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BuzzFeed News recently published a story regarding a political instability measure created by academic Pete Turchin, an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of Connecticut and George Mason University sociologist Jack Goldstone. The short of their findings is that either way the presidential election goes, but specifically if Joe Biden defeats Donald Trump, the country can quickly become an exploding powder keg.
According to their measure, the biggest indicator of the potential for chaos is not attributed to who wins the election, rather the “corrosive effect of inequality on society” that worsens when the elite class stifles social mobility and evades being properly taxed.
This is where disingenuous political rhetoric gets muddy on either side of the aisle. Support for Trump and Biden has been so definitively polarized that their supporters have convinced themselves that total anarchy will ensue if the opposite candidate is elected. The candidates (mostly Trump) have played a hand in fanning the flames of paranoia in this highly consequential election, which has resulted in a fringe, war-ready ideology the minute the election is decided.
Because what else would we be more on brand for 2020 than a civil war?
And speaking of the instability brought on by election anxiety, a 39-year-old Bostonian named Worldy Armand was charged with willful and malicious burning for literally setting ballot boxes on fire!
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachel Rollins says she does not view Armand’s behavior as a plot against democracy, but rather the actions of someone who is “emotionally disturbed.” I am not sure how setting citizen votes on fire is not an action to thwart democracy, but maybe I am just not privileged enough to be excused for having that level of emotional angst.
VICE News recently conducted an investigation that uncovered the elimination of nearly 20,000 Election Day polling places, a 20% decrease in polling places nationwide. The states with the deepest cuts in polling locations are California, Maryland, Kentucky, New Jersey, Nevada and North Dakota.
It could be reasoned that the elimination of in-person polling places was drastically reduced out of coronavirus concerns. Per the report, the trend of reducing polling places began in 2016 when 3,000 fewer locations were available than in 2012.
Apparently, voter suppression is the order of the day and diminishing access to the polls is the main method of achieving it.
Donald Trump probably thought he was the great equalizer as he stood between Amy Coney Barrett and Clarence Thomas while Barrett was being sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice. Because in Trump’s mind, optics and identity politics equal inclusion.
I imagine him thinking, “I got a Black guy swearing in a woman to the Supreme Court, so I totally can’t be racist or sexist.” He pretends not to be aware that Barrett’s appointment pushing the Supreme Court as 6-3 conservative justices does not uphold white patriarchal rule. He knows better, whether he can articulate it in those terms or not.
This is why he fought like hell to get her sworn in to make a lasting impact on the court, regardless if he is around to reap the presidential spoils of her ultra-conservative rulings.
About the Author
Donney Rose is a poet, essayist, Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow, advocate and Chief Content Editor at The North Star. He believes in telling how it is and how it should be.