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Trump’s Helter Skelter

Given Donald Trump's repeated flirtation with right-wing extremist rhetoric and violence, and his refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, next month's election could trigger atrocities. If Trump loses, Americans should be prepared for the worst.

NEWARK – Strange as it is to say, but it is no longer uncommon to hear talk of insurrection, martial law, and civil war in the United States. The arrest of militia leaders in Michigan on charges of planning to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer and incite the overthrow of the state’s government suggests how far far-right politics in America is prepared to go.

Apocalyptic warnings that next month’s election will descend into crisis are coming hard and fast. US President Donald Trump, now far behind in most polls, will not commit to a peaceful transfer of power. Instead, he encourages white-power militias and extremists, and sows disinformation about everything from mail-in ballots to COVID-19.

While the atmosphere in the US is already alarming, it is worth considering just how bad things could become. There is ample reason to worry that an election-related conflict could devolve into atrocity crimes against black and brown civilians on US soil. As someone who has spent his career studying genocide and mass violence, I fear that the chances of such violence are higher than most people think.

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