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Bizarre Fears Of Post-Election Rioting Begin To Surface

I’ve seen this float across Twitter once or twice in the past couple weeks, but now The New York Times is reporting on the newest conservative derangement, the idea that riots will erupt in the wake of the election:

A gated community near Atlanta has decided to step up security this week. The reason is not burglaries, but another issue entirely: the presidential election.

In Woodstock, Ga., about 30 miles north of Atlanta, the president of a homeowners’ association sent an e-mail on Sunday informing residents that the entrance gates would be closed 24 hours a day beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday, out of concern over possible civil unrest after the election.

“I feel it is better to take a position of caution to enhance controlled access to the community until we see what (if any) negative repercussions may occur because of the results of the election,” wrote Bill Stanley, the president of the homeowners’ association at the Cottages of Woodstock, a residential community for people 55 and over.

The entrance gates have been open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during various construction projects. Mr. Stanley said the gates would be closed round the clock until next Monday – “if all goes well.”

The e-mail, which took some residents by surprise, was the latest sign that fringe voices predicting looting and rioting after the election have been making some nervous. The radical predictions have had an anti-Obama tinge, with some warning of civil disobedience depending on whether President Obama wins or loses the election.

In Texas, the top elected official in Lubbock County caused a stir when he said in August that he was expecting civil unrest if Mr. Obama was re-elected. “And we’re not talking just a few riots here and demonstrations, we’re talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy,” the official, County Judge Tom Head, said on the Fox station in Lubbock. “O.K. Now what’s going to happen if we do that, if the public decides to do that? He’s going to send in U.N. troops. I don’t want them in Lubbock County.”

Last week, a leader of the American Family Association, a conservative evangelical group, predicted widespread looting and mayhem if Mr. Obama lost. “People out there are going to be saying that ‘Governor Romney is going to take all this away from us,'” Bryan Fischer, the group’s director of issue analysis, said on his radio program. He added: “I think there’s going to be unrest. I think there will be blood.”

I’m honestly not sure if these people actually believe these things, or if they’re just trying to play to people’s fears. In either case, it strikes me as particularly poisonous. Outside of the Election of 1860, which is clearly historically unique, American elections have never been accompanied by violence. There’s no rational reason to think that would happen this time, and to suggest otherwise is simply irresponsible.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Rick DeMent says:

    However I am thinking that Facebook might just crash under the weight of 50% of the users heading for the virtual fainting couch.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  2. Jeremy says:

    @Rick DeMent: On the contrary, having less users hogging the bandwidth will mean it will be the one day this past five years it will actually work the way it’s supposed to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  3. C. Clavin says:

    Republicans are stoo-pid…as Tsar said earlier today.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. Herb says:

    “O.K. Now what’s going to happen if we do that, if the public decides to do that? He’s going to send in U.N. troops. I don’t want them in Lubbock County.”

    This guy’s a judge?

    UN troops….that’s funny.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  5. David says:

    @Herb: if I remember correctly, he is not a judge like we normally think of them, it’s more or a county commissioner role.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  6. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Herb: County Judge, not a judicial judge. County Judge is the elected CEO of a county in Texas, and presiding officer over the county’s Commissioner’s Court.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. Anderson says:

    It’s called projection. They imagine blacks hate them as much as they hate blacks.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  8. Bleev K says:

    If Romney wins, I’ll eat an old person.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  9. michael reynolds says:

    I love the “UN troops” trope. Do you think they know there’s no such thing? There’s only whatever units the UN can bum off Pakistan or Gabon or Indonesia. I’m sure Belize and Finland and Ghana have some badass troops, but I’m pretty sure they lack the heavy lift to get to Lubbock.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  10. Neil Hudelson says:

    Unfortunately its not just fring conservatives. I have a few friends who are predicting the same thing no matter who wins.

    With my friends, at least, I don’t think its racial projection. Rather, it’s lack of historical perspective. It’s the idea that things have never been as bad before, whether that be econonomical, political, or cultural.

    There’s often just a serious lack of historical perspective.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  11. PJ says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I’m honestly not sure if these people actually believe these things, or if they’re just trying to play to people’s fears. In either case, it strikes me as particularly poisonous. Outside of the Election of 1860, which is clearly historically unique, American elections have never been accompanied by violence. There’s no rational reason to think that would happen this time, and to suggest otherwise is simply irresponsible.

    2000.
    The Brooks Brothers riot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  12. Moosebreath says:

    @PJ:

    Your cite is off. It’s Brooks Brothers riot

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  13. mantis says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    It’s the idea that things have never been as bad before, whether that be econonomical, political, or cultural.

    You know people who seriously think this? Are they idiots?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  14. PJ says:

    @Moosebreath:
    Thanks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Tsar Nicholas says:

    This is just a function of demographics. Republicans in the affluent burbs tend to be cocooned WASPs with too much time on their hands and too much money in their bank accounts, both of which tend to numb the skull.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  16. gVOR08 says:

    OK, these guys may not believe this nonsense, they may just be pandering. But what does that say about the Republican base?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  17. grumpy realist says:

    I want to see Obama win just to watch the panic amoung the Birfers….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Fear the Fin!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. JKB says:

    Hey, UN troops are nothing to sneeze about. They can rape all the children in a village in less than a week.

    Although, they are hardly a match for a couple good old boys with .22s.

    In any case, if there are riots, they’ll be in the urban areas. Once the cities are burned, we can put in a park with some solar panels and a couple windmills. This Progressive attachment to 18th and 19th century technology, which the dense urban cities are is puzzling. How Progressive can you be if you keep wanting to use old technology?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 20

  20. Tillman says:

    Outside of the Election of 1860, which is clearly historically unique, American elections have never been accompanied by violence.

    First time for everything.

    It wasn’t “clearly” historically unique to the people who voted in 1860. It was definitely tense, though, and there was far more tension in 1860 than now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. legion says:

    @mantis: Yes. And yes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  22. JKB says:

    Well in 2000, there were attacks on Bush’s inaugural motorcade. Not particularly effective attacks but throwing things at someone is violence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  23. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    I’m not so sure I’d dismiss those concerns quite that lightly. A certain segment of the right is absolutely convinced (aided and abetted by Unskewed polls, the right-wing talking heads and others such as George Will) that not only is Romney going to win, it’s going to be a landslide, because all “real” Americans agree with them and the horrible liberal media has been lying about the polls for months. And the more into that unreality they are (Romney might win, but a landslide is virtually impossible), the more shocked they will be if Obama wins, and the more convinced they will be that the election was stolen. And that same group tends to be armed. Mass riots? I seriously doubt it. Some nuts locking themselves in a compound screaming for revolution and defying the authorities with the potential to create another Waco as they try and martyr themselves for truth, justice, liberty, and the American way against that horrible socialist who’s destroying the country? I *hope* not, but I wouldn’t just dismiss the possibility of violence out of hand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  24. Janis Gore says:

    It all comes down to Billy Holiday’s “God bless the child that’s got it’s own.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. lageorgia says:

    And to think I used to live in Woodstock!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. Janis Gore says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican: I wouldn’t either.

    In 2008. my ex-stepson was saying that if Obama lost there’d be rioting in the streets. (He’d gotten that sh*t from some of his compadres. His father defended blacks in court, arranging extended payment plans if necessary.)

    When I cleaned out his room after accession to possession of my house, there were two guns full out in the open with ammunition scattered. I was appalled, and so would the NRA be.

    Who knows? I’m taking cover.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  27. mattb says:

    Hey JKB, what’s your election prediction? (Most of the other people on this thread have already made their’s).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  28. michael reynolds says:

    @Ebenezer_Arvigenius:

    Hah! Oddly enough I’m one of I’m going to guess 25 Americans who know that Finland fought the USSR. The Finns were indeed badass.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  29. michael reynolds says:

    @mattb:

    Hey JKB, what’s your election prediction?

    I’m going to guess race war followed by the imposition of sharia law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  30. JKB says:

    @mattb:

    Romney wins, most likely in an electoral landslide.

    Followed by many random but insubstantial acts of violence. In January, Obama has to be forced out of the White House.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  31. Janis Gore says:

    @JKB: So what are you ready to threaten me with now?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  32. JKB says:

    @Janis Gore:So what are you ready to threaten me with now?

    What?

    Oh, what the heck? When Romney wins, you’ll have prosperity, peace, a healing of the race divide. Downside, it will be the end of Progressivism,having been revealed as totally devoid of redeeming value.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  33. Janis Gore says:

    Whatev.

    You still should appoint Obama FEMA director.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  34. Scott O says:
  35. An Interested Party says:

    Oh, what the heck? When Romney wins, you’ll have prosperity, peace, a healing of the race divide. Downside, it will be the end of Progressivism,having been revealed as totally devoid of redeeming value.

    Wow, this loon is acting as crazy as George Will or Michael Barone…or rather, is as big a hack as they are…

    Meanwhile, I find it highly amusing and incredibly ironic that some of the descendants (spiritually if not also physically) of the Confederate traitors actually have the audacity to talk about their fears of post-election violence…like someone upthread wrote, it’s all projection…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  36. Janis Gore says:

    Jungle drums.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. Liberty60 says:

    @JKB:

    we can put in a park with some solar panels and a couple windmills. This Progressive attachment to 18th and 19th century technology, which the dense urban cities are is puzzling.

    Ah yes…The image comes to mind of one of those Old Master painting of the Dutch countryside, with a horse and cart, windmills, and solar array, gently washed in fading light of a sunset…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. wifactcheck says:

    I agree that it is ludicrous to anticipate rioting in response to this election, but I do believe you have your history wrong: “Outside of the Election of 1860, which is clearly historically unique, American elections have never been accompanied by violence.”

    Here is but one of the many egregious examples that disprove your theory:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilmington_Insurrection_of_1898

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. J-Dub says:

    To quote Harold and Kumar, “Let’s burn this motherfucker down””

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuPPA4wcj2Q

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0