The Threat of Violence
Author: Greg Valliere
November 2, 2020
TO OUR ASTONISHMENT, the threat of post-election violence has been a dominant topic in virtually every investor briefing we’ve done this fall. We’ve been outspoken for months about the threat of a disputed election, but we’ve never raised the topic of violence — until now.
DRIVING THROUGH DOWNTOWN WASHINGTON this weekend, we were stunned to see much of the city boarded up. The same is true in many cities, all fearing riots. There was more violence and looting by radicals in Portland, Ore. this weekend, and Donald Trump supporters blocked highways and surrounded Joe Biden busses.
IN A COUNTRY THIS ANGRY — AND ARMED TO THE TEETH — we worry that an inconclusive election could unleash conflict. Officials in Pennsylvania have stated that it will take days before they can produce final results; if the election is not resolved during this period, protests could turn violent.
TRUMP COMPLIMENTED the Texas highway vigilantes, and he has made it clear that a close (or delayed) election result will lead to litigation that might have to be resolved by his Supreme Court. And he strayed off message last night, threatening to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, once again stepping on Trump’s persuasive message of low taxes and better economic growth.
A DECISIVE VICTORY BY EITHER CANDIDATE would greatly lessen the likelihood of violent clashes, but it appears that the Electoral College result will be narrow. Democrats who were predicting a comfortable victory just a week ago were surprised by Saturday’s Iowa poll showing Trump well ahead, and their hopes for a Trump defeat in Florida have encountered a lukewarm mood among Hispanic and African American voters.
WE’LL MAKE A FINAL ELECTION PREDICTION TOMORROW: A narrow Biden victory still looks like the best bet, but even without Pennsylvania, if Trump wins Florida, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona — and a surprise state like Minnesota — he would have a clear path to 270 votes. Even if he falls just short, the courts could play a role.
LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES are bracing for the worst, fearing protests that could get out of control. We never thought it would come to this, but seeing downtown Washington boarded up this weekend was chilling. All leaders will appeal for calm, won’t they?
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