The FBI said Sunday it is investigating a convoy of Trump supporters who apparently attempted to run a Biden campaign bus off a Texas interstate; Trump praised the perpetrators and condemned the FBI.
The Democratic Party of Georgia was forced to cancel a Biden rally in Rome, Ga., on Sunday because of a “large militia presence” accompanying a nearby Trump visit.
Elsewhere, gangs of Trump supporters blocked traffic, provoked confrontations and violated rules at early voting places over the weekend. In Topeka, Kan., three teens were allegedly shot Saturday by a man who thought they stole his Trump yard signs.
But there is one way to assuage our fears about political violence overtaking the election and its aftermath: Vote. Vote as though democracy depends on it. Vote as though your country depends on it. Vote as though our way of life depends on it. For surely they all do.
If you haven’t yet voted, vote today — no matter how long you have to wait in line or how much harassment by Trump fanatics you have to endure. If you voted by mail, track your ballot to make sure it arrived (www.usa.gov/election-office has links to states’ elections offices) and, if not, ask your elections board if you should cast a provisional ballot.
If we all vote, Trump cannot win. He has never enjoyed majority support. There are more of us than them — and by that I don’t mean more Democrats than Republicans nor more liberals than conservatives but more people who trust democracy than those who don’t.
At this writing, nearly 100 million have already voted, according to the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida. Director Michael McDonald projects an astonishing 160.2 million total votes will be cast, a turnout rate of 67 percent. That would be the highest since 1900 — before women and most African Americans could vote — and well above the modern high of 62.8 percent in 1960.
If that happens, it won’t matter that Trump and his megadonor who runs the U.S. Postal Service sabotaged ballot delivery. As The Post’s Jacob Bogage and Christopher Ingraham report, the on-time delivery rate for ballots has been 89.1 percent in swing states in recent days, 5.9 points lower than the national average. In Michigan, on-time ballot delivery in heavily Black Detroit is 72.8 percent — compared to 84.3 in the heavily White rest of the state.
If we shatter turnout records, it also won’t matter that the Supreme Court has been partially complicit in efforts to reject late-arriving ballots postmarked before Election Day, despite the ongoing postal slowdown in defiance of court orders. So clumsy is the effort that Trump-appointed Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh wrote an error-laced opinion justifying discarding ballots.
If we shatter turnout records, the various voter-intimidation attempts by Trump and his supporters — traffic disruption, gantlets at polling places — will have little effect.
If we turn out in these numbers, our overwhelming repudiation of Trump will discredit any attempt to cling to power. It will make clear that Americans do not accept the president’s violent rhetoric, which causes so many people Trump attacks — among them Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Lesley Stahl, the CIA whistleblower, Anthony Fauci, Rep. Adam Schiff and the “Squad” — to require protection against plots and threats to their lives and safety.
Our repudiation of Trump will return to the margins the QAnon conspiracists and white supremacists that Trump has encouraged while blaming violence on phantom left-wing groups. (An Associated Press review of court documents found only one indirect mention of antifa related to recent urban unrest, and not one of the 300 arrested was identified as antifa.)
Our historic rejection of Trump will also warn his enablers to abandon their sycophancy. (Sen. Mike Lee of Utah just told rallygoers to “think of him [Trump] as Captain Moroni,” a figure of great righteousness from the Book of Mormon.)
After I wrote recently about Trump’s authoritarian inclinations, one of his fans emailed me with a question: If I’m really concerned about Trump invalidating the election with violence, why don’t I get a gun so I can shoot back?
The answer is that in America — even in Donald Trump’s America of 2020 — the ballot is still more powerful than the bullet. With today’s outpouring at the polls, we will keep it that way.
At this supercharged moment, it’s rational to fear that Trump could move supporters to arms. Our answer must be to make them respect our votes.