‘Nightmare scenario’ in US election result
An expert panel has delivered a bombshell prediction about what will happen on Wednesday if, as polls suggest, Donald Trump fails to secure a second term in power.
"You would see massive demonstrations ... if (Joe) Biden wins by 5 per cent," The Australian's Greg Sheridan told Q&A during Monday night's US election special.
"I think that's the scenario which is most likely to cause terrible civil unrest in the United States.
"I have a lot of faith in the United States, the great essential Americanness and decency of the place, but if Biden were to win the popular vote by 5 per cent and Trump squeaked away through the Electoral College to get a bare majority in the Electoral College - I don't think that's going to happen but it is very possible - I think you would see massive street demonstrations, I think people would be extremely angry ... they would feel that they had been robbed and so forth, and you might get real civil discord on the streets.
"Trump would be unbearable."
It was a sentiment shared by Damien Cave, the Australian Bureau Chief of The New York Times.
"I mean here is the nightmare scenario that I think about as the election drags on for several days in Pennsylvania ... the state that is going to define who wins or loses," he said.
"(The scenario is that) there is a handful of poll workers in some places counting the votes and Trump calls out to his people to say, 'Go to those states and make sure the votes are counted', and then you have unrest in the place where the votes are being counted. That is the nightmare scenario I worry about."
He called out the President for inciting violence among his followers.
"You have a President who has been encouraging violence on the part of his supporters and you don't have that on the other side (with Joe Biden)," he said.
Kim Hoggard, a former senior Republican White House staffer, told the program violence "is not a given".
Is it not absolutely gobsmacking that in the same breath as talking about the US presidential election, we’re also talking about a possible violent response to the result? Who would have imagined this? #qanda #uselection— Stella Yee 🍩🍩 (@Stella4Menzies) November 2, 2020
"I do think that Americans are exhausted and they want to see a peaceful outcome," she said.
"But just in these few days leading up to the election, it has become so heated with actual acts of aggression, whether it's with trucks blocking bridges or trying to run cars off the road, it's - all we need is the President to say something calming and we can get past this moment."
There are fears the tense situation in the US could devolve into civil war following Wednesday's election with Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade issuing a "Do Not Travel" warning for the entire country.
Around the rest of the US, hundreds of National Guard troops have been stationed across the country in preparation for the election.
In Texas, 1000 troops are on the ground across five cities to help police "deter any civil disturbance", National Guard Commander Major-General James Brown said.
Shops and businesses have been boarded up across the country and in cities where there was rioting and looting in the summer, among them Portland in Oregon and Chicago.
"It is widely believed there will be civil unrest after the election regardless of who wins," Peter Newsham, Washington police chief, told The Times.
TRUMP 'COMPARED TO HITLER'
Eleanore Wells, a black woman who appeared on Q&A in September and compared the US President to Adolf Hitler, told the panel: "I'm not the first person, even if I had compared him to Hitler. You've seen there are dozens of articles."
But Salvatore Babones, a political sociologist from the University of Sydney rejected the comparison.
"I did watch the show you were on last time and while I respect the sincerity of your feelings, you talked about the potential for a new rise of fascism in America and Trump as the new Hitler and whenever I hear that kind of rhetoric, forgive me, I just tend to roll my eyes at the ahistorical nature of it.
"When Mussolini in Italy seized power he marched on Rome and laid out a book on fascism, laying out his plan. When Hitler took power, he was unsuccessful and went to jail and wrote a book called Mein Kampf, laying out his history. But we don't have that in America."
In September, Ms Wells - who said she was afraid to return to the US under Trump - told Q&A: "Could we have another Hitler? ... It doesn't seem far fetched to me."
Host Hamish McDonald pulled her up on her comments.
"That's an extreme comparison to draw," he said. "Hitler has the responsibility for the deaths of six million Jews. Trump hasn't done anything like that."
Ms Wells continued to press her point.
"We don't know what point in the trajectory it is. But it doesn't sound far fetched to me at all."
Originally published as 'Nightmare scenario' in US election result