Will rioting and looting happen regardless of who wins the election?


Fact Box

  • Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Most states require mail-in-ballots to be postmarked by November 3, but states do vary in deadlines.
  • The latest polls on November 2 predict Joe Biden to win the election with 252 Democratic votes and Donald Trump with 125 Republican votes. 
  • On Friday, many cities across the United States started to prepare for violence in light of the election. The National Guard has been set up for “activation” in some states. Shops have been boarded up. Groups across the US have been preparing for protests, like Black Lives Matter, Shutdown DC, right-wing, and left-wing groups. 
  • Experts in global conflict are warning that the tensions in the US are “ripe” for civil unrest and violence.

Stephanie (Yes)

America can expect rioting and looting regardless of who wins the 2020 presidential election due to the current high tensions and the possibility that we may not know the election results tonight. Others may find a reason to become violent based on disagreeing with the outcome or out of celebration for it. Civil unrest could also be the result of this year's frustrations.

Civil outrage culminating in riots and violent protests has, unfortunately, been encouraged this year. Some politicians have supported rioting for activists seeking 'justice.' Most notably, Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris provided this commentary: 'This is a movement […] they're not going to let up, and they should not, we should not.' While some have argued this type of support does not necessarily condone violent rioting, many recent protests have been anything but peaceful.

It is also fair that local businesses want to protect themselves and have been doing so by boarding up storefronts. However, the act of visibly preparing for this wave of civil violence arguably encourages potential rioting and looting by bracing for it to occur.

Due to high tensions, it's expected that if rioting happens, both parties will be involved. It's predicted Democrats will be the ones to incite violence, especially if President Trump is re-elected. However, it is naïve to think Republicans will not join the fight if it becomes intense enough or if potential voter fraud is uncovered. Many on the Right expressing their strategy: stockpiling guns and ammo for self-defense. In either case, it is speculated that 'whichever group might take to the streets on Tuesday night will be filled largely with law-abiding Americans who merely want to make their voices heard.'

Bill (No)

Post-election rioting and looting should not be a problem if Biden wins. One of the key reasons voters back Trump, however, is because of his strong support of the police and belief in law and order. Violent post-election riots run counter to Republican philosophy, so the risk is low Trump voters would react in this way should he win. In contrast, opposition groups like are planning to ”wreak havoc in the streets of Washington” if Trump should win.

Sadly, this trend of using violent riots, destruction, and looting is commonplace since late May 2020, and are typically organized, instigated and led by leftist groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter. The protests are fueled by perceived grievances against the status quo and capitalism. Trump represents both of these concepts, so it’s not a shock his re-election would spark a new round of riots, looting, destruction, and mayhem from those groups who oppose him.

Moreover, 2020’s violent protests have all taken place in Democrat-controlled urban areas (Portland, Seattle, Philadelphia, New York City, etc.) and have been met with encouragement and/or indifference by the Democrat Mayors and Governors. The Democrat politicians have been resistant to enforce and maintain law and order for fear of turning away key factions of their coalition of special interest groups. Regrettably, it serves their interests to stoke fears of racism and foment civil unrest.

Trump supporters may be enthusiastic for his re-election prospects and vigilant defenders of their individual rights, but they are not anarchists. Their patriotism and belief in American values would prevent them from intentionally harming the country they love or fellow citizens. If Trump loses, ”his voters get on with their lives.”

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