D-day for American democracy as businesses brace for violence in most divisive election
London, Nov. 3, 2020 (AltAfrica)-WILL Donald Trump continue his divisive reign as United States president or will he be trumped by Joe Biden?
If all goes smoothly, the big question will be answered later tonight as US citizens go to the polls to elect their 46th president in the most divisive election in American history
Americans are bracing for an election day unlike any in US history, shadowed by threats of manipulation and violence, stoking fears that democracy itself is at stake when the polls close on Tuesday night.
It marks the end of a campaign that has been unprecedented in many ways. More than 94 million Americans had already cast their ballots by Monday, a record for early voting, in the midst of a pandemic. It was equivalent to 70% of the 2016 turnout even before election day dawned.
A poll by USA Today and Suffolk University found that three out of four voters were worried about possible violence, with only a quarter of the electorate “very confident” there would be a peaceful transfer of power if the Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, won the election
Unlike before, businesses across America are boarding up their windows ahead of potential chaos following today’s election as special police units prepare to tackle looters and rioters and foreign governments warn people not to visit the US for fear of civil unrest.
In cities all over the country on Monday, retailers, offices and art galleries were putting plywood on their windows to protect their inventory ahead of tomorrow night’s election and the mayhem it might spark, no matter which candidate wins.
While many offices remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a small number of doctors and dentists offices are quietly telling patients that they will close on November 4.
Small retailers are ‘scared’ of the potential looting but are ‘more scared’ of another lockdown so are choosing to stay open for the meantime, risking their inventory, insiders say.
Even the White House is taking added precautions. A large fence was erected on Monday as a last minute effortto keep crowds out.
Canada and Australia are telling citizens to avoid parts of the US where there are demonstrations for fear of potential violence, even though travel from both countries is currently banned due to the pandemic
Despite Mayor Bill de Blasio claiming on Monday morning that there was no specific threat, the NYPD’s elite Strategic Response Group – which consists of a group of 600 cops on bikes – is preparing ‘for the worst’.
‘We’re hoping for the best this week but we’re prepared for the worst. People have gotten emboldened out there
‘We’re living through unprecedented times.
‘But we’re prepared for whatever might happen,’ Deputy Chief John J. D’Adamo, the boss of the unit, told The New York Post this week.
The Sergeants’ Benevolent Association – the largest NYPD union – warned on Twitter that ‘public safety is on the line’.
‘NYC and NYS need a change. Laws are not enforced and violence continues to claim our streets,’ the union said in a tweet as it endorsed Republican Congressional candidate Nicole Malliotakis.
Earlier, the union responded angrily to a tweet from CNN’s Wolf Blitzer who had shared a video of boarded up streets in Washington DC, saying it was something he’d never seen before an election.
‘Maybe if the media told the truth and covered both sides fairly of politics and police involved incidents we would not be dealing with everyday riots.
‘Take a bow Wolf you failed with the rest of the media and now public safety is on the line,’ the union said.
Last week, cops clashed with BLM protesters in Downtown Brooklyn after what was intended to be a peaceful protest turned violent.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is leading in most national and state-level polls one day before Election Day, leaving his supporters cautiously optimistic as they near the finish line.
Polling shows Biden with leads in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — three states that contributed to President Trump’s unexpected victory in 2016. The former vice president is also making inroads in other battlegrounds such as Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Georgia.
The FiveThirtyEight forecasting model gives Biden a 90 percent chance of winning the election, but Democrats say they aren’t relying heavily on the polls, eager to avoid another 2016 scenario where they appeared overconfident. ADVERTISEMENT
Liberal activist Michael Moore warned on Hill.TV last week that Trump’s support is being “undercounted,” saying people should be wary of polls showing Biden with a commanding lead.
Meanwhile, the Trump campaign is putting on a show of optimism, pointing to enthusiasm on the ground for Trump.
Delivering his closing message on the last day of the campaign, Biden repeated his campaign message that the election was a “battle for the soul of the nation”.
“The character of America is literally on the ballot,” he said at a drive-in rally in Cleveland, Ohio. “It’s time to take back our democracy.”
On his final campaign stops, Trump has sought to portray his opponent’s future response to the coronavirus pandemic as a dystopian lockdown that would stifle economic and social life.
“The Biden plan will turn America into a prison state locking you down, while letting the far-left rioters roam free to loot and burn,” he told a rally in Iowa.
The air of apprehension has been deepened by repeated threats from Trump that he would seek to portray all votes not counted by election night as illegitimate. He said “we are going in with our lawyers” as soon as voting closes.
Biden supporters scrambled Monday to rally swing-state voters to drop off ballots, visit precincts in person and ensure their votes were counted.
“Do not put ballots in the mail. Hand-deliver your mail ballot to your county election office, satellite election office or other designated drop box or drop-off location,” Pennsylvania’s top election official, Kathy Boockvar, the Democratic secretary of state, said on Monday. “Do it today. Do not wait.”
Vote-counting routinely continues for days and sometimes weeks after a US election, but the result is usually called by news agencies based on projections from incomplete counts. That is less likely to be possible this time because of the heavy early and postal voting.
It is also normal for there to be multiple legal challenges, but there are fears this year that Republicans will also seek to shut down the vote count physically through the intimidation of polling officials – as they did in Florida in 2000, the last time an election was not decided until weeks after the vote
To be elected president, a candidate must win at least 270 votes in what is called the electoral college. Each US state gets a certain number of votes partly based on its population and there are a total of 538 up for grabs.
This system explains why it is possible for a candidate to win the most votes nationally – like Hillary Clinton did in 2016 – but still lose the election.
Tuesday’s vote comes amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The US has recorded more cases and more deaths than any other country worldwide, reporting more than 81,000 new infections on Sunday alone.
Daily Mail, Guardian UK, BBC