rather than a persons hard work and good
    intentions.
    I wish you the best of luck with your
    circumstances, and peace be with you.
    A Caucasian Catholic hoping for a change, a good
    and peaceful change.

    Reply

  3. Rebecca Kaminski says:

    Two nights ago night (Nov. 12th) my 19 year old son was terrorized by a man in a huge pick up on one of our deserted back roads. We live 20 miles to anywhere in Floyd County, Virginia. We live in the isolated farmer area of the county, not the ‘Hippy’ area.
    A truck was stopped in the road and my son passed around, like anyone would. No big deal. After he had gone quite a distance this driver came speeding up on him with his brights on for a good stretch. The brights began flashing off and on as this driver drove unacceptably close to the back end of his small car.
    My son has personalized plates and a couple Obama stickers on his Subaru.
    This driver sped around my son and slid sideways, blocking the road, causing him to slam on his brakes. This driver, a Caucasian appearing to be in his thirties, jumped out and began yelling/running towards him while throwing something at his car that dented it. My son quickly maneuvered off the road and around the truck and sped away. He was able to get some distance to safety because the man had the delay of having to run back to his truck.
    It was dark and my son was frightened. He didn’t see the license plate, color (it was a dark color) and make of the truck (possibly a Ford F-250 kinda truck). He can’t really identify him. He also won’t call the police about it. Well, I DID and I’m also submitting a letter to our editor of the local paper and places like this. If you readers have any suggestions for anything else that can be done let me know.
    My son took my Jeep to work yesterday while I went to the DMV to change his plates. We also took off our Obama bumper stickers. Last night I found a kitchen knife wrapped in a towel under my seat when he returned. I cannot explain how upset I am.
    You know, I could find my son in a ditch and it never be solved. It disgusts me I have to react this way. However, I will NEVER choose principle over the safety of my children.
    My son is a guitarist. He’s really quiet, shy and peaceful.
    He is now adamant about getting a gun….. A GUN!
    I’m a single Caucasian Christian mom with four Caucasian Christian sons. We have experienced a post election hate/fear crime, caused by the ambition of two politicians and their party willing to exploit the weak-minded for it.
    Instead of appearing on Leno and SNL to posture with ‘cute’ there should be media appearances dismantling owned damage by propagating substantial means of healing. Especially with all the (tacit) Biblical ‘mis-scripturing’ they are guilty of.
    And their motto was ‘Country First’? Please.

    Reply

  4. Arnold says:

    Last night I read the last blog about the president elect and what was said about the gas prices over the last 8 years. This caused me to surf the internet and do some homework on gasoline prices over the last eight years. My discovery found that Joe from Wisconsin touches base with something you do have to think about. Is this a coincidence or not? We may never know for sure. One thing is for sure. Those two puzzle pieces sure fit pretty good together. That makes the whole picture a little scary. I too, am glad the Republicans are gone for the next term.
    I would have never thought of matching gasoline prices against the dates of the last republican term. I’m glad someone did.

    Reply

  5. Joe says:

    11-05-08
    1800 hours
    Today I was approached by a Republican citizen and asked why I voted for Barack.
    I replied easily and quickly.
    1. We had a republican in the White House for the last eight years; It’s time for a change.
    2. Barack is a living success story. Remember his commercials showing him as a student holding his school books? He has lived the same lifestyle that most of America is living now. He has personally been there and knows what it’s like. He wasn’t raised with a silver spoon in his mouth. Therefore when he says he wants to help America’s working class people, … I believe him. He deserves the chance to prove it.
    3. I made a personal promise to never, ever, … EVER vote for another oil man ever again. In 2000 a gallon of gas cost about $1.60 to $1.75, they steadily climbed all the way to 2008 where they took a nose dive just before the end of the current presidential term. Personally I believe having a person in the White House that is tied to any petroleum or other utilities is a conflict of interest and shouldn’t be allowed.
    Some people may agree with me, … then others may disagree. That’s what makes America so great. We are entitled to our peaceful opinions and viewpoints.
    What’s more, … this week we have clearly proved that this is a free country, and anyone can live the American dream if you are serious and put your mind to it.
    The President elect says he wants to help. I believe him.
    I trust him. Has anyone else noticed when he talks to America, … he looks directly into the camera. That’s like looking us (we the people) rite in the eye when talking to us. Other politicians look down and around almost avoiding the camera lens. Kind of like the inability to look someone rite in the eye. A non trustworthy act.
    I strongly feel comfortable with my decision.
    Joe from Wisconsin

    Reply

  6. thetruth says:

    Anger does not equate to violence.
    There was much anger over the factually proven fraud and voter disenfranchisement perpetuated on the part of Republicans and conservatives in 2000 and 2004. What did that produce?
    A highly motivated progressive movement, dead focused on kicking their cheating asses out of office. Through legal means only. No one ever advocated, nor engaged in violence.
    No one resorted to violence in those elections except conservatives. Repeat: NO ONE RESORTED TO VIOLENCE EXCEPT CONSERVATIVES. The ones who were wronged did not. The ones who were cheating did.
    Repeat: This post is a goddamn fool post.

    Reply

  7. Keith M Ellis says:

    What a load of patronizing BS when people excoriate Steve for hypothesizing that many blacks will be violently angry if Obama loses tomorrow. Of course they—and others—will be violently angry if Obama loses. This isn’t a close election, an Obama loss will be believed by many, including myself, to be the result of GOP criminality. If it happens, and were I physically able, I’d be out breaking windows, too.
    But, unlike POA, I don’t think it will happen. The election isn’t close enough. They’d never get away with it.
    On the point in contention, this notion that black people in the US would stand for an Obama defeat win he’s been leading in the polls and pretty much everyone knows he is going to win is an opinion unmoored from reality. It supposes that we live in an age totally unlike 20 or 30 years ago; a fantasy world where, for example, one in five black men haven’t been in arrested at some point in their lives. A world where there isn’t a black urban underclass. Blacks still have a great deal to be very, very angry about and seeing their unexpected hope of one of their own occupying the Oval Office dashed by the Usual Suspects will be infuriating beyond belief.
    And, as I said, it won’t just be blacks. There will be a lot of others who will be certain that the election was stolen by the GOP and will be moved to violence because of it. This would have happened in any case; but the precedent of the shenanigans of 2000 has relieved most non-conservatives (and some of them, too) of their naive belief in the integrity of US elections. Very few besides conservatives will believe that an Obama loss is valid.
    Will there be violence on the right for an Obama win? Depends upon what you mean by “violence”. They already mostly expect it, and that’s a different kettle of fish than expecting a sure win and getting a loss. Yeah, there will be many who fear a black President. I don’t know if we’ll see anything notable this week, but I don’t doubt that we’ll see something from the hard right and racists, eventually.
    But, in any case, it’s not racist to suppose that those for whom an Obama win would mean so much would become angry and violent when it’s snatched from them when it seemed so close to hand. Of all ethnic groups, blacks in the US fall within the underclass. The underclass has reason to be angry and resentful. When Obama first began this race, blacks in the US could hardly let themselves believe that he stood a chance at winning. They know that large forces stand against Obama and any black person on the national stage, especially in politics. In living memory they’ve seen their greatest leader shot by a white racist. But, perhaps even more to their surprise than anyone’s (because of their fear of disappointment and heartbreak), Obama seems to have done it. He seems to be on the threshold of being elected President. People are voting for the first time because they believe, they hope. And they will be rightly angry if those hopes are dashed.

    Reply

  8. Scott says:

    You forget about Latinos voting for Obama being racist for not voting for McCain and McCain supporters can not even say they are Republicans because people will think they are crooks. And what about whites who think they are racists who are voting for Obama because this is a free country. And then their are black Muslims who are voting for McCain because they want to destroy America. Then you have white chick students that are voting for Obama for only one reason. And there are Jewish people who won’t vote for Obama ’cause he’s a Schvartze but their grandchildren will not vote for McCain because they are not racist. But if all the racists vote for McCain and all the non-racists or repentant racists vote for Obama then some repented racists will have to vote for Obama because they are black, and some racists will vote for McCain because they are Black too. There’s no way around it.

    Reply

  9. John says:

    Hmmm..let’s just take history into account. April 29, 1992. And this will be 10 times worse, because there are so many hopes and dreams tied up in “the One”, and especially since the media has painted Obama as unbeatable, and the only explanation that folks will come up with will be that it was “Stolen” from them. Violence will erupt, and it will be racial violence, pointed at whites, because the biggest racists in this country are African-Americans. The oppression of whites by blacks in our country has reached an all-time high. A white person can’t even say that they a McCain supporter in some places without immediately being called a racist. THAT by DEFINITION is RACISM, because if it’s a black guy that says he is for McCain, he’s simply called ignorant etc…not racist. Or how about blacks voting for Obama because he is black…oh no, that’s racism too.

    Reply

  10. Bauldvin says:

    Merde, si Obama est de la perdu, ensuite je vais au France d’habiter tout de suite apres je brule un voiture ou deux ! Adieu.

    Reply

  11. Arizona says:

    All sorts of people rioted in L.A. during the 1992 riots. Once it
    got started nothing could stop it — it was like a shark feeding
    frenzy.
    The looting, the violence, the arson, was something to behold,
    but not pleasant, especially if you were living in it. It was tragic
    because many of the places attacked were neighborhood
    businesses owned by people who’d struggled all their lives to
    have some kind of place to build their dreams on, and often
    couldn’t afford enough insurance to rebuild.
    And the L.A. 1992 riots did make people reluctant to rebuild in
    places like South Central L.A. There was a mob frenzy and
    mentality, and people, even law-abiding citizens, went crazy.
    I don’t think that Steve is saying that African-Americans have a
    greater propensity for violence. I do agree with Steve that the
    results of this election might lead to violence no matter who
    wins.

    Reply

  12. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    I don’t put anything past the Repugnicans…John Bolton is probably rounding up another bunch of thugs to go pound on doors again…and then there’s the old provacateur bit to cause a riot in case one doesn’t arise on its own…..If Demz suffer another stolen election, they can take the blame for being too goddamned chickenshit to hold the criminals in their midst accountable. To each his own karma..
    inthemoney…Naomi Wolf is not an idiot…read the fine print in the MCA and the Defense Authorization Act or don’t you bother with the fine print? Check out NorthCom while you’re at it, too… but maybe being inthemoney, you have people to do the work for you?

    Reply

  13. Steve Hunt says:

    Having worked in downtown OKC during the bombing, I feel pretty confident that an Obama presidency will launch numerous seances for Timothy McVeigh.

    Reply

  14. T says:

    There will be no violence however outrageous the outcome may be. Everyone will be occupied with their screens looking for reports of violence but there will be none except towards your keyboards, clickers, and mouses. We are all spectators now.
    If Obama loses, maybe a few thousand old folks in their fifties and sixties will sporadically “protest” to relive their youths, but nothing more pathetic than that. Malaise, that’s all, the general malaise of the beaten down.
    And as for any civil disobedience, the Left will be in disarray and unable, as usual, to act in concert to do anything meaningful to harm “the System.” Life goes on, same as it ever was.
    Hillary 2012 is the last hope.

    Reply

  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Of course there will be violence if Obama loses. Its a given. And it will play right into the hands of these criminal bastards that have been wiping their asses with our Constitution these last eight years. And it will also reinforce the subconconsious justifications this nation has harbored for two centuries that bigots use to categorise the blacks into a lower level of humanity than us whites.
    I don’t understand the “if” part of this posting. Are there really readers of this blog that are so ridiculously naive that they think the effort to steal this election isn’t already ongoing? You can’t fail to repair a broken and corrupt process, then expect it to heal itself. Accountability has not been exacted for the blatant crimes committed by this Administration. So why not steal it? We’ve shown these pieces of shit that we will submissively turn our heads as they hold themselves above the law. What, all the sudden we think that because they have gotten away with it twice, they won’t do it a third time? Jesus Christ, people, cruise on over to TPMuckraker and take a gander at what is already being uncovered as far as suppression efforts go. If you don’t think this election is going to rival the clusterfucks of 2000 and 2004, than you just aren’t paying attention.
    Yep, there will be violence, and just like these criminal bastards in Washington, we’ll watch it unfold from the comfort of our living rooms, tsk tsking, as this nation’s oppressed and suppressed once more scream out for an ounce of justice or equality.

    Reply

  16. Plain Joe says:

    Why can’t it be that if Obama loses America is just not ready for a black president? It could be as simple as that. No stolen election, no voter intimidation, nothing but America just not ready for a black president. Then, why the violence? The American electorate will have spoken. Take it in stride and keep on working through the difficulties of race in America. It’s a long road that we may still have a very long ways to go on.
    Peace.

    Reply

  17. Levi says:

    I got it !! We could all default on our mortgages en masse. Crush the system !!
    Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie ………..
    Unless, of course, that’s, …. uh … , un-American.
    Wouldn’t want to be un-American now would we?

    Reply

  18. Sit on Your Hands says:

    The last thing we need if this election is stolen is Liberal violence. Why give them an excuse to exercise their 2nd amendment rights to the fullest extent? We would be falling into their trap branded as Bill Ayers, radicals, Chicago ’68, Chicago 7, commies, pinkos and fags, and we would be back to Nixon’s “Law and Order” as the vigilantees come agunnin’ fer us as per the Hollywood script in the minds of the “Real Americans.” Take it down nice and slow, slow it down to a grinding halt and keep it that way for four years.

    Reply

  19. Sears says:

    ‘ow ’bout if wees jus’ Tar & Feather some folks and ride ’em out on rails. Now that’s some good ole fashioned fun violence. Or we could do some Sons of Liberty actions if this election becomes the last straw of tyranny. Oh, my!

    Reply

  20. Paddy says:

    Why is it that when you think of violence you think of Blacks? I am Irish and think it an insult not to be included. I myself can get pretty damned violent when there is good cause, so don’t give me or my people any short shrift when the subject is violence. As a reminder, the NYC Draft Riots of 1864; we were in good form then, we were!

    Reply

  21. Jack says:

    The base post was not racist, but a valid inquiry given that we’ve had violence for much less. For example, Boston rioted when the Sox won the series and, in other years, Boston rioted when they lost. Going back to the beginning of the 2008 primaries, many blacks were reluctant to vote for Obama because they didn’t think that a black would ever get to the White House. Clearly, Clinton was initially banking on that support. Then, Obama wins the very white Iowa caucuses and suddenly the possibility of a presidential victory is real. I’ve been struck by the joyous tears in pictures of Obama supporters of all races throughout this election. If they feel that Obama’s election was stolen at the poles, some will be really disillusioned and downright pissed. So, its a valid speculation. On the other hand, we’ve seen the vitriol at some of the McCain rallies, and while I don’t see white riots, I can easily imagine some backlash. But, in both cases, I believe that Obama will, as usual, call for a calm and rational response.

    Reply

  22. Abbie says:

    It is anti-American to be non-violent!
    If the election is a fraud we will see who the Real Americans are, and who are Communists!

    Reply

  23. Chris says:

    “I think given current expectation levels if Obama does not win on Tuesday, there will be a lot of violence that erupts. That is no reason for people to support Obama”
    Wow, Steve, way to internalize the Republican argument, “Don’t let black voters’ implicit threats of retaliation for the possibility Republicans would steal *another* election blackmail you into voting for Obama!”
    You do realize that’s what this about, don’t you?

    Reply

  24. Lando says:

    Speaking of violence as the result of this election, Steve, check out this novel of a possible near future:
    Army of the Republic by Stuart Archer Cohen
    http://www.amazon.com/Army-Republic-Stuart-Archer-Cohen/dp/0312383770/

    Reply

  25. rich says:

    Frankly, I’m predicting a much wider margin of victory for Obama than polls currently show.
    How you define ‘landslide’ in these times, I do not know.
    But I will be savoring the moment as George Will desperately minimizes the implications of the results.

    Reply

  26. rich says:

    That’s the problem with hope, Steve.
    It requires people to trust that they will be allowed to vote, and believe that all the votes will be counted.
    So, I agree: there will be some angry voters.
    Because when you break that trust; violate that sacred and defining American principle–there will be justifiable anger. I agree that there may be violence at the polls, because Republicans have this odd problem with their own personal responsibility to the rest of us when it comes to allowing Americans to vote and counting those votes.
    If we have a repeat of 2000 or 2004, there will be angry and violent confrontations where ever people are unlawfully denied the right to vote. And rightly so. (Why? skip to below.)
    But NOT by ‘inexperienced’ voters–read black, uneducated, poor, nonparticipatory, or wage-slave. It’ll be everybody else who’ll be so pissed off they could just spit.
    If Barack Obama loses, it’ll be because the Bush-GOP axis uses manipulation of electronic voting machines, physically prevents eligible Americans from voting, or just declares martial law outright. I’ll believe the election’s legitimate when it goes off smoothly and without any shenanigans.
    I do think there’s some racism in the expectation of violence expressed. There doesn’t seem to be any demand that the system work as designed, as defined by law. That’s an obligation, to us, white and black.
    Who’s shown more restraint in the face of violence? Black men and women and children, in Birmingham under the firehoses and Raleigh at the lunch counters, at the bridge in Selma, and at voting booths across the south, trying to go to school in Little Rock.
    Blacks have borne the brunt of violence in this country, whether systemic, mob-driven, or vigilante. Don’t tell me blacks are more prone to riot when things don’t go their way. It ain’t true. And ‘lower-class’ blacks? They’re too smart to riot. It’s only when the theft of due process and justice, of birthright, becomes so brutal and so blatant that somebody has to get the point across. It’s incredibly rare, considering.
    So it is disturbing to hear that the specter hanging over this election is the potential for violence by african-americans, rather than the perversion of American law and ideals through the denial of the right to vote and the theft of a Przntl election.
    It’s disturbing because John McCain has overtly and covertly played the race card, insisting that Obama is ‘not like you’, ‘has nothing to do with America as we know it’, or ‘is a Muslim or terrarist’. Couldn’t get McCain to renounce those tactics or put a stop to ’em. John McCain whipped up this frenzy of fear and hate, inciting numerous threats and assaults, basically inviting an more serious incident.
    I don’t see anybody really calling McCain to account for it. Mocking Sarah Palin beats dealing with McCain’s gutter mentality—and that’s dangerous.
    These are Weimar conditions, teetering in who knows what direction. And John McCain thinks playing with fire is a bright idea. But then, he liked sticking the Russian Bear in the eye over Georgia, too.
    Why should we all be angry? Because the legal structure for adjudication these things has an indefensibly Alice-in-Wonderland quality. Actually counting votes is subordinated to getting the results to DC on a certain date b/c of the travel time required by Pony Express–according to SCOTUS (’00). That’s freakin insane. It’s twisted in every sense of the word. It’s preferable to have elderly white ladies stand in line for 14 hours than bring the two dozen voting machines mis-delivered to suburban precincts back to the city where htey belong. But, best to “stop crying in your teacups” (Kerry) than fight em to win. (’04)
    Thing is, no one’s rioting. And it’s white, experienced voters who’re (also) getting arbitrarily stomped and tazered and tear-gassed merely for exercising their creator-endowed liberties (St. Paul, MN ’08). We’re all subject to that abuse of power.
    There’s little to no risk the underclass will riot when ‘disappointed’. The data indicates that institutionalized violence and perversion of the rule of law goes unanswered for years, and decades, until finally the crimes of those in uniform and holding office meet real resistance, civil or otherwise. Either we have a Bill of Rights, or we don’t. Either we have the ability to vote, or we don’t have a country or a democracy. Nothing that happens on election day can ever justify martial law. Not a damn thing can make that ok.
    Now isn’t the time to fret about the social etiquette of those rightly objecting to what would be the theft of our country, the completion of a murder of our birthright.

    Reply

  27. Hipocrits!! says:

    ALL YOU FOLKS ARE PATHETIC! Listen to you all. Not one of you who are slapping Steve around are making sense. Least I point out that all of the name calling is being done by OBAMA supporters?
    Let me remind you that the DEMOCRATS have controlled the senate for over two years now! If the republicans were so BAD then why didn’t the DEMS vote in the first “Bail Out” plan? They had the majority. You folks all need to do you homework!
    BOTH CANDIDATES SUCK. If OBAMA is the answer then the question was STUPID and if McCain is the best the REP can do this country is in a SAD STATE!

    Reply

  28. Carroll says:

    Violence has it’s place, despite what we would all like to think and what we all say to seem reasonable and to appear to be ‘civilized’.
    But we aren’t ‘civilized’ really, we are just cowardly and selfish.
    In the face of our government bringing us a war of lies, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people, looting our own nation as well as others, making torture acceptable US behavior…. we have been so ‘civilized’ we have done ..exactly nothing…except ‘peaceful’ protest..which made no difference whatsoever.
    And we call this civilized?..because we didn’t get violent over these things. I think NOT. Doing nothing about all this is about as uncivilized as you can get. The most civilized people I have seen are the ones who keep invading congress to protest and keep getting thrown out and arrested by order of their “representatives’ of the people.
    Government and it’s minons and political parasite circut want us to believe first and foremost that there is no such thing as actual truth, That there are only ‘differences in opinions’. Think about that…there is no such thing as Truth.
    And of course secondly, we must believe that violence by the people is unacceptable…that only the government is allowed to commit violence.
    Just listen to them, all of them,…when they talk about this or that conflict or this or that US interest they do so as if it involves no lives, no blood, no morality, no hard earned treasure..it’s all just politics…or even better yet ‘policy’…yep ‘policy ‘ is the magic word…as long as they can talkie talkie endless on ‘policy’ they think we don’t see that behind their eternal idiotic black is white babbling they have no souls, they sold them for whatever position or office it is they are talking from.
    A simple truth ever arrived at or uttered in their endless ‘debates’ would force them to a conclusion on an issue and end their “debates” and that would be like sunlight on a vampire to the political ‘debaters’. Therefore no truth must ever be recongized.
    Actually all you can do when violence becomes a last resort as it has thruout history, is join the fight to fight for your convictions.
    James Madison had it right…..” I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
    As always…Burn Washington to the Ground and Start Over. That is my political position and I’am sticking to it no matter who wins the Presidency unless and until I see concrete proof of CHANGE..the political jingoism of this election.

    Reply

  29. Arun says:

    If the election is seen as stolen – e.g., by polls closing even when
    people are still waiting in line; poll machines broken, McCain
    overtaking Obama in states where Obama not only leads in the
    polls but was trending upwards – then there will be protests.
    Whether these protests turn violent or not depends – it takes two
    hands to clap.
    There are a handful of scenarios – see fivethirtyeight.com – where
    McCain has a plausible legitimate victory. In that case, I doubt
    anything untoward will happen.
    Anyway, this counts as another pathetic washingtonnote post.

    Reply

  30. fencesitter says:

    What if this black violence you alluding to is really being counted on by the current administration? What if the goal is not to steal the election, but to cancel it by creating chaos.
    If that happens, god forbid, I hope that cool heads especially on Obama side prevail. If that ever happens, USA will be at a stand still because you’ll see maasive sit in and country wide general strike. In that environment Bush/Cheney will not be able to govern period.

    Reply

  31. thetruth says:

    Yeah, them crazy black folks sure do lose their heads when they don’t get what they want. Guess we should of never given them the vote, huh Steve? We’d all be better off without them irrational negroes getting violent when things don’t go their way.
    You know, because the history of political violence in our country isn’t a history of political violence being comitted by conservatives/Republicans…
    Fucking pathetic Steve. Really fucking pathetic.

    Reply

  32. annjell says:

    Dan, you are 100% correct.
    As far as the poster prior to your, Michelle, was born in Jamaica.
    There has been speculation in the past, that sometimes the police tend to flame the fires – the Illegal immigrant marches in L.A., the L.A. Riots.
    don’t get me wrong, I am not criticizing anyone. But, maybe people should start talking to people from these type of neighborhoods. Example, everyone thought Snoop Dogg was very dangerous, now, Hollywood loves him.
    Ice Cube, everyone thought he was dangerous, now, Hollywood loves him.
    Flavor Flav, everyone thought he was dangerous, especially when he was with Pulic Enemy, now, Hollywood loves him.
    It would be nice for a change if people stop judging a book by its cover.

    Reply

  33. Dan Kervick says:

    I think it extremely irresponsible for Steve to engage in this sort of public speculation.

    Reply

  34. Tahoe Editor says:

    This is the downside of the blogosphere — half-baked ideas getting too much play, engendering reluctant, overqualified regret too long after the fact.
    This is a careless and irresponsible slip from a True Believerâ„¢, akin to Michelle Bernard when she said during the primaries, “There will be race riots if Obama doesn’t get the nomination.” Susan Estrich recently fell into a similar trap, going with the headline, “Nothing But Racism Can Stop Obama” or some such nonsense. Seeing Susan go this route was very disappointing, but everyone has a brain fart now and then (Erica Jong being a full gasbag these days).
    “John S.” is of the wide-eyed school that believes Obama’s nomination really was the first step toward stopping the rise of the oceans. “I will stop climate change,” The One has said. For “John S,” this is Changeâ„¢ He Can Believeâ„¢ In. I, for one, don’t think there is anything Obama can do to stop any potential violence. All hat, no cattle.
    Obama pledged to “bankrupt” the coal industry in a January interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. Voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio and the Virginias are just learning of this today. Combine that with new GOP ads in Pennsylvania asking why Obama “never complained” about 20 years worth of the Rev. Right’s racist, grievance-mongering sermons and Obama’s confession to the San Francisco Set that he thinks Pennsylvanians are “bitter” and cling to Gods and guns and xenophobia.
    Watch the Keystone State Tuesday. Look for Philadelphia — the City of Brotherly Love — to be a hot spot. There is no early voting in Pennsylvania.
    Toni Morrison did a brilliant interview on race & the race with the BBC’s Newsnight. Her every word should be pondered indefinitely.

    Reply

  35. John says:

    Steve,
    With all respect as I don’t think you meant the
    post in the way it came across and was written. I
    believe you have a legitimate fear that there will
    be violence on the streets if Obama loses. That
    being said the way you posit your thesis is
    offensive. No one in this string is baiting you.
    FYI: Chicago Police think there will be violence
    either way.
    “As police and secret service agents lock down
    Chicago’s city centre for what could be Barack
    Obama’s presidential party, many fear the event
    will be marred by gang violence.”
    http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/US-Elections-
    2008/Chicago-Gang-Violence-Could-Mar-Barack-Obama-
    Victory-Party/Article/200811115140438

    Reply

  36. annjell says:

    Franklin, two-thumbs up. I think your post was more rational.
    What I fail to understand is how people watch blacks so closely, that they fail to recognize the real hidden dangers. Go figure!
    There were only two recent cases that come to mind that remind me of blacks doing something awful – DC sniper, and the SLA (with Patty Hearst).
    I think that people need to wake up. If anything happens, it may not be linked to blacks.
    We have a lot of foreigners on our soil, they hate America, they do not want to assimilate, furthermore, they say they will keep the culture and traditions they had.
    For example, we now have honor killings here in America.
    Some of the foreign taxi drivers refuse to carry patrons that smell of alcohol.
    Some convenience stores, notice how some of the clerks refused to touch your hand when giving you your change? – they feel Americans are infidels!
    Some of the doctors refusing to fill birth control prescriptions.
    Some may be your neighbors, and you don’t know them – they won’t speak to you, nor introduce themselves to you. **remember the 9-11 bombers – no one noticed them.
    Illegal immigrants from all over the world – commit a crime (sometimes murder) and leave the country, to never receive a day in prison.
    ****I guess Steve won’t respond to this either. For some reason, even when I address him, he doesn’t respond to any of my post. I’m not mad at you!

    Reply

  37. Steve says:

    I did not take the bait, Steve.

    Reply

  38. inthemoney says:

    First, for those of you who don’t like Steve’s post on this, I suggest that you return to your respective echo chambers (either Kos or Hannity).
    Second, anybody who has spent any time with Naomi Wolf knows that she is an idiot. It’s a real wonder why Shipley married her.

    Reply

  39. Anon says:

    … If Obama loses it will spark the second American Civil War. Blood will run in the streets, believe me. And it’s not a coincidence that President Bush recalled soldiers from Iraq for Dick Cheney to lead against American citizens in the streets… Bush has transformed America into a police state, from torture to the imprisonment of reporters, to the Patriot Act …”
    – Erica Jong , to a national Italian newspaper…

    Reply

  40. john says:

    First John Here. I agree with Matt Stoler (post
    and conversation he had with you). I know you keep
    saying you stand by your post – but you really
    shouldn’t. Is your thesis that there will be
    violence like (Rodney King Riots) or (Post-MLK-
    Assassination Riots) within Black communities
    across the country if Obama were to lose? And if
    this were to happen it would be a sign of
    immaturity? That’s your thesis?
    Well 1. Matt is right – this is just a ploy to get
    huge police presences at polling stations in poor
    communities. Reagan did it, Bush did it, it’s
    insane. Happens all the time.
    2. Obama is the RFK here – he would be able to
    squash any riot that would occur. And I don’t
    think there would be.
    One more thing. There is a difference between
    racist cops beating someone to a bloody pulp or a
    rogue white assassin killing MLK – that violence
    was a response to the worst kind of violence. If
    Obama loses – it will be for one of two reasons 1.
    The election is stolen 2. People think Obama is
    going to win and don’t vote (complacency).
    If you want to discuss real violence or threats
    post-election. We should be concerned about
    Obama’s security, his family’s. Black people,
    Muslims, Arab-Americans, etc… What was uncovered
    last week will pale in comparison. Do not under
    estimate the neo-nazi and racist groups in this
    country. The violence – the real violence will
    occur if Obama wins. If he loses all you will get
    is a few marches and a lot of people who will
    never vote again!
    Steve, I think you need to reconsider. Especially
    the wording of your post. You need to clarify your
    thinking in a top-level post. Your readers deserve
    better.

    Reply

  41. JohnH says:

    More threatening than violence, which would be localized, is a financial meltdown triggered by a disputed election result. The markets need to have the election settled once and for all, uncertainty being akin to the plague.
    Given Obama’s overwhelming lead in the polls and the very high expectation of his winning, McCain would do well to put country first, follow Gore and Kerry’s lead, and concede early, very early on Tuesday evening.

    Reply

  42. Franklin says:

    Steve,
    I’d be curious to know what the basis is for that supposition.
    If there is a perception that the election is stolen — if there is in fact intimidation at the polls, then yes, I would expect there to be some angry people.
    I do not think an Obama loss in and of itself would result in that kind of anger.
    On the other hand, before Al Qaeda struck on U.S. soil I recall during the Clinton years that acts of domestic terrorism were launched by individuals and groups associated with the far-right — e.g. abortion clinic bombings; the Atlanta Olympic bombing; Oklahoma City bombing.
    More than anger over disappointed expectations, I think that the rhetoric on the far-right — including on outlets like Fox News and right-wing radio which propagate and invite extreme rhetoric e.g. often repeating explosive charges like “socialist” “Communist” and “paling around with terrorists” and different variations of “America hater” — are more likely to fan the flames of hatred and give license to violence on the part of the far right in the event of an Obama victory.
    Already just a few months ago, we had some lunatic in Tennessee who was a big fan of O’Reilly and Michael Savage, going into a Church on Sunday and shooting up a parish because the pastor was deemed “too liberal”.
    Just last week the ATF interrupted a skinhead plot involving a couple crazy far-right kids in Tennessee/Arkansas who planned to target a local school.
    More than dashed expectations, I worry about the kind of inflammatory rhetoric that has surrounded the McCain-Palin campaign over the past couple months.

    Reply

  43. annjell says:

    Troy, interesting. Love you comments.
    I agree with you and Steve. The thing is, people are under such dire straights, no one knows what the outcome will be.
    More importantly, I think the Right tend to underestimate the American people.
    They believe that all Americans are dumb (illiterate). But, that’s nothing new, so do foreigners. “Stupid American, dumb American,” is what you hear in the U.S. and abroad.
    They have no clue what’s going on in the ghettos, inner city. They are scared to enter such neighborhoods. I don’t blame them, because there are some neighborhoods I wouldn’t dare go in. And of course, there are neighborhoods the police don’t go in, because people shoot at the police.
    However, time will tell. All we can do is hope for calm and hope all goes well.
    But then, who knows, since they have left the borders open, and more and more people have access to drugs, maybe that’s what they are hoping for. People to be so stoned out of their minds that they won’t know what hit them.

    Reply

  44. Troy says:

    Wow. Stand by your comments all you want. This post is nutty and pathetic. What “violence in politics” are you talking about? Do you think this country reacts to politics like France? You have no facts to go on. If Obama loses, the only violence you’ll see is a continuation of the violence the Iraqis have had to suffer with for the past 5 years due to the ineptness of the Bush administration.

    Reply

  45. annjell says:

    I’m not sure if there would be any violence. However, there’s a possibility.
    When you take into account what has happened over the past eight years. 1)job losses, 2)natural disasters (little to no assistance from the government), 3) higher-than-average gas prices 4)foreclosures, 5)wars in Irag and Afghanistan, 6)stolen election from 2000, 7)tainted/poisoned food & toys (FDA have been ineffective), 8)identity theft have been the highest (credit, employment), 9)unemployment & homeless is at unprecendented – historic levels…
    A word of caution – I hope this is not what is expected to happen. In fact, I would hate to be a part of law enforcement at this time – it’s a well known fact, that some of the citizens, residents of this country have far greater firearms/firepower than our law enforcement personnel.
    A perfect example, the North Hollywood shoot-out.

    Reply

  46. Steve Clemons says:

    Arizona, I too was in the middle of those riots. I had an office in ARCO Plaza then and ended up spending the night at the New Otani Hotel in Little Tokyo. I was there with former Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu and his wife (we cancelled a dinner for 600 because of what was going on) and saw a large brick come crashing through the lobby window…so we stayed in.
    The second night, as you may recall, the fires, looting, and violence were not in the downtown area but spread through out the Los Angeles basin…
    best, steve clemons

    Reply

  47. Arizona says:

    I was living in L.A. during the riots of 1992, and experienced
    first-hand what angry mobs can do, even to the people who had
    nothing to do with the catalyzing event, like the Korean-
    American small business owners in L.A., some of whose
    businesses were attacked ferociously.
    If Obama “loses,” with such a relatively clear advantage in the
    electoral college, I can see those riots happening on a national
    scale.
    And call me racist (which I’m not — I can see very clearly that
    racism is alive and sadly well in this country) but I can see it
    starting with disenfranchised African-American voters,
    especially young, perhaps first-time voters, who were pinning
    their hopes on an Obama victory.
    On the other hand, I went to an anti-war rally that was centered
    around a speech by Dauphin Bush to some of his largest donors.
    I was surrounded and physically attacked by Bush supporters. I
    was only carrying a sign that said that “Support our troops by
    bringing them home.”
    We were too scared to put “Impeachment is Patriotic” stickers on
    our cars because of the pro-Bush thugs.
    I guess we’re going to see soon how this all goes down. But, for
    one thing, I think that the Democrats should be careful what
    they wish for — they will inherit a mess, and it’s guaranteed
    that four years from now they will be blamed for it by the GOP.

    Reply

  48. Michael M says:

    We should be worried most about ‘violence’ between the election and the inauguration by those who have brought it to us for the last eight years–the Bush/Cheney administration. They continue to control the means to blow up Iran.
    Who among you believes they will trust an Obama administration to make these decisions when this ‘proven’ administration still has the opportunity to do so?

    Reply

  49. MarkL says:

    In 2000, the Republicans engaged in violence when Gore won Florida, intimidating public servants who were counting votes. Their violence was one factor which allowed the GOP putsch to succeed.
    I remember reading before that election that the Republicans had thought Gore might win the electoral vote while losing the popular vote, and were planning nationwide demonstrations in that event.
    Please, this is ridiculous speculation. Nothing in the Obama campaign is encouraging violence.
    I wish I could say the same about McCain and Palin.

    Reply

  50. Bartolo says:

    A third straight stolen/grifted election would be hard to take.

    Reply

  51. Steve Clemons says:

    Just had an interesting talk with Matt Stoller — interrupted by the lousy AT&T signal while on the train from New Haven to DC.
    Stoller will write about this, probably at OpenLeft.com — but he shared with me something that I didn’t know: that there are many projecting a rise of the “black hordes” as a reason to justify police deployments, etc.
    Stoller’s view is that the organized police actions available to the “powerful” intimidate and undermine any serious effort by the oppressed to revolt or cause real damage.
    I’m not sure if I fully agree with the conclusion that Matt draws that there probably wouldn’t be significant reactionary violence if Obama lost the election — and i don’t think that this thesis will be tested. However, a conversation I had yesterday in New Haven followed by the Washington Post article that didnt consider this set of issues motivated my blog post.
    But I think Matt Stoller is mostly right about the powerful vs. the weak in normal circumstances. He thinks that if Obama lost, there would be an outcry around the nation but that a Constitutionally acceptable challenge would be made — rather than a violent one.
    Perhaps….but it’s an interesting discussion and I’ve learned a bit from the two Johns, Matt Stoller, and others above.
    More later,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  52. arthurdecco says:

    Hapless John McCain and his witless, bigoted running mate don’t have a chance in hell of winning this election and everyone knows it. Look at the number of rats and other assorted right wing vermin jumping off the Republican ship of state if you doubt me.
    The only conceivable reason that Senator Obama will not win the upcoming election by a landslide will be if the Republicans steal or “dissappear” millions and millions of the votes intended for him and his party’s representatives. There is simply no way for them to lose if the election is even close to being fair and honest.
    But if, in spite of that fact, we are told by the scum-sucking MSM pundits that he has lost by late Tuesday night, I can’t see how it would be possible to suppress the righteous anger of his supporters after they already have sucked up the 3rd world/banana republic election results of the past two presidential elections. There will be an outpouring of rage the likes that America hasn’t seen since the 30’s. & IMO, in a perfect world, the organs of power that bring that lying message to the people should be the first targeted for mayhem by the legitimate rage of the people.
    In the unlikely event that the Senator and the party he leads do not “officially” win the election on Tuesday, it will be time for a million person blockade of the Capitol and a nation-wide strike – time to grind the business of government to a halt until the reins of power are removed from the white-knuckle grip of the criminals now in charge.
    The US was formed by revolution and may need to be renewed by the same thing. Gawd knows accepting the status quo’s desire for incremental adjustments as a recipe for change hasn’t worked.
    As Carroll has suggested many times – it may be time to burn Washington to the ground and rebuild your democracy from the foundation up if they try to steal another election away from the wishes of the citizenry.

    Reply

  53. John S. says:

    Different John here from the original commenter.
    Steve, I don’t know. While there may be the desire by some to go out and respond violently, I think you underestimate Obama’s ability to stop it. If there’s any politician that could limit that threat, its Obama. I’m more worried about the GOP side. However their violence won’t be large riots it will be lone Eric Rudolph, McVeigh type nutcases who in 8-10 months start blowing things up.
    The important thing is whether the election is seen as fair. And its amazing to think in 2008 we have to have a discussion about making sure the election is fair — what are we Zimbabwe?
    I think if there are the shenanigans that we saw in 2000 and 2004, the response from the democratic side will be very different from what has been seen in the past. I don’t worry about violence but I do think there will be marches and protests that will poison a McCain presidency and really paralyze the country for a while. I’m a 40 something professional with a good job– certainly no wild-eyed kid– but if the will of the people is short circuited by partisan state officials, lawyers and the courts like it was in 2000. I’m marching!
    That’s why I think one of the best things Obama could do if he wins is appoint a bi-partisan blue ribbon commission on Election Reform. Tackle not only issues like voting machine security and ballot standards, but also tackle this “voter fraud” issue the Republicans seem to be convinced is threatening the country. The United States of America above any other country should set the standard for the world in how to run an election fairly.
    Are you hearing any talk in the DC circles about confronting this Election Integrity issue after the new administration comes in?

    Reply

  54. Michael says:

    Given the results seen after a World Series victory or a Super Bowl victory, isn’t some violence to be expected even if Obama wins, as in ‘irrational exuberance?’

    Reply

  55. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Naomi Wolf has been warning of impending Martial Law because of the quiet deployment of US Troops within the country, in expectation of violence over the elections. I posted the link to her article a while back, but can’t remember which thread… I think her piece was on BuzzFlash.com.

    Reply

  56. Steve Clemons says:

    I dont agree Matt. This is not a normal election. I stand by what I wrote — though as I wrote above, I hope that my thesis is not tested.

    Reply

  57. Matt Stoller says:

    This is absurd and offensive. The only ones with a history of violence in elections are white Republicans.

    Reply

  58. Steve Clemons says:

    thanks john — i respect your comment. i’m not talking about fake violence or the contrived drama of that pittsburgh girl. I am ‘speculating’ on what dashed expectations means for many who believe obama will win — and should win — and who they are supporting in their first effort at political choice and participation.
    no racist comment intended. and frankly, i very much hope that my thesis is not tested. i want obama and his team to work very hard until the last moment of this campaign. . .no stopping or yielding until across the finish line.
    but that said, I think obama will win — and many believe and expect that he will. if he didn’t, many would not believe that fair elections were held — and after 2000 with Gore and 2004 with Kerry, I think we’d see violence.
    That’s my view. nothing racist about it….I was just surprised that the Washington Post piece didn’t think about what the prospect of dashed hopes on the obama side of the ledger might look like more fully.
    on the question of republicans and violence…i can only plead that I see basically where you are coming from but consider that kind of activity different than I am discussing. the war in iraq had the complicity of people on both sides of the aisle.
    in any case, thanks for your note — but my comment was not meant to be or seem racist….just an observation of realities i’m sensing from people I speak to.
    later. . .Steve Clemons

    Reply

  59. john says:

    McCain Win “could see violence”
    Obama Win “there will be a lot of violence that
    erupts”
    Sorry Steve, but I think this stinks of racism.
    Obama supporters are not faking attacks
    (Pittsburgh carved B girl), planning assassinations, praying for the Arab/Muslim Obama
    to die, showing up at rally’s spewing hate,
    racist, and horrible comments. The violence of the
    McCain campaign has been ongoing. The violence of
    the Republican party has been ongoing. Whether it
    be violence in Iraq or violence in Texas — When
    this is all over we should all be worried about
    the violence from the republicans and McCain
    supporters – that’s it.

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *