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Nov 4, 20

Brooks Brothers Riot 2.0?: Trump Moves to Stop Votes as His Supporters Hit the Streets

As predicted, an election crisis is unfolding across the so-called United States. It’s Going Down will continue to report on this situation, both here on the site as well as on our podcast. As of Wednesday, the following has occurred:

  • Biden took Arizona, Wisconsin, and Michigan, which is critical.
  • Biden is in the lead in Michigan, with most of the outstanding ballots being absentee votes, early votes and votes from cities; all categories Biden is winning by wide margins.
  • In Pennsylvania, Biden trails by 660,000 votes, as of this morning. But there are over 1 million yet to count still. The majority of those are from the Philadelphia area, which is heavily Democratic, or mail-in ballots, which Biden is carrying by a 20 point margin. If one applies the proportions of votes that each candidate got within those categories to the outstanding ballots, then Biden will carry the state by around 100,000 votes.
  • Georgia is similarly positioned as PA; Biden is trailing, but the “Blue shift” is underway and Biden still has a good chance of winning based on the math.

Essentially, if Trump loses any of these he’s finished as far as the election goes. In response to this reality, Trump, as he said he would, on election night declared victory and proclaimed that the counting of the mail-in ballots must be stopped, as he knew that this would cost him the election.

Since then:

  • Trump has requested a recount in Wisconsin, which is legal, and also opens the door for Trump to contest the outcome.
  • The Trump campaign “filed lawsuits Wednesday in Pennsylvania and Michigan, laying the groundwork for contesting the outcome. Suits in both states are demanding better access for campaign observers to locations where ballots are being processed and counted, the campaign said. The campaign also is seeking to intervene in a Pennsylvania case at the Supreme Court that deals with whether ballots received up to three days after the election can be counted,” the Associated Press reported. In short, Trump is trying to take this to the Supreme Court, which is in theory rule in his favor as the court did in 2000 for George Bush.

  • Trump supporters in Michigan have attempted to disrupt the vote count; rallying outside of polling stations and chanting, “Stop the Count!” This move is similar to the so-called “Brooks Brothers Riot” in 2000, where Roger Stone led Republican operatives in an attack on re-count efforts, which resulted in the count being stopped. In 2018, Stone also mobilized members of the Proud Boys in an attempt to disrupt and intimidate largely African-American efforts to demand a recount during the midterms.

The big question is, now, what does Trump do? He already declared victory last night and demanded the vote count stops. No one is listening to that declaration (especially because he claimed victory in states that he is losing in), but they are likely to start filing lawsuits to stop counts or challenge counts today.

That is where things could end up in a tough situation. Lawsuits will delay the process, fueling the conspiracies on the far-Right, which are already being pushed by Trump, his children, and Trump’s legal team. As these conspiracies are taken up more and more, and as the process drags on, this will make the situation more and more volatile. Alt-Lite groups like Turning Point USA are already calling for demonstrations later this week in Nevada. Trump could then use the volatility to try to, either, get his supporters out into the streets to attack the protests that will start if he tries to shut down the count, or to use conflict to declare an end to the count, and use the Department of Justice (DOJ) as enforcers. Or, Trump could simply declare a State of Insurrection and attempt to deploy the military.

But for Trump’s repression strategies to work, they have to move before demonstrations gain momentum. They tended to be small last night, but with Trump continuing to stop the vote count, it is doubtful that they will stay that way into the weekend and next week, as the crisis continues to play out.

No matter who wins, autonomous anti-capitalists must keep their eyes on growing infrastructure and the capacity and confidence of the exploited and excluded to engage in struggle. More and more, people are becoming disenfranchisement with the two party and electoral college system. In the lead up to the 2020 election, hundreds of thousands of people were removed from the voting rolls; largely in working-class districts of color. Across the country, voter suppression tactics were implemented and the role of the far-Right in attacking anything critical of the current regime has never been more clear. People continue to view the the voting system not as an expression of the ‘will of the people’ but instead a process that can easily be manipulated by the rich and powerful.

Moreover, elites within both corporate parties seem to be settling on the consensus that both Centrist neoliberalism and Trumpism are the defacto positions within the field of current politics and will stay that way for the considerable future. This means that the evolving shift ‘to the Left’ among the broader working-class and among youth once again has no other expression than within the growing social movements. As crisis continues to unfold and the State rushes to contain growing anger with platitudes and repression, the need to build a material force against the current order is greater than ever.

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It’s Going Down is a digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements. Our mission is to provide a resilient platform to publicize and promote revolutionary theory and action.

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