Election politics in the US is a show of the politics the ruling classes in the country pursue. Presidential election politics is at times an apex point of that politics. The entire politics of the dominating classes in the country is a case for study of the bourgeois politics. A careful study of the politics tears down all masks and cloaks the politics puts on to be identified as “free democracy”, “freedom of choice”, etc., the tags a group of the mainstream scholars put on the political system.

This year, the ongoing presidential election politics is not only a show of that politics mentioned above; it also shows some extra phenomena unseen in resent-past elections. These include violence, threat of violence and/or fear of violence, which is use or threat of use of force – coercion, openly. This means the term “free” goes into air, which is withering away of those masks and cloaks.

This withering away, this open coercion is an exhibition of intensified contradictions [1] within the society, which are denying remaining subdued, [2] between classes, [3] within a number of classes, and [4] a failing state of the political apparatuses and arrangements mantled to handle contradictions without open show of violence.

These all show a deteriorating state of the ruling classes, its politics, and of the system that has been set up for its rule. Many, not a few, of the incidents/developments in the ongoing presidential election politics surpass many incidents in similar politics in many Third and Fourth World (TFW) countries. This surpassing is happening in terms of quantity and quality. Moreover, this surpassing is happening not positively, rather, negatively. To put it in a pointblank way, it’s a deteriorated condition compared to many of the TFW countries.

The following media reports selected randomly within a short time from the US on the presidential election show condition of the society and politics there in the US. The reports have been quoted liberally, without any comment, without any distortion, and mostly unabridged. [Quotation marks haven’t been used.]

Americans buying guns and toilet paper

An Aurora, Colorado, October 26, 2020 datelined USA Today (USAT) report said:

Tabitha Converse is quietly preparing for Election Day and the weeks beyond by stocking her basement pantry with canned goods, toilet paper and other basic supplies. She even persuaded her husband to buy a hunting rifle, just in case.

Like millions of Americans, Converse, 43, fears the potential for violence that experts say may accompany this year’s presidential election. A mother of two who works as a dental hygienist, Converse is trying not to worry too much, but with a pandemic, civil rights protests and raging wildfires piled atop the election’s boiling-hot rhetoric, well, who knows what might happen?

Most experts predict scattered violence is the worst the United States could experience this Election Day, given isolated incidents that have already taken place this year. But across the country, Americans like Converse are stocking up and preparing to hunker down to ride out a possible wave of sustained election-related chaos. They are buying guns and ammunition in record numbers and getting ready to peel off political bumper stickers and yank out yard signs to make themselves less of a target in case the other guy wins. Some are fleeing for remote areas or custom-built bunkers.

“It just seemed, well, stupid isn’t the right word, but it doesn’t make sense to be that ill-prepared,” says Converse, a lifelong Republican who voted Democrat in the presidential race for the first time this year. “A civil war? That could last for years. We don’t have years’ worth of supplies and if it went on for years, well, you could always go out and shoot a deer.”

It said:

There is fear that right-wing anti-government extremists responding to the largest civil rights movement in 50 years have now aligned themselves with Trump. After years of growing hate crimes and violence, experts said there is a concern that armed right-wing terrorists might take to the streets if there are delays in election results or an unfavorable outcome, such as Democrat Joe Biden taking the White House.

“Everyone I know is concerned both about voter intimidation at the polls and potential violence as we get results from the election, and sort of what that might look like, not just around the election, but between the election and the inauguration,” says Carolyn Gallaher, a professor at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, D.C., and an expert on extremist violence in the United States.

While the US has a long history of violent protest, from the firebombing and shootings at abortion clinics by anti-abortion extremists to the 25 bombings committed by left-wing Weather Underground terror group opposing the Vietnam War and racism, experts say widespread predictions of election-related violence are unprecedented.

Guns

The report added:

Further fueling potential violence: The staggering number of guns bought this year. According to FBI statistics, gun dealers in June ran more than 3.9 million background checks on purchasers through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System — the highest number ever recorded in a single month.

While background checks are not an exact measure of gun sales, they are a widely used proxy. Gun sellers in the first nine months of 2020 have conducted more checks than they did in all 2019, which held the previous record for a year at 28.3 million.

“The violence will occur either way,” says Gallaher. “If Biden wins, it will be an excuse to try to delegitimize the results and to go after perceived enemies on the left, and of course, that means labeling pretty much anyone that you disagree with Antifa. But I worry, too, if Trump wins, this will be a signal to these far-right groups that have supported him, extremist groups like the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, other groups like this, that they will see this is like open season to go after people that have been opponents of Trump. So even if he wins that, you know, I think the violence is going to happen. It’s going to be sort of opening the door.”

Violent conflicts

The USAT report said:

This summer, human-rights group Amnesty International documented about 200 violent conflicts between protest groups out of approximately 12,000 protests nationally. Of those, most violence occurred when armed right-wing groups showed up to confront otherwise peaceful protests, Amnesty said.

On Friday, the Justice Department announced the arrest of a Texas man, Ivan Hunter, who officials said fired 13 shots from an AK-47 type rifle into a Minneapolis police station overrun and set on fire by Black Lives Matter protesters on the night of May 28.

Federal officials say Hunter, 26, is a member of the “Boogaloo Bois,” a loosely organized anti-government group that includes members who want to start a race war.

As BLM protests spread, Trump at one point called in black-clad federal troops over the wishes of Democratic leaders in Portland, sparking fears among liberals and conservatives over excessive use of force.

Many liberal groups also saw Trump’s decision to tear-gas protesters and then stage a photo-op with a Bible at a Washington, D.C., church this summer as further evidence that he would be quick to deploy government troops post-election.

Trump has repeatedly said several cities with Democratic mayors are going “to hell” and he has warned that more cities will descend into chaos if Biden wins the presidency. The president has also delegitimized the election process by claiming without evidence that voting is rigged and suggesting he will not accept the result if he loses, alarming analysts and experts.

“We’re looking at one of the most profound civil rights movements this country has seen in 50 years and the president of the United States is conflating the Black Lives Movement with politically motivated violence,” says Brian Griffey, an Amnesty International regional researcher and advisor who has worked in Ukraine, Nepal and Kosovo. “Trump himself called Portland worse than Afghanistan. The level of which they’ve been trying to throw fuel on the fire and exacerbate conflicts is incredibly concerning.”

Armed men appear at polling site

A report in The New York Times on October 23, 2020 by Stephanie Saul said:

Law enforcement officials in St. Petersburg, Florida, said Thursday [October 22, 2020] that they would station deputies at five early voting sites as a precaution, the day after two armed men dressed as security guards were seen at a campaign tent outside a polling station.

The men told a law enforcement official that they had been hired by the Trump campaign to provide security, said Deputy Chuck Skipper of the Pinellas County sheriff’s office. But the county sheriff, Bob Gualtieri, said that he had “absolutely no confirmation” that the men were hired by the campaign. The men said they were guards for a Florida-based security company, Gualtieri said.

Thea McDonald, a spokeswoman for President Donald Trump’s campaign, said in a statement, “The campaign did not hire these individuals nor did the campaign direct them to go to the voting location.”

The men’s presence came at a time of tension and fears of unrest at the polls following the Trump campaign’s promise to send “an army” of poll watchers to voting sites. During the first presidential debate, Trump urged supporters to “go into the polls and watch very carefully.”

Gualtieri said that while the men may have made some voters feel uneasy, they had not violated laws.

“All of a sudden two people arrived, they were wearing tan khaki pants, they had on blue polo shirts with a security guard insignia on them,” Gualtieri said. “They were also armed and they were wearing gun belts and they had firearms. That caused some concerns because of the heightened awareness.”

But he added, “Their mere presence does not constitute voter coercion or intimidation. Some people may see these people here and it doesn’t give them a great feeling. On the other side of the coin, it may give others a good feeling, because they feel protected.”

The League of Women Voters immediately expressed concern that the presence of deputies at polling sites could itself deter voters from appearing, noting a history of barriers to voting in St. Petersburg.

“While in intention it is really meant to make voters feel at ease, given the events yesterday, it isn’t necessary for law enforcement officers to be inside polling places,” said Linsey Grove, the organization’s local president.

The head of the security company that employs the men, Syotos, based in Crestview, Florida, attributed the episode on a misunderstanding involving an off-duty employee. “We had an off-duty employee who was picking up a family member who happened to be in the vicinity of a polling location,” the chief executive of Syotos, Trei McMullen, wrote, saying that the employee was “in no way engaging in poll watching.”

An officer with a facemask

In another Florida incident, in Miami-Dade County, state Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle said on Thursday that her office would look into the case of a Miami city police officer who wore a facemask with a profane pro-Trump slogan to an early voting site on Tuesday while in uniform. The department has said that officer, Daniel Ubeda, will be disciplined.

Warning

A National Review report on October 24, 2020 by Max Ledoux said:

“You have been identified by our group as being a Trump supporter.”

Thus begins the text of threatening letters recently sent to homeowners with Trump yard signs in New Hampshire. The letters continue, “We recommend that you check your home insurance policy and make [sure] that it is current and that it has adequate coverage for fire damage. You have been given ‘Fair Warning.’”

The menacing notes are just the latest example of the threats, theft, and electoral shenanigans surrounding the final days of campaign season in New Hampshire, whose elite primary status typically makes it a hub of bare-knuckle politics early in the season — but not as much in the fall, despite its battleground stripes.

Not so in 2020. State and federal law enforcement are investigating the letters, which were sent through the U.S. Postal Service to three homes in Milford and two in Brookline.

Signs stolen

The report said:

Norm Silber, a Republican running for the state House of Representatives, also had one of his signs stolen off public property in his hometown of Gilford in June. “The grandson of one of my supporters saw it happen and wrote down the license plate,” he said. “So I reported it to the police, they ran the plates, called the registered owner, whose name is James Babcock, and he confessed!”

Babcock has been charged with theft by unauthorized taking and an election-law violation of tampering with an election sign. However, there has been no trial, said Silber, because the court has been closed due to COVID. That leaves him fuming. “I find that people on the Left are much more willing to engage in this kind of behavior than the Right,” said Silber.

Silber is a semi-retired attorney and previously served a couple years on New Hampshire’s House election committee. “Under the state constitution,” he pointed out, “if you’re convicted of violating election law, you lose your right to vote.”

Not a single case

The report added:

Silber’s not the only Republican candidate in the state whose signs have been stolen. “I’ve had a lot of signs that have disappeared or been vandalized,” said Corky Messner, the underdog GOP candidate for U.S. Senate. “I had 4’x8’ signs cut up and destroyed.”

Sign stealing is hardly a new practice, but the threats against Trump supporters are more concerning.

Republican State Representative Glenn Cordelli has received two threatening postcards, both of which he turned over to police and are now being investigated by postal inspectors. “They were profane,” he said. The postcard reads (according to a copy I reviewed):

Ronald Reagan was a failure, like the [sic] Trump he has f—ed over people. It’s time to trash that Republican sh–. Socialism rules. Get your guns out. . . . Donald Trump is Putins [sic] P-ssy. It’s incredible whatever happened to the moral character that you had.

Both postcards — one postmarked Manchester, N.H., the other Boston, Mass. — are seemingly written by the same hand and addressed to his personal post-office box.

A vandalized “T”

The National Review report said:

A couple in New Boston, N.H., had their 16-foot-tall wooden “T” (for Trump) vandalized in their front yard. Security-camera footage shows three people spray-painting “Black Lives Matter” on the “T” and throwing toilet paper on it. Police are also investigating a powder found at its base.

With its four electoral votes, New Hampshire is not the most sought-after prize in November but is nevertheless contested. This year, polls continue to show Joe Biden well ahead of President Trump – but his supporters are pressing his case to the end.

More than two-dozen Trump supporters gathered on an overcast, late-October day for a sign-waving event in Wolfeboro. Passing drivers honked their horns in encouragement and flashed the “V” for victory as the sign-holders cheered and waved. Occasionally, someone flipped the bird, usually while driving a Prius.

A defiant streak ran through it, and tensions flared as they have in towns like this all year. A man in his sixties sported a shirt that read, “If you don’t like Trump, you probably won’t like me — and I’m OK with that.” He said he’s opposed to income taxes (New Hampshire has no personal income tax) but he didn’t know much about how government works and was surprised to learn that New Hampshire has a 400-member House of Representatives. Someone suggested he watch Hillsdale College videos on YouTube, and he replied he’s just signed up for PragerU and is looking forward to learning more about the Constitution.

“You’re dumb, you’re dumb, you’re dumb,” said a teenage girl as she walked through the group of Trump supporters, standing on a public sidewalk near Brewster Academy, an elite private boarding school (about $70,000-a-year tuition). The girl and two friends had their phones out, filming the interaction.

“Your mother loved you,” a woman holding a homemade anti-abortion sign told the teen. “She had you. She loves you.”

“At least I’m smart and not stupid like you,” the girl replied. Earlier in the afternoon, the coach of the Brewster girls’ soccer team had the team run near the sign-wavers while chanting “Black Lives Matter.” The coach filmed the girls, making sure to get the Trump supporters in the background.

Do these incidents/developments happen without any root, any cause, any perspective? Do these incidents/developments crop up suddenly – without any process, without any action and reaction? What’s the root, the process, etc.? Which class do these belong? Don’t these show state of the society the incidents are happening in? Don’t these carry any meaning? Do these incidents wither away suddenly without keeping back any trace? Don’t these show at least a part of the state of the classes that own and operate this politics? And, aren’t these classes dominant in the society?

Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka, Bangladesh.


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